Creator Confessions: Invest In Yourself
by Frank Martin
One of the most obvious yet also difficult tips for creators to learn is to invest in themselves. Spending money on a creative career is hard, especially in the beginning when the expense has to be justified. Like everything else, spending money is a balancing act between not overextending yet also giving yourself the tools needed to succeed. It’s hard to go over everything that is a worthwhile purchase, but here are a few that go a long way.
One of the most difficult things to do when creating your own comics, especially after a Kickstarter, is mailing them out. Regardless of how many “do not bend” stickers you place on your package, postal workers are bound to treat it like a football. Buying comic specific mailers are very important. A lot of times creators use padded envelopes and fill it with cardboard to keep it rigid. I’ve done this myself in the past. But a comic mailer is a lot more professional and efficient way to send out a book. And even then, it doesn’t guarantee that a book won’t get damaged in transit. But it does definitely give you the best chance through the system.
Another smart purchase is to give yourself the best presentation during podcasts and live streams. It’s often difficult for creators to come out of their shell and do these interviews, but they are very essential to getting your name and work out there. And when you make an appearance, you want to make sure you’re putting your best self forward. Whether that means using lighting, a good microphone, or quality video is up to you.
Last but certainly not least is the cost of fulfillment services. This means outsourcing your packing and shipping to a third party that does it for you. This is not an expense that I’m willing to pay just yet. I handle all of my fulfillment myself, but at some point it’s going to make more sense to enlist help to get it done. Making comics is all about time management. If I can free myself up from doing fulfillment to spend time doing something else then that is a cost I will have to calculate. The bottom line: only you can decide what’s a worthwhile purchase that ups your game, and the answer will be different for everyone. But it’s certainly something that should be taken into account.