December 13, 2016 at 1:26 pm #184
If you read my facebook rant, feel free to follow up on it here. if you haven’t read it yet, here it is:
Hello. I’m writing to all of my comics friends to try to get some idea of whats really going on out there. I’ve had an incredibly frustrating year, which i won’t go into unless you ask back about it, because the point is looking forward…I want to know what my friends want me to do. I mean, I’m 2 issues away from the #100 issue of the magazine series I started way back in 1989. But the problem is, as far as it being a magazine hat the industry is reading…I’m getting ZERO feedback. It goes out through a dozen some digital outlets, hits over 1,000 readers per issue, yet, I don’t know if the readers reading it are getting what they want in such a magazine, and, it is getting harder and harder to keep witers interested in doing the interviews and features we have been doing.
And the magazine is only the tip of the iceberg, because-I’ve had this website that I’ve been working hard to make into something worthwhile, that people can use to see and be seen, but…i can’t seem to get anyone to use it. Facebook and Twitter seems to have fully taken over people’s time and focus as far as any communication – but when i post something to my almost 5000 “friends” – I barely get 6-7 likes on stuff, sometimes no one comments at all. Maybe i just do it wrong, i don’t know.
So I am asking…do you want a website dedicated to the indy community, that’s trying to build a Hall of Fame system, and that has a monthly magazine that lets you know what is coming out each month in the small press, and otherwise tried to help people connect and have an indy place to do indy things, away from corporate control and the crap that sucks the life out of the industry. If you o want it, what are you willing to do to help make it really happen? I mean, the SPA – which did all those years of Small Press Idol, Anthologies, Calendars, printing service, etc…it’s basically gone. We don’t have an active membership past the 3-4 people working on keeping the magazine running with me.
I invested a few thousand dollars on software in the last few years, and it sits. There is so much that could be done with it, but I cannot do it on my own. And I don’t want to. I’ll just cut my losses and go back to writing comics and songs and just try to make myself happy. I told myself for decades, that building something indy and worthwhile BEFORE I really turn my attention back to making my own series, was necessary on a multitude of levels. But did I miss all the boats? Is there no need or reason for it anymore? did my getting sick in 2010 kill my chances of ever building the permanent indy hub that I thought everyone wanted?
I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe that people are still interested in a magazine devoted to indy, that they would use a website devoted to indy community to focus their efforts away from the indomitable din of facebook cat videos and political and religious flame wars. to be funny…I want to make small press great again…but – I don’t know what really needs to be done anymore.
Let’s see what happens…..
December 13, 2016 at 2:08 pm #185
My 2 cents.
I enjoyed the time I spent doing interviews for you and was grateful to be featured a few years ago but I’ve found this website incredibly frustrating.
The Faith Fallon member page takes too long to set up or add to whether I try it at home, work, or a friend’s home and probably gets zero traffic. I gave up on it long ago. To me it makes no sense to invest the time into something with zero feedback. I get more feedback on twitter, Instagram, and FB than I do from here and it takes me seconds to post on them vs. hours here.
I get more “likes” from the Self-Publisher FB page than I ever did here. Same goes for bottom-line sales. I guess it makes sense since these social media platforms are well known and have tons of traffic. I also get more traffic, likes, and feedback about my comic artwork and sales from NON-comic book groups on Facebook than comic book groups. Horror groups, Goth groups, and non-comic art groups seem more receptive. Sometimes I think I’m trying to sell my work to people in the same boat as me when I post to comicbook, self-publishing, and indie sites.
I think the biggest problem is the amount of people doing indie comics and the amount of people trying to get attention equals information overload for the average Joe. I spend a lot of time promoting my Faith Fallon comic and it’s time I have to invent between a wife. three kids, a real job, and my comic series. My average day starts 6:30AM and ends 10:00PM before I get a chance to “relax” and work on actually creating comics. I barely watch 3 hours of TV a week, real life always has a fire to put out and my family life is top priority.
I think my work would get lost in a mega-directory site. Heck, I know people who purchased my books and still haven’t read them. I think it’s more a reflection of the real world than any shortcomings on our efforts.
Just my observations.
December 13, 2016 at 2:18 pm #186
It is hard to read that and not cry.
December 13, 2016 at 2:22 pm #187
It’s incredibly hard to make money on a magazine alone, as Foundr magazine talks about a lot. They make money from doing hardcover books, courses, and sponsorship of their podcast. I think there is a need for indie magazines. Make Mine Indie is one that Peter Simeti does, and I know my friend Garrett Gunn is trying to make one with Geekery.
Idk how either of them are doing, but they are two people you might want to talk to about this topic. I like your facebook group, but I haven’t read any of your magazines. Honestly, it didn’t even know it was a magazine until now.
So, there is definitely some brand awareness, at least on the West Coast, that is lacking.
I can’t say what the problem is because I don’t know the business personally or intimately, not can I speak to growth, but if you have run out of passion for it, maybe take a month off and see how you feel. If you want any help, let me know.
December 13, 2016 at 2:26 pm #188
for me it’s never been about making money, I mean, I have spent more on keeping this alive than I will probably ever make back, i always just wanted to get that one new person one new fan, and that’s what it’s about.
December 13, 2016 at 2:35 pm #189
whether you want to make money or not, you clearly want a bigger audience, so the function is the same. Growing an audience leads to more money, but money does not have to be the motivator. Things like mailing lists, brand identity, social media outreach, etc all help the brand grow and thus increase readership, which I assume is what you are after.
Money is an ancillary benefit.
December 13, 2016 at 2:45 pm #190
Well, yes, I understand that. The issue I am facing is that to build what we need, I need help, and there just doesn’t seem to be anyone interested in doing what it takes to rise from where we’re at, to where we’ve been in the past, or even forget that past when we did have the ear of the industry, and go forward to gain the new ear of the new industry. I mean, I would give a deal like “you keep 50% of the ad money, to someone who wanted to do the PR work it takes to get publisher support. There is simply too much else to do all the time, for me to do it. But to even get THERE to that kind of staff building…we need people that care that it exists at the level it does now. And it REALLY looks like a lot of what I built here, is just not needed wanted or useable, i dunno. I’m frustrated. I have a mailing list, I used to do a weekly newsletter for this that was read by 1000’s a week. But when this site is looking like it does, with a default template that really isn’t in this decade, and I have code work issues that need addressed, and other aspects…I don’t know how I’m going to get any of it done, unless we build a team that really wants to see it work right.
December 13, 2016 at 6:33 pm #191
My advice is that you have to do what makes you happy.
I know what it’s like to be excited about a project only to receive zero recognition. It used to bug me, but then I realized the only person that really matters is myself. So even if I just make things for my own enjoyment, that’s enough.
I wouldn’t keep doing something just because I think I have an obligation to a faceless group of people.
Anyway – those are my thoughts…
December 14, 2016 at 1:32 pm #194
Steve….but I DO feel obligated to the cause. If there had not been a small press network when I was a dyslexic, wimpy teen who got picked on every day…if someone had not been there to say, if you want to be creative, here, make a minicomic, it’s easy, here’s how…I don’t know what my life may have become. But then, I do think we’re way off track on actually being ABLE to reach such new people.
DOC: Good to hear from you. Roger is still alive, on facebook all the time posting pictures. i havent actually talked to him in like a decade though. so Inter-Fan is gone? Shame you did some great work on history that I would love to collect back and make sure it stays available forever. interested in that?
Tim, I see your posts on facebook a lot, sometimes I add my two cents in, most of the time I don’t because your family and close friends are there talking to you. thing is, we took news out of indyfest long ago, and post that in it’s own news site. We do interviews, getting to know people peices, stuff that doesn’t get OLD, though we do like to try to time it with upcoming releases when we can, to direct people’s interest when they read something, to getting the new thing from that person.
I guess that that isn’t KNOWN by you or most, it ties right back to the PR/branding issue we have that I don’t have time to do everything.
I am talking to a number of people right now in private, so if anyone wants to become active in the SOLUTION phase, I guess this thread is running it’s course, and you should reach me at [email protected] so I can get more into organizational phaze. My goal this week to to build a new ROADMAP – a full accounting of everything Indyfest is, has, could be, where and why of each part’s state of development and needs…and hopefully from THAT we cdan start really getting back on track. I will update this thread with that info ASAP…and also keep replies to posts going as they come in if they do. I mean what, 5 people actually posted here…out of what should have been thousands of people who I contacted directly and or posted to groups and mailing lists the original message.
We’ll still have to see what happens.
December 13, 2016 at 8:44 pm #192
I’d like to see you zine continue though I’ve remiss reading some of them I’d hate to see it end.
I, myself gave up on Indie publishing and turned to doing more portrait artwork like what’s on my Facebook page which have lead to some commissions an and actual job doing placards or a custom action figures. (http://www.distinctivedummies.net/index.html).
I think when the SPA site changed it kinda was an end of an era. Now Wade is gone and I seen Troy having issues as have I financial wise.
I think with what’s happened politically lately I think people are gonna want an escape from the “real” world.
Maybe bring back the chat and try and connect back with old members. Whatever happened to Roger?
Glad to see you are still with us and hope things will be brighter for you and yours.
I’d like to to the cover for your 200th issue.
Talk at you soon.
December 13, 2016 at 11:55 pm #193
Timothy J TobolskiParticipant
I’ve been out of the small press/indy loop for the past decade, spending all my time being the only income in the household. Now that I’m most likely disabled permanently because of Cancer, I’ve got more free-time but far less finances. I’m slowly getting back into the cartooning game, with ‘slowly’ being the operative word. I don’t know how much I could help.
The problem I see with the shrinking magazine market (look at a nearby magazine section in your local store or book shop) is that information is both more immediate and more plentiful online; by the time a magazine is published, it’s so old as to be nearly irrelevant. Now a publication that combined news with small press/indy stories might be more enticing. You might be better served re-building an online presence through social media than sinking more money into an exclusively news magazine.
Either way, let me know if I can help. I’m back for as long as I can fight back against this Cancer.
December 14, 2016 at 1:33 pm #195
We’ll still have to see what happens.
December 15, 2016 at 12:11 am #196
You’re not alone here, most all of us in Small Press will reach the same crisis sooner or later. Your main priorities are your health and your family. Small press activity is only helpful to the extent that it contributes to those two cornerstones. When it’s not fun any more, you need to stop it or scale way back. It’ll improve your mental health and make you a better Dad and husband.
I think you may have to put the magazine and database in mothballs… burn it all to DVDs or save it on a portable hard drive in a form that somebody else can use down the road… and bend your talent to writing and music again like you suggested.
December 15, 2016 at 4:43 pm #197
I hear you Matt…and I am giving that you said it extra weight, cause I’ve been leaning towards fighting to keep going. I am going to have to gauge the reaction of people to the roadmap and layout of what really needs to happen, to how many people are willing to step up and do it as a group, because I cannot do it alone anymore. Even with Ellen and Doug helping run the magazine, it is way way short of what we all need…and if we dont do something together to combat facebook and amazon taking over everything…there is nothing I alone can do to combat it..and my only recourse will be to write about my fantasy world and leave this world to its own.
But I have to put this all into real focus for everyone, shine the light on it, and make sure if people want it to go one or not, if they are willing to do a part in it, or not. If I don’t do that due diligence and give it that last chance, I will always regret not having done so.
April 11, 2018 at 9:39 am #374
James L SarandisParticipant
Reconstruction is the plan! I finally got a chance to take a quick look over the site I am really liking what I’m seeing.
May 1, 2018 at 12:01 pm #377
Thanks James, and I look forward to working with you more and more…gonna be calling you this week as I get my brain unpacked from the SPACE show, about all the conversations and clarification of purpose and potential realization we can go after.
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