Them kids today don’t know how good they’ve got it. And when I say kids, I mean kids of the Digital Age (should that be capitalised? I’ll check my History of Man wall chart later).
I remember, last century, when drawing comics was a lonely affair. Scrawling away, locked in a darkened room. Well, not locked, that’d be strange – and not darkened either (“Exactly, how would you draw?” Okay okay!). Sitting in a well-lit unlocked room. But definitely on your own. And far more on your own that we would even imagine today!
When I first started writing and drawing comics, I didn’t know anyone else who did (discounting my older brother). I knew SOME other children who read comics, but actually writing and drawing them, there was no one to my knowledge within a reachable vicinity who did such a thing. I’m sure they were there, but I didn’t know them (probably locked in darkened rooms somewhere).
It’s incredible thinking about it today, that you can tap a few simple words into your lap tablet or talking/listening device and find a whole world of other creators, just a mouse ride away.
When I originally self-published my stuff I had no idea how to get it under people’s noses (the original comics had a scratch n’ sniff promo). So I put adverts into the main UK comics journal at the time, Comics International. I sent some copies to reviewers that I’d seen in the main UK comics journal at the time, Comics International. I sold them to my friends, family and people in my church, who religiously read the main UK comics journal at the time, Comics International (see what I did there?). I sat in the small press section at the UKCAC 1997 comic convention feeling way out of my depth and slightly perplexed as to how I was actually going to shift all these boxes of pristine and freshly printed comics, that I’d rammed between the shaky legs of my trestle table.
To be fair I’m still thinking that today, except the boxes are now in the garage.
Of course, I’m not saying things would’ve turned out differently if Mr Internet had invented his global communicating machine at a more convenient time for me.
Alright, maybe I am saying that! Things would’ve been SO different if the internet had been around earlier! 1995 to be exact. Them digital kids don’t know how good they’ve got it!
(Do you like the way I bookended that? Thanks.)
I always feel like it balances out. While it is so much easier to get your stuff out there these days, that also means that everyone is doing it, so you’re having to shout to be heard over the millions of others who’ve also got something to sell.
My first book came out pre-social media (barring Myspace), and was just before self-pub became easier and more popular. It took eight years for another release to outsell that first book, even with all the new tools of reaching people at my disposal. Even in the gap between books one and two, things went from “Wow, he’s put a book out; must buy this!” to “Yeah, big deal, even my nan’s got a 10-book fantasy series now.”
Could you send me a link to that 10-book fantasy series by someone’s nan?