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Friday, September 29, 2017

Unprofessional Comic Book Creators Are Hurting the Industry

The Customer is always right. Unless they’re talking about the comic book industry.

These days on social media Comic book creators have been going out of their way to disrepect comic fans. When confronted by fans who are critical of their work some creators have been attacking comic fans on twitter and Facebook. Some have threatened fans. Others have supported the doxing, or revealing personal information of fans they disagree with and a few are doing things like stalking and spying on comic fans who make posts they disagree with. 

With the Comic book industry in crisis, you would think that creators in the industry would be making efforts to improve relations between themselves and readers. After August 2017’s abysmal sales, Comics creators really need to start trying to facilitate better customer relations between themselves and their fans. With Word-of-mouth being the primary way books are sold, you’d think comics creators should be trying to build a bridge that allows a new generation of readers to get into comics.

Unfortunately, many comics creators think of social media as a personal platform and not a business one. So they’d rather go on rants about Donald Trump or argue with a fan about their criticism of a comic they wrote or pencilled than use a platform like Twitter or Facebook towards reaching new customers.

What most comics creators don’t understand is that social media is an open platform. And anything negative you can post on those platforms can and will be used against you by your customers.

Those rants about Donald Trump many comics creators like to go on aren’t helping the comic book industry. Nor are the angry responses to fans when they criticize them for their work.  All they’re doing is alienating many longtime fans and giving them a reason not to spend their money on comic books.

Worse, it’s turning away many possible customers who are on the sidelines. Many people want to get into comics. And many more want to get back into the hobby. However watching creators attack people on social media is one of the things turning them away from a hobby that has been hobbled by high prices, and confusing continuities.

Social media when used effectively can be a great tool toward reaching new readers. I built the SJS DIRECT brand using social media like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. I’ve reached thousands of new readers all over the world using those platforms and connected with readers all over the world. When I’m online I spend most of my time trying to reach new readers by posting links to older books in my catalog like Isis: Samurai Goddess, promoting new books like The Legendary Mad Matilda in commercials, audiobook samples, and making videos to talk to the audience so they can get to know me and the publications I have available at online booksellers.

Social media is about being connecting with people. Letting them get to know you. Getting to know the mission of your company. Giving them a reason to buy your product and a reason to care about it. Forming that relationship with the reader can allow a company to gain the trust of readers and have them anticipating the next book. As I see it, I’m not just selling a book. I’m selling myself. And my books are a reflection of who I am.

Unfortunately, too many comics creators aren’t thinking of using social media to sell their books. Because not that many know how to sell themselves.

Many comics publishers really needs to get a handle on the customer service issues their creators are creating with readers on social media.  There needs to be the implementation of some sort of business policy regarding social media. Because when comics creators are cursing out fans and going on rants about Donald Trump it’s not a good look for the company. When creators participate in that kind of unprofessional behavior doesn’t reflect well on a company, it’s characters or its products.

Yes, people have the right to free speech and freedom of expression. But when they represent a company they have to understand they represent that company they have to behave in a way that positively reflects the image of that company.

Part of building a relationship with a business is having a positive social media presence. And many comic creators need to cultivate the interpersonal skills that will allow them to give readers a positive image of them and their work. Because if you can’t sell yourself on social media, it becomes next to impossible to sell your comics at the shop.



  1. "The Customer Is Always Right". It's a stupid rule that many people take too far in most instances.

    1. You can’t let yourself be provoked into angry rants by a customer. Whatever you present, especially typed forum posts, make it sound professional.

  2. Yeah, true, and sad to hear what is said about the industry, but the direct market approach is what killed the industry. You aren’t going to reach many people that way. The older means of selling comic books were more visible to more people.


  3. Good points, especially when you need to save your business. Steve Jobs made it clear that the higher-ups at Apple Computer were not to make politically controversial statements, because with Apple doing so poorly and in need of revitalization, they could not afford to alienate potential or current customers.

    I don't just find creators controversial, in fact, I have had civil conversations on CBR and Twitter with creators whom I have disagreed with, but sometimes the conduct of fans has been a turnoff to me as well.

  4. "As I see it, I’m not just selling a book. I’m selling myself. And my books are a reflection of who I am."

    That's a good point you make right there. There's a whole lot of writers out there who either ignore or don't care about the "social" aspect of social media. In the multitude of voices howling; "Buy My Book!" sometimes the difference lies in the personal connection one makes via social media with past, present and future readers.