Monday, April 30, 2012

My Move to Digital Comics--Part 5: Bringing New Readers to Your Work

In my very first post about my transition to digital comics, I mentioned how I had been checking out a lot of comics that aren't normally on my radar due to the discounts that digital offers. That trend has continued over the past couple of months, and there have been a couple of recent examples that I think highlight the ability of creators to use digital to bring potential readers to their work.

After reading the first issue of the new Conan the Barbarian series and loving Becky Cloonan's art, I found out that she was going to be on a panel I was moderating at Boston Comic Con. I looked her up on the web and found that she had written and drawn a story called Wolves for a Japanese anthology, and it had since been adapted to English. the single-issue story was available on Graphicly for $0.99. Knowing nothing about it, I immediately bought it, and the story turned out to be fantastic (I reviewed it on issue #420 of Secret Identity).

Last week, I saw a post on Twitter by Steve Niles about him offering a free digital copy of a comic called Edge of Doom on his website. This was a series that he did through IDW back in 2010 that I had completely missed. I downloaded the free issue and was blown away at how awesome it was. I immediately tracked down a trade of the whole miniseries and bought it.

Both of these recent purchases got me to thinking about how creators can use digital to bring readers to their work--particularly their creator-owned work--and introduce them to books they might not otherwise check out. By offering these stories at a reasonable price (in this case, $0.99 and free), there is little to no risk for the reader, and a huge upside for the creator if the person likes what they read.

With print comics, there is always a huge risk of a potential reader missing a book when it comes out, or being afraid to take a chance on a print book due to price. For independent, self-published books (as was the case with Wolves), print quantities may be limited, and the books won't be on every LCS shelf to begin with. That's where digital can offer a second opportunity to get readers' eyes on a book, or introduce them to some new stuff by a creator they already like.

It's exciting to see creators using the digital medium as a tool to expose readers to their work. There is so much stuff out there that we don't even know we're missing.

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