A few weeks ago I heard about a comic book called Chew.
This is all it took – I needed to find out more. It turns out that this is a highly decorated book with a ton of endorsements from comic fans and creators. It has a unique art style, interesting characters and some real originality.
But I would have never gotten that far if I wasn’t hooked in the first place.
Whether you’re trying to pimp a comic book, novel or video game, people are going to ask themselves one question as soon as they hear about it: Why should I give a shit?
1. Give people a reason to give a shit.
Some ideas and concepts are just too intriguing to pass up. When I heard about Plants vs. Zombies I HAD to play the demo. I barely have time to play video games, but I MADE time to play this one. I had to see what it was all about just based on the title.
If your idea doesn’t sound interesting and unique, start over and come up with something that will work as a hook.
We don’t need a movie about some stuff going on in space. We’ve all seen Star Wars and Star Trek.
We don’t need another story about swords and sorcery. We’ve all read Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.
There isn’t a shortage of stories out there – there is a shortage of interesting and unique spins on a story that will be compelling enough to make someone stop and look twice.
Give us a hook, and then start to reel us in. And then once you’ve got us…
2. Be outstanding.
Not as easy as it sounds. But if you want to entertain people with your book or film or art of any kind, you have to realize that we have a LOT of choices. Almost too many.
I have a stack of unwatched Blu-Rays and unread comics sitting on my floor right now. If someone says “Hey, check out something new” it had better be outstanding if it’s going to make it into the queue.
Incredible artwork. Compelling, original stories. Step outside the box in whatever you do and get a little crazy. The people who take the biggest risks are the ones you remember.
And once you have something outstanding…
3. Tell people how great it is.
Not bragging, but informing. Let potential fans know who you are, and what you’re bringing to the table. Use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube…hell, open your goddamned bedroom window and start screaming.
This step seems like the easiest, but for many it’s the hardest. Artists are inherently introverts, and they like to let their work speak for itself. But the Internet is a big, busy place, and as consumers we’re inundated with news and information at an impossible
Our brains filter through the clutter and pull out what grabs us on an emotional level. If something doesn’t speak to us personally – if we don’t feel a connection – we ignore it.
Is it easy to go through these steps? Hell no.
It’s mind-bending, back-breaking labor. You’ll have sleepless nights, lower back pain, and develop carpel tunnel syndrome. You’ll spend hours staring at a computer screen until your retinas burn.
There are no shortcuts and no easy answers.
But this is how people get great.