Authenticity & Transparency

By | Friday, January 03, 2020 Leave a Comment
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Yesterday, Lys Galati of Sphinx PR posted a "year-end summary" of how the market looks going into 2020. She consolidates things down to two points, which I'd sort of seen happening but didn't really study enough to formalize any of my own observations. (She's speaking primarily to independent creators with her piece, I believe, but it can definitely apply more broadly.)

She first speaks to object scarcity and value. Why do people buy the THINGS that they buy? Honestly, I've mostly been looking at this from the opposite direction -- why do people seem to favor experiences over physical objects? I think there's still merit to considering that approach, but Galati has a more practical thinking on this topic. If you're making comics and selling them, what is it about the comic book object itself that might prompt someone to actually take it home? How do you, as a creator, produce something that has a tangible value that someone would prefer that object over, say, a digital version of the same? Why would someone buy a ten or twenty dollar paperback graphic novel you made when they could read the whole story on your website for free already?

I'd always addressed this issue from the experience end of things. That the object was merely a token of the interaction a person may have had with a creator. If you go back through my blog, you'll find more than a few examples where I talk about different ways to engage with a potential audience, mostly at conventions. Galati's point is that the physical object has some inherent value removed from such interactions. Read her piece and think about that idea.

The other piece she speaks to is more on the marketing end of things. I've noticed the approach she mentions particularly in sponsored YouTube videos, and it's an idea I saw webcomic guru Brad Guigar floating the idea as far back as 2015 when ad revenue suddenly dried up for webcomics. But it's now more critical than ever to take a more direct, hands-on approach. Email blasts do not work.

Galati ends her piece saying, "Authenticity + Transparency = Trust. In 2019 it was a suggested guideline. Now it’s a lifeline. Every single thing you do needs to follow that equation." She is absolutely right. Go read her piece so you can absorb everything she has to say about this; it's not long, and she has a spot-on summary of where we are right now!
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