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Rapphirica posted Nov 20, 2022

Personal thoughts on illustrated novels in comic spaces?

Since recently changing up my format from comic to novel + illustrations I have found it quite a bit harder to garner engagement than I'd anticipated. I knew it was going to be a tough old time getting people to move from a primarily visual format to a text format but perhaps i grossly underestimated.

Another concern I've had is that people may potentially be offended by the idea that a novellist can just waltz in and start posting a novel on a comic site? I love the comic community and feel my story is more befitting to readers here, but I'm concerned people aren't giving it a chance because it's a novel, which is inherently a more difficult/time consuming read?

So far GlobalComix have been super supportive of my re-release, having it on the front page for seemingly weeks now which is awesome, so I thank you guys for that!

But yeah, I guess I'm basically just asking for you guys to honestly chuck your thoughts on this matter my way. I am undoubtedly having a lot more fun working on Citizen Five the way it is now, it's infinitely better for my work/life balance, I'm just trying to think of ways I can work around this tiny niche I seem to have backed myself into.

Do you read novels? If so/not, why? Do illustrations and more comic-like concepts within the novel change this for you? Do you think novels get a bad rep in comic spaces? How could this be combated?

Any thoughts would be super helpful for me! Thanks peeps!

Karumtoo-Rexo posted Nov 21, 2022

I’m not really a novel reader, unless the novels have pictures inside them. I feel like walls of text without any pictures make it hard to process scenes, you’d have to process all the imagery yourself using your brain - maybe if I’ve read it in chunks and drew a few scribbles about any scene, it could work; it [all really] depends on what I’m interested in.

As for novels with comic or storybook-like concepts, I’m in full support of that (not a promotion, but I’m [trying to think of] producing one myself with two/three cuts available).

I don’t necessarily think novels are thought of ‘bad’ in comic spaces, though I was told that readership could slump down whenever readers reach a certain chapter/page. There are creators (like those on Tapas) that either come up with a novel version of a story first and then a comic or the other way around. Heck, there are {some} people that just like {reading} novels in general.

I think experimenting on what to include inside [an illustrated novel/storybook] is a start. My example’s not general but I’m adding colored text in the novel, like in those Geronimo Stilton books (not going overboard with it) – that will be in the ‘Wacky Cut’ of my project.

ArtCrumbs admin supporter posted Nov 23, 2022

I feel like, part of the reason it might be a struggle is if you look at the context of comics, walls of text are not seen as normal or acceptable usually to the masses. Heck in comics, you don't even want more than 20 -25 words to a bubble! That doesn't mean what you do is wrong. We happily support "light novels" and similar content here. I feel like any time that you present something outside the norm, you will be met with resistance.

Novels ARE more time-consuming to read. Typically, you can expect someone to spend 20 to 50 seconds on a comic page at most. For a novel, a page can be many minutes if you can read it all in one read-through. I personally really struggle due to some degree of aphantasia being able to picture things myself, so comics and manga work better for me in terms of reading. I'm not sure how common my perspective or reasoning is, but that's mine. I also typically don't like having to stop everything to read a novel. I need to be able to focus and that's not something I typically have time for. I do like reading novels, but I don't do it often. I'm also far more likely to drop a novel if I'm not interested within the first page or two.

The audience for "traditional" comics in the sense of fully paneled work (be it pages or scrolling) and your content aren't the same audience as you've realized. I'm sure there are people out there who will love the content. Light Novels are a thing, and I'd consider content like yours somewhere between a Light Novel and a comic, as light novels usually only have content at the end and beginning.

It's also possible using the word "novel" to describe your work is short selling it, give it a new name. It's a new format, maybe a light comic, or Prose comic, something alluring to the fact it still has imagery all throughout the book. Frankly, because I'm less inclined to read novels, I wouldn't have normally opened a book that is called a "novel + illustrations". In my mind, I see something like a YA novel with only occasional artwork with many pages in between. Saying that you feel that novels (including standard novels with few to no pictures) are not welcome in comic spaces, again, look at the audiences. They are NOT the same psychographics. They are not the same audiences. That doesn't mean that there cannot be some overlap.

That all said, YOUR needs have to come first. Your work-life balance comes first. Never apologize for making the type of content you do. The trick to surviving in a world where you don't make the normal content isn't to look at the demography of the platform and ask why they don't like the content you are posting, necessarily. Your content IS welcome here. Your content belongs here. The question you SHOULD be asking is how do I appeal to them and find my audience within this group.

The answer is going to be marketing. You might have less pages to draw, but you might have to put it more effort on the self promo until the beast can feed itself. If you want some help on understanding marketing, I have a few articles here that could help you:

- Tips for marketing on different Social Media. This one explores different social media and how it might be able to be used to market your work:

- Finding your Audience. This one answers what Demographics and Psychographics are and how to figure them out for YOUR content with a step by step exercise that can apply even to novels:

-Lastly, What Market do you want to operate in?" There are a lot of different markets in comics and novel fields. So looking at which track you want to take might also be helpful to you!

Best of luck with everything, and congrats on the rise in analytics/performance lately, that's a great sign, and keep up the hard work!

Rapphirica posted Nov 25, 2022

Thank you @Karumtoo-Rexo and @ArtCrumbs your responses have been very helpful and are giving me a lot to think about!