How Can Hooks and True Fans Help Market Your Comic?

gamalhennessy Community • Jun 22, 2020

As we gear up for our webinar on digital comic book marketing (You can get your free ticket here), we need to continue our discussion about giving your target market what they want. Today, we’ll explore the idea of hooks.

What is a Hook?

For our purposes, a hook is an aspect of your story designed to attract and hold the attention of your ideal reader. It is a promise that your story will deliver the desired feeling. It is similar to how a successful trailer can give you the tone and flavor of a two-hour movie in two minutes of video and create enough excitement to inspire you to go buy a ticket.

Because comics combine images and text to deliver their message, a hook can be visual, verbal, or both. A visual example of a hook can be found in Captain America #1. The book offered readers a chance to feel powerful and patriotic during the dark days of World War II, so the cover promised all those things by showing a muscular male character wrapped in the American flag punching Hitler right in the jaw.

Verbal hooks can be just as powerful. Stan Lee’s greeting of “Hey, True Believer!” in the Soapbox gave the comic book reader more than a story. It suggested Marvel Comics was a form of modern mythology and invited them to become an acolyte. The powerful imagery of the new, colorful X-Men charging through a washed-out poster of the old team combined with the words “Deadly Genesis” is an example of words and images promising a narrative revolution that has become iconic.

When you can understand your story and its potential appeal, you can create a hook that will convert an ideal reader into a true fan.

What is a True Fan?

The concept of a true fan was developed in 2008 by Wired Magazine editor Kevin Kelly. The basic premise is that independent creators of all types do not need millions of customers or millions of dollars or millions of anything to profit from their creations. Instead, he promoted the idea that if you can create a situation where a small number of people are willing to buy everything you create, then you can make a decent living.

The original essay focused on 1,000 true fans for a musician but that number fluctuates depending on what you create and what people are willing to pay for it. For example, if you’re a painter and your work sells for $1,000 each, then you might only need 100 true fans. If you’re an author and your books sell for $10, then you might need 10,000 true fans.

As an independent publisher, the idea of the true fan is similar to your definition of the ideal reader since your book can’t, and isn’t designed to, appeal to everyone. The difference between an ideal reader and a true fan is that the ideal reader is a theoretical construct you created based on your book while the true fan is a specific person. In other words, an ideal reader is the type of person you look for. The true fan is the people that you find and build relationships with because they respond to your hook and identify with you.

Later in the week, we’ll look inside the mind of a true fan, but if you want to know more about digital marketing for your comics, reserve a seat at our free webinar and I’ll tell you the whole story.

Have fun with your comic