I don’t feel like doing anything today.
I don’t know if it’s the weather, the amount of sleep I got, the balance of organic chemistry inside me, or (the most likely culprit) the fact that I’m five years into this series of mine, and I still can’t seem to gain a sizeable audience.
To anyone who reads and enjoys my work, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I mean, I can tell you, but I can’t quantify it for you. I can’t make you understand, coming from someone who puts everything he has into a thing made for others to enjoy, the sum total importance of every single person who cares about it. Except, maybe, to say this: my work is everything to me. It is, essentially, me—but it needs you reading it to mean anything. Without you, it would all be for nothing—I would be nothing. So yeah—you’re pretty goddamn important.
Tomorrow is a different kind of work day. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (and often, when I can, Saturday night) I work on The Unforgiven. Thursdays and Fridays, I spend two ten-point-five hour days in cubicle hell at my day job, a.k.a. the thing that allows me to have insurance and pay the bills while I wait for my intended career to take off. It’s tolerable. It’s not that it’s a horrible job—I’m just not interested in a modern office lifestyle, or anything it has to offer. I’m made for a bright, open studio, a dark (but well-lit) library, or the great outdoors—not faux walls, filing cabinets, and a view to a computer screen all day. It’s just not me. Still, I’m thankful I have the job, for survival’s sake (while I’m chasing a dream most of the time), and because it’s good to have that two-day fear injection that reminds me this could be your life SO GET THOSE GODDAMN PAGES DONE.
And I do. My page completion rate’s up to an average of about one a day, which is awesome. I put out issue 7 just a few weeks ago, and I’m already almost halfway through issue 8. I’ve got the scripts all the way up through issue 20 completely completed (the rest of the series’ scripts existing in the rough draft, pre-edit stage). I’ve got plot outlines for three or four other series shaped out (but not the time to work on them yet), and lots of ideas for art projects stacked up (also waiting for the time to work on them). And yet…I’m pouring all this work, and time, and life…into something a very small amount of people see. After five years of trying everything I can think of to gain more readers, and gaining practically no traction, it’s enough to make a person want to give up.
Five years, my brain hurts a lot. Five years, that’s all we’ve got.
It’s true. I want to give up. Often. But you know what? I never will. There’s some masochistic, stubborn, un-killable thing in me that absolutely will not let me. Some driving force that has this story to tell, and it won’t stop fueling the fire until I’m either dead, or the story reaches its end, whichever comes first.
Some days, like today, the fire is dim…but it won’t go out. So for all you readers already invested in the story, you can take comfort in the fact that I’ll never abandon it, or you, with an unfinished story. Same for anybody who has concerns jumping into a 50-issue series—the end will come, when it gets here, and I won’t jump the train mid-journey. So climb aboard. And for the love of Zod, if you like this thing, tell people about it. You can still be the original Unforgiven readers, I promise. “I was there at the beginning, when nobody knew about it, man!” I believe you. Because I know who you all are, and I love you for it.
Anyway, all that is to say, I don’t know how to reach more readers, beyond what I’m already doing. I’ve submitted to all the creator-owned publishers I can, and haven’t gotten a bite. So through all my signings, ads, social media posts, emails, and comic store shelves, I hope the readers find me. And if you’re here already, again, from the bottom of my bloody heart, thank you for sticking around. Now that I have this beautifully designed, functional website (fingers crossed that a radical WordPress update doesn’t destroy it), I’ll start uploading one new page a week again, on Wednesdays, and I might even try to post a blog once in a while (of a less self-pitying kind than this one).
So while I don’t feel like doing anything today…I still will. One page at a time, this story gets told. And it will be told.
You stay classy, [your geographical region here].