Interview by Rachel Beck
In Part 1 of our interview with Melissa Pagluica, author of the silent comic, Above the Clouds, Melissa shared her experience getting started in comics and her advice to other comic makers who are just starting out. We pick up our conversation with thoughts on Melissa’s creative community.
You seem to have a very friendly community on your webpage in the comments section. Do you do anything to manage your community of readers, and how do you go about bringing in new ones?
I use an HTML generated comment box that I Googled. I manually update my website which I am hoping to change later on. But every time I get a comment I am really excited so it makes responding to everyone very easy. They took the time to not only read my work but also to express how they felt about it. THAT is valuable time and should be treated as such.
I think keeping active online is important. People like to check in and see what you are up to and if you stay silent for too long they get bored and move on. So sites like Tumblr, Twitter, and various social sites are important. It’s about staying connected!
Also, don’t be afraid to ask your followers to help promote. I think a lot of my new followers come from two places: Doing convention and word of mouth (or people sharing via social media).
What made you decide to take Above the Clouds on the convention circuit, and how has that experience been for you?
I started doing conventions before I attempted my first comic. I did it randomly at first to test the waters selling my original and fanart illustrations way back in 2007. But it wasn’t until the last three years that I really made a go of consistently attending conventions.
I remember talking with a friend about seeing new comic artist having a table and how totally brave they are. Putting it all out there and trying to get people to care about something you love and put a lot of time into. Some people don’t realize what a big leap it is for comic artist to purchase a table with only the goal of getting their work seen (never mind making back table costs!). It’s a BIG investment.
I was at an advantage bringing my comic to the scene because my presence was already established through my illustrations. Illustrations seem to be the hot item that people love to pick up in comparison to an unknown comic (which is also dependent on what TYPE of convention you go to and the crowd/city). My illustrations are still what carries me and allows me to invest in making my comic possible so it was a little slow at first, introducing Above the Clouds but it has really picked up since printing chapter 2. I’ve had such an amazing response and I am thrilled as a storyteller when people come back to my table just to tell me they finished the first two chapters and want to know what happens next.
Any other thoughts you have regarding your journey of making Above the Clouds or on comics in general?
I wish I started sooner. After starting I thought one thing “why did I wait so long?” I think it’s easy to put off starting a project and it took awhile for me to build up the proper mind set for taking on Above the Clouds. You’ll hear people say over and over again “just start!” and it may seem daunting at first but when you finally get rolling you’ll realize that something that seems complicated is actually really simple…once you figure it out for yourself. Ha!
If you haven’t begun your storytelling journey yet, now is the time! If you’ve already started the creation process, let us know in the comments below so we can go check it out.
You can read Above the Clouds at http://atcloudscomic.com/.