The 10 Most Helpful Takeaways From Arclight Comics This Year
That’s the word I’d use to describe our year. Now there were 2 ways we could have done this:
- We could have talked about everything we’ve done this year and made it all about us, or
- We could take the 10 most helpful lessons we’ve learned in 2016 and share them with you to make 2017 your year to create the best comic(s) you possibly can.
Building an indie comic universe and brand isn’t easy. It’s not for the feint of heart. I can tell you right now there were days I wanted to shut it all down and be content with working in corporate America. But looking back through it all, I have to let you know that it was worth it. If you just keep pushing forward through those days and press towards the mark, you’ll be standing on the other side of the finish line.
Takeaway #1: Trust your process. Don’t rush it.
It’s easy to look at everyone else and believe that you’re too far behind, not skilled enough or must be doing something wrong. So you try different things to race to your own finish line and in the process not understanding that you had lessons to learn before crossing it. Never really stopping to acknowledge the responsibilities, realities and demands of it all.
I always wanted thousands of followers on our social media channels, but learned that if you don’t have the necessary and required amount of content to maintain these channels and entertain your followers—what’s the point? So before you ask for the 10,000 followers, ask yourself, are you doing enough with the 10 you have now?
Trust the road you’re on. There’s no need for shortcuts. In time it will all come together if you are patient.
Takeaway #2: There are lessons to be learned in failure.
This was our biggest tool and weapon in 2016.
We’ve had our share of failures. But if we didn’t experience them, we would have never learned how to do things the right way. We wouldn’t have been able to create processes, streamline our workflows or toss things out that were crippling us. Do not be afraid of failure. Do not fear it. It is there to teach you something. You only fail when you quit. Pick up the broken pieces and move onto the next mark. You’ll look back and realize that it’s worth it when it’s all added up.
Takeaway #3: Execution contributes to your success. Not ideas.
I spent months preaching this to Brent!
You must execute. You must put things out. You have to stop perfecting every little thing and believing that you aren’t good enough. This ties back into failure. Ideas are safe. When we actually have to execute on them, they turn into liabilities. We don’t like liabilities. Our natural instinct is to run from them, but you can’t run from this.
Take those ideas you have and turn them into a reality. You have it in you.
Takeaway #4: Story will forever and always be king.
Story should be driving every single decision you make. We’re in the entertainment business. Ultimately, we need to be entertaining. This extends beyond the comic, stories and characters. It’s holistic to the brand and marketing at large. Everything should be driving a narrative if you want to win at this.
Our highest engagement has always come from telling a story first.
Takeaway #5: Welcome challenges. They evolve you.
Don’t do things that always come easy. Some of the most exponential growth we’ve experienced was by doing things we had no clue how to do. I get it. This can be scary. But if you try something new and push yourself to learn something different be it a new skill, understanding the business side of things or something else, it will put you miles ahead of your peers.
Those who don’t learn and challenge themselves will forever be behind.
Takeaway #6: Show up even if no one is paying attention.
If you aren’t going to show up and perform in front of 4, you won’t be given the 400. Learn how to keep showing up even if no one is paying attention to you. There were times where we believed that no one was listening to the podcast. Our numbers have dipped considerably, but guess what?
We now have a content library of over 50 podcast episodes that we will be repurposing into courses, eBooks, eGuides and blog posts. We have built a great source of content for us to use again in different mediums to further continue building our brand and audience (and make revenues in the process).
It may not seem worth it while you’re doing it, but the rewards will be earned soon.
Takeaway #7: Never be afraid to be different.
This was a huge one for us. We started The Arclight Podcast, a show that shared insights on building an indie comic universe and brand. Then we started doing mini-issues, one page comics with the purpose of creating content and validating the characters and stories we’d be telling. Then we took that entire process from start to finish, created an eGuide and positioned it as a product for others to start creating their own mini issue comics. Then we started Arclight TV–a daily Instagram vlog that shared inspirational and motivational insights to other indie comic creators.
THEN we built a community intended to bring indie comic creators together under one roof to help each other grow and build together in an environment that wasn’t full of people shoving links and Kickstarter campaigns down everyone’s throats.
We didn’t want to be on Facebook telling everyone to buy and click our thing. We didn’t want to be gimmicky with our marketing. We wanted to stand out from everyone else and that we’ve done.
The numbers speak for themselves (below).
Takeaway #8: Understand why you’re doing what you’re doing.
This is important.
You must understand your Why.
Why are you doing this? Your Why must be bigger than yourself. It has to be positioned in such a way that ultimately will impact the lives of others. Something bigger than oneself is required for you to push through the days you won’t feel like doing this.
Takeaway #9: Be humble.
One of our core values here. We have always remained humble through our success. We give ourselves a little fanfare, then figure out how can we do it better than we did the last time. We aren’t perfect. We aren’t exempt from mistakes. We know what we’ve created is fantastic and of quality, but it is important to keep egos under control. No one likes those who are full of themselves.
If you accomplish great things don’t boast about it. Celebrate the win, then keep moving towards the next.
Takeaway #10: Never stop learning.
You must find ways to learn. More importantly, find time to learn.
You will never know everything there is to know about something. Dedicate at least an hour a day to learning something. Read a book. Listen to a podcast while you workout or on your commute. Do something to further your education so that you’re better than you were the day before. This is crucial. We would not be where we are today had we not taken the time to learn through a variety of different ways and mediums.
Follow these. Because if you do, your year has the potential to look something like this. Remember: nothing is impossible. Hustle. Grind. Show up every single day and blow the new year out the water.
The Arclight Podcast
Delivered insights on building an indie comic book universe and brand to indie comic creators, by indie creators.
Created as one-page stories to better illustrate and showcase each character in their element. Also used to validate the kinds of stories we’d be telling in the future.
We released our first 21 page issue.
“From page 1, The Passing is filled with mystery and intrigue. We are reacquainted with classic characters from the tall-tales we grew up with and by the end of Issue #0, we are left wondering what’s coming next. The team from Arclight Comics has created a gem.”Bob Salley, Writer at Source Point Press, CEO Dirty Planet Entertainment, Creator of Salvagers
I’ve probably read it 3 or 4 times already – and each time has made me FEEL something different. Whether it’s the beautiful artwork, the emotions of the characters, or the STRONG Christian undertones, I can’t help but want more! NOW!DJ BlumGET YOUR COPY
What’s Coming in 2017
The best word I can use to describe our 2017 year would be focus. We’ve been planning, organizing and even have been working on some of these pieces since September.
The Arclight Podcast Goes Dark
We will not be continuing our podcast show in 2017. There may be a random episode here and there, but we will not be on a consistent weekly schedule. The podcast is slated to return in 2018.
Developing Free, Mini and Cornerstone Courses
We have several courses planned for 2017. The ones I can talk about now are:
- 3 Days to Iconic Comic Character Design – This will be a FREE course teaching you how we go about designing our characters with the formula we discovered Marvel and DC Comics uses. You’ll learn what you need to do in order to make your characters highly recognizable, marketable and memorable.
- Unleash the Soul – This is a PREMIUM course. When you not only develop characters, but invest time, money and resources into them you better had be able to use them for marketing and branding purposes. We’ve literally created a system and process on how to do this for your own characters combining story and design. Once you take this course you’ll not only have characters that read well both in story and design, but can be used to set up your marketing and be flagships to your brand.
New Website & Existing Site Redesign
Somewhere between Q3 and Q4 we discovered we were serving 3 different audiences. Our website currently tries to cater to all three and it just isn’t representative of our growth. All learning material (podcast, blogs, courses, etc) will live on its own hub. All content pertaining to our IP (universe, world, characters, etc) will exist here. It may not make sense now, but wait until you see what we’ve got planned. It’ll make your experience so, so much better.
Wave Two: Mini Issues
We’re bringing them back! We’ll be introducing newer characters and reintroducing older ones. If you’ve read Arclight Comics Issue #0 – The Passing, some of the mini issues follow that canon and will take place moments before the events on the last page. And the best part? They’ll remain free.
We’ve been talking about two of them for a few months now: Solace and Apex created by Brent Lyles and Tim Wasney respectively. They’ll be the first characters you see in 2017 followed by our current lineup.
You’ve asked. We’re finally delivering. Get ready to meet some of the villains inside the Arclight Universe who are also planned to have their own character pages and mini issues.
There are several organizations that will exist within the Arclight Universe. You’ll meet a planned 2 of them in 2017.
Introducing: Our Universe and World
You’ll be able to get a deeper understanding of how the Arclight Universe works and how it separates itself from existing superhero universes.
We’re Going Dark
You see why we had to take the podcast off the shelf? But not only that, we’ll be going dark Q1 of 2017. This means we will have absolutely no output anywhere on any of our channels. Instagram, Facebook…all of it won’t have any activity. We need this time to focus, to build and create so when Q2 hits we’re ready. You can clearly see why this is necessary. We have a lot planned, including writing the graphic novels for our first graphic novel series to be released in 2018.
Exciting times ahead. I hope you’ll join us.
-Ed and #TeamArclight