On branding and audiences
As an artist and writer trying to break into the full-time creative person career path, I’ve spent a long time debating how to present myself on this blog and elsewhere. The thing I’ve done that’s made me the most money so far is a coloring book that I’ve seen bloggers review as everything from “a sci-fi book for kids” to “a coloring book made just for grown-ups.” So, that book is kind of being shelved all over the place online, and meanwhile, I’m over here wondering if I’m scaring off parents who might buy the book for their kids by dropping F-bombs on Twitter.
Here’s the thing: my work ranges across a lot of age groups. I draw coloring books that are sort of incidentally kid-friendly. I write both YA and adult fantasy. I just finished inking a comic some friends of mine did for a porn anthology. I have two webcomics in planning stages that might come out in the next couple of years, one of which is collaborative and probably R-rated, the other just mine and PG-13 at the highest. Also, I swear a lot in my personal essays, because I fucking love swearing.
So, how to present myself here? I could play it safe, tone my language down, not talk about things like all of that satyr junk I just inked, and aim to keep this blog family-friendly and try to be a good example for the youngest age bracket of my potential audience.
But that’s not me.
I’m kind of like a giant, foul-mouthed five-year-old most of the time. I had ice cream sundaes for dinner two days in a row this week. I want to quit my stable day job and draw unicorns full-time. In a given week, I spend more time reading fan fiction than I do working on my homework for grad school. I have all the lyrics to Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” memorized. I AM NOT A ROLE MODEL.
And more than that, I don’t like the idea of revising parts of my personality publicly to reach a certain audience. I’ve worked hard to become who I am today, and I’m proud of that person. (Maybe not so proud of her minor Ke$ha obsession, but y’know, everyone has their vices, and the video for “Blow” has unicorns so it’s totally relevant to my life.)
I’ve decided to stop worrying about appeasing any particular audience. If someone visits this blog and leaves because I swore or mentioned sexuality or used humor not fit for their six-year-old, that’s okay; they’re not my audience. And if someone rolls their eyes at my posts because I take glee in childish things and have a plastic stegosaurus as my assistant, well, they’re not my audience either. But I think there is an audience out there for me. Just me – unrevised and open and really this big a dork.
Here are some promises I can make to you, if you stick around:
1. All coloring books will remain G to PG in rating, although my goal is to make them enjoyable to grown-ups, too.
2. The content of this blog will likely stick around a PG-13 rating, mostly due to language, and will continue to be about everything from dinosaurs to queerness to book recommendations.
3. This blog will always be safe for work. When I work on a project that merits a rating above PG-13 (for example, this smut I just finished inking), I might talk about it but I won’t post explicit images or text from the project here. Any links leading to the project itself will have NSFW note by them.
4. I will do my utmost to be entertaining.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got some unicorn sketches calling my name.