Advertising your manga

Advertising your manga

There is no success without a good reader base. Therefore if you are not yet someone famous, you will have to “advertise” your manga in addition to working on it.In this article I will show you how you can do free advertising of your manga to grow your readership.

Free advertising using social media

As an artist, the easiest and most cost effective way for you to get readers will be through the use of social media. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, Deviant Art… all these are media you can use to advertise your work for free. Don’t hesitate to use several of them according to the audience you are targeting.

Main social media

Here are some pieces of information regarding mainstream social media (reference: Similar Web, Backlinko):

MediaUser baseMain age groupsGenderMonthly visitsMain content
Facebook2.9 billion25-34, 18-2445% F / 55% M19 billiontext, images, videos
Instagram2 billion25-34, 18-2444% F / 56% M6.3 billionimages, videos
YouTube2 billion25-34, 18-2441% F / 59% M33.8 billionvideos
TikTok1 billion18-24, 25-3438% F / 61% M1.8 billionvideos
Pinterest430 million25-34, 18-2453% F / 47% M924 millionimages
Reddit430 million25-34, 18-2429% F / 71% M1.6 billiontext, images, videos
Twitter396 million25-34, 18-2433% F / 64% M6.8 billiontext, images, videos
Deviant Art110 million18-24, 25-3429% F / 71% M112 millionimages

Get a dedicated social media account

Whatever social media you are using, try to have an account or a page dedicated for your manga art and work. This will avoid mixing up the publication of your work with private content which might not be of interest for all your followers. For instance you can create pages on Facebook, or have multiple accounts on other social media by using different email addresses.

Also, do not hesitate to subscribe to dedicated groups, channels or subreddits. These have a more limited audience, but people will be more engaged.

What content to publish?

I would suggest you publish the content you have right under your hand.

Making a manga requires a lot of time, efforts and commitment, and you produce a lot of content in the process. You should therefore use this content coming from your manga production workflow.

Use images or videos of your character designs, your storyboards, your draft or inked panel sketches. Or use time-lapses of you producing your manga, or videos of you speaking of your manga.

And if you have some finished pages, publish a few of them on social media to drive your audience to the place where you publish your work (Webtoon, Global Comix…).

You can also produce specific content for your audience, but I would reserve that part for monetization (Patreon…). This can allow you to take a break and make some extra money, but don’t overdo it as this will give you less time to produce your manga pages…

I also indicated in the previous part that you should not publish private content on your manga account. Of course, this shall not forbid you from publishing some side content from time to time. For instance, you can share the music you listen at while drawing. Or you can share a pic of you cosplaying at a convention. Or your cat sitting on your drawing… All this will make you more relatable to your audience and can help attracting some more people. But try to keep the link between this published content and your manga making journey. This will make sure you will get engagement from these people related to your manga, and not just only when you publish pictures of your cat. And don’t abuse it.

How to grow your audience?

Growing a engaged audience takes time.

The bad way

First, don’t be fooled by people and services that promise to give you thousands of followers in a few minutes for little money. These are useless. Either these will be fake accounts, or the majority of those people will have unfollowed you a few days after you will have paid. And the remaining ones might have little to no interest in your work, and therefore lead to little engagement.

The good way

The best way to grow is to publish your content regularly. Use adequate descriptions and keywords. This will make your content searchable and it will help the social media engines to propose your content to appropriate audience.

Also do not hesitate to follow and give your appreciation to work from other artists you like. Many people on social media are in positions similar to your, themselves seeking for support. People will receive notifications from your activities and probably do the same with you. This strategy is good over your first year to get you started, but after that you should base your growth more on the attractiveness of your content than through a follow for follow strategy.

In addition, do not hesitate to answer to people’s comments and feedback. Many social media algorithms are sensitive to the interactions you have with your community.

Be true and faithful

But don’t fool people by unfollowing them once they follow you. First when people have only few subscriptions, they will quickly notice it and they will quickly unfollow you too. And in some manner this is a bad signal sent to people that will supporting you. Think of these people as your future readers, and potentially some future financial support if you start a Patreon project later on.

Be true to your audience, and your audience will be true to you.

Stef ๐Ÿ™‚

Be patient

Just be aware that building an audience takes time.

Your progress will depend on the frequency and on the quality of the content you publish. This is in some manner an incentive for you to listen to the feedback your are being given and to improve.

Statistically, you should be aware mainstream social media offer a greater reach but a more limited engagement. Between 5% and 10% of your audience will follow your links and read your content. More dedicated channels, like Facebook groups or sub-Reddits, will offer you less reach but more engaged audience.

If you have minimum success, I would say you can at least reach between 100 and 1,000 followers overall on your first year. And you should be able to at least double that figure on the second year.

This should yield to at least between 5 and 100 people reading your content at the end of the first year. And that figure should increase at least proportionally to your social media accounts growth on the next ones.

Manage the feedback

This slow progress will be the opportunity for you to manage feedback and improve the quality of your work.

First, quickly discard any non constructive feedback. “That’s great!” or “That sucks!” might give you an indication that people like or dislike your content, but it doesn’t help you improving in any way.

The feedback you should care for is the one that gives an indication of what people like or dislike. Read these carefully, and try to build up on aspects that are liked, and improve on the ones that are disliked.

But be prepared to get harsh comments and to question your qualities. Be clear to yourself and to your audience that you are new to manga. Be clear also about your goals (which should normally be to get a manga published and read). And be humble and accept that you are not perfect and that you are here to learn and improve.

And be fooled by people that would want you to do the manga they are unable to do themselves. Wait to have several feedback confirming a weak point before moving ahead. Your objective is to please a large audience, not a single person. Try to make the difference between technical comments that target big areas of your work, and comments that focus on tiny details.

Personally, I think that any feedback regarding your story content and story structure is to be considered a priority. You can have a good manga with not so good drawings (ONE and his initial version of One Punch Man is a perfect example). But a bad story with good drawings will lead you nowhere. People will follow the first or second chapters, but quickly drop out of interest.

Drawings can then be improved at a second stage. And you can spot that in many manga where the art is improving along the different chapters. But this is only possible because of a good story base that allows for long term improvement of the drawings.

Why isn’t my audience growing?

If your audience is not growing, there are a few points to observe.

First, how frequently do you publish content. To grow, I would advise publishing at least once per week. If this isn’t your case yet, try to publish more frequently.

If you are publishing every week, but not growing, then look at the description of your posts. Do you have the good keywords? Make sure you have the term “manga”, or some related terms (“mangaka”, “manga artist”, “manga character”…), in every post. This will help the algorithm to identify your content as related to manga and push it to people liking manga related content.

If you are doing the two above, then the last remaining point is your content itself, and its quality. Try to compare your content with the content from other people. Also ask for honest criticism from some of your friends, or some members of your family. Also don’t hesitate to ask on community on the Internet, such as the r/Mangamakers community on Reddit for instance.

And you can also ask me, i’ll be pleased to help you ๐Ÿ™‚

Paid advertising

Many of the social media above offer options for paid advertising.

Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Reddit Ads… All these media give you the opportunity to pay to get your content showed to other users on their networks.

I would suggest you don’t use them to grow your audience. At least at the beginning. If you are not able to convince people for free, you will get little results by paying for it.

These ads should be more reserved to sell digital or hardware versions of your work and increase your revenues.


Thank you for reading this article. Do not hesitate to share your feedback or ask questions using the comments.

Stef

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