Comic Market

Courtesy of Comiket Facebook Page

Before this, I have no interest to go to the convention such as Comiket (or Comic Market if you don’t know what it means). I always thought that Comiket is a place to get any fanworks under the blue sky and unfortunately, I’m not into fanworks. I have no qualms with fanworks, it’s just that I’m not into it no matter how much I love the original work.

But then again, little that I know that Comiket is the best place for you to discover the original works. The original work can be a novel, manga, video games and even a merchandise.

Comiket seems like a great place for me since I love to get to know the original, undiscovered work. Not to mention, it’s also a great opportunity to support the creators that I like. Who knows that it can turn into a collaboration in the future. I’m always open to the collaboration and nothing makes it easier if we’re connected in this sort of environment.

What makes me feel like to talk about Comiket on my blog is because of the recent article on ANN discussing about Comiket’s role being obsolete in this day and age. You can read the whole article on ANN here, but this is the part that I’d like to focus more since this part is important to me as an indie author.

But in the modern age, conventions play less of a role in this respect, since they have been overshadowed by the Internet. The article points to ZUN (Tōhō Project), Type-Moon (The Garden of Sinners, Fate/stay night) and Ryūkishi07 (When They Cry – Higurashi, Umineko When They Cry) as example of creators who were launched to fame and fortune through the Internet.

Are they right about that?

Okay, I won’t deny the Internet has a huge impact on creators like me and everyone else all over the world.

If it’s not because of the Internet, I doubt that being an indie author will be possible for me. It’s all thanks to places like Smashwords, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace that makes it easy for me to publish my books and have my books available for sale worldwide.

Sure, I can take the traditional publishing route if I want to. But that will be difficult since I don’t live anywhere near the publishing house and I doubt that any publishing house will be interested with the books like mine. Well, I don’t know because I’ve never asked. But still, I prefer the indie route because it’s more convenient for me.

So yes, they’re right about the Internet is responsible for these creators’ fame and fortune. But the problem is, they’re only half right about it.

While it is true that the Internet makes thing possible, they fail to see that the Internet is only just another medium that we can use to accelerate our success. Too bad that the Internet will never be able to replace the existing medium we have.

In the case of Comiket, having the Internet only makes things easier for them to skyrocket to the fame and fortune compared to back then when the Internet was in the infancy.

Even high-paying copywriter and marketing expert, Dan Kennedy still admits that offline marketing channels such as sales letter and trade shows are still working even in the modern world. It’s just that the Internet enhances these offline marketing channels even further provided that that you do things right.

Rather than limiting yourself choosing which marketing channels you should be using, he recommends you to use both.

With more than 500,000 people who were attending the recent Comiket, it’s absurd to think that Comiket will lose its effectiveness only because of the Internet.

If you ask the creators they’ve mentioned in the article personally, I doubt that they will say that they rely on the Internet solely to build their fanbase. They still believe that the good old ways of doing things such as selling in Comiket works far better than relying on the Internet alone. The traffic in Comiket is massive anyway so it’s a shame not to use it to their advantage to bring exposure to what they’ve created.

So, what sparks their path to fame and fortune through the Internet? I think it has a lot to do with them opening up their communication channels online and giving more access to fans who are unable to attend Comiket to buy their stuff online instead.

Thus, building fan base becomes much easier thanks to the Internet. So, of course it gives you a false assumption that the Internet is the main reason why it brings them to stardom.

The new role of Comiket in today’s world

It doesn’t matter how you look at it, Comiket will never go away whether it’s today or in the near future. While it’s true that the article points out that Comiket doesn’t play the same role as it used to be, but its fundamental role is still there if you take a closer look at it.

Bring exposure to the original work. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a fanwork or the original work, it’s a lot easier to bring exposure to your own original work in a place where people are most likely to find you. Sure, they might be looking for anyone who is aligned with their own fandom. But they’re also open to the new, undiscovered, original work. These are the sort of people who are most likely to attend Comiket.

Connect with the fans on the personal level. You can communicate with them on Twitter, but nothing beats a personal, direct connection with the fans in the real life setting. And you’re definitely won’t be bounded by the 140 characters limit.

Connect with other creators and support their work. They’re most likely to do the same if you support them. If you intend to do this, make sure you’re doing this sincerely instead of for the sake of doing it only because this guy is selling next to you in Comiket.

Build your fanbase. If you don’t have any fans yet, this is certainly the best place to connect with people who rock the same boat as you. After all, it’s much easier to build the fanbase if they share the same interest as you and your work happen to jive with their interest. 

Personally, I don’t see what part of Comiket that seems obsolete only because of the rise of the Internet. If I have the chance, I will love to be able to set up a booth in Comiket and starts selling my own stuff there because there’s still a value in Comiket no matter how much they try to deny it.

So, do you agree with what the article says about how Comiket is no longer relevant with the rise of the Internet? Share your thoughts in the comment below.