Eliza Frye: How to Succeed in Comics, Online and Off
When Eliza Frye used Kickstarter to fund her first hardcover collection of graphic stories, she raised more than double her goal amount. In this, the conclusion of our two-part talk, she discusses a variety of topics, including online comics, comics conventions, and other projects.
What are the pros and cons of posting your stories online?
So far I’ve really only experienced advantages. Posting my work online has allowed me to find and connect with an audience, but most importantly it’s allowed me to retain that audience in a way that simply would not be possible otherwise. People who read The Lady’s Murder as a webcomic came back three years later and supported my book Regalia on Kickstarter because I was able to keep in touch with them via e-mail and social networks.
And the love and encouragement I’ve received from them keeps me creating, even on dark and lonely days. Invaluable.
Any tips for marketing yourself successfully on Kickstarter?
The complete answer to that question could fill a whole other interview, but basically: get really, really, really, really creative and well-organized. The best marketing you can do is to present a phenomenally interesting project that you clearly have the skills to complete. Then tell your friends and they’ll tell theirs. Don’t post anything that isn’t 100% your best work. Don’t be stingy with rewards. And don’t think for a second that there’s going to be any ‘”free” money.
If you like blood, sweat, and tears, you can be successful on Kickstarter.
How has attending comics conventions benefited you?
Exhibiting at comic conventions has allowed me to personally shake hands with my audience and get to know them as people, not just status updates. It gives me a much better understanding of who they are and what attracts them to my work. It also forces me to represent myself and my comics as a complete package, and really formulate who I am and what I’m doing in a concrete, accessible, and professional way.
Plus, I get to wear crazy outfits.
Tell me about your teaching career
I taught animation to grades 5 through 12 all across Los Angeles through CalArts’ Community Arts Partnership – CAP – program for four years. The experience of working with students who still have the unabashed enthusiasm and curiosity of childhood is something that I will carry with me in my heart forever. Nothing was off-limits to them, and it was my job to show them the tools and skills they needed to give life to their crazy dreams.
Every semester I would get in a nervous bunch thinking there was no way in hell the class could complete their undoubtably epic film idea, but by the end of it I always found myself sitting in a darkened theater or gymnasium watching a beautiful film unfold. Collaborating on that level was deeply inspirational for me, and an experience I hope to have again many times over.
What projects beyond comics do you have going?
I’ve been doing a lot of design work recently, the most interesting of which is a line of women’s T-shirts for Insomniac Events. I’m very excited about this project because the designs are largely abstract and non-figurative, forcing me into some unfamiliar creative waters. I love exploring.
And what about your comics?
I’m currently working on a webcomic called Death with my best friend Omar ZahZah. It’s 12 interrelated short stories about Death and the nature of his “existence,” and I’m rendering each on in a different medium. It’s also my first foray into collaborative comics, so that’s something extra special.
We’re about halfway through the stories and will release the collection as a book through Kickstarter next year. If all goes according to plan, there will even be some performance art involved, ooh la-la!