There is a single, overriding factor that will determine my success or failure: Readers. Specifically, large numbers of them. This means I need a marketing campaign, and in the last week I've spent some time creating one.
The standard tactics -- link buttons, banners, link exchanges, top-site-lists -- have been done to death. Not by ME, mind you, but done to death nonetheless. And I'll get on them soon enough, for the sake of covering bases, but understand that they all miss the mark. You see, the single most effective form of marketing in any industry is word of mouth.
That's where you come in. If you want to help me succeed as a full-time cartoonist, just tell your friends about Schlock Mercenary.
I know most of you don't want to do this. Let's face it: most of us are not zealots at heart, even if the cause is a good one. And in this case the cause is flagrantly commercial. Forget the fact that this comic brings joy to thousands each day... ultimately I want to get PAID for that joy, and recruiting zealots to such a cause is tough.
But there are a few of you out there who believe. You've already told a few friends. You quote Schlock in your email sigs. You post links on discussion boards. You are already Schlocktroops recruiters. All you need is better tools.
To that end, I'm providing tools.
First, here's a link to a printable page of Schlock URL cards. Do your friends have trouble spelling? No problem. Print this page out, cut out the cards, and hand your friends a spell-checked, 100% accurate URL.
Second, I've created a full-page "ad" you can post on cork-boards, telephone poles, your cubicle at work, or even oxen. It's got tear-off URL tabs you need to notch with scissors, and a comic-book page Schlock comic you probably haven't seen before. This isn't just a tool... this is an Area Effect Weapon! Here's a glimpse.
If you're game to post that page someplace, email me and let me know your plans. I'll send you the URL to the full 1.21mb PDF in return. Don't break any laws posting it, because the only contact information on there is MINE, and we can all imagine the trouble you could get me in. Especially if you don't ask permission from the owner of the oxen before stapling munitions to his beasts of burden.