As I continue to grapple with the task of getting the word out about OpenDoor Comics and getting creators to begin posting content, I have to admit that it’s difficult to avoid getting at least a little discouraged. When I look at the traffic stats – or lack thereof – it’s a little depressing, even though I knew from the start that it was never going to be an overnight success, or possibly even an overyears success, and I continue to have faith and cultivate patience.
Along with that creeping discouragement is the fear that, in terms of the site’s functionality, I haven’t done enough to get it polished and ready to go.
I’ve mentioned before that starting with something that’s pretty basic was a deliberate choice, as I wanted to work with enterprising creators who are willing to take a chance on dealing with the initial struggles to develop something that is more sophisticated and also suitable to the needs of the people posting content here.
I don’t want to develop something that just works for me, or that I think will work for someone else, I want to find what works best for (almost) everyone and work to develop that.
But more than that, the fact that people continue to be excluded from participating in comics – as creators and as readers – is behind the creation of OpenDoor Comics, and a large part of that exclusion is the result of not listening.
I want to listen. I want to learn. I don’t want to tell you what to do or how to do it, I want you to tell me.
This comes into play more on the services and support side of the side than it does on the comparatively more straightforward technical side, but it is a component in all aspects of the site’s operation.
To give an example, when I first created the sign-up form, I included what seemed to me to be a pretty straightforward set of fields, including one for Name.
However, until it was pointed out to me, I didn’t consider that for many of the people I’m particularly interested in reaching out to and recruiting as creators who will contribute their content, this seemingly innocuous question is not innocuous at all. Anonymity isn’t just a nice feature, it’s an essential aspect of everyday survival.
Those are the kinds of issues that I’m not going to be mindful of without assistance and guidance, and the thing is that I know enough to know that I don’t really know all that much, which plays a big role in determining the amount of upfront work I’m going to do on the site and my overall approach to developing the features and services offered by OpenDoor Comics.
However, while for the most part in those areas in which some of my goals seem a bit vague and hazy it’s something of a deliberate choice, I am concerned that the reasons behind that lack of clarity are unclear and it just looks like I have no idea what I’m doing. (But I do, I promise; I just don’t have all of the ideas.)
And of course there’s the matter of time and resources (financial and otherwise). I make a comfortable living, and I have more money that I could put towards development of the site, but given that I don’t exactly have an unlimited amount of money, and earning that money eats up a lot of my time and resources, I’m really uncertain as to how much of my time and resources I should really invest in what is, so far, a completely unproven idea.
As I look at those goose egg numbers listed in the site usage statistics, I suspect that I haven’t found the right balance and that I should be shifting more resources into the development and marketing of the site.
Still, even though I have no intention of getting discouraged, it would be nice to see some amount of progress happening as a result of what I’ve already invested and to know that if I do start looking at funding some additional development I wouldn’t be throwing good money after bad…
In any case, those tiny moments of despair and questions of investment and development aside, I’ll keep plugging away, because, unproven or not, I continue to believe that this is a good idea, and it’s something that I want to keep working on.