I've been examining the problem of reaching an audience for a few years now, and when I settled on independent webcomics as a reasonable definition of what I want to do, I started hunting for resources on how indie comics creators reach readers. Mostly, I found dead ends, because everyone is still struggling to reach readers :)
So eventually I started looking into "audience-based business" sorts of marketing. I read all the general tips on how authors can build "platform" and found that the information on how to actually accomplish that petered out quickly. Kickstarter (and similar funding sites) only work if you already have an audience. Finally I found a marketing class that didn't set off the scam alarms and was totally transparent about how it made money and got referrals, so I signed up.
And then came the scavenger hunt :) Dozens of challenges to do (or at least try out) all kinds of social media in a three week period - with a cash prize on the line! Well, I was doing great with the class so I figured hey, I can do all that even if I'm not ready to launch my comics subscription site. So the first day I printed out the challenges, tackled a reasonable number of them, and entered my points on the score keeping form.
The next day I checked the leaderboard and I was in first! And then I suddenly discovered that I have the ability to be competitive. I lagged to fourth and pretty much stayed there, and one guy finished the entire thing in about ten days. Eventually I maxed out on points too and that's when the tiebreaker started. Three challenges, but the one with the most points was to make a YouTube video in response to another video in my niche, and then get the most views. And that's what's been driving me up the wall :) because while I can rely on myself to accomplish what I believe is important, I have a hard time believing I can rely on other people - and that's what this would take.
In the last couple of days, you have shown up - and I truly believe God has shown up :) I no longer feel alone, I'm not waking up in the morning fighting the thought that nobody cares, or that nobody wants to see my work succeed - because you've shown up, and given me a minute and four seconds out of your day. Your time and your goodwill are priceless to me, so thank you all.
No matter how this turns out, I'm grateful for all your help.