How Much Should You Reveal About Upcoming Projects?

2014 Artwork should you previewsketch

Before I begin, I’m going to talk about a couple of my old unfinished and/or abandoned projects. Trust me, there’s a point to all of this……

Last month, I made a couple of cryptic references to a secret upcoming writing project that I was working on.

Unfortunately, this project seems to have stalled and is now on indefinite hiatus after only about three parts of it (totalling about 1300-1500 words overall) were written. It’s possible that I might pick it up again because I really like the concept behind it, but it seems unlikely at the moment.

Likewise, earlier this year, I’d planned to make a comic adaptation of a dystopic sci-fi/ horror novella called “Ephemera” I wrote in 2010. It was going to be very different to most of my previous comics projects, since it would be very aimed at a more mature audience rather than a more general audience.

In the end, I only made about 22 pages before I ended up abandoning the project due to stress, waning enthusiasm and a small amount of writer’s block.

Still, unlike my other unfinished project, I posted a few previews of “Ephemera” comic on here whilst I was working on it – and, just for the sake of it, here’s the cover art from this comic that never was…

"Ephemera - Cover" By C. A. Brown [Painted on 2nd March 2014]

“Ephemera – Cover” By C. A. Brown [Painted on 2nd March 2014]

The reason that I mentioned these things is because it made me think about how much writers and artists should and shouldn’t reveal about their upcoming projects. There are some fairly strong arguments both for and against telling your audience a lot about what you’re working on.

For starters, giving people a sneak preview of the stuff that you’re working on allows you to build anticipation and excitement amongst your fans. Not only that, it also makes your audience feel like they are part of the same creative journey that you are on, this provides moral support and validation for you and it provides more interesting stuff for your fans too.

But, on the other hand, revealing a lot about an upcoming project makes it a lot more difficult for you to cancel it if it doesn’t quite work out. It also sets up much higher expectations amongst your audience (which can be harder to fulfil) and – if your idea is new enough – it might give other people an opportunity to rip it off too.

Quite a dilemma, right?

The best piece of advice that I can think of is that you should only really consider showing off detailed previews either after you’ve finished your project or at least when you’re close to finishing it. The main reason for this is that it’s a good way to avoid getting people’s hopes up about something that you can’t deliver.

Plus, if you do this, then you don’t have to worry too much about your project stalling (eg: if you get writer’s block) or getting delayed. Not only that, you also have a wider range of stuff to choose from when it comes to deciding what to include in your preview.

Finally, if you wait until relatively close to the release before you put out a preview, then it’ll be harder for other people to rip-off your idea in the time between preview and publication.

But, if you’re confident that you’re going to finish a project, then giving people a few small tantalising glimpses at parts of it earlier on in the creative process can sometimes be a way of reassuring your fans that you’re actually working on the project that you say that you’re working on.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

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