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Think no one is paying attention to your project? Read this

EXO Creating an African Superhero

Wow! It’s been way too long since I updated this blog. I definitely need to find more time for this. It’s been crazy trying to prepare for the launch of E.X.O. Part 2 hence the hiatus. Rest assured, moving forward I should have more frequent posts. Anyways, today I’m going to continue the “Creating an African Superhero” series. For those that aren’t familiar, you can read the previous posts right here. The articles basically chronicle the failures, successes and lessons I’ve learned while trying to create a mainstream, African superhero title (via the comic & animation mediums) called E.X.O. As a first time producer/writer/creator, I didn’t have a mentor to hold my hand while pursuing this dream, but somehow I found a way to make (and still making) something great out of the idea I had to create a superhero from Lagos, Nigeria were I was born.

Today’s post is short and sweet as it’s more of a recent personal story. What I want to discuss is the feeling most, if not all of us creators (be it in comics, games, animation, entrepreneurs etc.) get from time to time, especially early on in our careers. “No one cares about my work.” Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re probably wrong.

I felt this same feeling very strongly recently. Last month, I recorded the worst sales so far on my website and Amazon for my book E.X.O. part 1 despite investing so much in new/experimental marketing and promotion. Last week, just as I was about to start singing the blues, this happened:

I followed a friend of mine to get something from a CVS pharmacy. On this night I also happened to be wearing my E.X.O. T-shirt (which is pretty dope by the way and you should buy one if you’re a fan 🙂 ). When we got to the cashier the young man ringing us up asked “What does the symbol on your chest mean?”

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At that point I was about to make a stupid Superman joke and say “Hope” but I was like maybe this will be a good time to market myself. So I told him the symbol is from my graphic novel. As I was about to bring out my phone to show him some pics and “market” my book… He goes… “Wait, if I think that’s what it is then I’m gonna lose my mind… Is that from the E.X.O. comic?” At this point my face absolutely lit up we both (he’s and upcoming artist by the way) exchanged information and just totally geeked out. Here’s this total stranger I met randomly who has actually read my book.

Moral of the story. Sometimes it may feel like no one is paying attention, you may not get as many likes or as many shares on social media. Blogs/podcasts may not ask you for interviews and you may feel like your project (whatever it is) is irrelevant. Just keep pushing. Keep putting out content consistently, because trust me you are reaching people, and you are building something! And content comes in many different forms. Sharing a picture, writing a blog, releasing a video, talking about personal experience like I am now. Basically anything interesting that can be tied to your project/product will work. Just keep putting stuff out there and NEVER give up. If it truly means that much to you then you need to keep pushing and eventually little victories will start to appear. Persistence is key!


Roye OkupeBorn in Lagos, Nigeria, Roye Okupe is a veteran creative specialist who holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in computer science from The George Washington University. His passion for animation led him to found YouNeek Studios in 2012, an avenue that would allow him pursue his dream of creating a diverse library of superheroes. Roye released chapter 1 of his debut, superhero graphic novel titled: E.X.O. The Legend of Wale Williams, a superhero story set in a futuristic Nigeria. E.X.O. was received with critical acclaim and has since been featured on CNN, Forbes, BBC, The Huffington Post, Mashabe and more!

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Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • God, I hope you’re right.

    • Roye Okupe says:

      I’m sure I am! Trust me you just keep doing you. Keep pushing. You fail, learn from it and get better. Adjust, tweak, ask questions. Eventually it will all come together. At least that’s what I believe 🙂

    • Just to add to your story, I’ve have similar encounters I’ve been putting my characters out there for the past twenty years, years before I had stories or anything to go with them. Just draws I did and thought were cool. Fast forward, a few years ago I ran into a person a local comic con (not that I’m actually building to something with my work) and it turns out he not only bought on of my early pictures but he still has it twelve + years later as he introduces his own kids to his love of comics, superheroes, etc… He picked up a few of my new prints. So, you never know how much your work can mean to someone. What you are doing as a hobby or full time can mean the world to someone and inspire them as well.

  • Agata says:

    I know all to well about artistic anxiety and how easy it is to fall into depression. In my darkest moments when I don’t know whether I should continue with my projects and dreams a post like yours brings hope.

    • Roye Okupe says:

      Thanks for sharing this Agata! Ive been there SO many times. I’m really happy my post could somehow help!

  • Luke says:

    Perfect! I don’t often feel discouraged because I do things mainly for myself and just hope others enjoy what I put out, but with my latest webcomic project I was just this week beginning to think along these lines of “does anyone even actually read this?”. Trying not to fall into the trap of social media likes/shares is hard at times, but after a bit of a hiatus, I’ve got the “itch” to keep drawing regardless. 🙂

    • Roye Okupe says:

      Awesome! I feel you on that social media “likes” trap. It can be really hard when you feel like no one “likes” your stuff. I guess that’s when the importance of “why” you are doing what you are doing comes into play. If your sole purpose for putting out your work is to get adulation from people on social media, then you are in for a very disappointing ride.

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