It’s a question that vexes Patreon creators every month — why do people cancel their pledges? After all, it’s hard not to take it personally. This is a much more intimate relationship than we’ve had with our readers in the ad-supported model. When we lose a patron, it feels more like a break-up.
Why do Patreon backers leave?
It’s a question that vexes Patreon creators every month — why do people cancel their pledges? After all, it’s hard not to take it personally. This is a much more intimate relationship than we’ve had with our readers in the […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Comicraft’s New Year’s Day Sale
Hopefully you’ve already loaded up on some Blambot fonts in November. If you want to build out that comics-font library even further, be sure to mark this on your calendar. ComicCraft traditionally holds a sale on Jan 1 every year in […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Take a Christmas Break
A couple of years ago, I posted a few thoughts on the idea of taking a weeklong hiatus for the Christmas holiday. It featured a guest post from “How To Make Webcomics” co-author Dave Kellett on the topic. The entire […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
VAT MOSS reforms proposed
As you may recall, Webcomics.com informed you about VAT MOSS in 2014: On January 1, the European Union (EU) is changing the way Value-Added Tax (VAT) is applied to digital goods. And its rules affect not only member countries, but […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Clickthulu — A new webcomics CMS
If you’ve been looking for a new Content Management System (CMS) to replace your current publishing ssystem, Webcomics.com member Matt Sowers (RSCI Publishing) wants you to know about Clickthulu.Read more
Best of Webcomics.com — November 2016
November was an excellent example of the tremendous value offered by a one-year subscription to Webcomics.com ($2.50 a month). My readers got early alerts on issues that would impact their businesses, helpful tutorials, insightful analysis, and meaningful feedback on their work. If […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Make calendars quickly in InDesign
Here’s a great tip on creating custom calendar quickly in Adobe Indesign. This is perfect for print projects — as well as handy desktop wallpapers you can offer to customers and Patreon backers.Read more
Hopefully you’ve already loaded up on some Blambot fonts in November. If you want to build out that comics-font library even further, be sure to mark this on your calendar. ComicCraft traditionally holds a sale on Jan 1 every year in which price of each of their fonts is based on the year. Every ComicCraft font this New Year’s Day will be $20.17.
The most recent Webcomics.con Poll asked: “If I could hire one person to help my webcomics business, it would be a(n)…”
The results weren’t particularly surprising. The top response (27%) was “Business Manager.”
But here’s the real question…
Would you actually follow a business manager’s advice?
A business manager would certainly make some very stringent requests on you. Including:
A couple of years ago, I posted a few thoughts on the idea of taking a weeklong hiatus for the Christmas holiday. It featured a guest post from “How To Make Webcomics” co-author Dave Kellett on the topic. The entire thing is worth a read, but I’ll paraphrase:
This is not a 9-to-5 job where you can clock out and forget it… And sure, it doesn’t seem like “work” because you love it so dang much. But you have to call a spade a spade. It’s still work.
That becomes evident after a few years of producing a strip. And especially after you’ve worked on comics through delirious sickness, or while drawing tomorrow’s strip on a cramped airplane, or during the funeral weekend of a deceased family member. You work through those crappy times, because you’re a pro, and this is what pros do. But when you do that a few times, your ego kicks in. You start to think maybe you could do this forever, without a break. That if a flu can’t stop you, or a grandmother’s death can’t stop you, then you must really be a machine. And you start to see how Sparky was able to do this for 50 years. And more dangerously, start to envision how you could do it, too.
But you can’t. Or, as I realized in 2010, even if you can do it… that you shouldn’t. You have to allow yourself a break. A space of time for your brain to recharge. Sure, hard work had gotten me the cartooning life I always wanted, but hard work would be my undoing, too, if I let it.
So last year, between Christmas and New Years, I gave myself a gift I had never previously allowed myself: A genuine vacation. Ten days of time with friends, of reading, of playing games, of stress-free family time, and of unclenching that cartooning muscle that’s always looking for the joke. It was absolutely lovely.
And it worked. That time off not only relaxed my soul and rekindled my relationships. It also sparked dozens of story ideas, gave me new business insights, and planted seeds for bigger projects down the road. Most importantly, I had a sense of joy back in my cartooning, to replace the increasing sense of drudgery that had been creeping in. That’s critical, because joy can be sensed in your strip. And after the vacation, it was a joy again to make.
As you may recall, Webcomics.com informed you about VAT MOSS in 2014:
On January 1, the European Union (EU) is changing the way Value-Added Tax (VAT) is applied to digital goods. And its rules affect not only member countries, but countries outside of the EU as well. So, if you are selling digital goods (ebooks, music, apps, etc.) to someone who lives in the EU, the business — not the consumer — is responsible for the collection and remittance of the necessary VAT. This, of course, is a reversal from traditional VAT collection, which placed the burden on the consumer (if at all).
As a matter of fact, this site assembled a report card on third-party providers like Gumroad, Patreon, ComiXology, and Paypal on how they handled this burden on behalf of their clients.
Earlier this month, the European Commission announced a set of proposed sweeping reforms to the VAT MOSS structure. And it includes information you’re going to want to know.
Wizard World started last month with an announcement that Stephen Shamus had been fired. According to the NY Post, “Stephen Shamus, 42, helped select celebrities for fan gatherings run by Wizard World, which pays stars to show up and sign autographs for fans — but often fenagled the high-profile figures into signing memorabilia for him personally.” Read the entire piece here. Shamus has since filed a counter-suit, according to Bleeding Cool, denying all charges, claiming that Wizard owed him over a million bucks — and asserting that the stress from his ordeal put him in the hospital. From Bleeding Cool:
He denies the substantive claim of the suit, that he set up deals with celebrities he had hired through Wizard World, to sign items for himself, that he would then get authenticted with Wizard World credentials and then sell privately, though friends and family, for profit.
He denies that the presentation of a contract letter (added at the bottom of the piece) which guarantees him a base salary of $150,000 a year, incentive payments and stock options, was fraudulent or fabricated, citing other Wizard World executives who were party to it. And that he denies he tried to delete all his Wizard World e-mails.
He does, however, admit he didn’t return his laptop to Wizard World after being fired. [Read the entire post here]
Weeks later, Wizard World announced that it had insufficient funds for the coming year.
Now, this morning, comes the news that Paul Kessler and Bristol Investment Ltd has provided $2.5 million in funding, according to Bleeding Cool. From the site:
…Wizard World … received additional funding of $2,500,000 from Bristol Investment Ltd, a debenture investment, a long-term security yielding a fixed rate of interest, in this case 12% a year, and secured against assets of the company… netting them an instant $25,000 and 500,000 shares, with over thirty million share options.
Paul Kessler is chairman of board of Wizard World. He is also the founder of Bristol Capital Advisors, a Los Angeles-based hedge fund advisor that serves the Bristol Investment Fund. The company invests in publicly traded companies in financial difficulties at very favourable terms to the investor.
As of July this year, Bristol Investment fund owned around 15% of Wizard World. Well, it now looks like they are about to own a considerable amount more.
Bristol is one of Wizard World’s largest stakeholders, and earlier this year its portfolio manager Paul Kessler was installed as chairman of the convention company’s board.
“I have been involved in the day-to-day operations of Wizard World since late spring with a focus on operations, strategy, internal controls, and governance. With the guidance of our external legal and financial advisors, which include Lucosky Brookman LLP, Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP, DLA Piper, Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC, Redwood Capital, and Brio Financial Group each of whom we acknowledge and to whom we express gratitude, we have made, and continue to make, progress in each of these areas,” said Kessler. “I believe we have assembled a highly-regarded and exceptionally qualified management team during this time of transition. The financing by Bristol provides a solid fiscal foundation enabling the Company to drive toward future success by focusing on the existing business as well as some new business extensions. We have great plans on the table for Wizard World.”
Newsarama quotes Wizard World CEO/President John D. Maatta as saying “The Company is being actively converted from a ‘mom and pop’ road show carnival culture into a significant live event and entertainment company. While continuing to revamp the existing business operations, the Company, during the first two quarters of 2017, plans to move into new vertical brand extensions designed and contemplated to compliment and grow the existing business. We have cut costs, restructured the executive roster, and re-imagined the core nature of the company. In a material break from the past, the Company is now operated professionally, by professionals in the entertainment space.”
As Newarama editor ,Chris Arrant, notes: “Wizard World didn’t specify what these ‘new vertical brand extensions’ would be.”
More on Paul Kessler and Bristol Capital Advisors from Wall Street View
November was an excellent example of the tremendous value offered by a one-year subscription to Webcomics.com ($2.50 a month). My readers got early alerts on issues that would impact their businesses, helpful tutorials, insightful analysis, and meaningful feedback on their work.
If you’re curious about joining, we’ve made it easier than ever with a $5 trial membership. You’ll get full access to the site for thirty days so you can see what you’ve been missing. At the end of the trial, you can choose to re-subscribe ($30 for 12 months of access) or walk away with no strings attached. You will not be re-billed unless you choose to subscribe.
Random Punchline Hot Seat
We wrapped up what may be the final Hot Seat critique series of the year with a “Random Punchline Hot Seat” aimed specifically at humor comics. Here’s how it works, participants submit their URL, and I go to the site and select a few comics at random. Then I’ll discuss some of the entries in a post, opening up the topic to the members for a wider critique.
Wizard World fires Stephen Shamus
According to the NY Post, “Stephen Shamus, 42, helped select celebrities for fan gatherings run by Wizard World, which pays stars to show up and sign autographs for fans — but often fenagled the high-profile figures into signing memorabilia for him personally.” Read the entire piece here.
Patreon upgrades: Scheduled Posts
Patreon has just revamped its posting interface. You can now schedule posts — and the interface for the posts themselves have changed. Here’s what you need to know… [Subscribers can read the entire post]
The Evolution of Webcomics Reading Habits
I think we’re entering a new phase in webcomics — one shaped largely by social media — that requires us to pay closer attention to how readers are consuming our content.
In short, our readers have evolved. And if we’d like to remain in business (or break in), we’re going to have to understand that evolution — as well as where it leads.
Here’s an example. On those (rare) occasions that I post something on Reddit that doesn’t get downvoted instantly, I’ll check my stats the next day to find that — although the Reddit link drove a large amount of traffic to my site — almost nobody stuck around to check out the other comics on the site!
On sites like Facebook and Twitter, it’s even worse. If I post the entire comic there, the readers will read it there — and never follow the link. If I post a link instead of a comic, I get a much lower response rate — and those readers who do follow the link tend to leave immediately.
What happened? [FREE POST! Read it now!]
Saying thank you during the holiday season
For many of us, our businesses become more reliant on individual patronage (and less reliant on passive income from ads). Sending out greeting cards during the holidays is a great way to cap the year off with a message that shows your appreciation for the people who support you. Here are a few ideas…
Designing an original card that features your comic’s characters and mailing it to the people who have bought merchandise from you throughout the year is a thoughtful, meaningful way of expressing that appreciation. This is extra incentive for designing a holiday card to sell on your website. [Subscribers can read the entire post]
Getting your art on TV… and get paid
There’s an excellent piece on the Patreon blog about an untapped revenue source for many of us creators. Allowing TV producers and filmmakers to use your art as part of their productions.
Whether it’s a landscape painting in Grey’s Anatomy or a sculpture in Austin Powers, television and film set decorators need artwork. That’s where you come in.
Read the entire piece here for some excellent usable advice.
Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship Deadline
The deadline for the Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship is Dec. 15. Applicants must be students at a 4-year college in the United States, Canada or Mexico who will be a Junior or Senior during the 2012-2013 academic year. Applicants do not have to be art majors to be eligible for this scholarship. [FREE POST — Read it right now]
Black Friday / Cyber Monday
Surprise. Thanksgiving is next week. As you know, the Friday after Thanksgiving officially kicks off the holiday shopping season for brick-and-mortar retailers. The following Monday, “Cyber Monday,” is the official launch for online sellers.
This is an excellent time to increase visibility and promotion for any new merchandise you’re offering at your store. For starters, there’s going to be a lot of focus on shopping — in the media and in real-time conversation — and as a result, people are going to be more likely to do some shopping themselves. Also, with Cyber Monday’s focus on online retail, many people who have never shopped online before — or who have limited their online spending — will be awash in a media message that tells them, in short, “everybody’s doing it.” And that might encourage some of your more hesitant readers to finally take the plunge.
Given the number of variables (newness of merchandise on your stock, availability of holiday-themed items, etc), it’s impossible to give one catch-all strategy, but here are a few thoughts. [Subscribers can read the entire post]
Twitter Releases Advanced Anti-Abuse Tools
Twitter has improved the way it tries to address abuses of the service — in response to a sharp rise of abuse, bullying, and harassment they’ve seen over the past couple of years. Among the improvements… [FREE POST — Read it right now]
Advanced blogging stragetgy
This post builds off some ideas I shared this summer.
Lately, I’ve been re-doubling my efforts towards blogging. There are two reasons. First, with two updates a week, it’s not only more important to take that opportunity to try to get my messages across, but it’s much easier than when I was doing a daily strip. Secondly, now that my business has shifted from a ad-supported to a subscriber-supported model, it’s crucial that I try to make that blog a bigger part of my outreach.
What I have found is that I have been able to use my beefed-up blog as part of a greater social-media strategy as well. And it’s all thanks to a very simple HTML tag. [Subscribers can read the entire post]
Affiliate Advertising during the Holiday Season
As we head into the holiday shopping season, you might consider redoubling your commitment to blogging. We often talk about the importance of blogging here — as a way to establish and define Community — but this time of year, it takes an added importance… potential affiliate ad revenue. [Subscribers can read the entire post]
Aliasing vs Anti-Aliasing
So, what does aliasing mean, anyway? Strictly speaking, thisa digital method of making graphics and text (especially text) appear smoother and sharper by resampling the edges at a lower resolution. Here’s an example (click on it to see the image enlarged)… [FREE POST — Read it right now!]
Patreon Pro Tip — Record a Walkthrough
Patreon has proven to be a game-changer for may people pursuing webcomics. But some new patrons have a hard time navigating the Patreon interface to get the most out of their patronage. While I don’t mind seeing “my financial situation has changed” and “I only intended to pledge for a limited time” in my Patron Exit Surveys, I hate seeing “I’m not happy with Patreon’s features or services.”
To be fair, the “I’m not happy…” response appears rarely. But, in optimizing my Patreon approach, I’ve created something that I’m seeing very positive results from… [Subscribers can read the entire post]
Blambot Cyber Monday Sale
Here’s a great tip on creating custom calendar quickly in Adobe Indesign. This is perfect for print projects — as well as handy desktop wallpapers you can offer to customers and Patreon backers.