Rethinking the “Webcartoonist’s Secret Weapon”
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the future of webcomics. We’re in a period of significant upheaval, and rather than be frightened, I’m focusing on the opportunities that present themselves in such times.
I’ve written how social media has evolved the typical webcomics reader from a forager to someone who is force-fed. And I think that the way we handle that issue is going to define our future as content creators.
I’ve also written that I think many of us are going to have to turn to a subscription-based model (such as either Patreon or a traditional subscription-based Web site). Some of you got confused, thinking I was proposing this as the better method of serving readers. If this is you, I want you to read that post again carefully. It’s not the better choice — especially from the standpoint of readers. However, once ad revenue is removed, it just might be the only choice you have, if your goal is to earn an income through your self-published comics.
If you need any real-word examples of how this is playing out against the broader landscape, simply look to the announcement for the new Star Trek series. It’s not coming to Netflix or Hulu. Rather, it’s coming to CBS All Access — the network’s own subscription-based delivery service. Throw in other existing services such as HBO Go, and it’s clear to see that a fantasy/sci-fi fan is going to have to keep several subscriptions going to continue watching shows like Daredevil, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, and so on.
The same thing is going to happen in comics, folks.
And the results aren’t all bad. For example, once we remove ad revenue from the equation, we’re free to rethink many things that were no-brainers for over a decade of Web publishing. And one of the biggies is this…