Best of Webcomics.com — February 2017
February 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.
The New Webcomics Business Model
Last week, I shared a story from PageFair that said ad-blocker use went up 30% last year. Ad blockers impacted my site so significantly in 2014 that I completely changed my publishing approach — removing ads from my sites entirely in 2016. I think it’s safe to say that whatever traditional “webcomics business model” there once was is coming to an end. [Members can read the entire post]
RIP: Daily Updates
When a bunch of us started doing webcomics waaaaaay back at the beginning, it was a very different climate. The business model was strictly ad-revenue-based, and many of us were mimicking the keys to success we identified in syndicated newspaper cartoonists (see Cargo Cults).
Both of those factors combined to drive us to update our sites every day — or at least every weekday. It was good for ad revenue, and it made us feel like “professional” cartoonists.
The daily update was a drum that many of us banged loudly. It’s a centerpiece in the original “How To Make Webcomics” book. (You’ll note it takes much more of a back seat in the follow-up “Webcomics Handbook.”) We harped on it in several episodes of Webcomics Weekly. It was a mantra. It was Gospel.
And I still think that, for a beginning webcartoonist, the Frequent, Constant, Significant rule is the best way to grow an audience consistently and reliably.
It’s still important.
But it’s not nearly as important as it used to be. Here’s why… [Members can read the entire post]
It’s -not- hard to get noticed
“It’s so hard to get noticed today,” was the comment the webcartoonist made. “It’s impossible to get through on social media, and there are so many webcomics out there competing. It’s almost impossible to rise to the top.”
Wrong, wrong and wrong.
When I was writing this post about the decreased prioritization of daily updates, it required a bit of history. In writing the piece, I reached back over 17 years of daily webcomics experience to contrast publishing then with publishing now.
The upshot is that the two are vastly different, yet most webcomics I see are still doing the things we did Then instead of innovating into the Now.
In writing it, I found myself taking a tangent into another area that requires a bit of compare-and-contrast. It did not aid in making my central point, so I edited it out of the piece. Fortunately, there’s so much there to talk about that it stands very well as its own topic. [Members can read the entire post]
One of the trickiest parts of running a successful Kickstarter is doing the math right. If you’re not careful with the numbers, you may not be able to fully cover the expenses required to fulfill your obligations. Here’s a simple tip that will help you. [Members can read the entire post]
Imgur is a visually dominated social media in which the main currency is memes. Imgurians post memes they’ve found, create new memes, and then use memes to comment on those memes. Now, of course, there’s plenty of other visual content — videos, photos, screengrabs, etc. But the meme is king on Imgur.
And since the meme itself is little more than a direct derivation of the single-panel cartoon, Imgur seems to be a natural fit for cartoonists.
Here’s what you need to know to avoid a quick death in the UserSub… [Members can read the entire post]
With April 15th getting closer and closer, here’s a handy guide to some valuable tax help to ease your suffering. [Members can read the entire post]
Ad Blocker update — 30% growth last year
According to PageFair, ad-blocker usage grew by 30% in 2016. Today, more than 615 million devices have ad-blocker software installed, according to their research. 74% of ad-blocker users polled reported they’d leave a site that used software to thwart their ad blockers.
Here’s what that means for webcomics.
Humor Writing — One Step At A Time
I like writing about the writing process — especially humor writing. It’s a topic that I find many people who write cartooning tutorials shy away from because it’s so difficult to quantify. But it’s something that’s essential to what we do. So even though I know I’ll never be able to write a step-by-step guide to writing the perfect joke, I like sharing little moments in which I think I’ve gotten a greater understanding of the process.
While teaching my Sequential Art class at Hussian School of Art, I had exactly that kind of moment.
We had gotten through the midterm-project critiques more quickly than I’d anticipated, and I had class time remaining. And I hate wasting those few hours we get together every week. So, I decided to spend a little time doing some writing exercises that I had planned for an earlier class (but never got to). [Free post! Read it now!]
Resolution Hot Seats
To kick off the new year, were holding “resolution Hot Seat” critiques. In short, it works like this, I’m going to look at your webcomic and suggest one area that I think you could put some extra energy into as we head into the new year. It could be art, writing, improving your site, upping your social media, merchandising, etc.
Patreon unveils Social Connect and Explore
When it comes to crowdfunding sites, discoverability is a crucial metric. Patreon has just taken a big step in improving its ability to deliver on that metric. [Members can read the entire post]
Patreon’s exit interview — Good news, bad news
Part of the new dashboard that Patreon has rolled out is the Exit Interview. When a patron discontinues his or her pledge, they are offered an exit interview. This gives them a chance to explain why they’re leaving. I’ve found this to be the classic good news / bad news situation. Here’s why: [Free post! read it now!]
WordPress Backup to DropBox
No one loves Dropbox more than I do. It’s completely changed the way I do … well, everything. Same goes for WordPress. Anything that brings the two of them together? Pure heaven. And that’s why I love a new plug-in called WordPress Backup to DropBox. [Free post! Read it now!]