I’m a firm believer in basing a Patreon campaign on exclusive content, and then over-delivering. I try to post for my backers as often as possible — and as early as possible. Here’s a great way to do just that.The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
Blambot’s Memorial Day Sale
Blambot.com, Nate Pieko’s comics-lettering font site, is holding a sale for Memorial Day. You can get 10% off fonts with code MEMORIALDAY at check out from now until Wednesday, May 27th.Read more
Implementing Patreon’s sales-tax controls wisely
When you look at Patreon’s sales-tax implementation, you get the feeling that there’s something very clever going on. Let’s talk about reading the signals and mitigating the effects that sales tax will have on your backers.Read more
ComicLab Ep 126 — Supportive Life Partners
Today’s show is brought to you by Wacom — makers of the incredible Wacom One! This week, Dave and Brad talk about their most important creative partners — their wives. Questions asked and topics covered… Let’s talk about life partners Logo design Staying […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Copyright, Fair Use and YouTube
Although the central theme is YouTube, this video has tons of information directly applicable to webcomics. It’s well worth your time. Hat-tip to Cory Casoni for passing it along.Read more
Prepare for a post-Media-Mail future
As reports of the impending demise of the United States Postal Service swirl around us, we should start considering how this is going to affect one of the central pillars of the “webcomics business model.”Read more
ComicLab Ep 125 — Lore Olympus vs Webtoons
Today’s show is brought to you by Wacom — makers of the incredible Wacom One! Recently Webtoons spoiled a reveal in “Lore Olympus” that the creator, Rachel Smythe, had been building towards for years. With that in mind, Dave and Brad return to […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Canceled Comic Convention? Time to get Creative!
Are you worried about the revenue you may be losing because most of the upcoming convention season is being canceled? Since 2013, I’ve been arguing that comic conventions are losing propositions for most of the creators who were still participating […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Today’s show is brought to you by Wacom — makers of the incredible Wacom One! This week, Dave and Brad drill down deep on a crucial topic in comics — word balloons! Then Dave talks about his recent Kickstarter, and why it didn’t fund.
Questions asked and topics covered…
- Word balloons
- Why the Kickstarter for Story/Line didn’t fund
- This is no time to back away from crowdfunding or digital merchandise
- How will publishers and comic shops going to fare in the global pandemic
- The real danger of losing the United States Postal Service
While I was hosting my webinar* on webcomics for the Graphic Artists Guild, a comment came in from one of the attendees. This person said, “I think people avoid reading my comic because the archive is so big.”
I disagree. I’ll talk about why, and then discuss some strategies for creators with large archive.
*If you missed it, you can still see it if you’re a member of the Graphic Artists Guild.The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
I knew I had touched a nerve when I tweeted a conversation I had earlier with a fellow cartoonist…
Cartoonist: Every time I mention Patreon on an Instagram post, I lose followers!
Me: I’d rather have 1k followers who want me to succeed than 10k who’d drop me for that. The folks who left did you a favor. More room in the algorithm for you to reach the right people
— Brad Guigar (@guigar) April 6, 2018
The response was a groundswell of support. So let’s drill down on the subject…
A Thousand True Fans
Wired magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly advanced the concept of a thousand true fans in 2008, and it struck a serious chord with webcartoonists that reverberates to this day. In short, it posits:
To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.
A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce. These diehard fans will drive 200 miles to see you sing; they will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; they will purchase your next figurine sight-unseen; they will pay for the “best-of” DVD version of your free youtube channel; they will come to your chef’s table once a month. If you have roughly a thousand of true fans like this (also known as super fans), you can make a living — if you are content to make a living but not a fortune.
Both Kickstarter and Patreon thrive on the idea of the 1,000 true fans. But that’s easy to forget in a culture that equates bigger with better — no matter what.
But bigger isn’t always better. There is no magic number of pageviews at which you get to quit your day job. And huge amounts of Facebook likes don’t always guarantee a huge audience for your message.
Rather, it’s all about investment. Specifically, it’s all about how invested your readers are in what you do. And a thousand fans who are emotionally invested in an independent artist’s work is more powerful — by mutlitudes — than a group of ten-thousand people who are only marginally invested.
The response to me tweet wasn’t all positive. I received this reply, for instance:
I don’t know if that’s how the algorithm works, but yes, you don’t want to let fear of losing followers keep you from posting ways to support your work.
Let’s start here: No one knows the inner workings of the algorithm of any of the major social-media platform. That’s proprietary information that — if spilled — would allow users to game the system. But we do know some of the basics that apply across the board. Social-network gauge a post’s value by engagement. Engagement is any interaction with the post. For example:
- Clicks on links
- Opening a longer post to read it further
- Views (for videos, etc.)
No post gets distributed to the entire audience of any one social-media feed. It gets sent to a percentage of that potential audience, and then the social network’s algorithm monitors the engagement on that post. A heavily engaged post gets distributed to more and more people in the potential audience. Importantly, as this process moves forward, the potential audience increases from the followers of the original poster to the followers of that poster plus the followers of every subsequent person who shares the post. When a post gets distributed significantly further than the original intended audience, it is described as being viral.
And that’s where a smaller-but-invested social-media following wins every time.
Let’s assume a social-media following of 1,000 fans who are — overall — highly invested in a webcartoonist. When that webcartoonist makes a post, let’s say that 200 of them engage in that post in some manner. That’s a 20% response. Not bad at all! The algorithm picks up on this as evident of a post that even more of the followers might be interested in, and distributes the post to even more followers. If the engagement continues, the post continues to be distributed. If that engagement includes shares/retweets, the potential for engagement starts to expand. And of course, at some point, this wave of interest runs it course, engagement drops, and the post gets distributed to fewer and fewer people until it stops getting distributed entirely.
LARGER AUDIENCE WITH LOWER INVESTMENT
Now lets’ take that same post. But this time, let’s assume 10,000 followers. However, unlike the preceding example, these followers aren’t as emotionally invested in the webcartoonist they’re following. Those 1,000 true fans are still there, mind you, but they’re mixed into a larger group. Once the post is made, we’ll assume the same amount of engagement — 200 instances. However, 200 out of 10,000 is only 2%! The algorithm judges this post to be much less relevant than a 20% engagement and distributes it very little past the opening salvo. Even if it accounts for the bigger audience — even it if “grades on a curve” — that engagement is never going to rise much beyond two percent. As a result, that post dies an early death.
Losing followers and gaining success
That’s why I advised this cartoonist to celebrate Instagram followers who bailed when the artist mentioned their Patreon campaign. These followers are very unlikely to ever become Patreon backers. They probably won’t pledge to a Kickstarter either. They won’t arrive at a convention to buy a book. They’re non-entities.
And buy clogging your algorithm, they are — literally — preventing you from reaching your true fans!
Their departure is a blessing. Treat it as such.
Today’s show is brought to you by Wacom — makers of the incredible Wacom One! This week, the ComicLab guys talk shop with Gale Galligan, creator of the bestselling Babysitter’s Club graphic novels. See all of Gale’s latest at Galesaur.com.
Questions asked and topics covered…
- Getting ideas that don’t fit in your own universe
- Vying for the YA graphic-novel market
ComicLab is hosted on Simplecast, helping podcasters since 2013. with industry-leading publishing, distribution, and sharing tools.
For years, I’ve advocated against printing calendars to sell to readers. The logic is very simple. You have an incredibly narrow window in which to offer this merchandise, and after that window closes (sometime in mid-January), your stock is completely unsellable.
That has changed.The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
Patreon has added search capabilities to creator posts. This is a long sought-after improvement in the crowdfunding giant’s interface. So why aren’t you using it right?The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
Dave and Brad are devoting the entire show to topics related to the coronavirus pandemic. Having been self-employed for years, Dave and Brad share some advice to people who are working from home for the first time. Also, crowdfunding is proving to be surprisingly resilient so far, so this is no time to get sheepish about Patreon and Kickstarter. Dave talks about writing in moments of grief, and Brad shares some thoughts about ways we can monetize our comics during the months ahead.
Questions asked and topics covered…
- Working from home
- Patreon experienced an influx of creators and patrons in March
- Patreon sets up a COVID-19 relief fund.
- How to write in moments of grief
- Making money happen quickly under quarantine
I’ll be offering a webinar through the Graphic Artists Guild on Wednesday, April 22 at 2 p.m. EDT. I’ll be talking about getting your webcomic started and using social media as a publishing and promotional tool. And Webcomics.com subscribers are eligible for a discount!The content you are trying to access is only available to members.