An ISBN is a 10- or 13-digit number that is used to identify a book from a specific publisher. Once your book is in print, you can register the title and link it to the ISBN here. Do I need an […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
ComicLab Ep 199 — How to find an audience for a longform comic
Today’s show is brought to you by Wacom — makers of the powerful, professional, portable Wacom One! Creators of longform comics face unique challenges in building an audience on the Web. Or do they? Questions asked and topics covered… Long […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
How to drive subscribers to your email newsletter
With recent articles such as “Email newsletters — Everything old is new again,” and news of Substack luring away top talent from Marvel and DC, many creators are laser-focused on email outreach. They’re eager to leave behind social media and […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
The Magic Wand Theory of Comics
Today we’re going to talk about a sentence that every last one of us have uttered: I really feel like if I could get more people to see the comic they would actually like it… There’s not a comics creator […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Crossbar-I rule — explained
The Crossbar-I rule is one of the few “cardinal” rules in comics. Everyone tells you to follow it, but few people explain why. It actually has very simple typographical roots that make it a must-follow guide to good lettering.Read more
The Patreon Content Trade
In the early days of webcomics, a preferred method of promotion was the ol’ link exchange. “I’ll link to your comic if you link to mine.” Today’s crowdfunded business model requires a little twist on that old axiom. The content trade […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
ComicLab Ep 198 — Death and Comics
How to handle death in a comic storyline without offending your readers. Also — facing Writer’s Block wile writing a long storyline requires special handling.Questions asked and topics covered… Death in comics Getting stuck writing a long story Don’t comics […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Let’s face it. One of the biggest hurdles in growing a webcomic is reader retention. That’s why I want to encourage you to set aside time this month to develop (or improve) three different ways to introduce your comic to a newcomer. Here are some ideas:
Landing page: does your landing page offer a short, effective guide to a newcomer? If you’re not using a landing page, should you?
Sampler PDF: Build a short PDF that features some of the best examples of your work — or one that acts as a quick intro to the comic and the current storyline.
“About” page: Every webcomics site should have one. Does yours? Is it good?
Pinned post: What’s the pinned post on your social media sites? Does it act as an intro?
Linktree: Should yours include an additional entry for an intro to the comic itself?
Video: What about a video introduction? That could be a fun way to introduce new readers to what’s going on in a shorter. more enjoyable format.
Once you have a solid three, consider sprinkling them into your social media outreach, Maybe add them to update posts, or take a moment to make a post that just discusses this intro vehicle.
Today’s show is brought to you by Wacom — makers of the powerful, professional, portable Wacom One! This week, we’ve devoted the entire show to Kickstarter — what’s working, what’s not, and how you can improve your campaign!
Questions asked and topics covered…
- Kickstarter is the most tangible, real-world, evidence-based way to show how impossibly HARD it is to reach people, even with a focused message
- Kickstarter Self-loathing vs “people not hearing about it”
- Traceable Kickstarter links
- Managing Kickstarter money
- Kickstarter post-mortem
- Kicktraq is almost always hyper-optimistic… here’s a better way to project earnings
- Instagram’s is nearly useless
- Is TikTok going to be better?
Unless you have a granular knowledge of advertising, demographics and a whole lot more, you’re probably wasting money on “plug-and-play” advertising like Google Ads and paid promotion on social-media. Here’s why…The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
Substack has been garnering a fair amount of attention by spearheading a new crowdfunding platform for creators. It has many people looking at email outreach for the first time. (And more than a few of us a dusting off newsletter mailing lists that we haven’t looked at in over a decade!) Some folks, like Marvel writer James Tynion IV, are seeing this as a complete replacement for social media. But they’re in for a big surprise.The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
Many first-timers make the same mistakes when they set up their reward tiers on Patreon. And they can be costly — not to mention time-consuming to solve. So let’s talk about getting started right.The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
A person who was just starting to do comics asked a question in a forum for creators: “How long does it take you to do one four-panel strip?” They got a wide range of answers — each one of them as unhelpful as the next. They had asked the wrong question, and their creativity was going to suffer as a result.
How long does it take you…?
Some of the people said they took a little longer to do their work than the amount of time they had been spending. That made them feel as if perhaps they wasn’t taking as much care in his work as they should be. Several people who had been doing comics for a longer period of time than this beginner reported much shorter times. That made them feel like a snail.
I had to step in. This person was going down a path that put his entire creative process at risk.
“You’re asking the wrong question”
I started by telling them they was focusing on exactly the wrong aspect of creativity — time — and missing the much more important factor: Quality.
Asking another creator how long it takes them to do their comic is completely irrelevant unless that other creator has exactly the same skills, and they’re executing exactly the same comic under exactly the same conditions. Otherwise, you’re comparing apples to oranges.
The question shouldn’t be “how long does it take you to do a comic?” — the question should be “how long does it take me to do a good comic?”
You have to read this comic! It was done in under two hours! It’s the most efficient comic you’ve ever seen! I love it!— No one, ever
When someone reads a comic, all they care about is whether it’s good or not. They don’t care about how much time you spent on it.
But… my schedule…!
In the early days of webcomics, the update mantra was frequent/consistent/significant. We posted as frequently as possible at a rate that allowed for consistent output of updates that were significant. That’s because webcomics in the early 2000s were running under an ad-supported business model. (We called them “free webcomics,” but let’s face it, that was marketing.) In an advertising model, the goal is to post as frequently as possible to drive pageviews upwards and thereby increase adviews (and therefore ad revenue).
The advertising model for webcomics is all but dead. Most of us are operating under a crowdfunding/social-media model now. We use social-media for publishing and promotion and crowdfunding for monetization. Unfortunately, many younger webcartoonists are still cargo-culting those early-2000 creators.
Webcomics today requires an entirely different mindset — one that, I’ll argue is far more beneficial to the creator.
A new approach
First, social media delivers a constant smorgasbord of content to your reader. They don’t have to go in search of content like they did in the days of the RSS reader. Instead, content is an unending stream that they sample from throughout the day. That means nobody even notices your update schedule anymore. All they know is that it’s there now. (And if it’s good, they will be more likely to see it next time.)
Crowdfunding means that your most fervent supporters are now giving you money directly. They love your work, and they want you to succeed. They are not setting their watched by your updates. They want to see the next good thing you’re going to post. That’s not a license to go several weeks without an update, of course. And your patrons will always appreciate more from you rather than less. But the pressure for constant updates is nothing like it was ten years ago.
Therefore, the webcartoonist working today has a vested interest in focusing on quality rather than quantity. A creator who churns out low-quality work at a regular drumbeat is establishing a reputation for being consistently bad. Social-media algorithms will note if a user scrolls right past, and it will present that user with the content less frequently. Conversely, a cartoonist who is putting out high-quality work at a reasonable pace should see that work rewarded with engagement — and that ensures future views, site visits, and eventual crowdfunding support.
Take your time. Do good work. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Today’s show is brought to you by Wacom — makers of the powerful, professional, portable Wacom One! This week, we’re talking about posting your very first comic, and later we’ll talk about how to write a good ending.
Questions asked and topics covered…
- Making that first post
- Matt Forbeck (@mforbeck) explains why his gaming company will discontinue shipping to the EU
- Q3 Estimated tax payments are due on the 15th
- We found a Writers Room in the wild…
- How to write a good ending
Today is a great time to bump up your ComicLab membership to the $10 tier! Patreon backers at that level will get exclusive access to livestream recording sessions — as well as an archive of previous livestreams!
You get great rewards when you join the ComicLab Community on Patreon
- $2 — Early access to episodes
- $5 — Submit a question for possible use on the show AND get the exclusive ProTips podcast. Plus $2-tier rewards.
- $10 — Gain access to the ComicLab livestreamed recording sessions (including an archive of past livestreams), plus $5-tier rewards
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Many of us are looking for a magic hashtag or “One Weird Trick” to game SEO and drive readers to our work. But I’d like to share a moment of Tough Love when a mentor told me: “You have the audience you deserve.” Once I stopped looking for shortcuts and focused on the quality of my work, my audience began to grow.The content you are trying to access is only available to members.