Everybody assumed libraries would just …disappear … in the age of the Internet. But they’re still around — and in many communities, they’re just as vibrant and indispensable as ever. And for a working artist, I think libraries are irreplaceable — for several reasonsThe content you are trying to access is only available to members.
Clip Studio Paint tutorial: The “Blocker Layer” Method
Clip Studio Paint presents a tremendous working environment for a cartoonist. Most your work is done in panels that neatly crops your lines inside the panel borders. And, overall, that’s great. Except when you want to break that border. Then, […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
ComicLab 94: Kickstarter’s anti-union policies
This episode of ComicLab is sponsored by Wacom! In this week’s show, the ComicLab guys discuss Kickstarter’s decision to fire workers who tried to unionize. Also on today’s show, the USPS has decided to remain in the Global Postal Union — […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Patreon: Completed goals
During a recent Patreon Hangtime livestream, an interesting tip was passed along regarding completed goals.Read more
Clip Studio Paint tutorial: Highlights for Black Hair
Drawing a person with black hair can be tricky. If you’re not careful, you can end up with someone who looks as if a stack of vinyl records melted on their head! This three-minute Clip Studio Paint tutorial shows my […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Increasing social-media engagement using Share Thoughts
Successful social media relies on engagement. The more a post is engaged, the more widely it gets distributed. There are many forms of engagement. Acknowledgement — for example, clicking the Twitter heart or the Facebook thumbs-up — is one of […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
ComicLab 93: ComicLab enamel pins!
This episode of ComicLab is sponsored by Wacom! In this week’s show, the ComicLab guys discuss how big a comic’s cast of characters should be. Also on the show: Improving your comic by varying the line weight. Then a question asker […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Webcomics Confidential #44: Twenty Questions, Part 3
A young person majoring in Sequential Art at a well-known art school wrote in with a list of twenty questions for me. I was happy to answer them, but since the questions seemed so universal, I asked permission to answer […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Inktober was launched by Jake Parker in 2009. He started Inktober as a way of challenging himself to improve his inking skills and as a way of developing positive drawing habits.
It has risen steadily in popularity, and it will surely be trending in your social-media feeds this October. If you’d like to participate, it’s really easy…The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
One of the smartest things you can do as your webcomic starts to transition from hobby to business is to establish a new bank account for your burgeoning venture. Keeping comics finances separate from your household income has several benefits. Here’s what you need to know…The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
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 webcartoonist alive who doesn’t feel that way. Heck, I would imagine it applies to any creative profession. It’s one of our very few Universal Sentiments.
But it’s a mindset that misses an important point, and until you understand it, I think it’s going to hold you back.
What I think you’re missing is this: You’re already getting new readers. Every day. The question you should be asking yourself is whether you’re keeping the new readers you do get. And if that answer is no, you have to take a long, hard, objective look at why that is. If you think your comic is good — and if you’re not keeping new readers — then maybe it’s not as good as you think it is.
Quality is #1
Think about it. Every day you’re getting new readers. If they like your comic, they’ll become regular readers. If they don’t like your comic, they won’t.
Let’s do a thought experiment.
Let’s say I gave you a magic wand. With one wave of the wand, you could get a million people to view your site on one given day. On that day — poof! — a million potential readers. If that comic’s not good enough, how many of them are going to stay? How many of them will come back tomorrow? Conventional Wisdom tells us that you’ll get a decent percentage — but for how long? If that next update isn’t very good, you’re going to lose some of those. And unless you’re able to Bring It — with frequency, consistency and significant — on a regular basis, you will have lost most (if not all) of those million in the span of a few months.
Now, what would you say if I told you that you already have that magic wand?
It’s called your Web site. And although it’s not going to deliver that million new readers on one single day, it will deliver them over the course of the next year or two. If you’ve been publishing for a while, it probably already has delivered that many. Maybe more.
Have you kept them? If not… is it the wand’s fault?
I can’t tell you if your comic is good or not… but your traffic will give you some clues. Look at your update days. A high ratio of new visitors coupled with a high bounce rate tells you that you brought new people in the door, and they didn’t find anything there to encourage them to read any further.
And you have to compare both stats. For example, if you have a high ratio of return visitors — coupled with a high bounce rate — that’s an indication that those readers aren’t diving into the archive because they’ve already read that content.
Everything after the quality of the comic itself is secondary. But the two top secondary concerns are Web-site retention and social media.
Take a moment and look at your site from the perspective of a first-time visitor. Now ask yourself:
Does your Web site retain readers?
Does your site load quickly?
Are you encouraging financial support in the form of sales, Patreon, and so forth?
Do you promote archive storylines?
Do you make it easy to navigate into the archive?
Can new readers find archived material based on their own interests?
Can a new reader easily figure out the concept behind your comic in an About page?
Does your site make it clear that there’s more going on than just that one comic they see?
Does your site make it clear that there are other ways to enjoy your content — books, eBooks, etc.?
In other words, what are you doing to make sure your new readers will come back tomorrow — or at least stick around for a little while longer and become increasingly interested in what you’re doing.
Now more than ever, reading habits are changing on the Web. That makes social-media outreach on the Web super-important. Readers rely less on bookmarks and RSS feeds — and more on social-media alerts. It’s just something we can’t ignore. I offer tons and tons and tons of tutorials and advice on this site to help members do their social media outreach better.
But as important as it is to have a healthy social-media presence, it’s absolutely crucial to make it easy for people to use social media to tell their friends about your comic. That’s why I always advocate having “share” buttons under the comic. Having buttons on your site that lead to your social-media pages isn’t nearly as important as having buttons on your site that enable readers to share your work.
If you’re not doing this, I think you’re making a very big mistake.
Message boards are becoming less and less important (from a promotions standpoint) and paid advertising…? You have to put an awful lot of time and energy into making this a worthwhile investment of time and energy. Otherwise, it’s a gamble. Now that we’ve passed the tipping point in the use of ad blockers, it’s a complete waste of time and energy.
No easy answers
And that’s just the problem. It’s not a question of installing one simple plug-in on your site. And it’s not a question of improving a single punchline or story beat. It’s doing all of that — plus social media, plus a whole lot more — and doing it tomorrow, too, and the day after that… It’s an ongoing struggle. Next chance you get, ask a creative pro who you think has “made it,” and ask him or her what they did to get to that point.
Nine-chances-out-of-ten, they’ll tell you that they’ll let you know as soon as they get there.
From the Graphic Artists Guild:
Washington, DC (September 11, 2019): The Graphic Artists Guild thanks the House Judiciary Committee for passing HR 2426, The CASE Act Amendment in Nature of a Substitute, out of committee by voice vote with no dissensions. The small copyright claims tribunal proposed by The CASE Act is a voluntary, affordable, expedited option that is balanced and fair to both copyright holders and copyright users.
The bill has already passed the Senate, so now it moves forward to be voted on by both chambers. According to Billboard.com, “Industry sources say they are hopeful it will come to a full vote in both legislative arms before the October recess.” Also from Billboard:
“The legislation would create the Copyright Claims Board at the U.S. Copyright office, who would hear and rule on small claims cases of copyright infringement where damages would be capped at $15,000 per claim and $30,000 in total, which means that smaller independents can file claims without taking on the added expense of an attorney.”
But the CASE Act does have its detractors. From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
“The CASE Act’s goal is to make it simple and fast for copyright holders to get paid for infringement claims. The method it employs is to create a quasi-judicial body in the Copyright Office called the “Copyright Claims Board,” which would be able to award damages as high as $30,000 per proceeding, while also strictly limiting the ability of parties to appeal the decisions. $30,000 judgments issued by people who are not judges but rather officers of the Copyright Office, who see copyright holders—not the general public—as their customers, are not “small claims”. These are judgments that could ruin the lives of regular people; people who are engaging in the things we all do when we’re online: sharing memes, sharing videos, and downloading images.”
If you pay estimated income taxes on a quarterly schedule, Monday’s the deadline for your third-quarter payment. Checks postmarked with Sept. 16, 2018 will be considered paid on that date, according to irs.gov. You may also pay online, pay by phone, or use the IRS2GO app.
This episode of ComicLab is sponsored by Wacom! In this week’s show, the guys discuss all of the lessons Dave learned on his trip to Disneyland — from cool-hunting pins to branding emotions. Then a question-asker asks about the best way to transition social-media accounts. Next, Dave talks about launching his new Kickstarter. And finally, the guys talk about the “Good Ol’ Days” of Webcomics — and what they’d like to bring back.
BUT FIRST… Brad explains to his college students why everyone loves Snow White so much.
- Dave talks about how Disney branded happiness
- The Enchanted — and problematic — Tiki Room
- Cool-hunting Disney pins
- Garfield originals are being auctioned off by Heritage Auctions
- Dave discovers you can change your Wacom pen nib
- Transitioning social-media accounts
- Dave launches a new Kickstarter
- Which part of the “Good Ol’ Days” would you bring back?
It seems like it happens every time I’m stuck in writing a storyline, I keep forgetting my ace in the hole. It happens so often that I have a standing page in my sketchbook that I’ve marked for writing emergencies. It has a single three-word sentence of advice that has ye to let me down…The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
This episode of ComicLab is sponsored by Wacom! In this week’s show, the guys discuss tips and strategies to improve your humor writing. Then, a question-asker asks if it’s OK to re-use backgrounds. Next, it’s advice on doing a comic convention when you have a speech impediment. Also, when will self-publishing become acceptable in other media — such as kids’ lit, sci-fi, novels, etc.? And finally, Brad explains romance novels to Dave.
But first… Brad’s wife came home to find a dog asleep on the sofa.
They don’t have a dog.
- Dave talks about his love for the Wacom swing arm
- How do you find the Funny?
- Is it OK to reuse background illustrations?
- How do you do comic conventions when you have a speech impediment?
- When will self-publishing become acceptable in kids’ lit, sci-fi, novels, etc.?
- Brad explains romance novels to Dave
- Brad explains audio erotica to Dave
- Dave has enough
According to Variety:
“Patreon, the subscription-based fan platform, is eyeing a range of new services to support creators — including potentially providing loans at some point, CEO Jack Conte said.
“Conte, speaking at Variety’s Entertainment & Technology Summit in L.A., said Patreon is considering ways to provide capital funding and other financial services to artists, as well as services like health insurance and HR support.
“‘Nobody’s building for creators right now,’ Conte said. ‘Even [platforms] that say they’re building for creators aren’t — advertisers are their customers.’
“’It’s so hard for creators to get a loan,’ said Conte. He talked about his difficulty getting a home loan when he was an indie musician in the band Pomplamoose with his wife, Nataly Dawn. The lender wanted to see Conte’s pay stubs; ‘I sent my iTunes sales reports to the bank,’ he said.”The content you are trying to access is only available to members.