ComicLab 112 — Top Three Strips of All Time
What are the top three comic strips of all time? Dave and Brad share their lists ‚ and combine to share a list of overall best strips. But first, Dave’s dog has a nemesis, and it’s a cat that channels […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
ComicLab 111 — Changing gears on Patreon
How do you change gears on Patreon once your backers have gotten used to certain rewards? But first, did you know Sha-Na-Na opened for Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock? Questions asked and topics covered… Changing gears on Patreon What mistakes would […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
What to do if your exclusive Patreon content is stolen
It happens, from time to time — especially if you’re offering exclusive content on Patreon. Criminals (there’s no other word) access your site and use various means to scrape the content and post it in places people can access it […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
ComicLab 111 — Submitting work to the Eisners
What’s the best process for submitting your work to the Eisner Award committee? Dave and Brad get some great advice from Jackie Estrada, who has been in charge of the awards since 1990. But first, Brad’s sons ask how they […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Where to host for the very first time?
I’m just starting out. Where should I host my webcomic? I get this question quite often — both here and on the ComicLab podcast. And traditionally, I’ve pointed people towards building their own website. But I’ve been giving it a […] ↓ Read the rest of this article...Read more
Writing an effective book title
What’s in a name? Quite a bit if you’re trying to name your book. Crafting the right title can have a significant effect on everything from Kickstarter pledges to audience response. And there are some very real pitfalls to avoid.Read more
Award season is upon us. Although I’ll be featuring a post with the details of each as it is announced, here’s a look at some of the awards you may want to start preparing for. For more information on any of these awards, feel free to use the Search function on this site to look up nomination/submission instructions from past years. They’re usually the same from year to year (except for the deadline dates, of course).The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
A while back, I made the point that many creative people underperform on social media because they’re creative people. Ironically, the thing that makes them amazing creators makes them horrible social-media managers — originality. Let’s talk about why that is — and how to turn this to our advantage.
Creators are usually pretty obsessed with originality. “Has somebody used this idea before?” “Is this a new approach?” “Am I breaking new ground?” It’s a definitive trait. The need to stand out makes us creators who we are.
None of this is particularly rewarded by social media.
In fact, if you remember the Three Cs of Social Media, you’ll recall that fully one-third of your social-media strategy should be guided by Curation — the sharing of other people’s thoughts and ideas!
Now, consider this. According to Moz.com, the average lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes. (That is, unless it gains a large amount of engagement very quickly.) PostPlanner.com suggests that a Facebook post receives 75% of its engagement in the first five hours. Engagement on Instagram is trickier still — likewise for sites like Reddit and Imgur.
Now, consider the Rule of 7 from the world of marketing. Marketing’s Rule of 7 states that a prospect needs to “hear” the advertiser’s message at least seven times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service.
Put it all together and you’re left with a landscape that’s quite unforgiving to original content. In fact, social media rewards repetition. Why? Because with a shelf life that’s measured in minutes, it’s nearly impossible to be repetitive on social media. The chances that a single follower will see a repeated message each time it’s re-issued are pretty slim. (And, if they do, they’re likely to simply scroll past it without a second thought.)
Keep that in mind when you feel as if you’re tweeting about your Patreon too much — or when you’re feeling as if no one could possibly stand one more post about your Kickstarter. Not only is this probably not the case, but, according to the Rule of 7 they need to hear that message a few more times — and the odds of that happening are stacked against you without frequent re-messaging.
Use your archive
Aside from breaking out of the “I’ve tweeted too much” mindset, consider what this means for your archives:
- A post that garnered healthy engagement should be filed away and brought back in a few months for another go-round. (As long as it’s still relevant.)
- Seasonal tweets — cartoons about holidays like Christmas and halloween — should be reused in following years.
- Your comic’s archive is a vast — and growing — repository of future social-media posts. Sharing a post from your archive should be as frequent as sharing new work. If you’re like most creators, this is a tremendous untapped resource.
Does that mean that you shouldn’t be striving for originality on social media? Of course it doesn’t. You should always be angling for that devastating tweet that’s going to turbo-charge engagement and gain new followers. But let’s face it. Those posts are few and far between — even for the best of us. When you find yourself between flashes of brilliance, you should be making good use of your social media to do what it’s there for — promote you and your work.
And that’s going to include a healthy does of repetition.
The season finale of ComicLab is sponsored by Wacom!
To celebrate the new year, the ComicLab guys are taking a look back on some of their favorite moments from 2019.
The Best Of ComicLab in 2019…
- Calvin & Hobbes audiobook
- Dave Kellett’s So-So Art
- The Jigglr (feat. Kevin McShane)
- Dirty throttle body
- Dave’s wedding cake
- Satanic pugs
- Drunk Orson Welles
- Brad’s podcasting under a blanket
- Dave at the dentist
- Inspirational Ikea e-mails
- Country singers
- Smooth move
- These jerks enjoying their lives
- Brad’s reading Dave’s comics out loud
- Brad talks too much
- Dave needs to do sci-fi cons
- Brad’s “Do You Wanna Be in Sci Fi” song
- Ollie on drugs
- Dog in the house
- Have you tried reading?
- Twenty-one seconds to pee
- Ensure killed my pappy
- Underselling the message
This episode of ComicLab is sponsored by Wacom! On this week’s show, the ComicLab guys talk about hand lettering. How can someone beat the learning curve? Then, Dave pitches a superhero comic, while Brad pitches a space opera. And finally, when a listener share their mentors admonition to “learn the rules so you can break them,” both Brad and Dave share all of the mistakes they made following that very advice.
But first, while their house undergoes a full remodeling project, Brad and his family has moved in with his in-laws.
Questions asked and topics covered…
- Hand lettering
- Brad and Dave pitch a comic in the other’s genre
- “Learn the rules so you can break them” — is it really good advice?
iMovie is a great tool for producing quick and easy video to promote your comic on social media. However, it has only two options for aspect ratios — Widescreen (16:9) and Standard (4:3). Unfortunately, these aren’t good fits for social media — particularly Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok. After struggling with several workarounds and stopgap measures, I finally developed a clever way to get the square shape I want without learning more complicated software like Premiere Pro.The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
If you want to build out your comics-font library, be sure to mark this on your calendar. ComicCraft traditionally holds a sale on Jan 1 every year in which price of each of their fonts is based on the year. This New Year’s Day every ComiCraft font will be $20.20 apiece.The content you are trying to access is only available to members.
There are two very different approaches to Patreon, and — depending on your webcomic and its readers — you may want to favor one over the other. However, some of the best Patreon approaches feature both.
Support vs Exclusive
The two types of Patreon campaign are best characterized as Support and Exclusive. In a Support-based Patreon, you focus on offering free content and encourage your followers to contribute to the Patreon to keep the free content flowing. In an Exclusive Patreon, you offer exclusive content in addition to your free content — and the only way to access those exclusives is through Patreon.
Patreon started out as a support-based crowdfunding app. Nearly all of the first campaigns were support-based, and many popular Patreons continue to be support-based. Amanda Palmer, for example, runs a support-based Patreon that has nearly 14,000 backers. Although she offers many rewards that only Patreon backers can obtain, all of her videos — her main content — are free. Webcomics’ Jeph Jacques runs a similarly support-based Patreon campaign supported by nearly 7,000 backers. Again, although there are some rewards that are considered exclusives (like his music column from a couple years back), but his core content — his comics — remain free.
A Support based Patreon approach is going to fall victim to the sociopsychological phenomenon of diffusion of responsibility. In other words, whenever there’s a group of people, the individuals feel less responsibility to take action when required to do so. In other words, “I don’t have to do it because someone else will.” Most webcomic readers are going to feel very little responsibility to support a comic that’s being delivered to them as long as it’s being delivered to them. (And, let’s face it, after it an artist finds it impossible to continue production, it’s too late to take responsibility for supporting the comic.)
Due to this diffusion of responsibility, a support-based Patreon relies on one of two options:
- A very, very large number of followers
- A relatively small audience that is highly engaged.
In the former, the creator relies on sheer numbers for success. If only 1% of 100,000 followers take action, that’s still 1,000 backers. In the latter option, the audience may not be vast, but their engagement — the passion they take in the artist’s content — is so high that a greater percentage of them take action (and, likely, take action at the higher reward tiers).
If you have a readership that numbers above the hundreds-of-thousands, a Support-based Patreon might be the best route for you.
Of course, if you don’t have hundreds-of-thousands of readers, you may want to consider a Patreon campaign that features exclusive content. In this approach, you still offer free content, but you also offer a second line of content that’s available only to higher-tier Patreon backers.
You free content acts as a loss-leader to introduce new potential backers to the exclusive content you’re offering on Patreon. The exclusive content is just that — accessible only on Patreon, and only for higher-level backers.
A mix of both…
Of course, some of the best Patreon campaigns feature a little Support and a little Exclusive Content. I’m very much in favor of exclusive content, but my own Patreon page has a $2 tier that’s strictly Support-based. In fact at that level, I think the reward should reflect the Support-based approach fully — offering very little as a reward besides, perhaps, early access to the free comic.
And, of course, be sure to keep a clear distinction between rewards and exclusive content. An eBook that’s only available to Patreon backers isn’t the same as a line of comics that are exclusive to Patreon. The former is a reward — but not, necessarily exclusive content. Exclusive content is generally ongoing work in the artist’s core strength.
For more information on offering exclusive content on Patreon…
This episode of ComicLab is sponsored by Wacom! On this week’s show, the ComicLab guys discuss the strategy behind creating a comic solely for the film rights. Is this really a good idea?
But first, could Brad win in a fight with a hamster?
Questions asked and topics covered…
- Creating comics for the film rights
- Scheduling time to get drunk
- Autobio comics… why are they so sad?
- Improving your autobiographical comic
- Comics consultations
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