Best of Webcomics.com — December 2017
December was an excellent example of the tremendous value offered by a subscription to Webcomics.com. My readers got early alerts on issues that would impact their businesses, helpful tutorials, insightful analysis, and meaningful feedback on their work. Here are some samples of what you may have missed…
The big story from last month was Patreon’s decision to add a service fee to pledges and discontinue aggregating patrons’ payments. Webcomics.com was on top of the story from the start — alerting members to the situation the evening before the announcement was made to patrons. As social-media outrage raged and misinformation was propagated, Webcomics.com offered members insight, perspective and accurate information that they could use to formulate their own strategies. Here are those posts:
Patreon Restructures its Payment System
Patreon will announce to backers tomorrow morning that it is planning to change how it bills patrons for their pledges.
I’m seeing some panicked tweets from creators. Here’s what you need to know…
Webcomics Confidential Ep 40 — Patreon’s New Payment Plan
Dave Kellett joins me in the studio to talk about Patreon’s new payment structure that pushes service fees onto the patrons. What does this mean? More importantly, what should you be doing right now if you’re a Patreon creator?
Patreon Explains its Service-Fee Decision
Yesterday, Patreon updated its announced new service-fee system with an explanation. And it’s very much worth your time to read if you’ve been troubled about the resulting social-media meltdown. (Scroll down to the “Update” subhead.) Later, a Patreon user wrote an open letter to the company with some thoughtful ideas on addressing the issues, and I think they’re worth discussing. Let’s break it all down and discuss what it means to you…
No, Patreon’s not “weeding out” low-level creators
As we continue to make our way through the debate on Patreon’s service fees, I’m seeing repeated retweets of this…
That’s… not particularly helpful. First: that conversation was from June. It has little to do with the recent service fees. Second, the Patreon exec (Tal Raviv, who leads the growth and platform team at Patreon) was making a hypothetical argument about the importance of bringing in creators with large followings. Third, that hypothetical argument? I’m willing to bet that many of you experienced exactly what Tal was talking about. And you were fine with it. Here’s what I mean…
Mailbag: Patreon alternatives
Q: With what’s happening with Patreon lately, can you suggest some alternatives alongside Patreon for webcomickers? Some suggest putting Gumroad or similar pay systems. What else should we look to?
A: There are several alternatives to Patreon — including a DIY model. But before you close down your Patreon account, you owe it to yourself to ask yourself a few key questions…
Patreon reverses service-fee decision
I have to hand it to Dave Kellett. During a recent Webcomics Confidential discussion about the Patreon service-fee mishap, he not only guessed that the crowdfunding company would reverse the decision, but he accurately foretold the first three words of the announcement: “We heard you…”
Here’s what you need to do right now…
The Patreon crisis — Would it Have Passed?
Although it’s a moot point with yesterday’s decision, I tested out a working theory that popped into my head, and I got some rather surprising results.
As I was writing the latest update on the Patreon service-fee issue, this chart captured my attention.
Three was an initial decline in the days immediately after the unpopular announcement that Patreon was going to add service fees to backers’ pledges. However, after the weekend, that trend slowed — and then stopped completely. In fact, on Tuesday, the total number of patrons rose by a small amount.
And that’s what I started to wonder — was this thing going to blow over?
Surviving Creativity — Patreon: Fees, Fears, and F Words
Scott Kurtz, Cory Casoni and I discuss the Patreon service-fee rollout. It was a PR mistake. And creators’ reactions helped turn it into a crisis. We give you a perspective on the issue that you probably haven’t gotten on social media… unpacking the reasons behind the change itself and — more importantly — discussing ways we can all handle the next bump-in-the-road better.
When crowdfunding gets… crowded
As Scott Kurtz, Cory Casoni and I discussed Patreon on the most recent episode of Surviving Creativity, Cory advised creators to sign up for as many crowdfunding platforms as possible:
“You need to find multiple places to put this. Or you need to be ready to pack up your community and move them… By all means, set up a Ko-Fi. Set up a Stripe — Stripe offers subscriptions now. Kickstarter’s about to launch Drip — that’s another way. Paypal… you can still do tip jars, and that kind of stuff. You should have all of these things ready — even if you’re not using them. Figure out where your audience wants to help and support them supporting you.”
I don’t disagree, but I think it requires a little bit deeper discussion.
Crisis Management for Creators
In a recent Surviving Creativity podcast, Scott Kurtz, Cory Casoni and I discussed how creator reaction to the Patreon service-fee announcement spiraled out of control — and had some pretty nasty consequences. During that conversation, we identified an urgent need for creators to do better when it comes to crisis management. So, let’s talk about that….
The Best of the rest of the month…
Of course, Webcomics.com is a lot more than reporting on a single crowdfunding organization. Here’s some of the other topics that members had exclusive access to…
How to create an invoice
Getting paid for a project is always great — except for the first time you get asked to submit an invoice. If you’ve ever been embarrassed to admit that you didn’t know how to do this routine business task, here’s a quick primer.
Webcomics Confidential Ep 39 — Kevin McShane
Dave Kellett joins me in the studio to speak with Kevin McShane, supervising producer at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, improv performer/teacher, designer and “occasional” cartoonist. With all of those pursuits (and more), Kevin’s a great resource for valuable information on time management. We also talk about meditation and the value of allowing yourself time to write. Kevin also reflects on his attempt to launch a print comic during the collapse of the direct market system. We tackle the difficult subject of knowing when to walk away from a project that just isn’t working.
Take a Christmas break
A couple of years ago, I posted a few thoughts on the idea of taking a weeklong hiatus for the Christmas holiday. It featured a guest post from “How To Make Webcomics” co-author Dave Kellett on the topic. The entire thing is worth a read, but I’ll paraphrase…
Webcomics Confidential Ep 41 — Jake Parker
Dave Kellett joins me in the studio to talk with the creator of Inktober — and all-around marvelous illustrator — Jake Parker.
How To Do a Year-End Review of Your Most Popular Comics
When I worked in newspapers, December always meant end-of-the-year lists. Every writer in every department would file one. Why? Well, I guess they can be pretty interesting. But more importantly, they’re easy content to churn out during the busy holiday season.
Once I became a self-publisher I saw the wisdom in that. Besides, I’m always looking for blog content, and this one’s a no-brainer.
So let’s discuss a quick-and-easy way to generate a top-10 list for your comic.
Comicraft’s New Year’s Day Sale
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 ComicCraft font will be $20.18 apiece.
Surviving Creativity — ‘You Don’t Think J.K. Rowling Gets Sh!t?’
We make an attempt at Surviving someone else’s Creativity with another Listener Questions episode! How can you tell when to end a project? How do you differentiate yourself in art? Is there no diversity at the Eisners? What are good resources for new artists? And how to you deal with Fan co-opting of your characters
Patreon Re-Releases its WordPress Plugin
In late October, Patreon released a feature that I’m convinced will usher in a new era of webcomics publishing — a ground-breaker, if you will. There was only one problem — it didn’t work very well. After going heads-down for a month, the Patreon developers have re-released their WordPress plug-in. And it seems to be a vast improvement.