Best of Webcomics.com — July 2016
July was an excellent example of the tremendous value offered by a one-year subscription to Webcomics.com ($2.50 a month). My readers got early alerts on issues that would impact their businesses, helpful tutorials, insightful analysis, and meaningful feedback on their work.
If you’re curious about joining, we’ve made it easier than ever with a $5 trial membership. You’ll get full access to the site for thirty days so you can see what you’ve been missing. At the end of the trial, you can choose to re-subscribe ($30 for 12 months of access) or walk away with no strings attached. You will not be re-billed unless you choose to subscribe.
Facebook’s announcement that they will begin downgrading content from Pages had a lot of people in webcomics wringing their hands. The view from Webcomics.com is the same it’s always been — if you’re affected by changes like this, you’re doing lazy, bland social media. This post tells you how you can easily maximize your reach — regardless of this new change.
I re-ran a piece from 2013 — and updated it with some new information. In short, my business has improved as I have decreased my comic-convention schedule.
Ever since 2010, I’ve posted here about how my attitude towards comic conventions have been changing. When we wrote the original “How To Make Webcomics” book, I wrote the chapter on comic conventions. I drew myself as a carnival barker, standing on top of a convention table, and most of the material in that chapter was very strongly geared towards using comic convention as a primary revenue source for webcomics.
But for years, I’ve been posting some very frank advice on the topic. In short, I don’t think you should go to a comic convention unless you have a very good chance of turning a profit.
Webcomics.com was the first to alert you that Patreon will once again be able to offer its users to use Paypal to pledge to NSFW creators is a huge victory for the crowdfunding service. There’s a vast amount of misunderstanding — and misinformation — surrounding the issue, so the post goes on to explaining the Patreon/Paypal backstory to further clarify the issue.
I was recently interviewed for the Advance Your Art podcast, hosted by Yuri Cataldo, director of Business of Creative enterprises in the Department of Marketing Communication at Emerson College in Boston. Advance Your Art focuses on arts entrepreneurship, so it was right in the wheelhouse of what I discuss at comic conventions, books and here at Webcomics.com.
Reader surveys are an excellent way to get a better feel for your audience. Does your comic skew towards female reader? Do they tend to be younger or older? What are their other interests? would they support a Kickstarter for a new book? What rewards would make them Patreon backers?
In fact, we’ve posted a helpful DIY tutorial so you can ask all of the questions you need to ask — without paying for a potentially-expensive service like SurveyMonkey.
But what if you’re not getting a very healthy response from your readers? Should you seek out additional respondents? Advertise for more input? Solicit other cartoonists?
Be very careful, your quest for more information could result in your getting very, very bad information. And that’s downright dangerous.
Merry Christmas — and Happy New Year!
Set down the sunblock, and step away from the pool. It’s time to start planning for December and January.
I know it’s hard to get into the spirit, but this is the time to start working on merchandise for the holiday shopping season. In recent years, webcartoonists have offered an increasing compliment of holiday goodies that have ranged from specialty T-shirts and mugs to holiday-themed greeting cards. And let’s not forget to add calendars to that list. Those will start appearing in stores by November — at the latest!
For the past year I’ve been helping to beta-test a new app that helps you protect your copyright over downloadable content. Blasty is simple, easy-to-use, and effective in stopping unapproved downloading of your work.
Recently, I saw a webcartoonist asking for advice on convention banners. Here’s my advice:
The primary purpose of a convention banner is to attract attention to your table. Therefore, you need to get everything as high as possible. Putting important information at the bottom of your banner is a mistake — especially if the banner is going to be placed on the floor behind your table. Think about it. No one sees anything below the middle of a vertical banner from the aisle.
Writing comedy is a challenge that is made even more daunting in the fact that humor itself is completely subjective and impossible to define.
In the “How To Make Webcomics” book, our chapter on writing outlined a few frameworks for comedy — tried-and-true constructs that can be used as a general funny-idea generator.
The results of the annual Webcomics.com Poll on income sources were jaw-dropping — and they reflect a sea change in the webcomics business model. The majority of respondents — 54% —reported crowdfunding newcomer Patreon as one of their primary sources of webcomics-related income.
The newest Webcomics.com Poll asks…
I’ve been saying it for the better part of the year — if you’re still doing things the way you did three years ago, you’re making a big mistake. Here are five “traditional” approaches to webcomics that you need to re-think…today.
[This post was originally submitted by Scott Kurtz] I was talking to Kris Straub about this and expressing frustration in the response we often get during the Q&A portions of our frequent comicon panels. No matter how long we discuss the importance of putting the work first during the panel, one of the first questions asked is always about some specific form of monetization. “How many T-shirts do I make?”
Kris asked me if I ever heard about cargo cults. And I hadn’t so I looked it up…
For the better part of a year, Webcomics.com has been posting articles discussing the end of the ad-supported webcomic. Here’s a significant indication of what we’ve been talking about for the last twelve months: Line Webtoons is partnering with Patreon. From the Mary Sue:
Today, LINE Webtoon announced that Patreon has been integrated into their Discover platform, so that readers can directly support the writers and artists they love by becoming Patrons, without having to leave their Discover page. Even better, LINE Webtoon is willing to put their money where their mouth is. According to their press release, LINE Webtoon “will make a monthly pledge to creators who publish at least two updates per month on Discover and who have more than 3,000 subscribers and 5,000 monthly page views per chapter in the U.S.”
In addition to that, if you’re already a web comic creator on Patreon, LINE Webtoon invites you to to join LINE Webtoon as either featured creators or as Discover creators who will participate in LINE Webtoon’s patronage investment program.
I’ve said it before: Webcomics are moving to a patron/subscription model. This is one of a long line of confirming indications, in my opinion. If you haven’t re-thought your digital publishing approach — and factored out the effect of advertising — you need to do so now.
The August Creator Newsletter from Patreon brought some terrific news for creators! Patreon is rolling out tags for its posts. It’s in beta right now, but the ability to group your posts by content is around the corner.