The Alliance wants to get more input from YOU guys. For this, we’d like to do a Webcomic Workshop together regarding one specific issue. Let’s be fun and constructive. I’ll post the actual issue below, make my own comments and then, of course, you guys can start discussing. You can either reply to my own comment or start your own feedback. Sound like a plan? Here we go.
From Danny Burleson of Oy Comics:
“What are some ways to keep marketing a retired comic even though it won’t update anymore?”
Dawn says: My first thought is actually ANOTHER question– “WHY would you want to market a retired webcomic?” I didn’t want that to sound as derogatory as it does. And yeah, it kinda does… so sorry about that. Just because a comic is retired doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading … either a re-read as an old fan, or as a new reader, diving into it for the first time. However, if I personally, came across a comic online, and saw that it hadn’t updated in months…or years… my first reaction would typically be to move along. That’s because, to me, a webcomic worth investing my extremely short allotment of spare time in, would be one that I knew was going to update. I suppose that’s because I feel as though a good webcomic is as dependable as a syndicated newspaper strip– I get a new one to read on a very consistent basis. It’s ALIVE, in that respect. Another part of the webcomics field that I enjoy is interacting with the creators. If a comic is retired, I’m not so sure that the creator will still be around to converse… nor do I WANT to interact as much, knowing the comic is defunct.
That said, I also buy comic collections and graphic novels. This type of media comes to an end. I am OK with this. That’s how a book works, and how it differs from webcomics in my mind. There may be more books available, or just that one. Doesn’t much matter to me if I am just dipping my toes in something new. If it sounds interesting and the art is impressive, I’ll give it a chance. I have no need to interact with the creator, as books are a separate entity than comics online. The purpose of a book is for me to enjoy, alone and as a I please. Yes, probably on the throne. Definitely no need to converse with creators, then. :0P
The point I’m getting at, if you haven’t picked up on it yet, is that I feel the best way to “market” a retired online comic, is to offer it to people in the old fashioned way: a printed collection. THAT you can market without the pesky “sorry, it’s retired” tagline that just brings the product down. Now you can boast that it’s a finished product! It’s a full-fledged book, start to finish, and here for the taking… erm, BUYING! Get it now before it’s gone! (*note: This could also be a downloadable PDF or an App, for a cheaper price.) Marketing tends to be nothing more than a clever spin on a product… highlighting the benefits and casting a shadow over the downfalls. “Retired” or “Dead” Webcomic doesn’t sound too enticing. But “The Full Collection”, “Packed with bonus material”, now there’s a way to look at it.
No doubt you still have to use the webcomics business model to a degree. It WAS a webcomic, after all. And if you want people to give you their cash for a comic, you have to entice them with more than a few marketing taglines and call-outs. A sampling of the comic is a good idea, maybe a cast/about page to get to know the characters and story. Also, for the past readers who have already read your archives (before you took the bulk of them down), a slew of bonus materials would entice them as well to buy the book. This can be sketches, tutorials of how to draw the characters, fanart, pinups, guest art you have done for other creators, or whatever else you can think of that ties into your comic.
Once all of that is assembled on your website, I see no issue advertising the book, or downloadable PDF/App, the way you would for a webcomic. (ie: Project Wonderful, banner exchanges, Google ads, ect.). Just be sure to focus on the collection, and how GREAT that is… and the fact that it’s a retired webcomic will be an after-thought instead of the tagline that turns people like me away.
Again, my apologies for being blunt. This is just my opinion, and how I see webcomics vs. books being marketed best. So, Alliance readers… what’s your take on a retired webcomic? Is it marketable? Was I too harsh? How would you market it?
Don’t forget, if you have a question you’d like for us to cover, either in an article like this, or at the end of the Workshop Podcast, feel free to send it to us via the Submission form for Listener/Reader’s issues.