Alliance Chat 23

Welcome to the Alliance Chat: where no topic has gone before!

In this podcast, we’re chatting about… MARKETING!! Special guest John McCarthy (@surfsidejack on Twitter) brings in his bounty of marketing knowledge to stir the pot here on the Chat Podcast. We get into what Marketing is and some models that may work for you as an artist. We all need to think about Marketing and best to promote our works and talents.

Posted in Chat Podcast, Featured News, Podcast.


  1. Just finished listening to the latest podcast and it was a great one!

    Like John, I’ve been through the last 53 episodes of the webcomic alliance podcast and it’s been a great resource for me as a creator.

    As one who is new to creating comics and has yet to attend a convention (as a vendor) how would one come up with a business plan for a comic strip?

    That was a great point about asking how many newspapers are left. Everything in print is dwindling. It’s moving more and more away from print into the digital marketplace and having everything synchronized between the different screens that everyone owns.

    Interesting point Chris about printing the book first and then releasing the comic collection one by one. But I think I would agree with the counterpoint on this one though, that people consume differently. I would love to have people read the book and then go online to find the comics, but I feel like some people would want to see new and different comics than just what has been printed.

    Do you guys have any ideas of places looking that feature comics or creators, like an artist spotlight that people can submit to? I am already self-publishing my comic and have been for 2 years now and am trying to find ways to get more exposure online (or in print).

    After hearing this one, I can’t wait for part 2!

    • Google “Business Plans” as there are lots of samples out there that guide you through the process.

      The first part is your mission statement: “What am I going to do?” For me, my statement is “To create illustrations for both clientele and independently for myself.” Very simple, but it’s the guiding light. It tells me that I need to market some illustrations to companies (agencies or magazines, etc.) and also to promote myself as an artist who takes on custom commissions as well as creating illustrations for sale (like my Classic Rock Year illustrations I’m doing).

      That sets the wheels in motion. That statement is also the hardest thing you’ll ever write. Just write it. You can change and alter it. In the past 5 years mine has changed annually as I discover new outlets for my work. I think the one I have now is very solid and has potential to create the income I am looking for (eventually).

  2. some good points came out of this podcast (as ever) it’s made me wonder if i should change things about and post my drama stories in blocks and question do i have to write a blog every day/ week? this is something I’m not good at but currently I’m working very hard for my site and seeing no feedback 🙁 it makes it a bit of a slog.
    anyhow thanks as ever for the info and giggles

    • A daily blog I believe is un-necessary. But my suggestion is to do a weekly blog of some type (a topic associated with your comic perhaps) and then do a weekly “update” on what is transpiring behind the scenes with your next installment. Remember, we talked about building YOU as an artist as well as building your comic.

      For me, since my comic involves Classic Rock, I could do posts on old groups, albums, etc.. Plus, now I’ve branched out into pin-ups and other illustrations. So, that gives me something to talk about too.

      And remember… it takes a LOT of time to build an audience. I spent 3 years before I built a “decent” readership. So, patience is the key word here.

  3. Having a satisfactory chunk of content for each update is something I’m really big on! I like how Abby Howard’s webcomic The Last Halloween updates weekly and scene-by-scene instead of page-by-page (Also: Paul Duffield’s The Firelight Isle, but that one has a very irregular schedule). Most webcomics leave you with a very choppy-feeling experience, it’s especially egregious when there’s a fight sequence that’s being posted page-by-page, and you get character A punching character B on Monday and then have to wait a few days to get to see character B kicking character A, after which you once again must wait. It’s completely ridiculous and does not feel anywhere near satisfying to read.

    So I try to update scene-by-scene too, as much as I can. It’s not always possible because I’m not that fast of an artist, so I do sometimes post just one page, but usually it’s 2-6 pages at once. My latest update is 4 pages all posted in one go.

    And I also agree with the comment about having to keep clicking and clicking and clicking to get from one page to next page to next page. I love webcomics, but the bit where you just have to keep clicking and clicking is something I REALLY hate, it’s the reason why I’ll never read Ava’s Demon no matter how cool it looks: you have to click to just get FROM PANEL TO PANEL while reading that webcomic. It frustrates me just thinking about it!

    It was amazing when I discovered Korean webcomics that would have the entire chapter drawn on an infinite canvas and you didn’t have to do any clicking and just scroll through the whole chapter. That’s also why whenever I post multiple pages at once, I stitch them all together into one long vertical page, which is also something that Abby Howard and Paul Duffield do. It makes for a much more seamless reading experience, which is ESPECIALLY important when you’re drawing a long-form story that’s meant to be as immersive as you can get with a webcomic.

    • I’m not swayed one way or another with clicking to the next page, but an infinite canvas is NICE!

      Yeah, after the summer story arc is done, I’m going to create “chunks” as you said and release them once completed via weekly posts and/or in a complete work via PDF or some other e-type form. This just makes so much sense. I mean, comic book readers wait a MONTH before the next issue hits, so waiting a while for us to get a segment ready shouldn’t be any worse. As long as we stick with the production of our material, we’ll be fine.

      In the past, I needed that dreaded weekly update schedule to keep me on my toes. It’s too easy to go “I’ll start that next week…” which is why I don’t have a buffer now. 🙂

      • I’m thinking about “chunk-a-fying” my webcomic into a single post page in lieu of a landing page. A weekly post would go out, but instead of Next and Back, I’d just add a link to the landing page and they can scroll through all of the pages from top to bottom.

        It’s long-form so I’ll be breaking it into issues, so every issue can have it’s own page.

        Any reasons I shouldn’t go this route?

        • It’s already been established that a great many folks like the infinite canvas concept, but you’re idea brings a nice element to it in that you get a the most current page and then the option to scroll through the entire story. Nice touch.

          The beauty of being independent comic creators is that we’re the Masters of the Universe… we can do what we want.

          If you get complaints, revert back if you wish. Or not. That’s the great thing, you can do what you want!

          I had a t-shirt from National Lampoon’s “Animal House” that read: “We can do what we want, we’re college students” and I wore that shirt daily for about a year. 🙂

  4. Wow, so many buzz words! My head is spinning.

    You can discuss these different business models all you want, but I think it all comes down to your content. Kate Beaton just has a crappy Live Journal site, it doesn’t matter, people love her work! Karl Kerschl updates once a week if we’re lucky and sometimes the plot barely progresses for a give week and people still fund his kickstarter like crazy!

    Just make stuff that people can’t stop themselves from wanting to share, and everything else will work itself out.

  5. Wow. That was an extremely informative podcast. I’m planning on launching a webcomic later this year and it was great to hear the collective thoughts of so many creators on the best webcomic model/approach.

  6. Another great podcast folks, thank you!

    And big thanks to John for joining you in this episode, lots to think about and digest.

    I agree that we all have a unique product that needs a unique plan to make money from it. My goal is of course to make enough to make my comic my ‘day job’ but I realize some folks see webcomics as a hobby they do for fun (which is great for them!) I really do need to start thinking about myself as the main ‘product’

    Posting online to gain an online readership may not even turn out to be where my audience and potential revenue is. Doing an all-ages comic may lead me down a different road, as Dawn as said about her comic as well.

    I think posting a comic page once a week is fine, after all, visitors are getting it there for free. That’s why I’m going to try and plug to readers to buy a print copy or a downloadable pdf. If they want to read it for free, they can tune in once a week or at whatever pace they like, web traffic is not gonna bring home the bacon for me anyway.

    And then there’s finding that ‘magic merchandise” that works best for your brand and that’s something that’s going to differ from creator to creator! The journey continues.

    Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *