Webcomic Workshop #1


Welcome to the Webcomic Workshop!

The Webcomic Workshop is a podcast that troubleshoots the world of webcomics.  The four of come together with the problems and issues we face of creating and promoting our own webcomics.  We then share with you the solutions we come up with in our round table discussions.

This week, the podcast is covering the following:

  • Dawn: Needing to update more to improve readership, but lack of time would hurt the quality. Quality vs. Quantity
  • Ken: Finding the value in your work and communicating it
  • Antoine: Redesigning a character when in the middle of a storyline
  • Byron: Promoting your comic/work during a hiatus
  • Drinks of the Week: Antoine is drinking a Voga Rosa. Pink Italian Wine
  • Quick Tip of the Week: When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go – downtown!
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Posted in Featured News, Podcast and tagged , , , .

38 Comments

  1. To Dawn’s point: I honestly don’t believe there is a direct relationship between frequency of updates and readership levels. Frequent updates will increase pageviews but not the underlying number of readers.

    • Take from this what you wish: I did 1977 for 5 days a week in 2009 (nearly killed me) and my Unique visits did increase, as did pageviews. More content equals more readers for me. But by the same token, my highest readership levels were during a big storyline I did late in 2009 that was only 3 times a week. So, it plays to both points.

      Depends on your format of the comic and what’s happening. I think a “joke of the day” comic needs to have frequent updates where a story based comic can withstand fewer updates.

      Nice reply! And thanks for listening!
      Byron

      • I also saw an increase in both page views an uniques, just in going from 2x to 3x a week. I want to get BACK to that schedule.. but man, this wedding, kids book series.. tying me down!

        soon, soon…

        although I do agree- joke of the day strips needs more frequent updates regardless.. long format full-color updates for long storylines can do well at 1x a week.

      • I don’t want to labour the point but, since there may be new webcomickers looking for guidance here, I think it’s worth mentioning that Uniques are not the same as readers. Sadly, it’s the best measurement we have right now but, in reality, it’s only marginally more useful than pageviews. Updating three times a week, for example, SHOULD generate an increase in Uniques of about 50% (compared to twice a week) even if there is NO increase in the number of readers.

        As you say, the position is probably different for story-driven comics like mine as compared to strips like Dawn’s, but I think if you keep in mind the fact that Uniques do NOT measure readers, it becomes easier to get comfortable with the idea of making the best comic you can, rather making whatever comic can be squeezed into an arbitrary update schedule.

        Anyway, good first Podcast, guys. Keep it up!

        • Then, if you can’t use uniques as a judge of readers, HOW do YOU count readers? Uniques are a fair way of doing it, but it also measures who’s returning. If you update three times a week, and uniques renew every 48 hours, then having 2000 uniques on Monday-Wednesday-Friday does in fact give you a good measure of your total readers.

          And most stats packages, like Google, will give you total *absolute* unique visitors, which is not the same as unique visitors for dailies numbers. I was not clear on what I meant, so I hope this clarifies it.

          Your stats are your best judge of success. But, it depends on which service is generating them and *how* you interpret them. Most folks love to blow their stats up, but I feel they are what they are and you can only compare your stats to your own history, not to another webcomic. There are so many variables… networking, content, styles, etc., that draw in readers, so comparing your comic to another is futile at best. So, if your numbers are rising, falling or steady, that is your best judge of what is working and what is now.

          For example, I switched to more storyline based comics as my best success was always during a story as opposed to the one-off joke of the day comics I did for a long time.

          Your point is well taken, and one must evaluate every aspect of their webcomic stats and not focus on how *big* those numbers are, but do they continue to go up on a steady basis. McDonalds did not serve 1 billion hamburgers overnight, it took decades for that brand to build what it is today. Now I’m hungry…
          :)

    • Updating daily hasn’t created a huge ammount of readership. I do think that the type of content makes a difference. My largest increase was a week of single panel comics, when that was done and going back to the story the readership went back to normal.

      • Funny that you say that Siabur.. after Byron said the story arcs work better for him than gag-a-day. Interesting! I guess it all comes down to what your readership leans towards? hmm.

  2. Great stuff. One ask. Is it possible when posting that you can include the time code when each topic begins so we can better find them (assuming I don’t have time to listen to the entire hour).

    • That is something we were thinking about actually, but the way we are setup today is we are recording only with Skype.

      But we are not against the idea, something to be looked at for sure! :)

  3. In regards to updates – if you’re doing a webcomic and you’re in your first year of work, I wouldn’t even worry about stats and retention rates, etc.

    Those sorts of things will suck the motivation out of you. First-time and new webcomickers need to focus more on craft – writing and art. Once you’ve established a firm hold on your concept and themes and style, then consider marketing and getting eyeballs on your page.

    If you put the cart before the horse, you’re not going to go anywhere.

    Also – patience is a key factor in a new comic startup. There will be days when you get no hits and no traffic. There may even be weeks when that happens. If you don’t bother to check stats, you’ll never know that. So don’t bother driving yourself nuts over it. You don’t need to worry about it at the beginning (1st year)

    • Well said. I think a first year webcomic creator should check stats every so often for tracking reasons, and just general information about their visitors. *BUT* you are dead-on, don’t let the numbers bother you. I can remember not really checking the stats in the beginning just for that reason. I see a lot of creators Tweet that they’re disappointed that today’s traffic is smaller than the last time they updated. Now there is a person who is driving themselves crazy for no good reason. Take a deep breath when looking at your stats and learn from them.

      Excellent feedback and great points! We’re all in this together and you’ve nailed it right on the head what the Webcomic Alliance website is all about. Sharing information for the betterment of the entire industry. Thanks!
      Byron

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  6. WOW! What an excellent podcast from all of you! I think you touched on many of the things that go through each of our heads as we work on and try to improve our comics while balancing outside responsibilities.

    I know, for me, as I’ve been continuing to learn the ins and out of creating a comic, I’ve stayed focused on content and presentation and less on marketing and advertising. Learning all the new software put there to help with your creative process is a time consuming process in and of itself. Whether you are using photoshop, manga studio, good ole pencil and ink, all of it takes time to master. You could go through 6 months alone of my archive and see a continual rebirth of design and presentation that is only beginning to show a range of consistency. I’m only just nailing down “the look” of things.

    I personally think, to get a comic out there, to master ones technique, you have to pace yourself and let the comic grow organically. There will come a time when quality and quantity converge and that alone will allow you to take your next steps in attracting a wider audience. However, the discussion on art over writing and how much is maybe to much in presentation, I think hits the nail on the head when someone is looking to maximize the time they can allot to their endeavor. It certainly gives me something to think about!

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