Webcomic Workshop #2

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: Cons of being totally digital- not having genuine artwork to sell. Does it hurt you that much?
  • Ken: Writing – do you dumb it down? Do you TRY to make it silly? What’s the best formula for humor?
  • Antoine: Drunk Duck (or others): Is it worth it for increasing readership?
  • Byron: What if your readers just don’t buy your stuff.
  • Drinks of the Week: Antoine is strangely drinking water, the others are having Guinness and Killian’s Irish Red.
  • Quick Tip of the Week: Backing up WordPress/ComicPress
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25 Comments

  1. Great second podcast! I was waiting for a new episode all week, and was very happy with this one. Especially since Dawn’s question really helped me out for if I ever get the readership to start selling things. (I work all digital too! So much faster for me to lay down my text in Photoshop first and then draw around it than try to do hand lettering)

    Will you guys ever do shows where you take questions from the listeners? I feel like I have a million questions since I’ve only been a web-comic creator for about 7 months, but that all the advice I usually hear is toward funny/gag-a-day comics. It seems so much harder to market a comic like mine, which is a long story. It would be nice to be able to send in questions from time to time, maybe for a special “Listener Q&A” show?

    Really enjoying the podcasts! Keep ’em coming!

    • Hey Liz!
      You’re my favorite listener at the moment! Yes, very much yes, we want to do some listener question shows. We’re still getting our feet wet with the site and other things, but I know we’ve talked about doing shows were we take “letters” from our listeners and reply to them.

      So, send in your questions using the Contact page and we’ll start collecting them!

      Thanks for listening! The podcast is a lot of fun and informative even for us!
      Byron

    • Hi Liz,

      Always great to hear great feedbacks like yours!

      To your question regarding listeners questions, we actually started discussing it recently. The How-To is still pending. We have different ways in mind, just not sure which route to take.

      We thought of having a Mail Bag version as a simple written post, Live Chat(complex for us a little), or email question and one of us uses it as his/her question during the recording.

      Stay tuned, one thing for sure, there will be something soon for you guys!

      Cheers

    • Hiya Liz! I was SO stoked about the idea the guys came up with, I ran out and bought supplies! Of course, first I need to get this whole wedding palooza finished.. but after THAT, I’ll try it out!

      As Byron and Antoine said, we are in the process of figuring out how to accept questions, live or via email. We really want to connect with other creators and help out the community!

      I have never done a long-format story before, so that’s new to me… just some short (20-30 strips) story arcs. I’m sure there’s some similarities, and some differences, and between the 4 of us I’m sure we can offer some advice!

      Thanks for your kind words, it’s great to get feedback!!!

  2. The mail bag sounds like a great idea. I think I’ll make a submission.

    This second podcast was good – but disappointing in some aspects…

    Antoine without a drink – for shame!

    Just kidding – keep up the good work! It’s informative for all.

    • LOL! Ah, even drunken fools need to have *some* water, even it’s just in their whiskey.

      Antoine has shaped up for future podcasts and will be bringing us some delightful drinks of the week!

      Submit you questions, that will be great!
      Byron

  3. I’m really enjoying these! I love the format of your show. It’s so helpful to just work through things with other people, and hearing others work through their own stuff with a variety of viewpoints in there. Thanks so much for the show I look forward to each episode!

    • Thanks Matt! We figure we’re not the only creators with these issues… and since no ONE path is the right path for everyone, it’s helpful to hear suggestions in a round-table format. Appreciate the comment, glad we’re helpful!

  4. Nice show this week, I’d like to hit on a few points.

    1) Dawn’s question about whether it hurts not having originals to sell since switching to all digital is an interesting one. And some of the suggestions were interesting as well, but they don’t answer the fundamental question. Yes, not having originals to sell can hurt your business. However, how often do you really think you would have sold a particular strip? Do you think it’s a huge lose of revenue? If it’s a huge loss then is it worth switching back to a non-digital format?

    The idea of a limited edition version of the strips is interesting but then is it just one strip that is chosen, or can the reader choose any strip and then how do you keep track of how many copies of a given strip have been bought… I think a better idea would be to have a digital print of each strip for sale, BUT to only sell ONE copy. Each strip would then have a unique and one of kind piece, making it (in theory) more valuable.

    2) One point about Byron’s question about why his stuff isn’t selling. I was at the same t-shirt panel at NEWW as Dawn and Ken, they forgot one thing I believe was said about readers buying stuff.

    Readers lie.

    They say “Ohhh, yes I would totally buy that if you made it.” so you make and then no one buys it. It’s not at all uncommon. I agree with the rest of the panels ideas though.

    3) As for Antoine’s idea about a mirror site on Drunk Duck, I don’t think mirroring the site would be worth the effort. I do think getting involved in that community in some form may attract readers, perhaps using it strictly as a Drunken Fools fan art site like Dawn suggested would work.

    4) Ken, I don’t think you really ever need to dumb down your strip… unless you only want morons to read it that is. If so then I recommend a much larger percentage of fart jokes.

    • Good comment Keith!

      1) If you’re not selling originals then you’re right, you’re not “hurting” your business, but we all should be in the mindset of growing our business and I think that was the intent of the question. In that regard, we found a unique and working solution. Artists have traditionally numbered prints. I think you’d be boxing yourself in if you limited it to one print per comic. For instance, what if you had a wildly popular single comic?

      2) Good memory.

      4) I like fart jokes. I may have misrepresented my problem. I don’t mean dumbing down the joke as in making it moronic. But making it less complex – I am working on developing a better way to look at a joke and analyzing it to the point to know confidently or not whether I’ve effectively communicated the premise and punchline. Kinda like this reply! 😉

      • I have to chime in here. Although I wouldn’t say people are banging down my door looking for original art, I have been asked and only could offer prints. Plus, I see a lot of webcomic creators selling their original art at comic cons, and I see it as a POTENTIAL income for Z&F. Thirdly, I notice that people seem to stop by your booth longer if you have a large comic displayed to read. They laugh, they pick up your book and flip. While they flip, you can give ’em your pitch. Even if the “original” art doesn’t sell itself, it may sell your books.

        ‘Course, the latter comment would work just as well with a regular digital print… but hand-done watercolors are pretty!

        Very true that readers LIE. Not intentional, of course, but I think some people think they are helping by saying they’d buy something.. but when faced with the actual cost and payment process.. they think “meh, I’ll do it later.” Hey, right here, guilty as charged, myself.

        Thanks for the terrific feedback and suggestions Keith!!!!

        • Out of curiosity, do you own any original art?

          There is some very different about owning originals versus prints, no matter how limited edition. I’ll give you a good example;

          We have several prints by Marrus (http://marrusart.com/ warning not all images will be SFW ) they are great and at least 2 are limited edition prints. But recently she started selling small originals, which were finally in our price range and we bought 4 pieces, and a fifth is being saved for us. Now these pieces are not as complex or large as the prints but they are ORIGINALS, there will never be another exactly the same. That’s what makes them special. Digital prints will never have the same appeal in my opinion.

          I do really like the idea of the hand colored copies however. I still wonder about how you keep track of how many of any given strip you have already sold. Assuming that the appeal for those would be that they would be limited editions. But that is just me.

          I agree that the readers who lie aren’t doing it out of spite or anything, it’s just something to consider when testing the waters to see if folks are interested in stuff. I think pre-orders are a great way to gauge whether or not there is any real interest.

          • I’ll chime in for a second: No. I do not own original artwork nor do I desire it. I would much rather buy a collection of the comics than one single, expensive piece of art. I have ALL the Calvin and Hobbes books and most of the Far Side books.

            With the economy hitting me hard, I’ve not purchased any webcomic volumes in a long time. If things were normal, I’d have several more.

          • Other than the pieces by Marrus, the only other piece of original art I own is from an issue of Doom Patrol that my friend Rich drew, he added my name to some graffiti on the subway cars. 🙂 yes I am a geek, and when I see the trade paperback I go digging through it to find the page. He gave me the page so even that I did not buy.

          • I am with Byron here, I only collect book collections (and LORD do I have a LOT). I was surprised anyone would want original art of Z&F.. not because I think little of my art, talents, or concept… but because I am not of the stature yet that my art is worth anything if you try to SELL it. I ain’t no Schultz or Davis. Also, my style does not lend itself to selling originals. Traditional comic-book-superhero styles will still sell big-time at cons if you do commissions of well-known superheroes… and there’s no need to be “famous” to do so, just as long as you’re GOOD.

            This is not to say I’m not TOTALLY flattered when people ask to buy an original strip ;0)

          • I do wonder what the market for original art is like, I know a lot of artists sell their pages, but I don’t know many folks who own any. So who the heck buys these pages?

            Anyway that is way off on a tangent… which is pretty much where I take most discussions.

            We now return to our regularly scheduled broadcast.

      • 1) What would you do if you had wildly popularly strip and had sold the original?

        I agree that the solution you guys came up with for Dawn was actually a pretty good one. But I am a little fuzzy on how to make it work from a logistics stand point, but I tend to over complicate things sometimes.

        4) Well, who doesn’t like a good fart joke… And perhaps I just missed the point you were going for in the show. The way you put it here sounds a bit better.

        Which leads me to this point.

        4a) I think you need to look at your work from an outside perspective, step back and see it for what it is.

        What is it, you ask?

        It’s a really well conceived and effective webcomic. So stop be so damn self deprecating. :p

  5. I must say that this website is absolutely great, as a resource for up & coming webcomics. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon it, but the podcasts are phenominal (hope I spelled that right LOL), even though so far I’ve only finished listening to the first 2. As I continue to follow and play catch-up with all of your great content, just wanted to send a great big THUMBS UP to the 4 of you. Keep up the great work! Wishing all of you the best with your projects.

    • Welcome Makik! I hope you got the link from Google+ as I have put up the links to the podcasts there a couple times this past week!

      Also glad you’re liking them! They get much better as we got use to doing a podcast and these first couple are kinda rough compared to the current ones, but that’s to be expected!

      Thanks for the well wishes and compliments! They mean a lot to us!

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