Webcomic Workshop #13

Less Swearing, More Talking. Coming to you for a whopping 95 minutes this time!

This podcast we discuss:

Antoine: I’m going to ask you, with all the cons you’ve been and seen. What would you suggest a rookie that is getting ready for his first Artist Alley table, and more specifically, what to offer at such type of table and what other products/offering the rookie shouldn’t be wasting time on

Dawn: Is it better to fine-tune an ad for one site that’s similair to your comic, or advertise widely across many genres.”

Ken: Is frank, honest tone/commentary too much of a good thing or not a good thing at all?

Byron: How long should I do my webcomic before I move on to another concept.

Final Thought: We tag team “How each of us started our comics. Not motivation, but what we did to actually prepare: domain, tools, practice, etc.”

Drink of the Week: St-Remy VSOP Brandy

And don’t forget, since last Friday, we would like you to share your issues with us! We are inviting you to go in our Contact Page and, once there, give us your name, email address, write “Issue for Podcast” in the subject field and give us your issue! you can find the contact form by clicking here.

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  1. This, without a doubt, has been my favorite podcast so far! Hopefully, it will be the same for you, the listeners! πŸ™‚

  2. Good show. Fetchez le vache!

    Antoine’s point: Ken’s comment about ‘treating it like a business’ is spot on. Where I work, we offer training for staff who attend trade shows, and that is the number one thing you have to hammer into their heads. They need to be shown that your presence at a show isn’t for just socializing amongst staff and friends, but to generate business for your company. It totally applies for attending cons – your job is to sell, you can hang out AFTER the floor is closed.

    There’s nothing wrong with networking, as long as it is related to what you’re doing (promoting work, discussing the craft, etc). But you can’t spend most of your time doing it.

    Dawn’s point: You should try a cycle of different ads on different sites and track how well they do. Ads in webcomics are a crap-shoot, and after 3 months you’ll have an idea if its worth pursuing or if it needs tweaking.

    Ken’s point: I don’t find you abrasive. I’ve seen/heard way worse. Plus, you can’t convey tone through instant messages/blog posts. If it bothers you and you think it affects your comic in a negative fashion, then you may need to adjust your interactions somewhat – but if others don’t get on your case about it, don’t worry about it. It could be worse – you could be a recluse like Watterson. I’d be proud to meet you and everyone associated with WA. You folks have done a good job, and we need more resources like this.

    Byron’s point: If you’re having an itch to do something new, I’d suggest the following: tie up your current story arcs, create some pinups/wallpapers/sketches to use for a few weeks, get some guest comics from your peers, and run a story arc poll for your fans – AHEAD OF TIME. Then when you’ve got all that in the can, you have a ton of content to buy you some extra time to work on your new project.

    You run the risk of losing momentum if you just go on hiatus and work on your new project. The abrupt stops can make your readers feel a bit cheated. While you’re working on your new project, show some sneak peeks so they don’t feel left out and shows you’re actually doing something, other than just your word that you are.

    Great podcast, all!

  3. Great podcast guys and gals, I actually found myself taking notes, especially about first time con preparations should the day ever come I do one. The PW ad conversation was a good listen as well, even though I tend not to PW on other webcomic sites that often, but instead other kinds of websites that correlate with my comics themes. I have to many thoughts to post here, it’d be to long and it’d put everyone to sleep! Point to be made, this was a longer than usual podcast, but totally worth the listen all the way through.

    One thing I want to zone in on is Kens concern about his “frank and honest” disposition. When I came to Ken the very first time (How Sweet It Is), its because I wanted some honest feedback and I wanted someone who wasn’t going to tiptoe around my novice and naive approaches to making my comic better. I wanted constructive criticisms and I wanted someone that would matter of factly say “this works, this doesn’t”! I don;t have a lot of free time, so having to extract critical feedback from someone who’s hesitant is a time killer! Maybe its the New England – New York state of mind that almost demands quick,honest and lets it get it going mentality, but his interactions have been nothing short of hugely beneficial. I know that the branding of the comic and how I promote it through the banners is what gives the comic its soul, how it speaks to the passer by and I’ve known that I’ve been missing the mark there time and again. What would have made Ken the “a$$hole he assigns himself to being” in his mind, is if I or others reached out and he simply said “your crap can’t be saved”. Whether or not my comic is a craptacular mess (depending on ones point of view), he took the time to help me clean up an area of it I just couldn’t muster on my own.

    We’ve been touching base back and forth for a few weeks now and its been nothing less than a totally positive experience. So Ken, in my mind, you come across as someone willing to help and you take the time to listen, even while soliciting your feedback, its a good balance, you do fine, stop being hard on yourself. New Yorkers and New Englanders behave as if we should beg for forgiveness, not ask for permission when we speak, being blunt just makes understanding what needs to be said/done sink in faster! I think the south is softening you a bit, they are the ones who like the sugah, bless their little hearts! snap out of it! *smirk*

    • Spoken like a true New Yorker/Englander… I’m not sure why (nor care) but the stereotype of New Yorkers is as gruff, angry SOBs. Ken is not that by any means. We tease him about his New Yorker attitude, but we also tease Antoine about being French-Canadian. It’s all in good fun.

      Ken has always been helpful to anyone that I’ve seen him have contact with. His articles are intelligent and well written and worth reading twice so the absorb (at least for us silly rednecks like me).

      I’m glad you have the same opinion of Ken as I do, as I’ve gained much from having him as my friend and member of the Alliance.

      Thanks for the comments and we don’t care how long your comments are, so go ahead and type away!

      • Wow! It’s a Ken Drab Fan Club! πŸ˜‰

        Haha – just kidding of course and thank you Byron – that means a lot!! The WA’s support has been phenomenal and I appreciate your kind words. Looking forward to hanging out in NY this fall.

        I really didn’t intend for the feedback to sound like I needed a pat on the back. I would love to see if I could communicate better and develop more friendships in comics. I was just hoping I wasn’t coming across as someone no one wanted to talk to.

    • Thanks Scott I appreciate the kind words – it’s been fun working with you and I think you should be really proud of the progress you’ve made with your brand. It’s so easy to identify now – the final article publishes tomorrow (April 14th) and I’ll be interested to see if anyone else benefits from the experiment!

  4. Thanks for taking on the topic of what to bring if you’re doing your first con. This is something I’ve been thinking about, but didn’t really know where to begin.

  5. @Dawn, another point that was not touched on the discussion about site-targeted ads is that creating advertising that features another website’s content might be viewed upon as infringing on intellectual property or at least profiting from their brand.

    It would be akin to using someone’s character’s in one of your strips and then plugging that strip on that person’s forums or comments section.

    Some people might be cool with it, but others would take issue.

    However, I think you can get away with making generic ads that target a particular genre. For instance, you can create an ad that would appeal to all-ages, anthro comics, with a joke about the genre rather than any specific site. Then you can create another ad that plays up the alien aspect of the comic for advertising on sites that aliens might appeal to. That way, you can have targeted ads (which are very effective), and yet not have to do 10+ different ads…just a few that you can reuse with multiple sites.

    And you can do the same thing for landing pages…do them by the genre of the group you’re targeting instead of specific sites. If you want to cut down the work, you can probably get away with changing just the welcoming paragraph.

    Good discussion.

    • A good point, and I was a little worried about the creator’s reaction myself. Just keep in mind, I did not draw their characters, or use their material at all. I simply referred to one of their characters in a joke, as Z&F were doing their usual “analysis”, in this case it was that particular strip.
      I think it’s as close as you can come before it feels like infringing. Heck, if their ad does well because of this idea, they get more money (as the bidding would probably go up!)! Of course, if I was asked to take it down, I would understand. It’s a bit touchy.

      It’s a fine line between flattery and infringement, that’s for sure.

      Also trying to find time to make a special landing page. Not sure if I’ll be able to make like 5 different landing pages for different genres… but if I really spruce up the “New Readers” page that would help.
      Thanks for your suggestions Cedric.

  6. Ken, the fact that you think you might be an asshole is the first step in getting help.

    Oh, wait no that is if you are a Drunken Fool never mind.
    Actually part of why folks might perceive you in that light is your shyness. A shy person puts up this invisible barrier around themselves that says “Keep Out!” or “Beware of Dog” which will cause people to think you are aloof or just an asshole. Have you ever met Jeph Jacques at a con? He keeps his head down and makes little or no eye contact and is not particularly chatty. This is apparently due to the fact he is extremely shy. I myself am very shy, but I have learned to overcome it enough that if I tell anyone I am shy they don’t believe me, I have learned to fake being an extrovert. To the point where I can get up on a stage and ramble on endlessly or go up to a random woman at a Ren Faire and hand her a rose, give her a compliment and perhaps a kiss on the hand all without out tripping over my own words or feeling awkward. It helps I think to be able to transform yourself into someone else. Well, it helps for me at least.

    Maybe, I should teach a class……

  7. Just piping in. It’s the first episode I’ve listened to (after giving away webcomic podcasts months and months ago for being two name droppy, look what we do sorts of affairs!) and was pleased to find I enjoyed much of it.

    To Dawn: Here’s to those of us who started this game without knowing what a webcomic was until after we’d put one online ourselves!!

    To Antoine: Here’s to more of we international influences on this Yank-saturated podcast medium!! πŸ™‚

    (I used ‘influence’ VERY broadly here! πŸ˜€

    Thanks, guys. Enjoyed it and I’ll listen in on the next.


  8. Late to the party!

    We’ve done well advertising on other comics similar to ours, but have tossed buckets of money out the window advertising on sites that may have much better traffic, but don’t target *our* potential readership.

    Also, generic campaigns have proven to be a bust. In marketing-speak we call that approach “spray and pray.” Like any other advertising venture, you need to know your demographic and go after it.

  9. – This discussion gave me an AWESOME idea for a flier that I’m really excited by! I can’t wait to make a mock-up and get it to the printers!! Thank you!!

    – Ken: I haven’t listened to everything yet (and I haven’t even begun reading) but you have never come across negatively to me. You’re firm in your opinions, and sometimes a little uncompromising, but you don’t invalidate the thoughts of others and you have well-reasoned support for where you stand. If you just tore people down for their thoughts, or were incapable of doing anything but negating someone else without providing a point of your own, you’d come across badly. To me, you just seem honest, thoughtful, and passionate.

    – I’ve asked similar questions of friends (the “am I an asshole?” query) because I always seem to give off the wrong impression online. I kill forum threads, I quash chats, and I have difficulty connecting to people. I try really, really, REALLY hard to be polite, but with that I tend to get really formal and stiff. I’ve wondered if that makes me seem conceited? Or maybe I just overwhelm people by the sheer weight of words? Maybe I should take a survey like Ken has, just to see what the real story is.

  10. Pingback: Tell it to me strait, Doc. | Ley Lines

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