Webcomic Workshop #14

Less Swearing, More Talking. Coming to you for a whopping 78 minutes this time!

This podcast we discuss:

Byron: How to use your RSS, i.e. ads, tracking stats, etc.

Antoine: Pros & Cons of resizing or removing your comic for RSS feed

Ken: How much time do you spend and how far do you go in regards to ‘character development’?

Dawn: Small conventions vs Large Conventions. which is more worthwhile?

Final Thought: New Feature coming to the Podcast!

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20 Comments

  1. Pingback: Plus One Webcomic - Spring Is Here

  2. On the RSS issue, that’s the only way that I read comics. So if a comic doesn’t come through or has an unreadable thumbnail, I ditch it right away (most likely never to be seen again). Ones that are just small enough to kind of read may get a click through if I really like the strip.

    My life is so busy that the small amount of time I do get to read comics needs to be as smooth as possible. In the end, it’s easier to just ditch something then to try and click through.

    • I’m finding that out the hard way. So, I’ve already started working with Feedburner so I can see exactly what’s going on with the RSS Feed and improve the look and user friendly part of it. Never took the RSS serious until now.

      And DOH! I use Google Reader to read most of the comics I follow, so man, I missed that big time!

      Thanks for listening!

  3. So this issue had about half of it devoted to RSS… see I don’t even know what an RSS IS. I see a link or two to it somewhere on my website, but I’ve never done anything with it nor have I ever used it with anybody else’s work. I actually kinda dislike Dustin up there for what he said, but I read comics largely for the artwork of it, I dunno. I also don’t follow it the same way most do, I just check back on like, 4-week intervals and see all the new stuff that’s been uploaded.

    That might be because I read a lot of story-style comics though, things that could qualify as graphic novels, as opposed to joke-a-day ones. Same goes for my own. I dunno, you guys got any input on an RSS situation for that style of comic?

  4. Good podcast, again.

    Byron: Feedburner is a decent tool at tracking RSS feeds and e-mail subscriptions, but if you’re eventually going to run a campaign geared towards e-mail subscribers, look into a paid service called AWeber. It’s the best for that sort of thing and gives you a lot of metrics to review (how many of them have clicked ads, bought from your store, etc)

    Antoine: The jury is still out on comics in RSS. I still think we need more data from a number of cartoonists in order to see if there’s any negative value to resized comics, or no comics in the feed, etc.

    Ken: Tyler James had a really cool matrix set up for Character development that acts as a character guide. It works really well for keeping your characters consistent, but allows for expansion later on. Here’s the link: http://comicrelated.com/news/2582/creating-comics

    Dawn: Attending cons require market research. But you won’t know if they’re a hit or a bust for you until you’ve attended the show 2-3 times. I think you have a bit of an advantage working within a collective like WA. If all four of you go to shows, based on the momentum you’ve built with this site, you’ll have name recognition and potential sales.

    If you’re going solo, you’ve got some homework to do. Maybe talk to other artists who have gone to the shows to get an idea of the type of crowds. Maybe check out the shows as a visitor prior to entering them?

    I’m considering hitting some cons maybe next year as a visitor to meet with some of the artists I network with. If the shows look appealing enough for my type of work, I’ll probably attend as a vendor the following year.

  5. Dawn,

    The “which shows to do” question is always a good one. And I know precisely the shows you’re talking about, ones catering mostly to the older gents looking to complete their Iron Man runs from the 1980s.

    The guys brought up some good reasons to do shows even if they aren’t big earners:
    – Practice pitching/selling.
    – Experimenting/warm-up for big shows, etc.

    A few additional points:

    – I agree with Drezz, sometimes it takes doing a show a few times before it starts paying dividends. People who might grab a postcard the first time they see you might buy the book next time around. Also, the more familiar you get with a show, the better you can tailor your product offering and pitch to that show.

    – Sometimes it pays to do these shows as a favor to your local retailers who are running them. I’ve gotten a ton out of my relationships with local retailers, who have been very supportive of my work. So, I’ll do their shows for a few hours, even if it only means a few bucks. (Also, I tend to do some comics shopping at these shows myself, and can usually snag some sweet deals.)

    However, at the end of the day, this is a business, requiring a smart business decision. Some shows are just dogs. Even though you’re still relatively new to the “con circuit” I think you’re a pretty quick study. Your work is good, your pitch is solid. Cons, at this point, should be a MONEY MAKING endeavor for you. While 90% of success at cons is YOU and what you do there, the con itself still does matter. So, definitely don’t hesitate to cut the dogs loose.

  6. Great show folks!

    Had a couple of laugh out loud moments, especially when Ken suggested the “Yahoo” loop. You guys are starting to reach your stride now, and the show is running better than ever. The sound effects were a nice little touch. I listen to the show for the information, but the way you guys interact makes it even more special and fun to listen to.

    I’d be interested in someone with experience to put together some kind of Feedburner 101 run-through, especially as it applies to webcomics. Also, for those of us “plug and play” types with almost no tech skills, could there be a step-by-step on how to put an ad or a link back to your website in the RSS feed?

    Thanks guys for taking time to put together another great WW!

    • This sounds like a job for resident Crazy Chick, Dawn! She’s giving me tips now and if she can walk an old fart like me through Feedburner, you all should benefit from it too!

      I’ll see if I can persuade her to enrich us all with her knowledge.
      πŸ™‚

      • Ditto that. Loved the discussion on RSS feeds.

        Re Feedburner I have some friends who want me to send them an email every time I post (because somehow twitter, RSS, Facebook announcements aren’t enough for them. haha).

        Would love a 101 on that.

  7. I know Dustin (up there) said he won’t usually read whats in his RSS feed if it’s not totally viewable, but -I think- he’d be in the minority on that opinion as readers go.

    When I first started using the RSS feed for my comic and publishing the comic at full size, it drastically reduced the number of people coming to the site itself. Once I reduced the size so that it compelled you to go directly to the site, my stats shot way up again, proving (to me at least), that if you want direct traffic, you don’t want your comic at full size anywhere else. Less is more, but giving away your traffic, especially if you are trying to garner ad revenue, isn’t a good thing. You want people coming to the main place you market your comic, otherwise you could be losing more than ad revenue, you could be losing opportunities to sell the items displayed on your comics website.

    I’ve read articles where this person or that person suggests your content trumps your website, without a website that helps brand and attract attention to your comic, its content alone will not bring you sales. Yes, you need to have a strong product (the comic itself), but everything surrounding it needs to be just as strong!

    Thats my 2.5 cents in the currency of your choosing!

  8. Ok…I need help. I switched to Feedburner but it looks like anyone who was subscribed to my old RSS feed can’t see my new posts.

    How do I either allow them to see them or notify them via old RSS to reup their feed??

    I can do a post on my blog but like most of you they read it in an RSS reader so they won’t see the update.

    • Oops, something I totally forgot to say during the podcast.

      You need a little wordpress plugin called FeedSmith.

      It will redirect your default worpress RSS feed to your feedburner one

      Shouldn’t have any problems after

      • Thanks. That’s the one I am using but if I go to my old RSS feed URL http://beartoons.com/feed it says URL isn’t found now.

        Tried to deactivate the Su.pr plugin b/c it was going towards that page but when I did, it wouldn’t even give me an error page. Just was hung up.

          • I’m not familiar with that plugin. But if you have more than one RSS plugin, sometime the odds on them causing issues are high.

          • Nope..not that. Now I get nothing. Feed Validator says it is valid but when you put in that url it comes up not found. Gonna have to search the wordpress forums some more and hope to find an answer. Thanks

  9. A little late, but I’ve listened in again. Filled my ears with something to do while I was working on one of my own strips, so it’s served a good purpose today.

    In regards to RSS… I’m with you, Byron. Never used the buggers. Wouldn’t have a clue how useful or detrimental they could be. I’m vaguely aware that I have some sort of RSS button on the top corner of my site, but other than that, it’s one of those Great Unknowns of the internet for me.

    Mind you, I’m probably in the tiny minority that just goes straight to a particular website to read that particular comic for the day or week or month I’ve missed.

    So yeah, I’ve been blissfully ignorant and unaware of stuff like this that seems to be vitally important for the last seven entire years! πŸ˜€

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