Webcomic Workshop #17

Solving Webcomic Issues We All Face.  Now featuring a listener’s issue each podcast!

This podcast we discuss:

Dawn: Landing pages: best to link ads to your regular homepage, or to a “new reader” page that gives a breakdown of the comic’s concept? Do people prefer to be tossed right in and see a comic first?

Byron: Follow up on Twitter exposure. I’ve seen some “reports” that having too many RTs and URLs gets your Twitter account marked as spam and people drop you.

Ken: Since my comic is focused on one character, does it make the comic less appealing if I have a storyline that doesn’t focus on him?

Antoine: How do you fix prices for commissions? For cons? Is there any “standard”

Reader’s Issue: Have just started a web comic. Should I advertise? Should I just let it run for a few months and see what occurs? Submitted by: D.M. Rolfe of the Mighty Monocle, http://www.mightymonocle.com/

Drink of the Week: Irish Pirate

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Posted in Featured News, Podcast.

6 Comments

  1. I think the media consuming habits of your readers is worth considering if you’re trying to decide on a landing page. How are your readers used to encountering other forms of media, and how might that impact their desired interaction with your content?

    – Newspaper Comic crowd. A person used to reading the comics in a newspaper has adjusted to coming in a story at random, often missing days in between. They’re interested in a passing diversion and a quick chuckle. They’re not going to be interested in a summary, because that stands between them and the product. It would be like having a piece of paper taped over the funnies that gave the context for “Peanuts.” My guess is that these people are of the older generations, or at the very least, people in break-rooms desperate to get away from work while they eat lunch.

    – Comic book crowd. I know that my personal preference is a comic shop that will allow me to flip through a sample comic issue on the shelf. I’ll breeze through pages, flip to the middle, skim it, maybe flip to the beginning if I’m interested, and then look for back-issues or collected editions if they’re available. If there is a synopsis on the inside cover I will typically ignore it, or only read it AFTER I’ve purchased it. So again, I don’t see the merits of a landing page for this type of consumption. This kind of reader will probably prefer to either start at the first page and get into the story right away, or see the most recent page to see if it grabs them. Typical crowd leaning towards long-form preference, maybe mixed between older and newer generations (comic stores are sorta dying…)

    – Book crowd – Get caught by the cover/title, check either the flavor text in front or read the synopsis on the back. THIS is a group that is used to getting a little bit of content before they invest. They want to know what the flavor of the story is, whether or not the ideas or characters sound interesting, and a taste of the writing quality. For this demographic, I think a synopsis might be make-or-break for whether or not they invest. Similar to comic book, I’m guessing this is a generation mix, maybe with a lean towards younger because I think Young Adult fiction is doing better than its older counterpart right now.

    So who is going to be coming to a webcomic, and should they have their own “crowd” at this point? I’m treating other media as a gate-way to the consumption of webcomics, where a reader gets used to reading in a certain way and likes the familiarity in the “new” media of webcomics. Maybe that’s not the case? And what about other media, like TV, or movies, or video games? Maybe webcomic readers have their own habits by now that should be considered?

  2. One little problem with this particular podcast: the reader question listed in the description doesn’t match the one in the podcast itself. In the description, the reader question is listed as being from D.M. Rolfe of the Mighty Monocle, but the actual question answered in the podcast was from Sandy Debreuil of Crowbar Benson. Since I really wanted to hear your takes on D.M.’s question I’m hoping that it will be in the next podcast. Thanks!

  3. @Ken’s concern about having a story-line that’s not Rick-centric – Honestly do what you need to do. Think of it this way–in the earlier episodes of The Simpsons, it seemed like every episode centered around either Bart or Homer mucking things up. If it had continued on that way, it probably would not have lasted even half as long as it currently has (Still is? I don’t watch TV anymore). Instead, they branched out and started doing stories that completely revolve around side characters like Moe and Apu, who started off as kind of background necessities. They expanded the universe, and expanded canon surrounding the eponymous family the show revolves around.

  4. Tremendous show, guys!

    You four really do have a great chemistry and the time seems to fly by when I listen. It’s always an interesting ride. I’m sure I’m not the only listener who schedules the time to listen to your show because I want to be able to focus, not just have you guys on in the background while I’m working. I can always count on at least one laugh-out-loud moment with each ‘cast (usually several), and this one was no exception.

    As far as Ken’s question, I think it’s absolutely important to create a world within your world and branch out from Rick. New characters and scenarios will open other creative avenues, generating additional storylines and situations which can then feed back into your original concept. Superman was mentioned, well how about its spin-offs: Superboy, The Legion of Super-Heroes, Bizarro, World’s Finest Comics, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl, on and on. They all started with the Big Blue Boyscout. I don’t think I could write Zombie Boy gags continuously day after day. I need the supporting cast to give me a breather. Also too those supporting characters can become very popular themselves, think Snoopy.

    Hope you guys keep putting out these great workshops. Without fail, each one is choice.

    • Thank you Mark, that is truly appreciated. We just get together and talk and try to have fun while figuring things out. I’m still amazed anyone listens, but as I listen to them I pull information out as well, so we’re glad other folks do to!

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