Webcomic Workshop #22

Solving Webcomic Issues We All Face. Now featuring a listener’s issue each podcast! Special Guest: Howie Noeldechen of Tara Normal.

This podcast we discuss:

Ken: My issue revolves around growing your social circle. I’m a relatively shy person when meeting new people and I don’t consider myself great at “small talk”. I would consider you guys as more gregarious than me and I’m curious about your general approach towards reaching out, including and engaging others.

Dawn: What WP plugin do you guys use or suggest for social-network sharing on posts? I need a combination I’m having a hard time finding. (twitter, FB like, FB share, Google +1, stumbleupon, reddit, and a way to email the comic to a friend– that’s the current RSS feed or at least the comic itself, NOT just a link)

Byron: I see Ken & Dawn are on that Ink Outbreak website for referrals.  I just had Scribol added to my website.  With no advertising budget at moment for me, are we helping or hurting ourselves with these types of links on our sites.  Is it too much for the visitor to take (making our sites too busy again).

Howie: Converting Twitter followers to Readers

Reader’s Issue:  From Chris Watkins on Google+: It’s always interesting to know what single method of promoting has netted a creator the highest number of sustained new readers. For some folks, it’s con appearances, for others, it’s highly targeted Project Wonderful ads. I wonder what works for you folks? I’d be curious, too (given the attention I’ve been paying to my own first book), what avenues have brought you all the most reliable sales for your webcomic collections?

Posted in Featured News, Podcast.


  1. Good podcast guys!

    Ken: Your banner review… I completely forgot about. I’m actually looking to do a site redesign soon so I’ll be contacting you in the next few months for a few pointers if you don’t mind.

    Dawn: I have to agree with your Stumble Upon hits. When ever I post to Stumble, I get loads of hits but they always spike for that one day and then they’re gone. Also, with the whole focus of the site, a great example is The Oatmeal. At the end of each comic your encourage to read more by being presented with 4 other related comics. It’s built so when you’re done with one you thrown right into the next one via 1 click.

    Byron: I agree with Ken, we need to focus on our comic and drive people to read our work. It’s the product we want to push so our goal is to find related comics, encourage interaction and sharing of our work.

  2. Boogity boogity boogity… I must be one of the two who laughed.

    Ken: The easiest way to expand your social circle is through common interests. As long as you have a topic to talk about, it’s very easy. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – that is the basis of small talk – you’re fishing for an ‘in’ to begin a conversation. You didn’t know me at all until I started posting comments on the site – we have a few common interests (design, comics, marketing, etc). We may not be ‘friends’ but we at least know each other in some small form due to this website. It works the same for talking to everyone else. You may not think you have a common interest with a person, but you do. It’s a matter of finding it.

    Dawn: I’m not a fan of those plugins. Third party code often leaves the back door open for malicious scripts. The best way is to create your own buttons and links for people to choose how they wish to pass your comic along to others. Plugins can often be buggy and ugly. With a DIY link, you can modify it to be consistent with the brand image you’re establishing.

    Byron: Exposure is always a good thing, but at what cost? There’s no need to clutter your own property with addons and plugins and links that take away from your content. Google+ is good for sharing, Twitter is good for instant updating at the moment, and other sites like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon are good for showing off to a wide audience in the hopes of reeling in a few visitors. The best thing you can do is try it out for a limited time and examine the stats to see if its worth it.

    Howie: Great fill-in job. You provided one of the better comic relief roles on these podcasts while Antoine was away. In regards to your topic, I find Twitter followers are good for RTs and spreading the word more than converting your followers to actual readers. A lot of people follow in order to rebroadcast things they think is cool. They act like evangelists for your work. They may not necessarily be full time readers and part of your community, but they support your work and share it amongst their people.

    Reader Iss-uuuue: The method of small cons and PW ads is typical. You will only find out with experience, and you must experiment and fail in order to find the success you’re searching for.

    Great podcast folks!

    • Hiya Drezz. I would love to make DIY buttons that match my site, but I’m not sure how. I mean, I can make the buttons that simply link to my own twitter, FB, etc accounts, no problem…. but the interactive buttons that allow you to SHARE the post…. “like” a post (FB), or tweet the post with an option to add more text, or email the comic itself… that goes way beyond my coding skills. Know a way of getting this done?

  3. Maybe part of the reason I’m not engaged by Google+ is that I’m already fairly involved on Deviant Art, which provides that visual element?

    I’m beginning to think social networking is finding what suits a person’s personality and needs far more than the tool itself. I’ve tried forums, facebook, twitter, and Google+. The only one that I’ve found very natural and easy to use is twitter.

    The interactions I enjoy the most are direct person-to-person. Twitter allows me to connect with lots of people and test their interest in interaction quickly. It lets me do this with minimal effort, so I don’t pour hours into a relationship that is ultimately one-sided. For me, it’s a great fit.

    Facebook, twitter, forums, and Google+ all offer different experiences. Perhaps being successful is just a matter of finding the ones that meld with who we are and what we want to do.

  4. For Dawn’s question, I personally use this plugin on my sites: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/share-and-follow/

    It doesn’t have G+ (yet), but it’s literally two lines of code to manually add the +1 button, so I just do it that way and bump it up next to the share widget with CSS.

    Like most of these plugins, it will allow you to email the post’s URL to a friend, but unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to send the actual comic image via this.

    I also have a custom short URL setup through bit.ly pro ( https://bitly.com/pro/ ) for posting to Twitter, and it’s much easier to get working via this plugin.

    • I believe I saw this plugin, or even tested it. Again, the email option leaves a lot to be desired. What I am using now– “1-click Retweet/Share/Like” seems to work for now. Until I do what Drezz suggested or find something else. Thank you for your suggestion Dan!

  5. Great podcast to you all! Howie kind of has my mentality about the usefulness of social media, but then he kind of keeps his use of it to a minimum where as I tend to bounce off the walls with it (twitterholic). I follow people I think I can learn from, or even be entertained by, I don’t need to necessarily interact with them to find things they say or do useful. I follow Howie on twitter even though he doesn’t follow me (he’s a smart-smart man) because I’ve seen some discussions where he speaks on things of interest to me. I don’t agree with him in respect to having unknown people sign onto your social media activity w/o interacting with you means nothing is being gained from it. I think people digest things in different ways.

    Byron, the idea of using our sites to promote our own content within the comics site stems from a conversation you and I, and I think Dawn (yes/no?) had awhile back. I had mentioned stripping away all ads and images that took you away from the comic and instead replaced them with things that highlighted the content within. In doing so I was beginning to show more interaction within the site itself. So when you brought it up in this recent podcast and said it was also working for you, I was happy to hear that outcome. I think ads are a great revenue source once you have the traffic to actually benefit from them, but step one in building an audience, is keeping your potential readers eyes on you and your comic. This is all my personal opinion of course, so take it for the value you find in it.

    Ken, you’re in love with google, whens the wedding? You might as well just mount it and ride off into the sunset, it does no wrong in your eyes [tongue and cheek]. I, on the other had, am warming to it, but again, I have to wonder how much of googling my pants off on it is going to keep readers interested on whats going on back at my comics main site? I’m seeing a lot of posts and re-posts between a comics web site, a creators twitter feed and their google+ accounts. It seems redundant and for someone like me who has the attention span of… ooo … shiny ….. it’s not wooing me the way its wooing you. On another note, you do a fine job with your branding ideas and opinions. I’ve had interaction w/ you in respects to this and you come across as matter of fact and helpful, whether good or bad for me at my end. If someone can’t accept an honest criticism, then tough t*tties to them. That’s the point of having someone help you, not to coddle you, but get you going in the right direction.

    One last note, glad that you guys touched on inkoutbreak. I think its a great tool for promoting your comic because it does most of the work for the artist by putting ones comic into the rotation when it updates and allows users to share their likes and follows. Its not built as a popularity contest, its built to promote a comic creators work. I think I love Brian’s concept as much as Ken loves google+.

    Okay, thats all… I’m out of words.

    • @Jynksie Thanks for your info and your input into my questions about my social media issue. It’s great to have another point of view and you’ve actually changed my opinion. Thanks also for following me on Twitter!
      Take care!

  6. Just listened to the podcast. Great conversation on Google+ vs. Twitter vs. Facebook, etc. It was interesting hearing everyone’s different experiences with that.

    Thanks, too, for addressing my question! I’m glad I asked–via Byron’s G+ stream :)–as it sparked some interesting comments. I also realized that I didn’t word my questions very well, because what I was getting at was a bit different. What I was trying to find out was two separate things: 1) What avenue have you found has drummed up the largest number of returning readers for your comic? and 2) What avenue have you found has drummed up the largest number of sales for your print collections? As was said in the episode, there’s no magic bullet, but there may be some channels worth exploring that are unknown to, or worth a deeper look by, me and other listeners. PW and cons were just examples.

    Dawn, thanks for the shout out! I appreciated the kind words!

    • We are actually having issues with all of our episodes atm.

      They are hosted on a separate server which has been experiencing problems today.

      Hopefully we will have this fixed soon.

      They are in iTunes, if you are using iTunes.

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