Webcomic Workshop #25

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

This podcast we discuss:

Dawn: Where do we find webcomic READERS as opposed to other creators? How do we reach them? It feels like I surround myself with other creators, but I have a feeling it’s the readers who will spend money and get me to the next level.

Ken: Do you guys think it’s okay to seek out reviews for your comic? There are particular sites that review comics for the good or bad of it, and I’m always eager to get fresh feedback on my comic. Is it too self-serving to reach out to these sites and ask for a review?

Byron: Placing an advertisement in your header is something I see some sites do, but feel strongly against it.  Am I missing the boat on this?

Antoine: Is Google+ already fading as far as giving you more exposure for your comic?

Reader’s Issue:  From Scott Story of Johnny Saturn: Could you discuss the effective use of Twitter?  I only use Twitter to auto-post when I have a new episode out, and don’t really know how to make good use of it beyond that.

 

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Posted in Featured News, Podcast.

9 Comments

  1. Great podcast! Here’s a few comments to add:

    Dawn: Scott Kurtz mentioned that the webcomics community is very cannibalistic in nature. We promote to other artists, we get promoted by other artists, but the artists aren’t exactly supporting your comic by way of sales. I think your best bet would be to find alternate crowds to sell to, as mentioned by Antoine. You should try to find events where kids will be, and set up your sales pitch for parents of these kids, rather than trying to reel in fans from the internet to visit you at a con. The other thing you could do is get reviewed by children’s book reviewers, or get recommended by more famous children’s book creators. That type of exposure is what you need to vault you past the small local webcomic circles into larger ones. Eventually you’ll build a bigger fan base that stretches beyond artists, and get more into readers and true fans/patrons of your work.

    Ken: You definitely should seek out reviews and plugs, because a lot of these reviewers already have a ton of comics in queue, so if you wait for them to come to you, you may be sitting there for a long time, or not even noticed at all. Setting up a press release package is also a good way of elevating the profile of your request over those who simply ask in an e-mail. You look a lot more polished and professional, and shows your commitment to extending your brand.

    Byron: If your primary goal is to make money off your site, then you don’t really need to compromise your design. But if you’re looking to cover costs, unless you have specific sponsorship or a strong reader base that pays your bills through merch sales, ads are a necessary evil. Alternatively, you could set up a side project/blog etc. that is used as a tool for generating ad revenue based on a specific niche. I’ve been doing it with idrawdigital, and it has been covering the costs of my hosting/domain 5x over. That way you keep the ads off your comic, but you’re still generating money to cover your base costs to start.

    Google relies on context for displaying ads, so its terrible for comics unless you post something of high value in the blog portion. That’s why I suggested having a secondary site that discusses a niche topic that you’re an expert in, until you can go out to specific businesses and sell advertising space. The specific niche text could pick up ads relevant to your topic and pay better than ones you’d see on a comic.

    Antoine: Google+ is a lot like StumbleUpon & Twitter. Hit and Run traffic that checks out your stuff, shares it and moves on to the next bright shiny object. Social media is great for getting a quick blast of exposure, but its not a smart way of obtaining traffic that is concentrated on your specific comic niche.

    Scott: Twitter is an effective tool for a quick blast, but the community relies on bumping other people’s tweets to your own followers. In order to get your comic re-tweeted quicker, you need to establish a working relationship with other artists or fans. You also need to set a posting schedule as well – a consistent tweet schedule will get people accustomed to seeing your tweets at certain points of the day. Also, you need to create tweets that promote discussion and direct people over to your site for extended discussion.

    See you next week!

    • Actually, I have to Re-talk about G+ as, since we recorded this episode, a lot has changed already.

      We recorded it before G+ became public (it was still under invitation only). And since then, TONS of new users are arriving and new people are adding me in their circles everyday (a lot), giving me a bigger exposure.

      I also started an “exclusive” circle, which I’m having a blast interacting with the people in this circle.

      One thing for sure is Google+ is changing so much, for the good (so far :P) and since then, Facebook is applying changes to try to answer the G+ phenom.

  2. Great podcast, folks! Lots of issues that I’ve been thinking about lately. Nice to hear some other perspectives!
    ——

    Dawn: I’m focusing on the dog-lover aspect of Z&F, trying to think outside the box, so some of these thoughts might be crazy, but here goes:

    (1) Heavy-duty post-cards (to endure repeated use) at local vet offices? It might be out of place, but who knows? At a vet office people are bored, anxious, and fretting about their pooch or kitty. A cute & fun comic (with Doggies!) might provide a welcome relief to an otherwise captive and stressed audience. They might even have a smart phone to pull up the site and look at it while they wait. You could even pair it with a special discount on something from the store to try and track impact – “Use Code AT-VET for a 10% discount on the first book!”
    (2) Buying ad-space in programs for 4H club events or dog shows?
    (3) Distributing at special dog-walk events? I know my city has big fund-raisers for our local dog shelter every year. These things are CRAZY-packed with dog-themed merchandise, tens of thousands of people attend, and yet I have NEVER seen something for a comic AND dog person.
    (4) For that matter, why not RUN a charity event for a local dog shelter, and make sure they are on-board with the event? Easier to get local paper involvement too. Not only good exposure, but good press, associating a feel-good event with your work.

    Now, if only I could figure out where the Fantasy people are in the Real World…

    ——-

    Ken’s issue: Does anyone have suggestions on good sites for reviews? Places where people will give constructive and honest feedback?

  3. Another great podcast folks.

    RE: Google+, it’s been huge for me. I notice that some early adopters have slowed down, but in general I am seeing more interaction every day. Working wonders for me and I’m gaining actual readers. I love it.

  4. Everything said so far is on point by the comments but I want to add something. My comics are not gamer related either but I feel too many people seem to think of gamers as if that is all they are. A gamer is only interested in gaming related comics. I have to tell you that my experience is not that at all. I definitely go and pimp myself out to the gamer crowd and even now am in the process of setting up a relationship with a huge gamer portal for a wow centric site and I have to tell you, pigeon holing gamers as being interested in gaming only is somewhat wrong.

    Gamers are primarily every type of modern person you can imagine. My view is to find a place with a big audience of people. Just people and then see what happens by shooting your stuff out there.

  5. Dawn, since you mentioned that a lot of your readers aren’t into social media and that you have a fairly long email subscriber list, you might consider simplifying the “call to action” (as Ken would put it) at the bottom of your email newsletter. Maybe it could say something like, “If you enjoyed today’s comic please consider forwarding it to a friend.” The tech savy probably don’t need the links that say “Post to Google Buzz, Share on Facebook, Stumble It!, Digg This!, Add to del.ico.us, Save to del.ico.us, Twit This!, Submit to Reddit”

    Maybe over time more people will have heard of your comic by word of mouth via people’s “Forward” button in their email.

  6. Hey, just found the site and gave this latest podcast a listen. Good stuff! I particularly appreciated the how-to-use-Twitter discussion, as I’m pretty bad at it.

    By the way, Byron, you can disable that chat thingy in Facebook–or at least make it so that people can’t see when you’re online, and thus won’t try initiating chat with you. I was a lot less anxious about going to Facebook after I discovered that. =P

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