Webcomic Workshop #26

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

This podcast we discuss:

Antoine: I’m debating in posting my full Chapter 6 Storyline (40+ pages) in Google+. While I am planning to put it into a book. Thoughts?

Byron: Regaining my focus.  I find even when I’m drawing I get distractions… kids, phone, etc.  It breaks my rhythm and I lose my concentration and thus my motivation.  What do you do to eliminate those things, or is there a way to cope with them?

Dawn: A reader suggested an idea– adding a page to Z&F that features reader-submitted real pics of their “alien-dogs”– which I initially liked. People love to show off pics of their pooch! But I wonder if it’ll be one more thing cluttering up my site. Since we recently discussed simplifying the website to focus on the comic, are these types of fun reader-interaction helping or hindering the webcomic experience? Does being “hidden” on a separate page make it okay?

Ken: I have other projects I want to start and with time being at a premium, I’m wondering if I should just keep them on hold until I can give them more time and likely a better chance of getting completed or just start. Sometimes that initial push is great because you’re enthusiastic about everything and after that’s gone and time has lapsed sometimes it’s hard to get that back. So – what should I do – start or wait?

Reader issue: From Drezz Rodriguez http://www.el-cuervo.com/ – Booth placement. How do you determine where you want to be at a con, or do you just let the organizers place you?

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10 Comments

    • I hear you on the kids thing, Smbhax. My dog is enough. As for making comics, it’s what we live to do! We just have to find ways to earn money to live, so we can make our dang comics!

  1. Okay! Last set of long-winded comments before I actually participate in the podcasts!

    Antoine: If it’s one chapter (a one of your more popular ones showing your current drawing style) I say go for it. G+ is just another social media outlet that is gaining quick popularity. If you embrace it and use it to your advantage, its great exposure for your site. You have nothing to lose by doing it.

    Byron: Get some noise canceling headphones and an “On-Air” light. Maybe even a lock for your door. Alternatively, you have to condition people to keep away from you and treat your situation like you’re not in the house between the hours of X and Y times. Get rid of all distractions – internet, phone, TV etc. Focus on just the comic – set a daily goal (have a page drawn and inked by end of day) and don’t leave until you’re done. Do whatever you can to keep distractions to a minimum and production to its maximum level.

    Dawn: Fan interaction is absolutely important in order to keep your community excited about your work and buying your stuff. This little piece of fan service will have tremendous mileage in the long run. Since its not going to be a big distracting section on your main page, its worth it. Its just another entry point into your site, and you’ll want to take advantage of these visits as best you can.

    Ken: If you can manage your personal life, your professional life and your hobby and maintain a high level of quality in all 3 without burning out from the schedule, then go for it. But, the chances of one of those things deteriorating is very high and you’re also at a high risk for mental burnout. If something is going to give (your comic will probably be the first thing to go) then make sure you tie up as many loose ends as possible before going on a hiatus or shortened schedule.

    ME! – The reason I asked this question is simple. The company I work for has a trade show and event management side in addition to the creative services we offer. But I’ve noticed that the system for comic book conventions differs radically from a conventional trade show or exhibition. Granted, the major players receive preferential treatment in placement, but after that, it is first come first serve no matter how popular you are or how much money you contribute in sponsorships.

    I can see that artist alley is a bit of a puzzle, and I appreciate all of your feedback. I think I’m going to approach it from the same standpoint as I have here at the day job – ask for a preferred spot, pay up front and if I’m moved, seek some form of restitution. Worst thing they can say is NO.

    Thanks folks. See you in two weeks for the next set of ISH-OOOOOES.

  2. To track how people navigate your comic & where they leave – Can do this with in-page google analytics, too. I examined people going through my archives and noticed that when they hit a surreal dream sequence that people either left, or started going backwards as if they were trying to figure out what they had missed. I decided to add comments to that page to talk about dream sequences and my experience with crazy dreams, to reassure readers as they went through. Since then, the back-track problem is gone, and my retention is higher.

    Byron – Check out the PaperWings Podcasts on eliminating distractions. Might be helpful for you! You can find them here:
    (1) PWP #6 Seven Time Management Tips to Accelerate Your Personal Project http://www.paperwingspodcast.com/2011/05/7timeaccelerate/

    (2) PWP #7: Six Time Management Tips To Create More Space In Your Life
    http://www.paperwingspodcast.com/2011/06/pwp7morespace/

    Dawn – I think it comes down to personal style too. You’re very internet social/community oriented. The website should be, in part, an extension of who you are and the focus you have. Conversely, Ken has been very focused on improving content, so his cleaned site makes sense for who he is and how he operates. People that are more likely to invest in you are also more likely to invest in a site that reminds them OF you…all of which makes me SERIOUSLY want to get my site redesign done!!

    Ken – Depends a LOT on the project! For me, the extra is OCTs. I’ve found that I can survive (and enjoy) hosting OCTs because (1) It doesn’t require continuous effort so I can control and schedule when effort is needed, and (2) I have a team that can help me and that tasks can be delegated to. Since I can manage time by task and delegation, it makes an additional project possible without having to completely give up LeyLines. In fact, I find other projects are often a relief, which in the end benefit LeyLines. Judging for entries has improved my own writing. Having to interact with contestants has improved my networking skills. I think a children’s book has potential, AND since kids are attracted to your booth at cons, could be an extra draw in the long-term. So maybe you adjust your schedule a bit to manage both? Doesn’t seem the end of the world!

    User issue – I’ve heard this same observation before from other groups. Booth crowd isn’t necessarily better than an Artist Alley crowd for sales. REALLY like the suggestion of asking for content-based placement. Makes networking easier, AND would make it possible for two different creators to play off of and funnel readership back and forth. “Not a fan of rock-and-roll? How about drunken fools?”

    • great stuff Robin, yet again!
      Man, I never really thought about it but … like you mentioned… Abby IS a nice break from Z&F. First off, I don’t have to write it, just lay out an illustration based on the text given. I work closely with the writer and publisher, so that can be just as beneficial as it is annoying LOL. I think it IS nice to get my mind off of the world of Z&F, so I can come back to it refreshed!

    • Coming from a company that deals with events and tradeshows, I was actually curious about the method comic cons use to place people because it seemed really random for the artist alley section.

      A booth would be cool, but floor space comes at a premium. A table is more than adequate for me. 🙂

  3. As always – great podcast everyone!

    Ken: I understand what you’re saying about possibly retiring Rick the Stick, but I want to make a point of replying that I think the strip is only getting better and better. I hope you reconsider your timeframes for making that decision and make sure that you’re giving yourself enough time and exposure.

  4. Ok so I’m a dunce when it comes to social media. I’m slowly building up fans on Facebook, but you don’t really have fans on G+. You can see how many people have you in circles but that doesn’t tell you a whole lot. I guess my question is though, how does posting your comic on G+ help you grow your readership? Even if you post a comic publicly, only people who have you in their circles will see it. I have a G+ sharing widget on my page, so someone who doesn’t have me in their circles can still share it with their friends. I posted a few times but never got any feedback about it so I quit doing it.

    My impression is that G+ isn’t very useful right now, but when they allow fan/product accounts or pages or whatever, then it seems like it might useful for content creators.

    • Don’t look at G+ like the other kids in the yard.

      G+ will bring you stuff you can imagine as an artist. G+ is more like a community rather than a place to grow a fan base.

      I have a quick question about Inking? Boom, G+ question and I get some great answers.

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