Webcomic Workshop #37

Solving Webcomic Issues We All Face.

This podcast we discuss:

Ken: How do you get ramped back up to doing the workload you previously had on your comic after a hiatus? Part of me doesn’t want to go back to that schedule/lifestyle…

Dawn: After ditching the syndication route, I have seemingly been brainwashed against submitting my comic to anyone, anywhere. When someone initially suggested submitting Z&F to a comic publisher who has kid-friendly material, I scoffed at the idea. But after thinking about it, maybe it would be better financially for me, as well as broader exposure. What are your thoughts on this, if the contract is legit (ie: doesn’t claim ownership over my work, for instance)

Antoine: We did discuss in past podcasts about releasing a Chapter, then take a break while making the next one. Would a “Summary Strip” be a good thing to do before starting a new chapter? If yes, should we keep it in the arcives once the new chapter as started?

Byron: How should I handle the “Old 1977” gang comics vs. the “Young 1977” gang comics?  I think bouncing back and forth from Old Bud to Young Bud will confuse people.  We talked once before about my having a second URL, 1977 Again.  Would posting the Old Gang comics there and the Young Gang at the original URL be okay or not?

Reader Issue: Charles Dowd of http://lilithdark.com/ – Here’s a question(s)- As an all-ages comic creator, how do you manage advertisers on your sites that constantly post inappropriate material, ie furry pron ads, gore, extreme sex or murder? Do you hand approve every ad? What about the services like PW or Scibbol? What is the responsibility of the creator/website owner?

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7 Comments

  1. Good podcast, gang. I’m looking forward to getting back into it myself.

    Ken: Coming back from hiatus is tough. I think you could get away with creating a HUGE buffer for yourself, done at your own pace – and then release them at a 3-5 day a week schedule (seeing as WP does it automatically) and do a set number for the year (or season) of 100, 150 or 200 comics.

    It will give you the freedom to do whatever you want while the comic is updating for the few months you’ve updated. Then you can add to the next season when the inspiration strikes. It’s my plan for The Majors for the time being – it will keep you from getting burned out by the daily grind.

    Dawn: So long as your contract benefits you, and that the ownership of your work is worked out in a way you feel comfortable with, then do as Byron says and find an agent and have your work pitched to publishers. You’re going to take a lesser cut than you would if you went the self-pub route, but then you don’t have to do the heavy lifting (printing, shipping, order fulfillment, etc)

    The good thing is, you may be able to get into bigger shows for a fraction of the cost because the publisher might chip in some money for ‘book tours.’

    Antoine: Your idea works – you kill 2 oiseaux with one stone. You’ve got a refresher for fans, and a ready-made “Story so far” section. I think you can leave it in your main timeline for the first few weeks, and then retire it to that section once the story arc gets rolling.

    Byron: I wouldn’t bother fragmenting your brand, like Ken said. I have an idea though – Start a 1977 again arc with Bud finishing telling his story to someone, and that story ending is actually the ending of the last arc you did.

    For example – the Sunny Acres story line is ending, so you start an old Bud arc and the first frame is him telling his daughter what happens in the last frame of the previous arc.

    That way, you can tie in the flashback/current time storylines at any time without having to introduce new characters or do the whole “Wonder Years” narrative aspect.

    Charles’ Issue: I would say that it is ALWAYS on the artist to manage ads, unfortunately. You are the front line to your readers, so the minute they complain, it goes straight on you – NOT your advertisers. Therefore, you have to be very vigilant of the ad content you display at all times. You can’t get ALL of them, but you can do something about it when the ads are less than acceptable.

    And wow, something broke in Antoine’s head…

  2. Haven’t listened yet…but here’s my two cents on the above…

    Ken – Seems like you’ve been flailing a bit lately, in terms of trying to figure out where you want to take yourself creatively going forward. The love and the passion have to be in it. If you feel you need to take more time to figure out what your next plan is going forward, I think that’s okay.

    Dawn – The thing I’d be working on Dawn is figuring out how you get your books and collections into Scholastic book clubs and that sort of thing. How do your get your stuff in front of millions of kids and tap into some of that “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” market? A pub could help with that potentially.

    Antoine – Summary strips make sense. If they’re decently done, keep them in. It’s only one click to advance…nothing so onerous that would stop a reader from enjoying the book. However, if it’s a quickly thrown together placeholder, then feel free to ditch it. Also, if your chapter breaks aren’t very clean…then you might want to ditch the recap, if the next seen flows directly from the previous.

    Byron – Don’t change the url. Hard enough driving traffic from one site to the next…you already have 1977 active…so keep it that way. How about considering a slight change in art style? Look at Least I Could Do…his flashback strips back to the main character’s childhood are done in a slightly different coloring and art style and layout style. They’re clearly their own thing.

    Reader – For an all-ages strip, this is important. PW has content filters you can use. I’m sure other ad services do too.

  3. Ken: Well, to be honest I think you answered your own question. You do not want to do the same thing you use to do. You have a life so really do the come as you can set aside time and so on. I would say do not go back to 5x a week I say do 3x at most. But while you think about it all, draw comics, so you can use them as a buffer. This way even you you draw enough for 5x a week you will just be making buffer with the extra 2 comics and if lets say you need a month off again you can just take it off with little or no worries.

    That over all is my 2¢ Just do what you can, do things as you doing them now and see how much extra time you have and how much you can get done in a week, if its 4 comics or 2 at least then you know what the limit is if things stay the same. If all else you can take a day or two a week and say these are comic days, with a buffer you can do that easy.

    Dawn: mmmm… You can submit to a few companies alone but here is the issue, this goes for books, comics and so on. The publisher will just put yours with all the rest they have, so lets say you get in marvel, While its true they make money only if they sell, but that also goes true for you. If you do not sell minimum or you just stay at min they will drop you. But over all you be in with Spider Man and so on in this example, that means even tho they put up some ads you will still need to do leg work to get out there more and get comic shops to risk their space for your work, which is hard, local comic shops tend to work better but you also gotta think the comic shops in NYC or Cali wont care to loose that shelf space for some unknown book. Comic companies will not help you get the books on the shelf they will do minimum and see what happens. So, it is up to you and if you have a decent agent to get around and get out there. So no you will not do printing and so on and bare minimum advertising but you still need to do the other harder work.

    Also, many web comics get published mostly by Image, PVP, Penny arcade, Chugworth to name a few.. All basically got published and was able to keep their content online. But even if they was not able to keep it on as long as contract was good you can work things out or better yet put up something new. Also being you are technically small game you will have to try harder to get put on the selves, everyone thinks that just getting publish is all you need to do, no that is just a start.

    Antoine: Well a summary strip would be nice just like in regular comics, here is an example: http://comicrelated.com/wp_fallenjustice/?webcomic_post=fj6-inside-cover

    They do it like pros in comics, it can be useful some comics put up some panels of note or importance worth a try never hurts. And they keep that in archieves.

    Byron: well there is two ways to handle this, well actually a few… You can make the younger versions pages look older, or you can do a route in which was discussed that the person telling the story will be on the page somewhere maybe different pose, good thing is once you draw 5 or so poses you can reuse them again and again and just add it to the left or right of the comic, top is better but bottom not bad, you can even show the faces of the people that they telling story too at times. You can also add humor in those shoots.

    Or you can do it a HIMYM way, where even if the show does not start with kids in the couch you can add a picture every so often of older version talking about what happening.

    Really the options are way way out there and many ideas have been done just a matter of how you want to do it. Many MANY ideas really…

    Reader Issue: Pretty much what was said is what you can do it really a mix of everyone but at end of day it is your fault if things go up that are not suppose to be up. You will need to keep an eye on thing ^-^ its extra work but in end is all you can do. BTW love your cover with the saying =3

    Well… Not sure what else to say…. mmmm… go to me site to laugh or or you can go here to: http://lexianee.deviantart.com/art/How-I-Do-me-Comic-289189634

    Anyway nice to see you all back and having laughs =3 and I am still not sure what you guys do here at Webcomic Alliance =P i need to hear it more and more and me being a computer person I am to lazy to click 3 more times Oo

    • thanks Lexia for your thoughts & suggestions. To answer your quandary about what we do here at WA— well, we post articles 1-2x a week about comic creation, are available on twitter to chat about whatever issue you’re having with your comic or just about life, and put out this podcast 2x a month, which you have heard now. That’s about it! Just here to help and offer our thoughts on the business of webcomics! :0)

  4. Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who offered advice of their own!! Great things to think about. Glad our podcast really gets people’s gears turnin’!

  5. Yay I feel famous now. Thanks for the kind words and for answering my question. I guess I will have to keep an eye on my ads to keep the furries out. But it’s worth it to make almost 2cents a week! 😀

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