Webcomic Workshop Podcast #51

Solving Webcomic Issues We All Face.

This podcast we discuss:

Byron:   None of my books really sold well, even with extra content.  Either my readers are cheap or I’m not giving them what they want.  Besides polls that few people respond to, what would you suggest I do to get feedback from my readers to help me plan the next book… if they want one at all.

Dawn:  Are long story lines for a comic strip a bad thing? Do people enjoy comic strips simply because they are easy to jump into, and a complex storyline will turn new readers off?

Chris:  Is there anything you would not consider drawing for money at a convention?

Robin:  What is key to include in a Kickstarter video?

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Posted in Featured News, Podcast.

13 Comments

  1. I have a question/topic for a future podcast!

    I’m a new parent, and I’m very lucky to be home at all times because comics and commissions are my job. I think I’m doing okay, but juggling a two-month-old and updating on time leave me with very little time for anything else, including sleep! I also worry that I’m taking advantage of others who offer to watch her for a bit while I get work done, my husband and extended family especially.

    I know a bunch of you guys have kids in various age groups–how do/did you juggle young kids and comics? Tips? Tricks? Advice?

  2. Ran… my daughter is 17 and my son is 12. However, my son is also autistic which means he can have WILDLY CRAZY sleep patterns. Now, both of my kids were much older than your two-month old when I started Capes & Babes so I don’t have a whole lot of advice towards that end of your question. When my son goes through bouts of what I call “autistic insomnia”, my wife graciously deals with him while I;m working on strips as I have to be at my day job at 7:30am every day (except weekends).

    What I will say though is this:
    If you’re able to bring money in to your family by working on comics and commissions, there is no reason in the world why you should feel guilty about getting help from your extended family in watching your newborn.
    Think of it like daycare.

    If my wife and I were both working professionals, that’s what we had to do… we had to drop both kids off to daycare right before we went to our day jobs. Lots of parents have to do that in order to make ends meet. So that’s really how you have to think about this… if you need to get work done and make money doing that work, you’re going to need help with your newborn.

    Now, if you’re feeling really guilty, there are things to counteract that. For example, you could arrange a “date night” with your husband or offer to cook a great meal for your extended family as a way to show your appreciation.

    That would be my advice.

  3. I just wanted to say thank you for this discussion! My webcomic (Frik’in Hell) has been online for 2.5 years and the two biggest problems I have is that I can’t sell my books and I have long story arcs that stretch on for months, so this discussion was right up my alley!

    The problem I have is any particular story arc in my comic may take several months to complete because I only have 2 episodes released a month. I’ve learned doing this comic that the number of episodes you release in any given month ties into whether a continuous storyline works or not for online reading. In my case I learned too late that it does not and my viewership numbers have steadily been rock bottom because of it.

    As far as the not being able to sell books, I have two volumes, each packed with just as many extras and behind-the-scenes stuff as the finished episodes themselves. I’ve only participated in one comic con so far, and I managed to sell six sets of books, but since I started selling the books 4 months ago, I have sold zero online. I plan to try to do some sort of holiday sale and see if that works. I too have a hard time promoting myself because I don’t want to seem pushy to people that I’m trying to get them to buy my stuff.

    I do have one comment to make, however, and that’s about when you all said having viewership numbers doesn’t mean as much anymore because the end product is selling the books. That’s fine, but unless you do conventions -a lot-, you unfortunately have to rely on viewership numbers because the more people who see your comic gives you more chances for people to buy your books. I can’t afford to go around the country doing cons multiple times a year, so for me my viewership numbers are far more important.

    Thanks for the great show!
    Todd

    • Hey Todd!

      I think what we meant to say is that your total numbers don’t mean as much today as they use to. There was a time when if you didn’t have 10,000 hits a day, you were a supposed “failure” when in fact, if you have a dedicated audience, regardless of size, your comic and merchandise sales will do well.

      I have a great dedicated audience, but I keep missing the boat on what they really want. I too can not do a massive amount of conventions, and also think that method is outdated somewhat today.

      So keep plugging and hopefully together we’ll find what our readers want!

  4. Hey guys, great show as always!

    I have a question about Kickstarters that maybe you could help me with. I would like to do one to get my current comic that is going to end at the end of the year printed in full but I worry that the timing is bad. If I do the Kickstarter right before the comic ends during December I worry that people wouldn’t buy it because they’re spending all of their money on Christmas gifts for family/friends. But if I wait til after the comic ends like in January, people won’t really have any extra money to spend. And I don’t think I could wait much longer than that because once the comic ends I don’t think people will return to the site. So, I’m really torn on when to do it. I appreciate any thought on this matter, thanks! C:

    • Regardless of the holidays, if folks are motivated to buy, they will find the cash. But, with that said, I would say… totally in my opinion… that Christmas time would not be a good time to launch a Kickstarter. Not because of the cash flow, but because people are generally so busy your project will not get the proper attention.

      My 2-cents.

  5. I spent part of my Sandy induced powerless week catching up with your Alliance Chat. Thanks for keeping me entertained during a tough time guys. I always enjoy listening to you.

    • Well, I’m glad you’ve weathered throw the storm and I hope everything is okay on your end. If we helped even in the slightest way, then we’ve done WAY more than we ever imagined.

      Thanks for listening and the support!

  6. “Pulled a geek” sounds terrible. I love Hitchhiker’s Guide though- the books and the movie!

    Colorado has GOOD tap water? I’m moving. Robin, make room for me!

    Love this discussion about what the end goal is of your web-comic. I definitely would rather sell books than get ad revenue. I love printing my stuff in to books, I love getting the books out there. And my long-form story is just never going to go viral. I’m not a joke writer, I’m a storyteller and I’m starting to come to grips with that. So my occasionally-funny storyline comic is well suited to what I want to do.

    I have a sudden urge to draw Robin with Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. SCIENCE!!

    Someone once told me that if I wanted to be a professional, I had to change what I was drawing to whatever style was popular at the time, so that people would flock to it. I just can’t do that. I have to draw how I want to draw, and write things that I like. What’s the point of doing art and being creative if you don’t express yourself, right?

    I really, really need to steal Robin’s free sketch thing. I need to get some postcards made up that have a blank back I can draw on. Because I saw this in action at Intervention and it was brilliant. Getting people to stick at the table and look through the book while they’re waiting for a sketch was fantastic.

    Things that will get me during a Kickstarter video: passion! I want to see the creator has passion for what they’re doing. I saw a kickstarter that was really a cool concept, but the video was so terrible. The creator was very dry, and the selling point of the thing they were making (it wasn’t a comic) wasn’t even shown in their video. And that was what I wanted to see. So if you’re making a thing that is not a book, make sure that you show all the features of the thing. If one of the selling points is that the thing is collapsible for easy storage, I want to see how it folds up!

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