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I've drawn some but haven't started posting my web-comic yet.
Any one have any advice/warnings/stories they'd like to share? How often do you post? What do you do in creative dry spells, if you have any? Etc, etc.

Thanks in advance!

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Amy,

You have certainly done a lot of the prep-work for having a great Web-comic. Your colors, lettering, interesting characters, theme are all well-developed. You’ve got a patreon site which will continue to grow stronger as you develop your personal contacts with fans and supporters (I differentiate those two groups on purpose).

1. Step-by step Goals – Aside from the obvious benefits of focusing your efforts, short-term specific goals also keeps you from beating yourself up during dry times. My website: abalonofcalifornia.com, never attained a huge fan base(although I really appreciated the contacts I received!) but I had to keep reminding myself that it did meet four of the goals I set for it.

2. Marketing (getting both Captain Orange in front of people and getting you in front of people) will consume as much of your time as creating the strip. This is one place where a non-artist people-person could become a really important part of your ‘Team Orange.’ 

3. Get Beta-readers, people who like your strip and the direction its going. Get them to critique a page or two…if their comments are tolerable to you and improve the strip, use them consistently to vet your strips. Depending on their talents, use your betas to vet speech bubbles, storylines, page layout or just encourage you to keep pushing forward and not listen to your doubts.

4. Listen to your body, particularly wrists and back. Find a good chair-desk set-up that will support good posture. At one point I had my wife function as my ‘posture watchdog’ because I tended to hunch my shoulders as I focused on the computer. I know several famous current cartoonist who got sidelined by carpel-tunnel syndrome; look up online advice on how to protect your wrists.

5. If you have dedicated your art project to God and He has given you the go-ahead, then your art is worship. That means all the scriptural guidelines and promises that apply to worship also apply to creating art in his presence. It means you don’t apologize to God for bad art, only bad attitude. It means that eight-hours spent on a piece that is basically unusable is still not time wasted; its worship.

 

 

First, I agree with all that Brien said.  Now, I'll give you some points so that you can benefit from some mistakes I made.  For years, I thought that I had to pay money to a web host and load my html files into ftp and keep up with wordpressdotorg's versions which always seemed to change making relearning it a necessity.  Don't get me wrong, if you plan on making a lot of money with a donation button and third party advertisers, then that would be the way to go.  On the other hand, most of the really popular web-comics are on secular subjects, and they get their popularity by some very ravenous fans totally preoccupied with the author and the art itself.  Most Christian comics are more about glorifying God than ourselves and our talents (which are a Gift from God in themselves).  Hence, our fans aren't quite as obsessed as those of secular web-comics and our popularity isn't as easy to build up.  Over a period of 10 years, my comics only made a total of $50.00 in donations.  

I've recently found an alternative to paying a webhost, messing with ftp, and learning how to work with wpdotorg.  Hop over to https://wordpress.com/ and make yourself a free blog.  Now, they won't let you use 3rd party advertisers or donate buttons (unless you pay for a higher package), but there doesn't seem to be a problem with you advertising your own merch.  To turn your own blog into a web-comic, use the theme called 'panel'.  It is designed for web-comics, and (for the most part) easy to figure out.  Also, there is unlimited bandwidth, and if you start filling up your 3GB storage file (which I haven't even filled up 1% of mine), you can upgrade to the next package which is around $3.00 a month.  That's way less than I paid for a webhost.  Now, I will admit that it doesn't have all the bells and whistles like the plugins provide for wordpressdotorg (the prev and next buttons are pretty generic), and the header images are a little tricky to design, but I have still been much happier with wordpressdotcom because (over all) it is so much easier to work with.  If you want to get a look at what you can do, go to either of my comics;  When Foxes Fly or Legends of Whoelterran.  Hope that helps.  

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Brien.  I've got a 12 piece set that I keep praying about, people keep looking at, and one person last night told me, "I didn't like it when I first saw it, but the more I see it, the more I like it."  I keep praying.  That it's worship... that is wonderful.

Brien Sparling said:


5. If you have dedicated your art project to God and He has given you the go-ahead, then your art is worship. That means all the scriptural guidelines and promises that apply to worship also apply to creating art in his presence. It means you don’t apologize to God for bad art, only bad attitude. It means that eight-hours spent on a piece that is basically unusable is still not time wasted; its worship.

 

 

Thank you, Brien and 2Cents. You've provided some good advice and support that I will take to heart.

My web comic www.galatianman.com is still ongoing. I have done over 1000 strips. I like both RG's, Briens, and Brian's comments on as Christians we need to see this as ministry. I began the comic strip as a work in progress back in 2010, as an extension of my evangelism ministry. If I can make money someday, thank you God. If I don't then I know I have witnessed Christ to thousands of people. Praise God. I have read numerous books on web comics. The advice I got is to just keep doing them and hope to build an audience. Last year I did a comic every day. I have had a few moments of "going viral". They don't always last, but it was exciting. I sold mugs & shirts for a week and picked up some audience from around the globe. I do the local comic-con every year where I hand out gospel tracts while promoting the web comic and making connections. Currently working on a patreon site and a few comic books.

I make The Silver Eye webcomic: http://www.thesilvereye.com/ It's 400+ pages long. I'm currently redrawing some of the beginning pages to help make the art consistent. (Hopefully then I'll be satisfied enough to print it next year!)

I post on Friday every week. Updating weekly is not as important as updating consistently. You could update once a month, every other week, whatever you choose, but it's very important to set a realistic schedule for yourself and stick to it. There are plenty of times when I just don't feel up to comicking, but I've made it a habit to push through and work anyway. Having it as a habit is very helpful. Another thing that helps is to have your script and thumbnails planned out far in advance to the page you're currently working on. If I have to make a page from scratch and I'm not up to it, it can feel insufferable, but if I already have the layout and text prepared, then it's just a matter of going through the usual steps to get the artwork done.

I'd recommend starting with a free website, such as tapastic, comicfury, or a tumblr with a webcomic theme. If the webcomic takes off down the road, you can always upgrade to a paid site. Building and maintaining a site takes time and money and it's a better idea to focus on making the comic and gathering a following when you're starting out. I really like having my own site, though, because I want to be in control and customize everything. I use Wordpress with the ComicEasel theme, hosted on Bluehost. What I get from Patreon covers the site and then some.

If you ever advertise, be picky about how you do so. I ran a few test ads on TopWebcomics to see what would happen and though my site got a lot of traffic from it, I noticed the new readers who were commenting didn't care that much about me or the story. There was a trend of comments that were either inconsiderate, or made it obvious that they hadn't actually read the pages. Those readers didn't stick around very long, either. I've learned 1) The audience for TopWebcomics is not really the audience I want to target, and 2) People seem less engaged if they find you through an ad.

My webcomic has a Facebook page and Facebook's algorithm leaves a lot to be desired. It doesn't show your posts to all the people who have liked the page. FB gives the option to 'boost' a post for x number of dollars in order for it to reach x number of people and I would never recommend doing that. A way FB manipulates page admins is if they know they can get you to boost posts, they'll limit the audience of your normal posts in the hopes that you'll give them more money.

A major way I've networked is through making fanart. That's how a good amount of readers have found me. It's very customizable because you can make fanart for stories that have a similar audience as your webcomic. Posting the fanart to social media and art sites (with correct tagging) is a great way to get your art seen, and if people like your fanart, some will check out your original work as well. (Just be careful not to let fanart take precedence over your own story. That's a pitfall I started to fall into a few years ago)

Readers who have found me through recommendations and word of mouth are wonderful, they've stuck with the comic for years, and a beautiful community has grown around the comic. It took a while to get to that point, though, because readers had to be invested in the comic before recommending it to family or friends or followers. I think the main key is to update consistently and never stop trying to improve your art and storytelling craft.

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