Adventures with the ComixTALK mailbag

So while looking at things to write about this week I was flipping through the virtual ComixTALK mailbag and got a mite bit frustrated with many of the emails. I wound up reviewing some of the hype emails I have received this month. Hope I'm not being actually mean here but rather offering some actual advice and feedback:

Jon Nielsen wrote in that he recently released Revenge of the Fish People — the second book collection of his webcomic, Massive Pwnage.  So there's that for ya. Seriously if you're going to take the time to write reviewers, news-people types and anyone else you hope to get excited about your book, you have to actually write something to get them excited about your project.  I get too many emails to give each of them a ton of attention — if I don't get hooked from the email itself, I'll still give the website a look most of the time but you've already missed a chance to tell me why I should care.  In this case I see a webcomic about computers, gaming, etc that doesn't look at all unique — for all I know Nielsen has a gem in the rough blossoming but I don't know how I'd know.  I don't even see a new readers guide here.  If I don't fall in love with what I see on first glance and I don't see an obvious "hey new readers click here" message than I give it the recent abbreviated archive trawl which usually consists of starting in January of the current year and clicking for a bit. So click, click, click, okay this one on toasting foods was kind of funny. Click, click, click and well I like chart comics that end with punch it in the face as much as the next orc so I liked this one too.  I don't have enough of a sense of the comic to say anything more than Ctrl-Alt-Del-ish.

This is better — an email from Mark Stokes on marking the first year of his Zombie Boy webcomic. Mark gave me a quote — if they're interesting, quotes are nice.

"This one year anniversary marks a challenge I set for myself to reach at least a year online,” said Stokes, who has created and published various incarnations of Zombie Boy for almost 25 years now. “The comic strip format, which I knew was going to be a challenge since I was used to writing longer stories, has helped me improve my work, keep up my schedule and write short, economical and funny story lines. Hopefully I can reach my next goal, which is sticking around until the strip’s second anniversary!"

I can't say this is an awesome quote — especially the first sentence, but at least, it's a bit of color.  Better yet, maybe Stokes could have included more on the growth of his comic or himself over the course of sticking to a regular publication schedule for a year.  If you poke around on his site you can find out that he published the first Zombie Boy comic book in 1987.

And well this is worse.  Jake Brophy wrote in that he recently started a webcomic with his brother and he's trying to get the word out.  The webcomic is called Super Brophy Brothers. I don't know if others would agree with me but best only to hype when it's a legitimate milestone like a year anniversary, or a book release. If you've got no reason to write, at least be creative about it.  The Brophys' comic is wildly uneven, but probably the most original of those that I pulled from the mailbag for this exercise. But based on the short email I got, I wouldn't have much to write about it — short of an actual review and I have a review backlog a mile long.  

I guess the Super Brophy Brothers anticipated this post

Bottom line is to remember that if you're going to spend the time to promote your webcomic, to give some time to thinking up a strategy for success.  Have a legitimate hook to be writing now and make sure to write enough about your comic and that hook so that whomever you're writing to gets hooked from your email alone.


Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.