In many ways a webcomic is a lot like a baby. You cradle it. You nurture it. It’s a part of you, and you’re a part of it. You can’t starve it, and you can’t spoil it.
In even more ways a webcomic is a lot like a hooker. You’re your own webcomic’s pimp. A webcomic by itself, with all its sexiness, isn’t always enough on its own to attract patrons. It needs someone like you to do some big pimpin’ and work it up and down from dusk ’till dawn. Here are some tried and true methods I’ve used when promoting my own webcomic.
Step 1 – Signing on the polka-dotted line
The first step to big pimping is basic advertisement. What’s the easiest and most effective way to do this? Run banners in your signatures showcasing the best of your comic to attract patrons. You can do this in a great many ways from using sex to sell (See Erik Schoenek’s Loserz banner for an idea – thongmania!), from using simple comedy (Gianna Masetti’s banner for The Noob.), or using skewed pop culture (The banner I’ve been using for White Hydra features a zombie Colonel Sanders and the words “Nuff said”).
Why is a signature better than posting a thread saying "Check out my comic"? The reasons are blatantly obvious – no one likes a whore. Remember – you’re an aspiring pimp; not the ho itself! By putting up a banner in your signature and posting normal posts like any other member you’re flaunting to a potential clientele without the hard selling that comes out lame. You’re saying "Here we are. Come and get us, player"
By using this really simple technique, you can easily obtain hundreds of hits per months from message boards. Remember – the more you visit the more hits you’ll recieve in turn! Work, pimp!
Step 2 – Bury bones in the Big Dawg’s yard
Pimping ain’t easy and you’re going to have to work for this one, but the payoff can be worth more than your effort. Some of the Big Dawgs out there with their pristine ho-comics keep fanart galleries. By appealing to the Big Dawgs (Or Medium Dawgs for that matter) with some fan art they might just repay the favor by sticking your picture in their galleries with the link. If the Big Dawgs look favorably on you, you might just strike up a relationship that’ll come back to help you later on in Step 4.
Step 3 – Hos on billboards
Already up to Step 3, player? Alright, then! One piece of advice I have goes back to the whole Step 1 bit – visit message boards! The boards you want to look for are dedicated artist message boards where members regularly put up their art for critique and comments. This is the perfect place for you to do some pimping.
Two words, my brotha’ – "pin up". What you want to do is either create a pin up picture of a sexy lady (Or guy, depending on your demographic) from your comic or a very awesome, dynamic and/or epic scene featuring your characters in some sort of situation that will grab the attention of a potential patron.
When you’re done, throw it up on the board in a post along the lines of "Here is [whatever] from my webcomic [yadda yadda yadda]. What do y’all think?" . If you did a good job on the pin up, you might just be able to drag whoever sees it back to your site, if only once.
Step 4 – Favor from the Godfather
Undoubtedly, there are some BIG ass Dawgs running their shiz out there. They got a patronage so big it makes you and your dinky little ho look like kiddies. When they bark, everybody listens.
What’s the advantage of this? If these Big Dawgs bark about you then their patrons will come flocking to check out your shiz too. I mean, the biggest most blatant example we have is when Penny Arcade barked on Elf Only Inn, giving Josh Sortelli the influx he needed to do some Big Pimpin’.
Most of the time, unless you’ve got a really groundbreaking ho, you’re going to hafta do something to get barked about. This shiz goes back to Step 2, but is ultimately effective. Take the SUPER ULTIMATE 5 BILLION FEATURED WEBCOMICS UBER FANART pic that Tauhid Bondia did. It featured a dozen webcomic characters, and about half of the people he featured barked for him afterwards. He effectively killed a flock of birds with the same stone.
Although doing something like this won’t usually get you featured on Penny Arcade, or PvP, or Megatokyo, or whatever; it still can open doors for you.