Joey Manley, publisher of the leading commercial webcomics site, Modern Tales, announced today that WebcomicsNation.com, a premier hosting and automation service for online cartoonists, has launched today.
BUSINESS STRATEGY SHIFT
â€œWebcomics Nation is meant to do for online comics what services like Blogger have done for personal journals, or Flickr for photo-sharing: enable anybody and everybody to reach a large audience with his/her ideas and creations â€” in this case, in comics form,â€ said Manley. â€œWCN tames the latest and most complex online technologies (like, say, XML, RSS, and â€˜web servicesâ€™) and puts them to work for you, easily, invisibly, and in an automated way.â€
Webcomics Nation represents a major turning point in the companyâ€™s strategy, said Manley. In the past, Manley has acted more as a traditional editor/publisher, pulling together online â€˜publicationsâ€™ which he sold to readers. That business is still viable, and Manley says he has no intention of abandoning it. â€œThe problem,â€ he said, â€œis that we canâ€™t grow fast enough, that way. We canâ€™t grow as fast as the web demands.â€ The idea was, he said, to get himself out of the â€œmiddlemanâ€ position for this project. â€œWith the Modern Tales model, Iâ€™m more like Stan Lee or J. Jonah Jameson than Iâ€™d like to be,â€ says
Manley. â€œItâ€™s unsustainable â€” there are too many cartoonists coming onto the webcomics train every day, and the readership is growing exponentially. The â€˜middlemanâ€™ structure canâ€™t bear the strain of that kind of growth. Thereâ€™s got to be this guy in there who touches everything. It slows you down. Thatâ€™s not the way the web works.â€
WCN takes all the daily hassle of running a successful webcomics service and automates it completely, so that any individual cartoonist can easily and quickly run a top-of-the-line commercial webcomics site. â€œThe idea is that cartoonists will purchase Webcomics Nation accounts â€” which cost roughly the same amount as the average web hosting account â€” and use them to build their own online businesses. And Iâ€™m not in their way, slowing them down.â€
â€œWith Webcomics Nation, I become more like Kinkoâ€™s, or Quebecor, or the Post Office, or whatever â€” I provide the services that cartoonists need to reach their own goals, rather than enlisting them to help me reach mine.â€ He quickly added, â€œUm. Not that thereâ€™s anything wrong with that.â€
This service has been in development for two years, and has been beta-tested by approximately 200 leading cartoonists from the Modern Tales network of websites, including indie icons from the print world like James Kochalka, Lea Hernandez, Roger Langridge and Tom Hart, as well as cartoonists whose reputations have been made mostly online, like cayetano garza jr., Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, and Spike. â€œThis is not a plaything for children,â€ said Manley. â€œItâ€™s a serious tool for real cartoonists.
# Post an unlimited number of webcomics series, or one-shots. No need to juggle multiple accounts for multiple comics!
# Take advantage of unmetered bandwidth and unlimited disk storage for your account. We just keep adding servers and hard drives as needed, and the risks are spread out across the entire community, so thereâ€™s no need to worry about paying the â€œsuccess taxâ€ if you get unexpectedly popular!
# Promote your comics with complimentary banner ads on the Modern Tales network, which includes TalkAboutComics.com, GraphicNovelReview.com, AdventureStrips.com, and many other popular sites!
# Take advantage of all the very latest technological tricks to build and keep an audience, including automatically-generated RSS feeds for every comic on your site, and xml-rpc update pings to 12 major search engines and aggregators every time you post something new, including Yahoo! and Technorati!
# It should go without saying, but due to the sometimes predatory nature of certain sort-of half-way similar services (like, you know, the one owned by a big established newspaper syndicate), you retain all rights to your work, online, in print, and otherwise. I mean: obviously. Puh-leeze.
# Create your own webcomics subscription service, and lock some or all of your comics behind a subscription wall, collecting money directly from your subscribers (using PayPal or any other payment method).
# Sell ads on your own pages, and keep all the money for yourself!
# Sell your print comics and other real-world merchandise on Modern Talesâ€™ popular Small Press Swapmeet website!
# Make your webcomics available as Playstation Portable Download Packs!
# Use our â€œTooncastingâ€ feature to allow other websites to present the latest strip from your series â€” readers will have to click through to your site to get to the full story. Itâ€™s a great way to build your audience!
# Run an automated email list that lets your readers know when your comic has updated â€” you donâ€™t have to remember to send it out! It just works!
# Schedule your comics pages in advance, with no worries about your readers â€œpeeking aheadâ€ by figuring out your file naming system (you can name your files any old random name you want).
# Let our archive management system handle the linking and cross-linking for you â€” no more bewilderment over connecting hundreds and hundreds of past comic strips together in a manageable and navigable archive!
# Use our automated systems for fan-art, artist sketchbooks, cast and character pages, and more â€” the kinds of goodies that help build interest and fan loyalty in your work among the most dedicated kinds of readers.
â€œWCN is, without doubt, the most powerful webcomics hosting and automation service around,â€ Manley said, â€œbut hosting and automation only represent a fraction of what WCN is all about. Hosting and Automation? Thatâ€™s where the other services stop. But itâ€™s where we get started. No other webcomics service offers the kinds of marketing and business tools that WCN provides (like the ability to launch your own subscription service, or the ability to sell your own ads); no other webcomics service automates as many aspects of running a
webcomics site as WCN does (like the modules for fan-art, Playstation Portable Download Packs, etc), no other webcomics service can give you complimentary banner ads on the Modern Tales network of websites, and no other webcomics service is as close to the cutting edge of next-generation web technology as WCN, with its RSS and XML-based â€˜web servicesâ€™ functionality. Most importantly, no other webcomics service is as easy to use. All you have to know how to do is make comics.â€
â€œWhether youâ€™ve never posted a webcomic, or youâ€™re an old hand with other, first-generation automation services, or even if youâ€™re a tech-savvy â€˜webcomics auteurâ€™ with a mastery of all that it takes to build a webcomics site â€” give us a try. After one month using the service, youâ€™ll never want to go back to the â€œold wayâ€ of doing things (whatever your own individual â€œold wayâ€ happens to be). â€¦ Join us!â€