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That Buzzing Noise

As I'm sure people who know me will attest, I am always fretting about wanting to create "buzz". I don't know if it's my inner attention whore or what, but I'm always fighting off the vague suspicion that all the work I pour into my comics generates little more than a shrug from the world at large.

From a philosophical point of view, my basic opinion is that the best way to generate buzz is by making comics so good that people will naturally want to talk about them. The problem with that is that a) the public is fickle, and b) what I consider really good comics and what the general public consider to be really good comics, only rarely overlap.

That was one of the big things that struck me about ComicCon -- there were rows and rows and rows of people trying desperately to make an impression. Of course, fandom being what it is, the usual cheese certainly drew an easy crowd, but that's also a fickle crowd. The next booth over, with a variation on the usual cheese, drew the same crowd five minutes later.

So knowing that the fanlemmings are not really worth pursuing ('cause they'll forget you as fast as they adopted you), I tend to concentrate on building a more stable if noticeably smaller core audience. But it sometimes feels like even they have wandered off. The Suburban Jungle forum has only a handful of regular posters, and they spend a lot of their time in the OT threads rather than discussing the strip. Fanmail tends to be light on analysis, just a cheerful "I enjoy your strip." Don't get me wrong, I'm glad people enjoy it -- but there doesn't seem to be much depth to that enjoyment. It doesn't seem to mean much to people.

I'm not sure what to do about it, or even if there's really anything to be done really. It might just me being neurotic (A neurotic artist? There's a novelty!). I don't expect SJ to ever be as big as, say, Omaha the Cat Dancer -- although I'd love for it to be. But NN I think has the potential to be a popular mainstream work, if we can just get it out there somehow.

Speaking of which, NN will be 10 years old next year -- the prospect is mind-boggling. Have I really been doing webcomics for a decade? And I'm still fretting about creating buzz?

I must be a loony! 0.o

one hint about self-promotion:

Gordon McAlpin's picture

Here's one hint about self-promotion: when you refer to your strip in a blog entry at a popular webcomics site, write the full title at least the first time you mention it and link to it. (I'm referring to "NN" here, which you didn't mention the full title of in the entry.)

Multiplex is a weekly webcomic revolving around the staff of the Multiplex 10 Cinemas.

Multiplex is a twice weekly humor comic about the staff of the Multiplex 10 Cinemas and the movies that play there.

Well, there goes my attempt

The Gneech's picture

Well, there goes my attempt to be mysterious and enigmatic, anyhow! ;)

Thanks for the tip. :)

-TG

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice</&

A really good point!

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Tips - Mention the full title (and embed the link in it), mention your own name in the post and write to people who aren't familiar with your work too - after all those are people you want to think about checking your comic out.

____

Xaviar Xerexes

On second thought, let's not go to Comixpedia. It is a silly place.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Hmm, I can picture it if the membership were limited a bit...

I think you'd need to limit the membership to a particular number (maybe 25?). I just had a vision of such a group with 3000 members, doing one webcomic a week, and it seems, um, difficult. :-)

Of course, there's no reason why you couldn't have a general group and then twice annually the group is partitioned into subgroups of 25 or so - and you cover one webcomic a week.

Bear

 

Hey, you're welcome.

Like I said, it's just one guy's opinion. But I suppose that's a lot more informative than crickets, so... enjoy!

Huh. Maybe there ought to be a place for webcomicers to give each other feedback, outside of the "co-promotion" paradigm and definitely outside of the "I flame and pick fights with anybody who says anything at all bad about my work" paradigm, which frankly have both been done to death.

Bear

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/bear/clonesdream/

Many long years ago, there

The Gneech's picture

Many long years ago, there was a group like that on Yahoo! called the Hotlist, where one member was put on the spot and everybody else reviewed their comic, and they would go in turn. It was very cool and helpful, but it was also 1999. I'm sure if somebody wanted to take up the reins and start it up again, they'd find willing victims...

-TG

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice</&

I'm new to hearing the crickets....

I set up a new webcomic over on webcomicsnation and started updating twice weekly at the beginning of the year. I've been watching my page views per day rise, ever so slowly, to the point where they're about half the "average" hits for a WCN webcomic. Yeah, that's pretty abysmal. I should say something self-deprecating about my artistic skills, but if Order of the Stick can attract a huge and loyal fanbase, I oughta be fine on that score, right? So it comes down to writing, and as someone setting up a long-form story, that hasn't really had time to start working yet.

Meanwhile I've gone and made sure that a lot of places have listings for it (although I haven't gotten around to Comixpedia herself yet and should), written long articles under lots of the updates about comics and the craft of making them, and ... started listening to the crickets.

Am I doing okay? Am I taking too long to position and introduce my players? Is it too short on action so far? These questions and others, and the crickets don't have much in the way of opinions. So yah, I'm starting to feel the same way about not having any feedback.

I want a forum eventually, but I don't think I have enough views per day yet to support a forum. I mean, at all. Nobody's looking, and I don't want one of those dusty-echos-plus-spam type forums that a nobody's-looking comic will generate.

BTW, I'm another fan of Suburban Jungle. I've been reading it for at least five years. And I don't think I've ever contacted you in any way about it. So here's a little feedback:

Right now I'm a little puzzled why the storyline still claims to be "San Diego Trip, Take 2."

I think Conrad and Tiffany co-starring in a romantic comedy is a vein that can be mined for comedy and pathos, but neither will work unless there's both. I'm hoping that Conrad's unexplored father issues are going to get explored here somehow and explain a few things about his character and at the same time ignite some more sympathy for him.

I think there's a feature-length article to be written about how and why authors decide to jump around among storylines, and why this particular instant was the right instant to leave Yin and the Small Society (and space aliens and the Village) and shift to Tiffany and Conrad and their reptilian director. But I haven't quite figured out what I want to say, so I haven't written that article yet.

Yin and the Small Society and the space aliens are going to attempt to rescue an alien from the Village? This will be interesting. Personally I think the blokes at the village are already using Alien Tech, but if not from this particular batch of aliens, then from whom?

I like the new character who's a psychic skunk. I hope she becomes a regular. We need more psychic jokes.

I hope Squash becomes a regular at the Watering Hole-in-The-Wall because Ramses has needed someone to help draw him out of his shell and Squash looks like exactly the right blend of good-natured stupidity and martial-arts discipline to become Ramses' best friend who is capable of inadvertently tripping him into zen moments of enlightenment. The contrast between the characters (anger and sweetness) is tasty, and their mutual interest in martial arts makes Squash capable of earning Ramses' respect despite his simplicity.

I don't think Leona's been pulling her weight lately and I've been wondering if you intend to write her out of the strip. She doesn't seem to be working as Tiff's Rival anymore.

Hope that helps, but you know it's just one guy's opinion...

Bear

 

I should say

scarfman's picture

I should say something self-deprecating about my artistic skills, but if Order of the Stick can attract a huge and loyal fanbase, I oughta be fine on that score, right?

It's a mistake to consider Burlew's art poor just because it's simple. Once when I was a kid I heard family discussing Jack Benny's violin playing. "You have to be really good to be that bad," they said.

Bill Mauldin once wrote of Johnny Hart's art, "So the hero's a little off-center in the panel. Stick in a computer with a lot of dials, or a tree with every leaf. Nothing wows the reader like a tree with every leaf.

"But you place two unwashed cavemen against a straight line that might be the top of the horizon or the bottom of an overcast, and you'd better place them right."

Paul Gadzikowski, paul@arthurkingoftimeandspace.com
Arthur, King of Time and Space New cartoons daily

haha, "stick in a tree with

haha, "stick in a tree with every leaf" is like my single artistic strength.

 

 

<a xhref="http://www.kiwisbybeat.com" target=blank>Kiwis by beat!</a>

Cool, thanks! :)The

The Gneech's picture

Cool, thanks! :)

The storyline drop-down needing to be updated is purely a maintenance issue that I need to sit down and deal with. Same is true re: the cast listing, which is woefully out of date.

re: Conrad's father, I have long had in my notes a plan that included an extended search for him to actually find and meet the guy, but I'm still waiting for the story to gel in my head a little more. I suspect that may happen after the transition to the new format.

re: Story shifting, my dirty little secret is that I sometimes shift from one story to another because I'm stuck for ideas and need some time to think. One of the big challenges with doing a continuous run is there's no downtime! But I do try to at least shift when I'm at a cliffhanger or mini-resolution, so it's not quite like being in mid-sentence.

re: Catscratch & Squash, they're fun characters and I'm looking for ways to bring them into the story more. :) But as one reviewer commented, the cast is getting kinda crowded! (D'Oh!) So it's hard to do everybody justice.

re: Leona, her recent (relatively recent, anyway) epiphany has made the old snipe-at-Tiffany gag seem a bit out of place ... but she's still got plenty of issues! She just needs some screen time. ;) I'll work on that.

Thanks much!

-TG

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice</&

Forums

Jamie Robertson's picture


I too understand …

As for Forums …

The COTC forum used to be fairly active, but has since died to a whisper. That’s why I stuck a tag board on my site. I’m glad I did.

Jamie

Clan of the Cats

Maybe forums are going the

The Gneech's picture

Maybe forums are going the way of the BBS? I wonder.

-TG

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice</&

Just so you know gneech

Erg's picture

I just refrenced this post in my try out blog dealy, but I am not trying to hate on you at all.

Hey, at least it's

The Gneech's picture

Hey, at least it's discussion! ;)

FWIW, I probably wasn't clear in my use of "fanlemmings" -- this is what comes of trying to be clever and bloggy. ^.^' My point was simply that there is a large swath of "here today, gone tomorrow" fans that there isn't any real point in pursuing because as soon as you get their attention, they're gone again.

-TG

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice</&

I get yah.

Erg's picture

That is the nature of the web. Though you might get fewer lemmings by having a RSS feed, or if you do have it a more clearly labelled RSS feed.

I can totally echo the

roofpig's picture

I can totally echo the sentiments about the forum users. I constantly try to get discussions going about the comic, and I do get compliments and the occassional criticism on certain strips, but very rarely a flat out discussion. However, the people that do express their enjoyment of the comic and the reasons why are the ones that keep me from feeling like I'm "working in a vacuum". I know, from these people, that I've reached somebody and accomplished what I set out to do with my story.

------ A school that teaches magic? Why does that sound familiar...? Bardsworth

- College is more fun when magic is involved. Bardsworth

Very true. It can be hard to

The Gneech's picture

Very true. It can be hard to remember sometimes that the reason many people are quiet, is because they are satisfied and don't feel the need to complain!

-TG

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice</&

Forums

Erg's picture

Forums really need a critical mass to get going. It may not be that the fans are unwilling butr rather there jsut aren't enough of them. This goes for all forums.

The first way to please the fan lemmings....

Erg's picture

might be to not call us lemmings. Hamsters are a more dignified and discerning rodent. I read 30 some comics consistently and have never sent a single fan email of any sort. Still, I read regularly, for years in someplaces, click on links, and buy merchandise. Maybe some fans aren't fickle, they just are comic fans and like your comic rather than Suburban Jungle fans in particular.

If you read 30 strips

The Gneech's picture

If you read 30 strips consistently, you're not the kind of fan I was referring to by "fanlemming"! :)

Actually, given the nature of the place, I'd be very surprised if there were any lemmings on Comixpedia!

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice</&

too have dwelt in that cave, my brother...

mooncity's picture

I know just what you mean. One of the biggest challenges to overcome in the field of webcomickry is the feeling of working in a vacuum. I generally don't get any feedback, even when I go to the usual forums and flat out ask for it. I could ask for it all day and still not get any. In that sense, it's kinda like my love life... but that's another story.

 

Mooncity

Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow since 1976!

Mooncity

Autumn Lake

Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow since 1976!

Do you go to cons? I have

The Gneech's picture

Do you go to cons? I have found that running a table can be exhausting, but it's a great way to meet and interact with fans on a slightly more in-depth basis. When I get into -too- deep of a funk about the chirping crickets, sometimes a convention is just the thing to perk me up.

There are people for whom it's a significant part of their love life too, now that you mention it, but that's a topic for another post!

-TG

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice

--

www.suburbanjungle.com -- The life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger

www.mopsy.com -- NeverNever, the story of the faeries at war with humanity, and of the humans who just don't notice</&