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Is Change Good? O_O?

Okay... I've been doing my comic since August 2005 and lately it's actually been starting to get more and more linkage from people who independently just link my comic... which means I’m getting more hit... which is great for a webcomic... right?
Well... here's the thing…

Right now I have a lot of homework and such piling up... and my comic is not one that's very quick to make, it's generally about 4 to 5 hours per strip. In general I do most things very fast... but for some reason with this comic it just does go that way... and the sad thing is that i don't think it even looks like it takes that long. I've tried to use differnt methods to make it quick... but it turns out to either make it just take even longer or just look really bad.

So lately I've been thinking about perhaps taking a little hiatus from the comic perhaps until this quarter is done or maybe longer... and experiment with some other styles and maybe even other premises for a while I’ve been thinking about the "4-koma" set up and just how not many comic use it well except for maybe Sexy Losers and it really seems like it could have a lot of potential and give a lot of freedom if used right. And also I was thinking about having more of a cast of characters since people can connect with a comic a lot better if there's a real cast... if so the comic would be very different... of course i MIGHT just keep doing it the same... I'm not sure.

But I know that the Rule #1 for webcomics is to keep your webcomic updated regularly and on time. And the comic is JUST starting to get really noticed. Is this a good idea? I was thinking of going up until 50 and then give it a rest... or maybe ever right now... i don't know... i'd hate for people's first impression of the comic to be "no new comics for a while" though...

I dunno... What do you guys think? Should I change it to be simpler, or a different format, or different set up? Should I give it a rest? or WHAT?

Thanks in advance!! ^_^

(gaahhhh!! I should be doing homework know >_<)

Joe Zabel's picture

"For example, how much money do you think it would cost to have Joe Zabel review my comic? "

Ha! Ha! Whatever you paid, it wouldn't be worth it! Try looking at our stats sometime on Alexa!

For the record, I really liked the Photoshop Arcade installment. 8)

Joe Zabel's picture

Has anybody mentioned the option of becoming a drama llama? What I've noticed is, whenever one of these guys, generally "old school" standbys, goes off the deep end about something, a dozen threads get started on the message boards discussing why they are wrong and maybe they are right, etc., and whatever a person's opinion is about the matter, they always say, "Don't get me wrong, Pixelated Weenies is an incredible webcomic, but..."

Joe Zabel's picture

By the way, I didn't intend to take a shot at any comic whose name sounds like "Pixelated Weenies." I realized afterward that there's a popular series whose name is pretty close.

Aleph's picture

I polled my longtime readers as to what was most important to them when it came to my comic. Overwhelmingly, as long as I kept things moving they were fine with getting updates whenever I could get them done. They would rather have me take my time and deliver what they're used to from me than simplify/cut corners to get things done. But my comic is highly plot-driven, and my readers are in it for the long haul.

I've been told that gag strips and less plot-driven strips can't survive unless they deliver updates regularly. Well to be honest I was told flat-out that not updating regularly would kill the webcomic dead. A million and a half hits later I'm not worrying as much about that anymore.

What you really need to think about is what will keep YOU interested in the comic. Once the artist loses interest the work slacks off and the audience may leave. I think one of the main reasons Will G.'s comic kept on driving an audience for so long was that he stopped doing it when he stopped feeling the work. IAG never went into that nasty skid-slide a comic hits when the artist just isn't in that headspace anymore.

If a change in style will keep you working then a change is good. If you're just changing it to attract attention or to keep your readers reading, it'll likely backfire on you by draining the individuality from the work and reducing you to background noise in a scene flooded with replicas.

Aleph's picture

I really don't want to be wanged. People invite the wang, stroke it hoping to get the very biggest wanging they can, and talk about it like getting the wang is going to make them the most popular and best liked people in school. But in the end they're just left raw and hurting, and sooner or later there's that big bulge in hosting costs to deal with, and what do they have to show for it? A quick dirty memory and a bunch of strangers who only know them as PA's bi-- well we all get it.

People have tried to fark us a bunch of times. We're lucky that Jay has had an account on there for a while and can beg the editors, 'Please, don't do that, it will squish us like little bugs' before the link goes up.

I heard about IAG through some friend reflecting on the memory of first reading it, and went over to see what they were talking about. That, I remembered, and I sent a bunch of other people to it who remember it as well. I heard about Squidi when he went all pissy about PA's forum's sprites, and went over with all the other curious folks to see what the hell he was going on about. Never really went back after that-- he just didn't capture my interest.

I think actually reaching people, and becoming something they think about on their own rather than at the behest of some talking wang, is much more the way I'd want to get noticed. Context is everything, and the context of a wanging isn't good for anybody not doing a PA-compatible strip. I'm not even convinced it's that terribly good for people who are compatible.

Don't leave your money on the nightstand just yet

Aleph's picture

You could probably just ask them to review ya. Payola would likely be ill-received. :)

Attention, whore thyself.

Aleph's picture

Well, the surest way to get mentioned in someone's blog or whatever is to piss them off. You could always try getting someone mad at you :-p But I'd pick somebody who gets mad really vocally and persistantly on a bunch of different sites. Poke Kurtz till he thinks you're the antichrist :twisted: Then all the blogs will give you attention at once.

Or, you could start a Spiritual Movement with your work. I hear that's working out real well.

Aleph's picture

Alexa is bullshit. I wouldn't spend time thinking about their ratings. They haven't been up to date on us for the last three years. When I asked them what needed to be done to fix the 'sites linking in', they asked me to install their intrusive little toolbar and go navigate with it. I told them what they could go do with their toolbar.

We fluctuate like crazy on Alexa without any corresponding fluctuation in our actual webstats. Our users are just, by in large, too smart to install a peeking tool.

Aleph's picture

Post pictures :-p

Aleph's picture

If you intend to do anything besides amuse yourself with your work, or work for someone else, you've pretty much gotta be a professional marketeer these days. If you want to work for anybody GOOD, you've got to get noticed by them.

The hobbyist is fine and all but if you've checked some of the comic listings, there's tens of thousands of those and the likelihood they'll get an audience outside their LJ friends is getting slimmer by the day. Even really good work will remain obscure if nobody hears about it.

It happens with any pursuit really-- the first few on the scene get to do whatever they like, and since the field is wide open the way people reach them is pretty random. That's how a guy can open a corner burger stand and end up with billions of burgers served in 40 years. Couldn't do that now even if your burger is totally brilliant, not without putting some serious thought into marketing the product and finding the consumer that wants what you're serving up. Same thing here. Anybody starting in a sea of options has to work hard to get peoples' attention and convince them any one option is even worth looking into.

Aleph's picture

[quote:fa32cab473="joezabel"]Has anybody mentioned the option of becoming a drama llama?

I did. Top of the page. But, in a mocking sarcastic manner.

Drama llama is another of those spike traffic wanging ideas... I think most people pay just about zero attention to anything that gets involved in it past the point where the drama dies down.

[quote:fa32cab473="Fabricari"]=Yeah, it's not just about getting people to click on your banner. I've found myself having to read about a site several times, and even visiting it several times, before I was conditioned to it enough to bookmark it. I know it took me at least 3 visits before I realized I loved Wapsi Square. It's one hell of a process on the reader's part.

What it's really about is making sure that the people who will actually connect with your comic know that something they'll connect with is there. The principle job of a reviewer is not just to give a pass/fail to somebody, but to take a work and analyze it, and help its target audience know it exists. (Also to warn those who are not its target audience that it's not going to appeal to them). A good review will help people know what's beyond first impressions, and give them incentive to stick around long enough to know more.

If Bill or Joe don't take you up on your offer, I'd be more than happy to give it a look. Lemme know in a couple of days.

Quote:
But, meh, I have no pride.

I do! I have trouble directly asking anyone to look at something of mine unless they are asking for submissions, and even then I'm reticent. It's a good thing that advertising exists for people like me, since my personality isn't really built for effective networking. Maybe the advertising thing is a different kind of lack of pride.

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

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:2fd5ec2ad8="TWG"]I stopped drawing comics for about ten months last year. My traffic is higher now than it was before. Then again, I'm really good. HAR!

And, of course, getting wanged by Penny Arcade certainly helps too.

Boy oh boy, I sure hope Gabe doesn't find out that I draw a pretentious, artsy-fartsy comic now. By golly, I sure would hate it if he made fun of me in his rant and sent possibly hundreds of thousands of potential new readers to my new comic. Yepper, that would sure suck. Big time suck. Here's hoping that doesn't happen. Because, you know... I'm all arted up now. Yep. I'm one of the artsified ones now. No more dickgirls and tentacles for me, it's all about the art stuff so, you know, I sure would hate it if I raised Gabe's ire. Sure would hate it.

:( *sigh*

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:c4603bcd78="TWG"]

Quote:
And, of course, getting wanged by Penny Arcade certainly helps too.

To continue the homoerotic metaphor: Penny Arcade's wang may be big, but it's over quickly and it doesnt sit in your mind as being that memorable.

Man... it's kind of sad when you hear that someone's wang isn't everything the internet has always lead you to believe it is.

At least for me, the regular updates of a webcomic are a way of keeping my lazy ass in gear. The longest I've ever gone on hiatus for was about one month, I think I'd have a hard time coming back if I waited longer.

Re: Don't leave your money on the nightstand just yet

Fabricari's picture

[quote:187e630386="Aleph"]You could probably just ask them to review ya. Payola would likely be ill-received. :)

Oh I was just kiddin'. But it is a trend I've seen, and just wanted to rattle the cage some on the matter.

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

Maybe....you should learn how to draw faster and better?

I don't know what else to do other than increase your ability to draw.

I don't really know.

The William G's picture

[quote:c3b936213d="joezabel"]"Don't get me wrong, Pixelated Weenies is an incredible webcomic, but..."
BAH! Pixelated Weenies can kiss my hairy buttocks!


Greg Carter's picture

I agree that the most important thing is to make whatever changes you need to make YOU happy with doing the comic. Lots of my favorite comics have taken breaks and come back stronger. Whether it was a vacation, retooling the art and/or site, or whatever, if people like it they will come back. And if the comic is better it will be easier to get even more readers.

It seems people are very understanding if you explain the situation. I took a month off last year to edit and basically reboot my comic with no ill effects. Anything that improves the output will be good for traffic in the long run. I dumped a years worth of strips and wrote a new intro and readership has been climbing much faster since. I'm thinking about having another break for spring cleaning and editing this year. I love having a webcomic because I CAN go back and do these things if I want.

Greg Carter - Abandon: First Vampire - Online Graphic Novel

Tim  Demeter's picture

My experience is that readers will tolerate a break as long it's not too long and you come back when you say you will. I mean, we're only human, right?

The trick is to not let people forget about you, by running SOMETHING on the site to keep people coming back (blog updates or something) even if you need to take a break at some point.

As for for formating, that's a personal choice, I think. You have to do what you think the serves the material best. I've always run a comic book style size page, but that was out of habit not out of any real function, but I'm soon changing formats for reasons you mentioned and others, and I certainly don't think there's any shame in factoring your ability to produce into that equation.

Good luck!

Tim Demeter
does a bunch of neato stuff.
Clickwheel
GraphicSmash
Bustout Odds

spargs's picture

After a hiatus, your work can really improve. You see your old work with fresh eyes, and tend to see the whole impression of your work, rather than the details.

A good way to take a hiatus (or a holiday) without losing readers is to draw a bunch of sketchy cartoons very quickly to cover your updates for a couple of weeks. Draw as quickly as you can, and don't worry if you think they look rubbish. You'll probably look back on them in a month and think they look great (well, much better anyway). This applies to gag-a-day comics usually, although you could sketch a little "mini-side adventure" for narrative comics.

[url=http://www.digi-comic.com][img]http://www.digi-comic.com/images/dcLilLink.gif[/img][/url]

Fabricari's picture

First, I want to say, I'm glad Halley's Comic is not a sprite comic. There's a lot more personality in the art - it's a good strip.

I figure there're two ways you can go here. Either cut back to a completely irregular schedule, but set up an RSS feed or something. Or implement some time management thing, which would prolly cost the comic's quality. (But, I'm still feelin' the pain from last time I suggested that, here.)

If you quit altogether, I'm sure you'll get the itch to come back to it after a while. So most importantly, don't worry about it, just go with your instincts.

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

Screw Getting WANGED, I Want to Buy Your Love...

Fabricari's picture

I've heard that it takes, on average, 3 exposures to convert someone to your comic, product, whatever. So it seems well placed ads do more for a comic than gettin' wanged.

This may sound sleazy, but they do it in magazines: have people considered purchasing a write-up in other comic blogs? For example, how much money do you think it would cost to have Joe Zabel review my comic?

This comes to mind, because recently, after sour luck trying to purchase ads on several sites, I finally bought one of those 10 dollar/month buttons that Yirmumah was sellin'. And with it, he drops a mention in the blog. That blog spot probably has more value than the actual button. At least, judging from the traffic patterns, I'm guessing it does.

Your thoughts?

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

Re: Screw Getting WANGED, I Want to Buy Your Love...

Fabricari's picture

[quote:2d2118de97="TWG"]"Krispy Kremes: So good you'll suck a dick!" we'll laugh at the joke, but it wont inspire us to get some donuts.

This is something I've struggled with. With ads you have 2 or 3 words to get people to click. This year, I've mostly stuck with the "Sexy Violent Cyberpunk". But it's difficult to analyse if that's any more or less effective than the newer "Fabricari. Broken Robots." I guess I don't really understand the audiance we appeal to. Or should appeal to. But now you've got me seriously thinking "Fabricari: So good, you'll suck a dick!" might just be the way to go. Or something.

[quote:2d2118de97="TWG"]Persistance is needed.

Yeah, it's not just about getting people to click on your banner. I've found myself having to read about a site several times, and even visiting it several times, before I was conditioned to it enough to bookmark it. I know it took me at least 3 visits before I realized I loved Wapsi Square. It's one hell of a process on the reader's part.

[quote:2d2118de97="TWG"]Anyway, the secret to getting the Examiner to review you is to ask someone on staff nicely if the have the time for a personal review. If they like it enough, they'll probably write it up for the zine.

Just remember that Joe's sorta like Nancy in Sin City. The only stripper in town that never takes off his top.

Well, I've always resorted to back-handed drunk-blogs or obfuscated forum posts to make myself heard. Never occured to me to drop the ego and actually ask. But, meh, I have no pride. Bill? Joe? Would either one of you guys mind giving Fabricari.com a critical review? I realize it would amount more to an autopsy than a review. This year has been a messy evolution for Adam and I. You could even make us the poster boys of how NOT to make a webcomic. We really don't mind. It would be most appreciated! Of course, a direct e-mail from me might be the more professional way to do this, eh?

If this doesn't work, I'm gonna have to bribe Ghastly to write about me in his blog, and I don't even want to think what his demands are. But tenticle porn is not beneath me. No, sir, it isn't.

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

Re: Screw Getting WANGED, I Want to Buy Your Love...

Fabricari's picture

[quote:41304cf03a="Kiba"]Is that what people usually called "branding"? What you guys now? Professional marketeers?

That's the rub, isn't it. You have to wear two hats in this game. The creator and the marketer. Sadly, the marketer in me tends to sound more like a snake-oil carpetbagger. It's not something I really enjoy.

But I do it for the artist side of me who wants folks to read and respond to the work. It would be idea if we could simply create, and readers sought us out. But then I think forums like this would be quiet - that would be a shame.

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

Is Change Good? O_O?

Halley's picture

Okay... I've been doing my comic since August 2005 and lately it's actually been starting to get more and more linkage from people who independently just link my comic... which means I’m getting more hit... which is great for a webcomic... right?
Well... here's the thing…

Right now I have a lot of homework and such piling up... and my comic is not one that's very quick to make, it's generally about 4 to 5 hours per strip. In general I do most things very fast... but for some reason with this comic it just does go that way... and the sad thing is that i don't think it even looks like it takes that long. I've tried to use differnt methods to make it quick... but it turns out to either make it just take even longer or just look really bad.

So lately I've been thinking about perhaps taking a little hiatus from the comic perhaps until this quarter is done or maybe longer... and experiment with some other styles and maybe even other premises for a while I’ve been thinking about the "4-koma" set up and just how not many comic use it well except for maybe Sexy Losers and it really seems like it could have a lot of potential and give a lot of freedom if used right. And also I was thinking about having more of a cast of characters since people can connect with a comic a lot better if there's a real cast... if so the comic would be very different... of course i MIGHT just keep doing it the same... I'm not sure.

But I know that the Rule #1 for webcomics is to keep your webcomic updated regularly and on time. And the comic is JUST starting to get really noticed. Is this a good idea? I was thinking of going up until 50 and then give it a rest... or maybe ever right now... i don't know... i'd hate for people's first impression of the comic to be "no new comics for a while" though...

I dunno... What do you guys think? Should I change it to be simpler, or a different format, or different set up? Should I give it a rest? or WHAT?

Thanks in advance!! ^_^

(gaahhhh!! I should be doing homework know >_<)

_________________

Halley'c Comic

Re: Screw Getting WANGED, I Want to Buy Your Love...

[quote:609eb469a1="TWG"][quote:609eb469a1="Fabricari"]I've heard that it takes, on average, 3 exposures to convert someone to your comic, product, whatever. So it seems well placed ads do more for a comic than gettin' wanged.

This may sound sleazy, but they do it in magazines: have people considered purchasing a write-up in other comic blogs? For example, how much money do you think it would cost to have Joe Zabel review my comic?

This comes to mind, because recently, after sour luck trying to purchase ads on several sites, I finally bought one of those 10 dollar/month buttons that Yirmumah was sellin'. And with it, he drops a mention in the blog. That blog spot probably has more value than the actual button. At least, judging from the traffic patterns, I'm guessing it does.

Your thoughts?
I pretty much agree.

Well, if I recall, ads work by saturation, not by their vriture of being ads. I mean, if we see just once "Krispy Kremes: So good you'll suck a dick!" we'll laugh at the joke, but it wont inspire us to get some donuts.

But, if we see "Krispy Kreme Krispy Kreme Krispy Kreme Krispy KremeKrispy KremeKrispy KremeKrispy KremeKrispy Kreme Krispy Kreme Krispy Kreme Krispy Kreme.." continually, eventually it will be the first thing we go for when we're in a donut mood. This is exactly where (on the topic of a different thread) viral marketing's weakness is. Persistance is needed.

That being said, this persistance is one of the benefits of having a group of fanboys at your disposal. They can get the word out for you, much like Jesuits did for the inquisition. But that means you got to produce fanboy oriented material for them. Sort of a gilded cage in a way.

Anyway, the secret to getting the Examiner to review you is to ask someone on staff nicely if the have the time for a personal review. If they like it enough, they'll probably write it up for the zine.

Just remember that Joe's sorta like Nancy in Sin City. The only stripper in town that never takes off his top.

Is that what people usually called "branding"? What you guys now? Professional marketeers?

The William G's picture

I stopped drawing comics for about ten months last year. My traffic is higher now than it was before. Then again, I'm really good. HAR!

But the truth is that your readers know... or at least they should know... that you, as a webcomic maker, are doing this in your spare time. And they can accept a hiatus from you when you run out of that spare time. They will come back when they know about your return.

To put it another way: Until they start giving you money, you are your own lord and master. Do what you have to do.


The William G's picture

[quote:9ab851ab82="Ghastly"][quote:9ab851ab82="TWG"]I stopped drawing comics for about ten months last year. My traffic is higher now than it was before. Then again, I'm really good. HAR!

And, of course, getting wanged by Penny Arcade certainly helps too.
To continue the homoerotic metaphor: Penny Arcade's wang may be big, but it's over quickly and it doesnt sit in your mind as being that memorable.

Or to put it another way: Aside from the sudden spike, I only got a minor traffic boost from them overall. But like most comics, their audience are genre readers. I have no gags about pop culture/ games to keep them. And that's fine. To be honest, I think I'd get more regular readers if I advertised with you or Chugworth because the visual genres I work in are a bit closer to what you guys are doing.

But hey, Mike tried his best.

Quote:
I think one of the main reasons Will G.'s comic kept on driving an audience for so long was that he stopped doing it when he stopped feeling the work. IAG never went into that nasty skid-slide a comic hits when the artist just isn't in that headspace anymore.

Thanks for understanding.

Anyway, Halley: If you consider yourself a creator first and a minstrel second, and you're at the point where you've even contemplating hanging it up for a while, do so. You may get a larger audience by knocking it out everyday, but you'll also be producing shite because you dont love what you're doing. Some people never notice it, but you always will.


Re: Screw Getting WANGED, I Want to Buy Your Love...

The William G's picture

[quote:ec6af334af="Fabricari"]I've heard that it takes, on average, 3 exposures to convert someone to your comic, product, whatever. So it seems well placed ads do more for a comic than gettin' wanged.

This may sound sleazy, but they do it in magazines: have people considered purchasing a write-up in other comic blogs? For example, how much money do you think it would cost to have Joe Zabel review my comic?

This comes to mind, because recently, after sour luck trying to purchase ads on several sites, I finally bought one of those 10 dollar/month buttons that Yirmumah was sellin'. And with it, he drops a mention in the blog. That blog spot probably has more value than the actual button. At least, judging from the traffic patterns, I'm guessing it does.

Your thoughts?
I pretty much agree.

Well, if I recall, ads work by saturation, not by their vriture of being ads. I mean, if we see just once "Krispy Kremes: So good you'll suck a dick!" we'll laugh at the joke, but it wont inspire us to get some donuts.

But, if we see "Krispy Kreme Krispy Kreme Krispy Kreme Krispy KremeKrispy KremeKrispy KremeKrispy KremeKrispy Kreme Krispy Kreme Krispy Kreme Krispy Kreme.." continually, eventually it will be the first thing we go for when we're in a donut mood. This is exactly where (on the topic of a different thread) viral marketing's weakness is. Persistance is needed.

That being said, this persistance is one of the benefits of having a group of fanboys at your disposal. They can get the word out for you, much like Jesuits did for the inquisition. But that means you got to produce fanboy oriented material for them. Sort of a gilded cage in a way.

Anyway, the secret to getting the Examiner to review you is to ask someone on staff nicely if the have the time for a personal review. If they like it enough, they'll probably write it up for the zine.

Just remember that Joe's sorta like Nancy in Sin City. The only stripper in town that never takes off his top.