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What makes a succesful & popular webcomic

The succes of WITCH prompts me to ask this: What makes comics like WITCH popular, as in global wide? Is it compelling characters, complex stories, or just some good advertising?
What is about popular comics that appeal a lot of their readers?

Ta.

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What makes a succesful & popular webcomic

The succes of WITCH prompts me to ask this: What makes comics like WITCH popular, as in global wide? Is it compelling characters, complex stories, or just some good advertising?
What is about popular comics that appeal a lot of their readers?

Witch is made by a massive company with money to burn. Disney can draw in viewers on name recognition alone. Which is also why I'd discount it from this conversation on that basis.

As for real webcomics not put out by a multipbillion dollar company. I see that the most successfull comics are both updated regularly, and (This is the most important part) got there first. If PVP debuted today, it'd be just another keenspace comic.

Joey Manley's picture

You know your site is popular, Xavier, when Disney marketing flaks start flogging their projects on your board.

Congratulations

Joey
www.moderntales.com

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

I don't know who Rebelsun is, but s/he isn't a flack - Rebelsun has posted on a number of topics--all others not-DISNEY related.

Still if any Disney flacks do want to flog projects, our ad rates are entirely reasonable :)

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

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Consistancy is the key. Consistantly update. Consistantly deliver quality work.

Yeah, and the "being there first" thing shouldn't be under rated. Still, it is possible for new comics to rise to become popular, you just have to understand that this isn't going to happen overnight.

I've reached what I guess would be the lower-middle level of popularity and it's taken me almost 3 years to get there. After another three years my popularity will probably be upper-middle or even lower-high.

You also have to work like hell to promote your comic without being obnoxious in your promotion (don't e-mail popular comics asking them to "trade links"). After a point you'll get to a level where your reader base starts promoting your comic for you. Then you'll start seeing some real growth.

Quote:
You also have to work like hell to promote your comic without being obnoxious in your promotion

Any suggestions regarding that? I recently started a webcomic that I'm somewhat happy with but I've been hestitant to start pluging it everywhere until I actually have a few comics in the archive. Does doing fan art or guest comics for the more well known comics help?

I agree with quality and regular updates.

When GAAK first started at Drunkduck last November we updated five days a week and held that schedule until february when we switched to a three days a week. When folks started to complain that GAAK was ONLY three days a week, I knew we were getting somewhere. :)

Honestly? I don't know how comics that update a page a week can hold an audience. Especially since there's so much out there to choose from that may be updating more frequently. If your lucky enough to find an audience you've got to give them what they want--Your comic on a regular basis. If not, someone else will.

Dee

G.A.A.K Online
www.drunkduck.com/GAAK

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

[quote:6e76ffb5e7="eldritchmonkey"]Any suggestions regarding that? I recently started a webcomic that I'm somewhat happy with but I've been hestitant to start pluging it everywhere until I actually have a few comics in the archive. Does doing fan art or guest comics for the more well known comics help?

Yes, providing your fanart doesn't suck. Also, be careful not to look like a whore. Some artists encourage fanart by linking the artists or showcasing the art on their pages. Others just send you a "thank you" e-mail, because sometimes they just don't have the time to set up every fanart they receive.

I find myself in this situation lately, and I'm not even famous. I'm receiving gifts and haven't had the time to put them all on a gallery or something yet.

Also, artists can tell when you draw for them with the sole purpose of having your comic plugged.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:3c40d6e584="eldritchmonkey"]

Quote:
You also have to work like hell to promote your comic without being obnoxious in your promotion

Any suggestions regarding that? I recently started a webcomic that I'm somewhat happy with but I've been hestitant to start pluging it everywhere until I actually have a few comics in the archive. Does doing fan art or guest comics for the more well known comics help?

Believe it or not, you are promoting your comic right now without even realizing it.

Being a valued and contributing member of an online community is a great way to get the promotion ball rolling. This means making intelligent posts and not just posting "Hey gang! Read my comic!"

Fan art and guest strips in another good way. The key there is to make sure they don't suck. If you're using your art to promote your comic then you really have to put a lot of effort into the work.

The best way I found was the community thing. I'm a very social animal so I can be found online in a number of different online communities. A little link in your .sig file and it turns out you're promoting your strip without ever having to even mention it. The key is to be genuine in your role in that online community. Don't just join an online community because you think it will help promote your strip. Join it because it is a community that truly interests you. The promotion of your strip then becomes an added bonus.

On the subject of how relatively new comicers might gain publicity, what about sites like onlinecomics.net or buzzcomix.net?

Whats the popular opinion here on sites like those?

There's always been something about those sites that has kinda bugged me about them, but I couldn't put my finger on it. What do you guys think?

[quote:6ef26bd115="Ghastly"]Consistancy is the key. Consistantly update. Consistantly deliver quality work.

Yeah, and the "being there first" thing shouldn't be under rated. Still, it is possible for new comics to rise to become popular, you just have to understand that this isn't going to happen overnight.

I've reached what I guess would be the lower-middle level of popularity and it's taken me almost 3 years to get there. After another three years my popularity will probably be upper-middle or even lower-high.

You also have to work like hell to promote your comic without being obnoxious in your promotion (don't e-mail popular comics asking them to "trade links"). After a point you'll get to a level where your reader base starts promoting your comic for you. Then you'll start seeing some real growth.
Well, let's be honest here Ghastly, tentacle rape monsters puts asses in seats.

Joey Manley's picture

One overlooked item here: luck.

Luck is probably the single most important element -- because assuming you have everything else in play (quality, reliabibility, consistency, a winning attitude, etc., etc.) you are still more likely to fail than succeed (this is true of every creative endeavor, not just webcomics). Luck makes all the difference in the world.

How to create luck, though -- well, that's the secret, isn't it?

Joey
www.moderntales.com

I don't know, Joey. I think persistence is more important than luck.

You bust your ass to make a high quality comic, you bust your ass to get the word out about your comic with the use of banner ads, sig tags, or by any other means necessary to interest a potential audience, you get your comic out to the people on a regular enough basis to hold the audience you've built, those readers become regular readers of your comic and tell others about it, those others check it out for themselves and they become regular readers who themselves tell folks about your comic, and slowly but surely a popular webcomic is born. Won't happen overnight. You'll have to bust your ass without missing a step. But luck? I have my doubts.

Problem is most folks think "if they build it they will come". Bullshit! That only works in Kevin Costner movies. Once you've built it you have to go out and get your potential audience, bring them back to what you've built, and say, "SEE!!!".

Making the comic is just the beginning. The real work starts when the comic is finished. There are a buh-zillion and one webcomics out there. To get yours recognized you have to be ad man, pitch man, marketing genius, pimp, and PT Barnum all rolled into one to stand out, be seen, and get your comic read. Why? Because if your not willing to do the work someone like me, who wants people to read and enjoy their comics and is willing to do whatever needs doing to get people to come read them by any means necessary, are more than willing to put in the work, the time, the energy, and the effort it takes to do the work for the benefit of my comic. Luck not withstanding.

So, IMHO if you've got a quality webcomic you want folks to read? Your audience is out there--GO GET 'EM!!!! Because chances are, with a buh-zillion and one other webcomics to choose from--They ain't gonna find you. Put in the work and the rest will take care of itself.

My two cents and about all its worth. :)

Dee

G.A.A.K Online
www.drunkduck.com/GAAK

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

Joey Manley's picture

Sounds to me like you're offering a recipe for creating what I'm calling "luck," Dee. Good advice, for sure.

I read a quote in an old Esquire Magazine at my brother-in-law's house yesterday, which is apropos. It was about commodities trading, but it could apply to anything.

"It is impossible for a loser to transform himself into a winner. Because that's the kind of thing that a winner would do."

Joey
www.moderntales.com

I like the quote, Joey, just not the use of the word "luck" in this instance. Luck is something that happens to you without your having to do much of anything for it. Success is something you make happen. As crowded as the webcomic world is out there with so many webcomics to choose from, if a creator is sitting back, doing nothing, and hoping for success to come to him/her--Then luck and a good bitchslap by reality is indeed what they need. Success takes effort. Success you earn.

As someone who's success I admire, Joey, did success fall into your lap without you having to work for it? Or did you bust your ass to get it? I'm figuring you bust your ass. Making your success something to be admired. On the other hand, if someone handed you the MT empire and said "Here. Have it." like some rich kid inheriting a fortune that someone else sweated to earn, then I'd say "that lucky bastard".

I just think "luck" is not the right word in this instance. But I've been wrong before. Ask anybody. LOL!!! :)

Dee

G.A.A.K Online
www.drunkduck.com/GAAK

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

Another aspect (once you've directed people to your site) is having something different enough that stands out (and is interesting) but not so different that no one gets it.
There is a common complaint I hear about web-comics in general, "they all look the same". That statement is no better than other stereotypes or generalizations, but should give the potential comic creator pause. If their goal is to create the next PA or another magna, they need to do something to seperate it from the (insanely large) crowd.

Joey Manley's picture

I worked hard -- and I was lucky.

I'm just saying: others have worked just as hard as me. Harder. And haven't been as lucky.

I agree that you have to work hard to succeed. Working your ass off is the bare minimum. Let's just assume we all work our asses off. I just wish that that's all it took. But there's an unpredictable element to success that can't be accounted for, especially in the entertainment business, even one as small as ours.

Joey
www.moderntales.com

I'm sorry, but this rah-rah motivational Tony Robbins 'you can do it if you work hard enough!' stuff just doesn't work for me anymore. Actually it's more like the Dr. Phil approach: 'You can do it if you work hard enough... and if you don't, other people will take what's yours.' I used to believe that stuff, but it didn't get me anywhere.

And I did the whole bit. I tried updating three times a week, the constant site pimping and advertising, doing every single thing I could to get my name out there. By about the fourth month of this (and especially after one occasion where I did a 24-hour straight shift on a comic to make sure I met a deadline), I realized I just couldn't do three comics a week. I wish I could but I just don't physically have it in me. So I switched to a weekly schedule. It was less stressful, and my traffic didn't really change much - I had nothing before, and afterwards I still had nothing. :?

But worse, I was still miserable. Working on StarStrikers was a chore for me because I bought into this competitive stuff, and I was always comparing how I was doing to everyone else. Eventually I became so depressed about my work that I had to walk away for it for three months. And guess what? Even when I was on hiatus, the traffic stayed about the same. I'm only ever going to have the handful of loyal readers, and they've proven to me time and time again that they'll keep coming back and supporting me in my endeavors even when I just storm off in a hissy fit and don't update for weeks on end.

It wasn't until I realized this within the last couple of weeks - that I'm never going to be Mr. Webcomic Big-shot, and I'm never going to have more than 5-10 loyal readers, tops - and I finally began to just accept my lot and stop worrying about how I stack up to everyone else that I was able to do the comic I wanted to do, to stop worrying about how or if other people would accept it, and simply have fun with it. I've never had more fun working on the StarStrikers comic than I do right now. I am a loser, I will always be a loser, and I will never amount to anything. But at least I've lost those damn delusions of grandeur and the accompanying anxieties that prevented me from even working on the comic at all.

But hey, this is just me. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who have the talent, who can handle the workload, and who will make it. All I'm saying is I can't buy into that fantasy anymore. There is no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow as far as I'm concerned, so I'm just concentrating on enjoying the ride and appreciating what little I have.

Oh, I'm John from starstrikers.com, BTW. I meant to log in, but I just keep getting some 'Could not get theme[id]' message, or something like that. >_<

(Honestly not trying to sound like a self help book) You need to enjoy doing your comic :D If it's too much of a headache than the comic is being done for the wrong reasons.
There are days that drive me nuts working on my comic but for the most part, I enjoy working with the characters and story lines.

You most definitely need to enjoy it. This is most important of all. If you start a comic with images of grandeur, then you're bound to be disappointed.

That said, building up a popular webcomic takes time. Time, persistence, and frankly, failed efforts. Mistakes, even.

I'm on my second webcomic now, and though it's not something I value over fun, the readership has more than doubled lately. And it's easy to see why. When I started drawing webcomics in late 2000, I was 16 years old, drawing in a clumsy anime-furry style, with very little conception of proper storytelling. And while I know I still have a long way to go, it's safe to say my current projects are of a much higher quality than they were.

Not to say everyone's first webcomic is bad. No way! But, live and learn. (This is a VERY GENERAL blanket statement, BTW.) I'm not attempting to criticize anybody's work in the least, but I do know that the quality of webcomics as related to popularity is not often discussed among community, for fear of hurt feelings.

I am in NO way claiming that my webcomic is "the ish". I love drawing it, and I'm glad that people read it. But I have every intention of making it even better as I continue to learn. So this is my advice for making a successful and popular webcomic:

Look at other people's art and comics. Listen to criticism when it's offered. Go through the archives and find mistakes you've made, and think of ways to correct them. Ways to grow as an artist and a storyteller.

Anyhow, these are just my thoughts. I don't mean to be cynical. But I am tired of people upsetting themselves over their comic's popularity, when they could instead be thinking of ways to improve it, advertise it, or just plain have fun with it. =)

Hey Kiwi :D Welcome aboard. Congrats on your Spotdom if I haven't already mentioned it :D
I think enjoying what you do comes through in you work and that can have a big impact on people viewing your comic and staying as loyal readers.

[quote:ce7644c309="Anonymous"]And I did the whole bit. I tried updating three times a week, the constant site pimping and advertising, doing every single thing I could to get my name out there. By about the fourth month of this (and especially after one occasion where I did a 24-hour straight shift on a comic to make sure I met a deadline), I realized I just couldn't do three comics a week. I wish I could but I just don't physically have it in me. So I switched to a weekly schedule. It was less stressful, and my traffic didn't really change much - I had nothing before, and afterwards I still had nothing. :?

In my experience, the first three months of starting your first web comic is the hardest of all as it usually equates to displaying your work to a wall. It's the most depressing period of all; no feedback, no attention, no one seems to care.

This is also why most web comics die within the first three months.

IMHO, if you're thinking of starting a webcomic to be popular and/or rich, you shouldn't start one. Period.

Because there's also a lot of truth in the statement that "If you're starting a web comic to be popular, you sure as hell are going to be disappointed."

There are better reasons to start a webcomic. Because you love it must be one of them.

I started my comic for the (probably silly) purpose of improving my art and storytelling skills. Popularity was only a concern because that meant I could coerce... I mean, get, more people to give me feedback and thus help me improve.

I still do my comic for that reason. I never really had any other plans for it, but ironically they seem to have found me instead.

Though I believe that was due to a dose of Joey Manley Luck™ ;)

But I'm not doing comics for the destination, I'm doing to for the ride :)

Quote:
But hey, this is just me. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who have the talent, who can handle the workload, and who will make it. All I'm saying is I can't buy into that fantasy anymore. There is no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow as far as I'm concerned, so I'm just concentrating on enjoying the ride and appreciating what little I have.

From what I see of StarStrikers, I'd put it on the 'middle' rug of webcomics.

Pretty mediocre, with pretty ok manga-ish art, but nothing really distinctive or original to seperate it from the hundred or so other pretty ok manga-ish comics out there.

It's a personal theory of mine that comics in the middle rung of the webcomics ladder fare worse than any on either end. This is because they're too easily forgettable.

Great comics stick in your head because they wow your socks off, but sometimes bad comics with a distinctive edge can be memorable as well because they are just so bad (Believe it or not, How Not To Run A Comic gets a ridiculous average of 120+ visits per day, despite the almost total lack of self-promotion and purposely being the epitome of crappiness. I guess everyone loves a good session of point-and-laugh)

In-between comics, however, are simply looked at once and forgotten. And that's the sad part, because they aren't bad, there's no distinctive personality that shines through for the reader to remember.

As for what makes a great comic great? The ability to stand out.

Or at least, that's what I think.

Reading through this quickly (with damonk here, too) had to comment that working hard, luck, whatever isn't going to help you if your comic isn't any good. Damonk says "you gotta be honest with yourself", but that's just a nice way of saying it. ^_~ Seriously, with hard work you CAN hone your skills until you are capable of creating something good, but it doesn't happen overnight, or over a month, or even over a year. I'll always keep Eat The Roses online, despite my abhorrence of the early archives if only because I keep getting fanmail from people who note my improvement throughout the comic and call it inspiration that they too can improve and learn how to comic pretty well.
It's the rare person that pops up with their first webncomic and can draw well (and layout well) AND write well for a comic. You need to practice at it. And your practice comic may not get popular, but your NEXT thing has much better chances.

-Meaghan

[quote:65b3613907="joeymanley"]One overlooked item here: luck.

Luck is probably the single most important element

I can attest to this. I'm on Graphic Smash solely because I was the art guest of honor at a Con that T Campbell was attending, and my husband, who had just broken a tooth and was stoned off his ass on painkillers, recognized the author of Fans! when he wandered by the table, and more or less cornered the poor guy and made him look at my art. (I was at a panel and nowhere near the table.) T handed me a business card and told me to send in a submission to GS, I did, and voila.

Had it not been for a broken tooth and enough Vicodin to overcome my husband's natural reticence, I would never had even heard of Graphic Smash, and my comic "Digger" would continue to putter along on my website, probably taking lengthy hiatuses and having relatively frequent typos. It's not that it's a bad comic, (or so I tell myself!) I just had no idea how to promote the thing, where to take it, or what the next step was.

So. Dumb luck. There's a lot to be said for it.

Someone once told me that "luck is when preparedness meets opportunity." I do believe there's something to be said for that.

I registered a new account. Hey, the old one wasn't going to fix itself, so what ya gonna do? :roll:

Quote:
From what I see of StarStrikers, I'd put it on the 'middle' rug of webcomics.

Pretty mediocre, with pretty ok manga-ish art, but nothing really distinctive or original to seperate it from the hundred or so other pretty ok manga-ish comics out there.

It's a personal theory of mine that comics in the middle rung of the webcomics ladder fare worse than any on either end. This is because they're too easily forgettable.

"What to do with poor Hugo? Too crazy for Boystown... too much of a boy for Crazytown." -- Dr Hibbert

I know exactly what you mean, and I appreciate your honesty. "Mediocre" is a word I've used to describe my own work (my art, especially) many times. Actually that was one of the reasons I started doing the comic in the first place, to get better, and it's helped to an extent. But I know I still have a long way to go. I also know from experience that anytime I post some art from the comic on a forum or someplace, I'll maybe get one or two responses of "Oh, it's nice... I guess". Apathy and disinterest all around, basically. When you're at the bottom rung of the ladder and doing really bad stuff, people want to help. When you're at the top, everyone wants to kiss your butt. But when you're in the middle, you're pretty much on your own.

Something I discovered just in the last couple of weeks though is that one of the worst things you can do is try and be something you're not. Once I got the idea in my head that my art was too cookie-cuter anime, I decided I wanted to 'westernize' it. I did one strip like that (the most recent one)... never again. It's like putting a square peg into a round slot. Better to just keep heading in one direction than trying to 'start fresh' again and again. Again, I see now I have to do this comic the way I want to do it, and not worry about what other people are doing. If that means it ends up looking generic, so be it.

I would hope that if I keep going for long enough and keep refining what I'm doing, then I can move beyond mediocre and become good... but I doubt I ever will, much less become great. (I'm talking more about the visual side of my work here). I just don't think I have it in me. But hopefully if I can keep going for long enough, maybe people will start to enjoy and understand the characters and story, and that in itself will make it worthwhile. It's not a standard Sailor Moon-wannabe, though I admit it seems like it at this point. Aliens and robots and spaceships, they're all just props. At its heart, it's a story about a lonely girl who makes three very unlikely friends. I just hope I have it in me to see it through to the end so people can see that. Then they'd be seeing the StarStrikers that I see. :)

You know, the funny thing is as I was working on the comic today, I finally realized why I started doing comics all those years ago, when I was only a little kid. I didn't want to see my stuff in print, to be rich or famous. I certainly didn't want to get 'hits', what with the WWW not being invented for another six years at that point. It wasn't even because I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the artists and writers that had inspired me (which up until recently I thought was the point of me doing this). The reason I draw comics is... because I enjoy the act of drawing comics. What a revolutionary concept!

So if I seem jaded, I should make it clear that I'm jaded about the 'big lie' of webcomics. The idea most people starting out buy into, that if they stick a few comics on teh intarweb [sic] then everyone's gonna start worshipping them, they'll make millions in Cafepress T-shirt sales and then they can go live in a castle in Hawaii or something. For my first four months in this game, I admit I even bought into it a bit. Once I realized it was bulls**t, it took me another year, pretty much up to this week, to rediscover why I started doing this in the first place. Know why. That's all I'm saying.

And if you do screw up and end up mediocre and unpopular (like me!), at least you'll have the satisfaction of doing what you love. Plus you won't have expensive bandwidth bills to worry about. :mrgreen:

[quote:099290c9cf="JohnPorter_316"]I would hope that if I keep going for long enough and keep refining what I'm doing, then I can move beyond mediocre and become good... but I doubt I ever will, much less become great. (I'm talking more about the visual side of my work here). I just don't think I have it in me.

Remove that thought from your head immediately. You can ALWAYS do better. Looking at your art, it's obvious you've come far enough to get it where it is, and there's no way you couldn't make it better if you tried.

That's all I have to say about that. Persist!

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" -- Calvin Coolidge

"...Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent". I agree. Luck be damned.

Dee

G.A.A.K Online
www.drunkduck.com/GAAK

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

Re: What makes a succesful &amp; popular webcomic

[quote:71f27fff91="Rebelsun"]WITCH

What the crap? Did Up With People make a webcomic?

I'd say it's the luck thing, and the ability to tap into what readers want.
You can't bullshit the readers. If you're not into what you've got going on, or don't know what the hell you're doing, everybody will know. Webcomics readers are smart, they're brilliant -- they'll see through the pixels into your goddamn soul.

Personally speaking, I wouldn't stop to pee on a number of the TOP WEBCOMICS if they were on fire. I think they're unbearably stupid (No names). Buuuuuut~ They're getting thousands of unique hits a day while I'm currently getting barely enough people to fill a Hyundai. And even if I think they're crap, it doen't matter because there are two truths in this world:

People like crap, and they are fickle about it. That's why Celine Dion has sold more records than any legitimate artist you can think of, and why we're subjected to those reality shows every day of the week. And if your brand of crap happens to suit the fickle whims of the public, then your comic will be a top dog.

If this is what Joey means by "luck" then I totally agree with him. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right thing.

I bet Ed Wood complained that people only like crap too.

[quote:b9d78c8757="William_Beckerson"]Personally speaking, I wouldn't stop to pee on a number of the TOP WEBCOMICS if they were on fire.

You know, I have a confession to make; I harbour this irrational hatred for a number of comics on that list, despite the fact I've never gone over more than a few pages of their archives.

OK, so maybe the reason I despise them is because they all seem to be badly-made photorealistic + MS Paint toy comics and yet they beat my comic in the rankings.

But after meeting one of the owners of the said comics, I've kinda gotten over that kind of envy. Especially after I realised that those comics seem to have VOTE FOR MY COMIX EVERYDAY!!!! stamped in capitals on every page of their comics.

Quote:
I know exactly what you mean, and I appreciate your honesty. "Mediocre" is a word I've used to describe my own work (my art, especially) many times. Actually that was one of the reasons I started doing the comic in the first place, to get better, and it's helped to an extent. But I know I still have a long way to go. I also know from experience that anytime I post some art from the comic on a forum or someplace, I'll maybe get one or two responses of "Oh, it's nice... I guess".

:) I was a little worried since some people don't like being told straight out, but nothing impresses me as much as a creator who can take criticism and still thank the critic for it.

If you want some critiques, try the KS Techniques, Tricks and Tips forum. If you make a point to mention that you don't mind pure(brutal) honesty, you can usually get really good critiques not only from the point of view of people who create comics, but from people who read them as well.

I think I'm one of those naive fellows, I still believe every webcomic has the attention it deserves.

I agree with that too in a holistic sense, but there's still the plugs vs workload conflict. Take the following situation:

-Person A spends 5 hours a day making comics, and 30 minutes a day speaking on forums, doing email, etc.

-Person B spends 30 minutes a day making comics, and 5 hours daily participating in enormous forum threads and general pluggery.

I find this is where writer/artist teams are useful, like the father/mother relationship of birds. The artist functions essentially as a sedentary being who births and nurtures the comic, while the writer has lots more free time to travel around with its vibrant plumage, promoting the work.

Junior, I aint speaking from envy. If I were, then I'd have mentioned how much better my stuff was. If it seemed like I did, it wasn't intentional.

To use more diplomatic wording: I simply find the quality of a number of the top comics to be lacking. From the content to the writing to the art. I'd be happy with two out of three of these, but it aint happeneing with most of them.This is pure personal opinion, I agree. And I have no doubt that all of those guys are cool and hanging out with them would be a blast, but I wouldn't read their comics if I was paid to. I feel that a number of them are at the top because they managed to grab the lion's share of the market first. As Joey calls it- "Luck"

Of course, I still believe that there would be a lot more people at the top than there currently are if we'd stop trying to make comics that only web geeks like ourselves enjoy, but that's a different topic.

And I have only have two words to say about the idea that things (webcomics or whatever) get the attention they deserve-

Paris

Hilton.

As the man once exclaimed; "'Nuff Said"

You missed my pont, Bill. I don't see such thing as sensacionalism in the webcomics world.

Let me put it on another way, then:

I think quality alone is not enough to attract readership, so it's not a parameter to measure the popularity of a webcomic and therefore determine that webcomics with the same level of quality should get the same popularity. Every webcomic gets the attention it deserves, but it's not in the sense that they get something they deserve for it's merits. That clearly is not what happens (I myself love It's About Girls, and wish more people would read it). Every webcomic gets the attention it deserves: every webcomic gets the attention reserved fot it at that given moment for a series of reasons, some of them being consequences of the artist, some not.

Joey Manley may call this luck. Spinosa would call it the God of Natural Causes. I just say: "my comic is all it can be right now".

Ahhhhhhhh~ I get it. You're being metaphysical.

This conversation has been particularily interesting and relevant to me, as someone who is just starting to really work on their own webcomic site.

As I think about it, I can live with it if my only regular readers are friends and family. Of course, sucess some where down the road would be nice, but I'll take what I can get it. I know I'm adding one more comic to the hundred kabagillion webcomics out there, but, hey, it's worth it to me to do even with just people I know in the real world reading it. The work, the art is what is meaningful to me. Whether I am lucky (if I can use that word) at some point in the future and get some level of recognition from the Internet community, or those ideas are forever a day dream, what's important, is, I dunno, me finally getting my stuff together and making a comic. (Something I've wanted to do for a long time)

Thousands of dollars in Paypal money and an unholy army of fans probably won't ever happen to me. But I'll draw still comics and enjoy doing it, damn it.

That all being said, what CAN you guys recommend to someone who still would like, for at the very least, people to have the chance to see and read their work? i.e. what's a reasonable way to plug yourself?

[quote:641eef9731="Micheal _Harker"]That all being said, what CAN you guys recommend to someone who still would like, for at the very least, people to have the chance to see and read their work? i.e. what's a reasonable way to plug yourself?

You know, a lot of people don't realise what a wealth of information the KS forums are.

Read these threads:

Do You Promote?
http://forums.keenspace.com/viewtopic.php?t=55094&highlight=promote+comic

When to Promote?
http://forums.keenspace.com/viewtopic.php?t=56879&highlight=promote+comic

How to Ensnare some Readers?
http://forums.keenspace.com/viewtopic.php?t=55749&highlight=promote+comic

These cover the topics pretty throughly.

Update often and exchange links with people who are already popular. All it takes is one person to link to you. For me it was kung fool. After he heavily plugged my comic (why he did it exactly, I hope it's because he thought it was good, but I always have him to thank for giving my site a healthy booster shot of traffic in the early stages of its inception) my site's traffic doubled and it's slowly been on the rise since then (I have roughly 2000 visitors. Nothing fantastic, but not bad I guess considering the comic's been up for about 6 months). If your comic is good, it will only grow. If you exchanged links with lots of people and updated often and nothing happened, it means you still have some improving to do. If you know you're good and nothing happened, maybe it means you're looking in the wrong places to reach your audience. I'm kind of lucky because the thing I happen to enjoy drawing, fantasy manga-inspired comics, already has an established fanbase online so my comic fit a certain niche. I just figure if I keep putting myself out there and pumping out work, I'll eventually hit something and be successful. I don't know if there's a secret formula for success, if there were wouldn't everyone be successful? Hard work, persistance, luck, and drive? I'm lucky to be surrounded by comic artist friends, I've seen them work hard and consistantly for two years before they even got any kind of publishing deal or money from their work, but they did it. So I understand it takes time and patience. I duno. I'm not "successful" yet, I'm just happy that I'm still drawing my comic. It's the best part of having an online comic hehe. So really, I dunno why I'm spewing advice when I haven't made it yet.

I still agree that quality is of greater priority than luck. Luck, after all, can't really be planned. it's good to know the right people, but nothing helps to prepare for your "big" break like doing the best work you can. That's how people notice. So instead of wondering why comics are more popular than yours, why not have fun and challenge yourself? (Once again, directed at nobody in particular.)

Amy, I just followed your link (well, now it was a while ago ^^) and read through the comic. Wonderful stuff. And I'm 2nd year animation at SVA - represent!

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:0459c3f191="William_Beckerson"]
Well, let's be honest here Ghastly, tentacle rape monsters puts asses in seats.

They come for the Jesus, they stay for the tentacled rape.

if you do build it, people will come.

how do you think you were able to quote field of dreams? they built it, and people saw it, and it grew into a legend.

the title of this thread should be 'what makes a successful and popular webcomic in a short timespan', as most see the goal of a creative endeavor to be profit. I enjoy creating, thus I create. if wealth and fame should follow, so be it. cast away your expectations of where you plan to be, and just enjoy what you're doing -now-.

-~the invisible mask~-

Joey Manley's picture

[quote:77d1f83ad3="Anonymous"]
how do you think you were able to quote field of dreams? they built it, and people saw it, and it grew into a legend.

A bankable star, an influential studio's blessing, and a multi-million-dollar marketing budget didn't hurt, either!

Joey
www.moderntales.com

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Yeah even suck can become part of the cultural mainstreme if it's got all that going for it. *cough*waterworld*cough*

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

I don't even know where to reply to this thread - it's brilliant! Like the sun I tell you.

From my own past experience I can only say that if you are starting in webcomics (or comics I guess) you should just hunker down and do something you love - that story you just have to tell. Do the little things to help let a few folks here and there know about it but hunker down and work on the tale. If you make it through six months and you're still in love with your story I'll bet that quite a few other folks are too. And if not at that point if you're still working on the story you'll have something you'll be more positive is worth promoting to the world.

If you can't even make it to six months on the story I don't know why you'd want to hype it to anyone - the worse thing in the world is to bring the world see something bad - people won't stick around.

my 2 cents.

And of course - advertise on Comixpedia! :)

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