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The really really little guys of webcomics

My site isn't popular. At all. Last week I got 18 hits total. But that's understandable. It really is. I'm not offering, yet, a huge amount of comics on my site and I've spent almost no time promoting myself to people I don't know personally (ie the rest of the internet). The lack of audience ain't terrible. I decided to make webcomics so that somebody else besides me would ever see my work. I'm not making webcomics so that lots of people will read it. I'm making them, cause, damn it I like to draw and tell stories and make jokes.

Nonetheless, it gets frusturating. It's hard enough to overcome tight schedules, laziness, procrastination, and the difficulties that come along with the creative process, without the knowledge that almost noone will see the hours and hours of work I'm putting into this.

A great many people here have successful (popular) comics. I read regularly the comics of a couple people here. But I'm also pretty sure there are some here are in about the same place I am. If you're not at the same stage I'm at now, I'm sure you all were at some point. What are your thoughts on being one of the little little little guys of webcomics, and coping with that fact?

Chris Cantrell's picture

Try spending hundreds on ads, merchandise, etc. and working for over three years only to still be at 150-200 a day then come talk to me.

Haunted Pixel Studios www.hauntedpixelstudios.com

Brad Hawkins's picture

[quote:d1c3004ba7="AceTachyon"]One day, I hope to join the ranks of the "Really Really Little Guys of Webcomics."
We have a membership card all waiting for you.

My comic has been up three and a half years and I'm still in the 10-20 unique visitors a day range (if Extreme Tracking is to be trusted). I've shot myself in the foot many times by failing to update for long stretches of time. I've promised myself I won't worry about the number of hits I get until I've bagged enough on-time updates to really justify saying "I'm back."

That doesn't work, of course. :) I care how many people see my work. Even though I have no interest in ever making a single penny off my comics, I still watch the numbers fairly regularly. I'm not going to give you the tired lie of "I do this only for myself." That's nonsense -- if I did it only for myself, I'd put it in a notebook in my bedroom and take it out to look at it now and again, not put it up on a website for which I pay a monthly fee. It's up in public because I want people to see it. Period.

These days, I think I get more spambots than actual viewers.

But hey, I'll make the most of it. Anyone need some inexpensive prescription drugs? If I haven't been vigilant the past few hours, you can find some links on my site! :D

For the first few months of webcomicking, I only had a couple dozen daily readers, and now look at me!

*puts some pants on*

Anyway, it's a bit more difficult to pull in readership over the summer (even for the big guns like PVP), since there are zillions more fun things in the summer that don't involve a computer. For me, the fact that I have a fixed story with a beginning, middle and end is what keeps me going. Once I draw the last page, though, I'm not sure what I'll do with myself. Drugs, I guess.

ALSO: If you contribute to Comixpedia by writing a review or column, you score some free real estate at the top of Comixpedia.com. As Prisoner #4968219 would say, "It's a good thing."

Townie's picture

My comic's been this interesting little experiment. The readership's usually tiny, but I can't say I've had anyone demanding I stop since my first couple strips way back when. I'm graduating from college this year and I'd seriously like to get behind my cartooning. I'm getting sick of people thinking it's this funny little thing I doodle in my room at night. (That just sounds so wrong...) Hopefully being able to work out some complicated graphics and a totally convoluted storyline will be easier when I don't have to spend days in a studio painting fruit.

- Ben

LGraf's picture

It was simply a suggestion of a possible route. Bottom line: advertise if you can afford it and you feel it's right for you. Find wherever it is that you feel works for you and purchase a rotation. I only used those Name sites as examples of well known sites which can possibly bring in readers.

--L.G.Twilight Agency: my frustration, my insanity... http://twilightagency.com

Yeah, ditto what Ghastly said, basically.

Coydog's picture

Hmmm.... UNAF gets about 3,000 uniques and anywhere from 4-5,000 page loads per month. I ain't doing too bad I guess.

Monique MacNaughton

UNA Frontiers

Camp? No... Princessjen/marine/coke/whatever you're calling yourself, you treated them like some sort of sociology experiment. "If I pretend to be a wee lost little girl, will people like my comic and, by association, me more?" :x

Keep in mind that so long as you're one of the "little guys," you owe people nothing. NOTHING! Which means no hassle, no pressure and no responsibilities. Once you get steady readers, they get all uppity and expect things like regular updates and consistant quality. ;)

If you want to bring in more people, just submit your site to every webcomic list you can possibly think of. The more sites listing your work, the better the chance it'll show up in search engines.Do fan art or guest comics for some of the "bigger comics." Get active in forums to let other webcomicers know you exist. Sacrifice a newborn child to the ancient ones. Join a few top webcomic sites.

Townie's picture

Trust extreme tracker with discretion. I used to use it, then it died for no reason. I've been using it again, but I don't think of it as much more than an ip logger. Sitemeter's pretty good at giving you a rough idea on how many viewers you have and how many pages they're reading. My host's stats page is good for tracking traffic on files and pages. Putting them all together gives me a pretty rounded idea.

I had a 9 month hiatus slapped on me so that lowered my visitors to maybe 5 a day. It went to around 10-20 when I managed to update again. I expected it to drop when I stripped the comic down to b/w, but if anything it's helped. Visits are pretty regular now, which hopefully means I'm getting actual readers instead of fly-bys from links. Still working on ways to get people to the page and to make it easier for them to read it.

- Ben

LGraf's picture

[quote:be4537e04a="Dutch!"]I'm working with about 35-40 visits a day at the moment, the most regular readers I've had yet in 17 months of being online. Perhaps I'm a little beyond the little guy tag now...but I'm still working on getting above that 50 a day mark.

People will slowly locate you and decide whether they like you or not...I just think mine hasn't been located by the right people yet.

It'll come though, it'll come...

If you can afford it, take out an ad on a Name site such as MegaTokyo, Penny Arcade, Applegeeks.

--L.G.Twilight Agency: my frustration, my insanity... http://twilightagency.com

Brian's picture

[quote:fece8a585b="eldritchmonkey"]Keep in mind that so long as you're one of the "little guys," you owe people nothing. NOTHING! Which means no hassle, no pressure and no responsibilities. Once you get steady readers, they get all uppity and expect things like regular updates and consistant quality. ;)

If you want to bring in more people, just submit your site to every webcomic list you can possibly think of. The more sites listing your work, the better the chance it'll show up in search engines.Do fan art or guest comics for some of the "bigger comics." Get active in forums to let other webcomicers know you exist. Sacrifice a newborn child to the ancient ones. Join a few top webcomic sites.

Amen to that. There are fringe benefits to having a niche audience. The smaller a readership you have, the more likely it is that people using your forum or sending you e-mail are ones who really appreciate what you're doing. Larger comics like those on Keenspot(I mean no offense to the 'spotters present) tend to have have actual communities of readers, and in my experience every community has it's share of A-holes. There are folks in those communities who seem to appreciate the community more than the comic it is built around, and as stated before, a lot of folks tend to act like the creators owe them something for reading their free comics. Not to say there aren't nice, appreciative readers in larger web comic communities, there are and many of them, but you take the good with some bad.

I guess what I'm saying is the grass really isn't as green as it looks from the other side of the fence. It's a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Being one of the smaller comics is nothing to feel bad about. Hell, half the time success is attributed more to luck and chance than anything else. As long as you enjoy what you're doing, then what you're doing is worthwhile. The size of one's readership does not determine their worth.

Saga of the Ram

Well I currently don't run a webcomic anymore, other projects always taking my time.

I run a small webcomics network on SpiderForest.com. The network basically started on Jan 4. when the first webcomic(Black-Ops Angel) offcially started. Most of the viewers came from just telling friends, word of mouth. I think we then signed up at like bCx, and got some hits from there. In all of Janaury we have around an avg of 76 unique visitors per day(UVPD).

February we debuted 2 new webcomics, and started to run a series as a webcomic that appeared in Heavy Metal previously. We got around 82 UVPD(network wide).

March we ended up having some hosting probelms duirng the middle of the month. Site would be down for a couple of minutes then be back. Hosting company finally fixed the problem, and for the days we have stats for(stats stopped updating for 10 days), an avg of 68 UVPD. Downtime does effect the amount of visitors you get.

April we canceled one series, and we were avg. 71 unique vistors a day. At the end of April, I contacted another artist about adding her series to SF. May we debuted the new Series. Certainly gained new readers from this fresh blood. We had around 115 UVPD.

After that time we have continued to grow. June had 167 unique vistors per day, with the new webcomic even having to take a break for a couple of weeks to move, and one webcomic series but on hold becuase of computer troubles. As of yesturday, we have around 222 unique visitors a day now.

Yes these are stats for the whole small network, which is now just comprised of 3 webcomics, one of which is still on hitaus because of computer troubles since the first week on June. We are currently planning to upgrade our hosting, and probably add a "sister-site" this month, which is kinda interfering on actually updating the main website.

We've been running for over 6 months now, and we still are quite small. We have not yet bought any advertising to promote the network or any webcomic on there. But I am still happy as to where it currently is. I think it's doing well, especially since most of my other "Webcomic" related projects have failed.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

There are ways to dramatically increase your readership. ;)

We all started off as little guys. Maybe not 18 visits a week little, but little none the less.

I didn't even realize I posted on this almost a year ago(Jul 10, 2004).

[quote:0d324c66cc="Chris_C."]Try spending hundreds on ads, merchandise, etc. and working for over three years only to still be at 150-200 a day then come talk to me.
I have not spent a single cent on advertising(hosting and domains are another thing), and get around 400-500 unique visitors a day(waiting for this month to end to compile it all).
Of course my numbers are kinda cheating in a way(thought still not alot) since it's for a network of webcomics. We have webcomics that range from 5 unique a day to 120. So all on the network are pretty small. But as a collective, I think we gained 100 new readers from the previous month(March).
My site SpiderForest.com went online on January 2003, became it's current webcomics network form officially in January '04. The sister-site SpiderSpawn.com began around August 2004. So I think for a little under a year and a half of a webcomics network and getting 400-500 a day ain't to bad when you consider I have yet to pay for advertisement.[/url]

Uncle Ghastly's picture

On the plus side you can really slack off during the summer and nobody will bitch you out for it.

Two month tribute to stick figures coming up.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:b966882766="Anonymous"]

And Ghastly, if I can afford advertising, well...

Have your readers buy the advertising for you.

Set up a PayPal donation button an post an announcement to your readers that you appreciate their loyalty to your work and would like to be able to expose your work to a larger audience. Ask for donations for the purpose of promotion and as soon as you get enough donations to buy advertising on the webcomic of your choice buy an ad.

The ad generates more readers, which generates more revinue, which buys advertising on more webcomics and thus it all snowballs.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Yeah, if you get into the webcomic game with visions of fame and fortune dancing in your head you're very likely to end up twisted and bitter. The love of your comic has to be your number one reason.

The vast majority of webcomics will never, ever, get more than 1000 regular readers. Hell, few will likely ever get more than a couple hundred regular readers.

The only reader you should really worry about is yourself. Make the kind of comic you want to read and don't worry if it's something anyone else will like. If the comic is honest it will attract like-minded readers. If you're faking something you're not just to get readers chances are people will spot you as a phoney and you won't be a success anyways. So it's best just to be true to yourself.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:b86a471a67="Justin-Pie"]Internet celebrity is like being famous for drywall taping instructional videos. Look at it this way - no matter how many people love Sluggy Freelance, Gilbert Godfried will always be far more internationally recognized. It's really nothing to be concerned about, taken from that perspective.

Feh, I prefer masturbation over drywall taping any day of the week... which is why my attic rennovations are still not fully completed.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Don't forget too that webcomic artists get all the babes.

Right? We do get the all the babes right? Right!? Someone back me up on this.

However, one thing I don't like about comixpedia is it always freaking logs you off.

[quote:71ad1f9314="eldritchmonkey"]Camp? No... Princessjen/marine/coke/whatever you're calling yourself, you treated them like some sort of sociology experiment. "If I pretend to be a wee lost little girl, will people like my comic and, by association, me more?" :x

And with that, I mention "Penis" has started updating again... the facade continues?

I suppose alienating your readers by lying to them through a fake identity, gaining their trust while slamming them behind there backs.... that MAY have something to do with your popularity issues.

If that action is any show of what you are like then your attitude may be the problem.

-24

Sonictail's picture

Yes, thanks for the words there Ghastly, you actually just outlined every one of the reasons why I have never paid for advertiseing my comic. .

May I just please point out, it also depends what you consider "successful" my reccomendation is to clearly setout what you want from your webcomic site, don't just say "be famous and earn a fuckload" cause then you won't get hits out of spite. Clearly define what you want, rearm, retool and go for it.

I did and well, my viewer are loving it ^_^

Wow. There's some really good feedback in here. Nice post.

By the way, I think what Marine did was pretty funny. I actually think it's more like performance art, then a sociology experiment. Sometimes it's funny for someone to come along and show us what tools we can be.

=P

Just sayin'.

That is true, I treat my readers like they were in my own little camp.

I feel like I missed the bus here. I(marine) have been doing webcomics for three or four years now. I counted up my total comics made, and it was just under a thosand, I've done all sorts of different styles, and generally mixed things up trying to reach everyone. Gooni, blurry, brian carol, all these other guys I used to hang out with on top web comics are now juggernaughts of comics, yet I still remain on the shoestring outskirts.

Whatsup with that?

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Fan art and guest strips work great.

One thing not to do is send an e-mail to a "big guy" asking for a links exchange. I get a couple dozen of those e-mails each week and they just get the ol' DELETED treatment. I haven't updated the links page on my site in ages. The comics on my links page were either comics of friends of mine, or comics I read. There are some which are still on there despite the fact that I haven't read the strip in 2 years (like Sinfest, which I read religiously three years ago but then stopped reading about 2 years ago). I should scrap my links page and redo it with only the comics I actually read on it... but then it would only be a couple of strips. I just don't have the time to read a lot of comics.

Fan art is the least annoying way to get traffic off a "big guy". Although you'll have to accept that it may well be quite some time before it actually gets updated. I always have a backlogue of fan art and guest strips awaiting my attention.

You can't beat advertising though. Something Positive, Sexy Losers, and of course Ghastly's Ghastly Comic all have very affordable ad rates and are comics with large readerships. Advertising on popular webcomics ensures your ads are targeted directly towards people who are interested in webcomics. You don't even need tricks like "fanservice" or sex to sell your advertising. Vlad Damien recently bought an adbox on my site and was the first to run an advertisement without an ounce of fanservice in it and he saw his ranking by traffic on Keenspace jump from 212th ranked comic to the 81st ranked comic.

The thing is, if you're a "little guy" you might want to take advantage of the lack of audience to really work the bugs out of your strip. Figure out what works and what doesn't. A lot of TV shows get retooled between the filming of the pilot and when they go to air. In the pilot of Sinfield the character of Kramer was originally a shut-in who never left his apartment but when the show went to air the writers thought the character would work better as a hipster and it did. So think of your "little guy" period as your pilot stage.

Work out all your bugs and once you feel you've got your comic going the way you want it, then you can start to worry about promoting it. It would be much better to start promoting your work once you've got work you truly feel is worthy of promotion than it would be to blow your wad too soon by promoting a comic that's not quite ready yet.

There are all sorts of techniques you can use to bring traffic to your comic but bringing traffic to your comic is only 10% of the work. It does you no good at all to bring an extra 10000 readers to your strip if you're not going to be able to keep any of them. The "big guys" can do a great job at bringing you the traffic but only you are able to keep it once it gets there.

This is why, despite the fact that I now offer promotional services on my comic, I urge comic artists to really take a good, long, honest look at their work before they go gung-ho on promotion. If you look at your work and say "You know... I just don't really think it's worth $35" then go with that feeling. Refine, retool, restructure, experiment, build. Do all those things you need to do until you've got a work you feel is worthy.

As a "little guy" you're in the best of all positions to do this sort of stuff. If you've only got 18 people reading your strip you can dick around with it as much as you want until you find your place. Then once you've figured out exactly what it is your want to do with your strip and have a good idea where you're going to go with it you can completely destroy your old work. Start fresh with a new continuity. Maybe make a special archive on your site that contains the old "work in progress" version of the strip and save the main site for the new and improved strip. This will give the new readers you plan to aquire a fresh new story that isn't cluttered with a lot of failed experimentations but if they choose, they can look at your proto-types in it's special archive.

Wait until you've got at least 40 strips of your finalized version of the strip in your archive before you even contemplate promoting it. That's the minimum I'd go with. That'll let your new readers look through your strip and get a good sense of continuity. They'll be better able to judge wether your strip is something they feel they want to keep coming back to or if it's just another speedbump on the internet.

Of course the hard part comes from taking an honest look at your work. Most artists tend to fall into one of two catagories when it comes to their own work. We're either egotistical assholes who are so full of ourselves and our preceived talent that we believe we can wipe our ass with a canvas and it'll be artistic genious, or we're a bunch of Fred Gallaghers who pine and whine about how much we suck and beat ourselves constantly over every little preceived flaw in our work and grovel to our readers and beg their forgiveness for our artistic short comings.

Of course some in the "pine and whine" catagory are actually in the "egotistical bastard" catagory but use false humility to encourage praise from their readers. "Oh no! No! Your art doesn't suck the festering rectums of decayed goat fetus at all. You're brilliant! I wish I had 1/10th your talent. You are a God/dess of art!"

Being truly honest with your work can be quite a task but ultimately I don't think there's anyone better qualified to judge the merits of your work than you yourself. Friends, even e-Friends, will usually want to spare you any hurt to honestly criticize your work, and most critics, particularily online, are only interested in telling people how much you suck so they can make themselves look better.

So don't dispair your "little guy" stage. Relish it. Exploit it. Use it to make all the embarassing mistakes you'll make on your way to becoming a "big guy".

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Being an internet celebrity is like masturbating. It may make you feel good, but it's so simple that anyone can do it, and when you brag to your friends about it they'll think you're a dork.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Sucker is such a harsh word. I hardly think being curious and clicking on a link qualifies you for that title. Now giving your bank account number to nigerian scammers would qualify you. But you'd never have to worry about that from me.

BECAUSE, DEAR FRIEND, I AM GHASTLY, FIRST SON OF PRESIDENT AKHIM ABAZOI AND AM LEFT WITH ACCOUNT OF 22 MILLION AD BOXES TO ADVERTISE TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES.

The really really little guys of webcomics

My site isn't popular. At all. Last week I got 18 hits total. But that's understandable. It really is. I'm not offering, yet, a huge amount of comics on my site and I've spent almost no time promoting myself to people I don't know personally (ie the rest of the internet). The lack of audience ain't terrible. I decided to make webcomics so that somebody else besides me would ever see my work. I'm not making webcomics so that lots of people will read it. I'm making them, cause, damn it I like to draw and tell stories and make jokes.

Nonetheless, it gets frusturating. It's hard enough to overcome tight schedules, laziness, procrastination, and the difficulties that come along with the creative process, without the knowledge that almost noone will see the hours and hours of work I'm putting into this.

A great many people here have successful (popular) comics. I read regularly the comics of a couple people here. But I'm also pretty sure there are some here are in about the same place I am. If you're not at the same stage I'm at now, I'm sure you all were at some point. What are your thoughts on being one of the little little little guys of webcomics, and coping with that fact?

[quote:2d405535bc="Sonictail"]
Make your comic as apealling as possible, I just visisted your website and there is nothing that makes me want to STAY there so sit down, cut back your update schedule and rethink your website, it may indeed help.

yay! thanks for being one of the first of what I hope will be many people to give me negative feedback.
[quote:2d405535bc="Ghastly"]
lots of good advice

Yeah. My plan is to spend the rest of the summer just draw comics, and uhh... retool it and stuff. Maybe in the fall when all the college students who play videogames go back to school and are plugged into their computers than I'll start some kinda promotion campaign. Actually, I've been stalling doing on that for some time, because I haven't been completely conformtable with what I've got up right now. As various people said (Ghastly again I think), draw comics for you, you're the only important reader, etc. Basically I have a webpage, because if I didn't, there'd be a pile of comics in my drawer at home that nobody would ever read. If people wanna me work, great. Otherwise, I won't die. But yeah... I don't know how I came off when I started this thread, but I'm not doing comics cause I want to be famous, or internet-famous. I just do it cause I like all dem perty pictures.

scarfman's picture

I started Arthur, King of Time and Space about six weeks ago. I had several hundred unique visitors in May and twice as many in June - but I'd been drawing daily cartoons on a personal fanfiction site for some five years before that and already had an audience to bring with me. Fanfiction is by definition a special interest, of course, so I hope to build numbers from a more general audience as I go. Still I've never had a counter on the fanfiction site, so for all I know these numbers do reflect growth - I've got AKOTAS listed at the Belfry Comics Index and The Webcomics List, and I've been posting here when I have something to say in order to throw the URL around. When I've three months' archives I'll start advertising as my pocket change allows. I mean to be at this about twenty-five years - I can afford to be patient.

Paul Gadzikowski,
http://www.arthurkingoftimeandspace.com New cartoons daily.

scarfman's picture

damonk13 wrote:

Quote:
And it has to be said that a 1,000 regular readers is a pretty damn good number.

Heck, a few hundred readers is a pretty damn good number.

Yeah, after I posted earlier on this thread I began to wonder whether someone who's scoring the numbers I'm scoring was out of line chiming in on a thread about really really little guys. But, genuinely wondering, you know, not having any basis for comparison as I said at the time.

Well, I hope no one was offended then, and I hope I don't seem to be bringing it up again just to brag. Well, maybe I am a little.

Paul Gadzikowski,
http://www.arthurkingoftimeandspace.com New cartoons daily.

I consider myself a little little guy at the moment...but it sounds like we're doing okay for three and a half months with about 750 unique visitors this month...dunno how many of them have come back though, but what are you gonna do?

I suppose sometimes you just have to wait until the little niche you find gets filled with readers, eh? I mean, mine isn't anime, isn't often coloured, doesn't have bad language or mature pictures and has a distinct lack of talking animals or furries. I have possibly blocked School Spirit out of just about every major audience web comics currently have, eh?

Bugger...we'll just have to wait and see...

Summer was my strongest season...but Down Here that makes it winter for most of you lot. I only put mine out in June last year, so I don't know yet how much it will sag over those months. It seems I have somewhere between 50-100 readers from the generic calculations you have to make, so I'm pretty sure that still makes me one of the countless little guys.

Doesn't really matter yet though...only been at this game for just under a year so it's still only early days.

They told me really early on that most die in their first six months...I take the view I'm only firing up...there'll be a bigger audience tomorrow, eh?

I'm working with about 35-40 visits a day at the moment, the most regular readers I've had yet in 17 months of being online. Perhaps I'm a little beyond the little guy tag now...but I'm still working on getting above that 50 a day mark.

People will slowly locate you and decide whether they like you or not...I just think mine hasn't been located by the right people yet.

It'll come though, it'll come...

That's wasn't a grizzle before, just my look on the way it goes. It'll come, it'll come.

Somewhere out there there's an audience who will find it...somewhere...

Yeah, my thoughts too. Plus I'm too bloody proud to advertise on sites I have no interest in just to get my face out there.

Problem I'm having in that regard though is that I haven't managed to locate many sites that relate to my work that aren't already webcomic sites. Most people on webcomic sites I think are probably a little too cynical and pessimistic for my content to strike a chord though.

Bugger, eh?

Such is life.

bobweiner's picture

Michael:

18 readers is a good start!

Keep at it and do what you do. If it's any consolation, when I first started out, I had a whopping 5 readers total. Thanks to many words of encouragement, and my perseverance over the years, I've been able to grow that number out to over 2400 readers a day, plus over 600 people on the Toon Mailer. It's not the big leagues, but I'm happy with what I've accomplished so far.

-Krishna

Krishna M. Sadasivam Cartoonist, "The PC Weenies" http://www.pcweenies.net

The best thing about webcomics is that your audience WILL find you, should you keep going long enough. :D It might be small, or it might be large, but someone somewhere will dig your stuff and read it.

I always kinda thought I was a small fish, until I stopped updating and got a mini-flood of complaints/support; kinda put it all in perspective. Sure, I'm still a little fish, but when the little fish got ill, some people noticed and poked it until he was swimmin' again. :D:D And I reckon that's probably gonna be true for a great deal of webcomics; if you enjoy it, there'll come a time when someone else finds your comic and enjoys it just as much, if not more, than you do. And those readers are worth thousands of drive-by readers. Bigger numbers just mean you're getting more people through the gates, it doesn't mean you have more fans, the number is quite arbitrary.

Sonictail's picture

Well dude, i'm also one of the little guys and well the best advantage of being small is that you can get away with doing "other" things while working on your comic and your update schedule can be crap.

May I reccomend that hanging around in places like this IS a good idea, get active in communities and well, make sure those 18 people care and share, are you sure that they are the same 18 people? or is it actually because there is nothing to keep them there.

Look at almost every comic website out there, they have a blogspot always in clean view letting people know what's going on. It can only be a couple of sentences but hey, maybe a site redesign is what you're reading.

Make your comic as apealling as possible, I just visisted your website and there is nothing that makes me want to STAY there so sit down, cut back your update schedule and rethink your website, it may indeed help.

or you can go the opposite tack and make your website as unappealling as possible, Ghastly has proven that this works ^_^ but I think that's due more to content.

Being small has it's advantages early on, especially if you work with site code. I started my comic about four months ago and disgusted with the "portal" type offerings out there that makes sites (that use it) look like each other, I set out to write my own comic website administration code in PHP/MySQL, now currently in it's third beta. The very first revision was quite buggy (so buggy that the second revision came days later), so I'm glad not a lot of people were around for that.

I am working steadily on the official 1.0 designation, and that's when it's going to be time to really start advertising my site.

As others have mentioned, there's that part about honing your craft, so fortunately not a lot of visitors are around to see your early drawings. Those who eventually come and go back to read those early comics will get to witness just how improved your comics has become over time. After all, no one faults the Simpsons today for looking like crud back during the Tracey Ullman Show days.

But in the meanwhile, even though I haven't "heavily" advertised I've collected a small but steady amount of visitors. I've received a good deal of my early traffic from OnlineComics.net, which I was surprised at because most of those visitors horde the sprite and manga-wannabe stuff. Now that amount of clickthroughs is dropping off, but my hits haven't been going down. Since 15% of my traffic is still clickthrough, that means the remaining 85% are specifically coming faithfully to visit the site and that makes me happy.

I have an average of 18 unique visits a day, which is small, but the good thing about it is that these people keep coming back. I'm not exactly rushing to get publicity for my webcomics since I'm still working on the art of it all, and I haven't started working on 2 small webcomic stories I want to work on and I want those out before I actually get more readership.

My webcomics have been up for six months and when I started there were only less than 10 unique visitors a week, and it was hosted on geocities and drunk duck. Now, although my readers aren't exactly hundreds by the week, I'm glad that there's an increase of readers and it's just not my girlfriend who looks at my site :) Also, I was able to get donations and I now host my comics on a new server with better bandwidth limits and no ad banners. Now is where I can really start "growing", since the stupid 4MB/hr minimum file transfer rate of geocities no longer applies (I had around 5 geocities accounts just to avoid reaching the maximum).

I guess getting a huge audience is a big bonus, but then again there's nothing wrong with a small intimate audience while you're just starting out. I have taken a few measures to increase my number of visitors, like submitting to search engines, plugging like hell (but not in annoying way, and only when it's relevant), and putting my website link on my profiles in every forum I'm on (Even if it's about something completely different). But I am not exactly desiring to get a huge leap in my audience, since I really can't handle that yet cause right now, my comics still need a LOT of work.

It's also good to be friends with people who have been doing comics or webcomics longer than you - you get to learn a lot and you will get a lot of unbiased feed back. However, like "Ghastly" said, don't go to the "big guys" to ask to trade links. What you can probably do is look around for webcomics and read them. One thing that helped me even a tiny tiny tiny bit was reading this popular webcomic, commenting on it, and visiting it regularly. I became a regular at that site, and then the site owner, when he realized that I also did webcomics, allowed me to link to my site through his by inserting a URL field in the comments page for his comics to, as he said "cash in on my mad traffic". What you have to remember is that you shouldn't do this for publicity, it just happened to me unintentionally because I really liked his webcomic. It would really suck to just "use" the "big guys", especially when they're the really nice ones. Besides, many of them can smell a publicity whore miles away ;)

I'm somewhere between the little guy and the moderate guy... lower middle-class, if you will. But as I look at my stats, I see a definite trend. On the days I update, I generally find in the area of 120-150 visits. After three months at these numbers, I figure that I've got 120-150 people who stop by to see what I've put up on my site.

If that isn't humbling, then what in hell is?

As has been said, 18 is 17 more than yourself, and the more one thinks on quantifying each one of these "numbers" as "people", it brings home the fact that you are, indeed, providing entertainment.

What's even more exciting are the readers who post on the forum, make comments on other forums, who send in fanart, etc. You can actually develop a relationship with the 18 visitors you've got, and that's worth every second you spend drawing and scanning!

Just speaking for myself, those active participants are what give me pleasure in doing the comic. The back-and-forth, the witty commentary, the people giving you a boost on a bad day, the one who simply send you an email telling you that you made them laugh. Gold!

And you can have that with 18 readers. Cultivate, exchange art, exchange words, build relationships with your fellow toonists. There are some darned fine people out there who do this strange little hobby, and they're pretty intelligent to boot.

[quote:19399aac12="John not logged in"][quote:19399aac12="Dutch!"]I have possibly blocked School Spirit out of just about every major audience web comics currently have, eh?I've had a quick look at your comic, and I got the imperssion your comic is for kids in primary school. For that audience, I think your comic is done very well and would be very much appreciated by them.

And hopefully that didn't offend you :P Most webcomics are targetted to people around the artists age/young adults (which is commonly the same thing). IMO this is because people want appreciation from their peerrs. But I see nothing wrong with having a comic targetted to a younger audience :)

My comic's probably more closely just an extension of my work teaching kids of that age. And your little contribution goes right to the top of 'things people said about us'. So for you lot not sure about readers and stuff, John Not Logged In might not come back to me regularly, but he took notice, and was nice enough to give feedback. It's little moments like those that make your first few months worth it all.

Oh, the suggestion is still appreciated, don't get me wrong.

Thought about that, but I don't think Count Your Sheep has any advertisement banner thingies on its page beside the Keenspot box. Their advertise button leads to Keenspot.

I'll keep lookin' though, no worries.

Tim  Demeter's picture

[quote:59b23d4e7d="Ghastly"]Don't forget too that webcomic artists get all the babes.

Right? We do get the all the babes right? Right!? Someone back me up on this.

I sleep on a big pile of money with many beautiful ladies.

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

Tim  Demeter's picture

Yeah, obviously, that was me.

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