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Promoting Reader Interaction

I know alot has been discussed about self-promoting one's comic, but does anyone have any advice about getting your readers to talk and interact on forums and such?

Promoting Reader Interaction

I know alot has been discussed about self-promoting one's comic, but does anyone have any advice about getting your readers to talk and interact on forums and such?

RE: Promoting Reader Interaction

Katie Sekelsky's picture

My comic's still pretty new, and I only have a few people who have posted on my forum (which is more of a comic feedback forum than anything else right now), but my technique in the past has been to mention it in the comic's newspost a lot, as well as making the link to the forums fairly prominent in the page design.

RE: Promoting Reader Interaction

Build it and they will come. Eventually. Don't be in a hurry, they'll sense a trap. ;)

~Liriel

RE: Promoting Reader Interaction

Some comics have a tag board on the main page as well as a forum. A tag board would probably get more comments from folk without the time or inclination to sign on to the full forum.

RE: Promoting Reader Interaction

I've noticed that fan expression totally depends upon the type of comic being made. Otaku and gamers tend to be obsessive about their pet passtimes, and will fill up a forum on the topic if given a chance.

If your comic is half passible you'll get an audience. And if your comic caters to one of the above groups, you'll start to see them showing up and going on and on and on.

scarfman's picture

My daily webcomic's ten months old and my forum's about three weeks old and averages about a post a day. 'Course about half of those are from me, but the point is patience pays off.

It takes a lot of time and patience. Most people won't post on a forum unless they see someone else posting there. My forum didn't have daily activity until a few years into the comic.

I'd say the best a person can do is:

1. Be visible on the forums yourself, and reply to everybody who has something sensible to say. If people feel the author values their thoughts, they'll obviously show up more, and maybe tell a friend or two.

2. Don't be afraid to let topic disperse from the comic into movies, games, politics, etc. Even the most militant comic forums will still let people talk of the genre, webcomics in general, etc.

3. Try setting up little forum games or polls, like "Tell a story one sentence at a time", or "Who would play Comic-Y's characters in a cartoon?"

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Make your entire site a community. Not just a "here's the comic and here's the forum" thing. Give your readers more and they'll give you more in return.

[quote:85d789aa25="Ghastly"]Make your entire site a community. Not just a "here's the comic and here's the forum" thing. Give your readers more and they'll give you more in return.

But Ghastly sir, how do you do that? ...making the whole site a community thing... :?

~Liriel

We just started a new interaction on our forums - a sketch thread. (Let me explain what we're about - we've created a world, Baeg Tobar, and are publishing stories that take place within that world. There are just two now, but there will eventually be both prose and sequential, and one of our first stories is a mixture of both. But all of them will be illustrated stories, so we have a number of artists we work with.)

We started a thread for quick sketches of a certain race, the Eashue, where artists can come and sketch out their own interpretation of what they think the race would look like. We'd of course love it if some of you wanted to take a look and add your own interpretations of the race..... :)

bobweiner's picture

Getting new forum members to post and feel like part of the forum takes a lot of work. I'm still learning as I go. The PC Weenies forums have topics catered to what I feel my audience would enjoy. Sure, threads go off-topic, but it's a small enough community so I don't really mind. Within the small group, we have an even smaller band of vagabonds who are very vocal and participate. In the end, I like it that way. Quality over quantity, right? :)

I've got a 'webcomics' section on the site, but unfortunately, nobody posts their art there. :(

-K

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

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:389a7adc6e="Liriel"][quote:389a7adc6e="Ghastly"]Make your entire site a community. Not just a "here's the comic and here's the forum" thing. Give your readers more and they'll give you more in return.

But Ghastly sir, how do you do that? ...making the whole site a community thing... :?

~Liriel

You have to give your readers more than just a comic. You have to share a bit of yourself with the readers if you wish for them to socialize. You have to make interactive areas on the site. Fan art galleries, guest comic sections, contests, background information about you, your interests and hobbies, things that will attract like minded people to your site. Be interesting and inviting.

Of course be sure to post to your own forum too. Let your readers know you enjoy interacting with them.

It will all snowball, of course, as your readership grows. The more people reading your comic the more people post to your forum. When other people see more people posting to your forum they'll start posting too.

Contests! That's what I keep neglecting! :(

~Liriel

Katie Sekelsky's picture

On my first comic, I did a "featured reader" thing. It was a contest of sorts... I just asked for emails telling me why they should be the Featured Reader. I'd pick one, draw the person write a bit about them, and stick it next to the newspost. It was fun, despite the fact I was even lazier with my old comic and only ever did one featured reader.

Eventually, I'll probably do it with my current project as well.

I was doing reader sketches for a while there, but I kind of ran out of steam, I really want to get back to that, especially since it was so fun to do, but also because I'm going to need more character extras here shortly. :shock:

~Liriel

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:534093b0ea="reva"]On my first comic, I did a "featured reader" thing.

You know. I like that Featured Reader idea.

I might just steal that from you sometime. :lol:

Tim  Demeter's picture

Stupid jokes.
Really. It works.

Also posting in other, busier, forums and making people interested in what you have to say (by saying interesting things) is pretty effective.

Tim Demeter
Reckless Life

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

I abandoned the forum concept because the echo off the empty walls was disturbing me. Instead, I installed a commenting component that works with every page on the site. Each strip leads into a blog post that leads into the comments. It took about four months before people began regularly posting, but at this point each new piece of artwork or strip is getting an average of four or five posts. I like the close relationship between the strip and comments. It feels more useful than a seperate forum.

I also get readers involved by inviting them to submit their own webcomics for review by my webcomic. Community was the goal behind the whole thing.

Also, read what people write and consider it carefully. If one person took the time to write it, fifty people probably had the same thought. I've often allowed myself to be convinced by a comment, too often according to a couple of posters.

-Bob Stevenson
http://www.journeyintohistory.com