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If your comic isn't popular in one year, it won't ever be

Just something I've been thinking about lately. It seems like all of the giants of the webcomic world reached a decent size (10,000+ readers) within their first year.

So instead of telling newbies to be persistant, should we be telling them to give it a year, then try something else?

Any examples to the contrary?

If your comic isn't popular in one year, it won't ever be

Just something I've been thinking about lately. It seems like all of the giants of the webcomic world reached a decent size (10,000+ readers) within their first year.

So instead of telling newbies to be persistant, should we be telling them to give it a year, then try something else?

Any examples to the contrary?

RE: If your comic isn

Actually, what are your examples? And how long ago were the comics? Way back when webcomics were first started, there weren't as many so it was easier to become more well known (there also wasn't as many readers, but I think it has more to do with how many were around at the time). Now there's tons, and lots of "copy" comics (When was the last time a gamer comic brought something new to the table? ;)).

All of the giants I know of began in the 90s. I think anyone wanting to start comics these days isn't going to have as much success as early.

RE: If your comic isn

Uncle Ghastly's picture

It depends all on how much work you put into promoting it. No matter how good your comic is, if you don't promote it not enough people are going to find it on the internet.

If a big audience is important to you and you haven't gotten one after a year and you create a quality webcomic then instead of giving up the comic it might be better to re-evaluate the methods you employ to promote your strip.

RE: If your comic isn

Personally, I think a better question for the noobs to ask of themselves is "Why are hits so important to me?"

If the answer is something along the lines of "My revenue source depends upon them" then I can see why there'd be a reason to be concerned. Then following Ghastly's sugestion is a good idea.

If the answer is something like, "I just want lots of people to love me and send me emails! And get interviewed in Comixpedia!" then they should get over themselves and stop being such needy little dweebs.

Off the top of my head, Penny Arcade, Megatokyo, PvP, Questionable Content, Something Positive, Wigu....

It seems like they all 'made it' very quickly. Sure they might not have quit their day jobs right away, but they were well known after one year. I'm scratching my head trying to think of a full-time web cartoonist that spent years totally unknown.

Willie G: I can't say I get the indier-than-thou attitude a lot of webcomickers have. I also frequent the boards at Digital Webbing, where nearly everyone shares the common goal of making their work a financial success and doing it full time.

Some people do it for fun, you know. Bill has issues addressing his opinions but the core is still there: before advising someone to stop you should first know what their goal in webcomicking is.

If you are in this just for readers and money, I would be one to tell you you shouldn't even wait a year before stopping, but not because I'm Indie Rock Pete. Webcomic success stories are so seldom, you know, and maybe they happened to those guys because they didn't care about it at all, and did what they do primarily for fun and love.

But I understand what your question is, and to answer it in a proper way, I get the feeling some people on Keenspot didn't have 10.000 daily visits during their first year (Sortelli, McBean although he's not on Keenspot but Keentoons). Yet they made it, if you ignore the fact that they can't still make a living on the amount of money they make.

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Webcomic success stories are so seldom, you know, and maybe they happened to those guys because they didn't care about it at all, and did what they do primarily for fun and love.

It's a nice sentiment, but I doubt that played any big role. Many many artists make their comics because they enjoy what they're doing. Even the people that make comics that we think are uncreative, unfunny, or whatever are probably being created by someone that isn't very creative and isn't very funny, but still wants to make comics. And on the other end of the spectrum: Garfield.

Quote:
(When was the last time a gamer comic brought something new to the table? :Wink).

I don't know, but I've never performed a survey of gamer comics and probably couldn't name more than 3. Though I honestly wouldn't be surprised to find a gamer comic that was kicking ass and not being recognized for it because it used games as its primary topic.

Anyways: not popular in a year = not popular ever is pretty likely. It's basic probability really =\ The longer it takes for something to happen for someone, the longer it will take for things to get in motion and the longer it will take for it to ultimately come to fruition. That final point is one most people won't meet. Someone milling about with a small audience(like myself!) for several years shouldn't expect to be able to reproduce the huge success another comic had in a few months, because if they could, they probably would have already.

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

[quote:3b16783b1c="rezo"]

Quote:
Webcomic success stories are so seldom, you know, and maybe they happened to those guys because they didn't care about it at all, and did what they do primarily for fun and love.

It's a nice sentiment, but I doubt that played any big role.

I disagree. Enjoying what you do is the basic premise to make it popular.

It didn't say it was a matter of cause-and-effect, tho. Think of it as a requirement.

Garfield.

There's no reason to think someone has to enjoy what they do in order to become popular with it. Plenty of actors have seen great success as duos even though they hated working with each other(Cybil Sheppard and Bruce Willis, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey). Musicians that have no creative control over their music have people working behind them to make that special mix of bland and simple music that sells millions. Movies like Triple X are developped conceptually, apparently, by committee with the goal being adding whatever they can to appeal to their target demographic in the most banal ways and not for the joy of creation. Some stand up comics have mentioned their genuine distaste for performing in front of audiences.

So how much do they have to enjoy it, exactly, to be successful? Producing comics is a skill, just like acting or composing or whatever. In the end, what makes something a quality product is how skilled the person working on it is, and how much effort they put into it. It is possible to put the effort in even if you don't have fun doing it. That's what work is for most people. Earning money can be motivation as easily as "making the best comic ever!" can be, and just because someone doesn't enjoy themselves doesn't mean they have to phone it in. People that hate each other can have great chemistry on stage, because they know that it's their job to have that chemistry, and they're capable of doing that job. If you're creative enough to have a strong concept for a comic, and talented enough to pull it off, then I don't see why you can't be in a position to have a popular comic. There's the question of why bother with it at all, if you don't like it... but you know, whatever. I'm not them. It could be as simple as making use of the skills you have instead of just doing whatever.

Audiences review the finished work. How that work comes to be doesn't matter so long as it is worth their time, and I don't see how enjoying what you do is a requirement for that. Other than the fact that it sounds nice.

A more interesting thing to do would be to find the webcomic artists that aren't into making their comics at all. I've not come across them. They are a quiet bunch and I suspect they lie in order to infiltrate the "I enjoy my work!" club as part of their masochistic tendencies.

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Here's a question: How many comics have made it big since 2000? The only one I can think of is Ghastly's comic, and I don't know if he's as big as the really popular comics.

Jamie Robertson's picture

I quit my day job and COTC in under 10,000. I also have an extra comic as subscription only. Incidently, COTC's uniques continue to rise after nearly six years. Of course, COTC only updates 3 days a week and if you add the uniques per comic, then it is over 10,000. Go figure.

Jamie

I see what you did there.

The examples you listed could be valid if only for one thing: we have no guarantee that Jim Davis didn't like his work when he created it. In fact I get the feeling that he enjoys it very much.

The committee that draws it, on the other hand, could hate Garfield with their guts and still put effort in it. Bruce Willis could hate working on Moonlight. Myers could hate working on SNL too. But one thing they all have in common: they are professionals. They are paid to do what they do. It's either you do it or you go look for something else. Some people would quit in the name of artistic integrity, but they didn't and these are all valid choices.

But the average webcomic artist is a hobbist doing what they do for fun on their free time. Even those pointed as the biggies of the webcomics world were at some point. What reason would those people have to spend their precious free time on something they didn't enjoy what they were doing at some level?

You say maybe they are driven by a will to put the best effort in what they do, even if they don't care for their work. I'm inclined to believe that there is no such difference. Because even if they don't care for the outcome, they enjoyed the trill.

I'm not going to drag this on, it is not the subject of this thread. And I agree that people can make great things they end up hating because they have to put food on their table or similar excuses. But a webcomic artist, with no obligations to deliver his work whatsoever, saying that he hates his work and doesn't know why he keeps doing it would be just a big fat liar to me.

Edit: Eep! At first I thought Jamie had started this discussion, not KrazyKrow! :D

I'm not sure that's true. I mean, comics grow and improve over the years. Take a look at first year College Roomies, or CotC and then take a look at either comic now.

The longer you draw, the better you get. I can't see CRfH being the success it is now if the artwork had never changed. Unfortunately, image is everything. A well-drawn comic is a bigger draw than a poorly-drawn comic, even if the poorly-drawn comic has a good storyline. There are exceptions, of course, but they are exceptions, not fact.

We've been talking about this on the Keenspace General Board, and one of the ways to build up readership is, amusingly enough, being active on forum boards while having a link to your comic in your .sig file. It's weird, but true. I've noticed that since I've reduced my posting habits on the CRfH forums, my hits have gone down. However, my hits from the Keenspace boards have gone up, because I've become quite active on those boards.

Likewise my readership has gone up, because people see the link and they follow it. They associate you the poster as someone they talk to and thus your comic is no longer a mystery, but something of an internet friend. So they're more likely to visit and see what you've got.

Anyone can become a success, with enough hard work and time. It's just when you watch those numbers and realize they're not growing as fast as you want that you sometimes feel like giving up hope.

Not to mention that putting out a comic is hard work! :D

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saying that he hates his work and doesn't know why he keeps doing it would be just a big fat liar to me.

Obviously, there'd be a reason to do something if he didn't enjoy the comic making. And I thought Davis had gone on record saying that the comic was something he started with a calculated mind to marketing and that he stepped away from making it himself when he didn't need to anymore. It's the closest example I could think of to what we're talking about. I don't have a list of artists that didn't particularly enjoy their craft and still succeeded at it handy.

But the improbability of a webcomic artist not being interested in making comics is an entirely seperate point from saying someone needs to enjoy what they're doing in order to for it to be popular.

But if what you really meant is that "for someone to make a popular comic, they have to be interested in some aspect related to making a popular comic at some level- be it fans, money or crushing your enemies -- Seeing them driven before you, and hearing the lamentation of their women!" then I would say that's not particular to popular comics at all. But doing anything at all, ever.

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You gotta love what you do first and just have fun with it and not worry TOO much about turning a buck.. you know?

It's all about SUPPLY and DEMAND. -- You'll know things are popular when people start asking you for stickers or shirts of whatever it is you're drawing, and you suddenly go-- "How am I going to afford to make that?" -- then you start thinking numbers.... and you can build slowly.

I've seen so many people just come on the scene and say -- HERE'S MY BOOK! BUY BUY BUY!--- and then they're down when no one buys it, or sales and traffic are down.

Make something YOU love and Make something people HAVE to talk about.... thats a good thing to keep in mind.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Something Positive is pretty big too and it didn't make it until after 2000 (was it even around before 2000)? Depends on how you define big. In terms of readership I'm bigger than the vast bulk of webcomics (not at Penny Arcade / Sluggy levels but I'm up there with the big dogs). In terms of revinue there are comics with smaller readerships than mine pulling in more money. I'm not terribly motivated to fully exploit that aspect yet. I'm more or less just trying to share my stories/gags with as many appreciative people as possible. Of course now with WCN/AWC about to roll out I'll be able to better exploit the revinue potential of my large readership.

Most webcomics will never have more than 1000 people reading them on a regular basis. Fewer still will ever get more than 10000 regular readers. That sounds pretty small-time but if you think about it there are a lot of DC and Marvel comicbooks that don't even reach those levels or don't beat them by much so you're not doing too bad.

[quote:078552fb91="KrazyKrow"]Willie G: I can't say I get the indier-than-thou attitude a lot of webcomickers have.
This here is just an aspect of the current bit of ideology clashing cropping up. If I or someone else says, "There are other reasons to make comics aside from being a 17th teir web celebrity" someone else will pop up and claim I or whoever is just being a pretentious art-fag... Or even better "Jealous"

And at no point did I say, "You should never try to make money"

[quote:078552fb91="DJ"]You gotta love what you do first and just have fun with it and not worry TOO much about turning a buck.. you know?
Now this makes sense.

Oh! And there is this:

Update regularly. Seriously. The quickest way to lose readers is to not update regularly.

While Avalon was the exception to this rule (because the fans were that insane), when a comic starts missing updates it starts losing readers. Elf Life is struggling to recover its fanbase after its updates became intermittent (and CarsonFire also started doing prose updates to compensate and speed the story along). Fortunately for him, he's found a way to move around the dead weight that was the Marriage Storyline, and start updating fairly regularly again, so he should be doing a little better now. I'd not be surprised if CRfH doesn't lose some of its readership as well, as updates are starting to fluctuate due to Maritza's pregnancy.

If you have a large readership, skipped updates won't hurt as badly. Still, eventually even die-hard fans will start quitting in droves. This happened finally with Avalon, when Josh didn't update for months on end. People just lose heart and faith, and move on. There are other comics that update that you can read instead.

So... if you update regularly, that should in and of itself help keep your core readers. Meanwhile, they'll draw more people to the comic, as would your own advertising, be it through ads in other comics, newsboxes, or even just simple forum posting. Heck, it's how I'm getting people to read my review site. :D

Well, that and the fact I'm talkative. :D

Don't be a Sour Grape :roll:

Ghastly: Ghastly (the comic) has definately grown in size over the years, although I hope Ghastly (the you) has stayed the same, trim, shirtless Clark Kent we've grown to know and love.

But I think it's safe to say that Ghastly's Ghastly Webcomic will never be a 100,000 reader comic, except in a sexy parallel dimension.

BTW, Charles Bronson is on record saying that he's not a fan of his own movies.

[quote:e3cd794369="rezo"]But if what you really meant is that "for someone to make a popular comic, they have to be interested in some aspect related to making a popular comic at some level- be it fans, money or crushing your enemies -- Seeing them driven before you, and hearing the lamentation of their women!" then I would say that's not particular to popular comics at all.

No, I meant he has to LIKE what he does. Gosh...

But there you have it. What the hell. If you want to believe someone would spend their free time, on their own volition, in doing something that doesn't pleases them, whatever. Keenspace is full of comics like that. Only they stopped updating after one or two pages. But they prove your point.

[quote:a3ecd7ee31="KrazyKrow"]BTW, Charles Bronson is on record saying that he's not a fan of his own movies.

And I have an old Wizard where Jim Lee says he's not a fan of his comics either. He explained that if he felt he venerated his works, he would lose a critical view on it.

Maybe there's the chance Bronson said it for the same reason. And maybe although he didn't like his movies, he enjoyed acting. I hope you realize the difference between a job and a hobby, because those examples do nothing to contest my point.

I'm pretty sure Charles Bronson meant that he hated being pigeonholed in crap movies.

Hey! I happen to like Braddock!

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:6b06d4fcc6="KrazyKrow"]Ghastly: Ghastly (the comic) has definately grown in size over the years, although I hope Ghastly (the you) has stayed the same, trim, shirtless Clark Kent we've grown to know and love..

Ironically, as my comic has grown in popularity I've become more and more svelt.

Perhaps if I break the 1M reader mark (already broke the 100K mark) I'll disappear altogether.

You'd be a pipe sticking out of a line.

Townie's picture

As someone who's observed webcomics a couple of years, I'd say the hypothesis of this thread is inaccurate. The big names everyone flocks to these days when they think of success didn't start out as big as they are now. Most of them have been doing it for 6-7 years. How many of us even knew webcomics existed before 2000? In the short time I've been reading them, I've seen tiny strips get popular and I've seen huge sites dry up. You can't go judging success by all the PVPs and PAs out there. That's like judging American business by all the McDonalds and the Nikes. It takes time to lay down a framework of achievement and some people are lucky their plans work faster than others. But in so many years, how many webcomics on the scene are even going to be here? What's to keep the popular strips from abandoning the web format all together? Plenty of comics are just using the web as a jumping off point. And who's to say the most historic webcomic of all time has even been hosted yet? Every year we see some comics come and go because of this boom or bust philosophy. They didn't make it rich quick so they feel they've failed. From what I've seen, the longer you stay on the web, the more likely you are to succeed. It makes sense if you think about it. Nobody went to the movies to see Van Wilder as a freshman, they all went to see him as the guy who'd been there awhile and learned how to work things to his advantage.

- Ben

Working through the first few months

So it's basically update regularly, plug the hell out of your book, and hope some good shit happens to you. If you have a worthwhile comic, all of these together will translate into some form of success. If you have a terrible comic and update, plug, and have big fat lucky breaks, then you probably won't get the same level of recognition.

It's wierd how the whole popularity thing works. If one person says you are cool, then the ball starts rolling. My friends and I have been making comics for years in our college paper and having graduated we just got onto the web (www.bigcheesepress.com.) You can tell that we are somewhat polished, but we had no internet standing.

This week Nothing Nice To Say had a complimentary post about my friend's comic and we got ~ 100,000 page views that day. Which is a lot for us, having only had our site up for 2 months. How did he find our comic? I probably e-mailed him to tell him I liked his and he should check ours out. Which he did for a few weeks, then decided to advertise all on his own. We'll see how many of the visitors stick around, and what happens. We'll give it a year.

RE: Working through the first few months

Popluarity doesn't tranlate into good comic however.

IF your comic isn't popular...

No, popularity doesn't "translate into good comic." Garfield is popular, most people I know hate it. We all know how few paintings Van Gogh sold in his life. It's an old, well-understood truth, ESPECIALLY among artists that what is popular is not necessarily what is good. That much, we've all figured out.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:61345bca51="William_G"]You'd be a pipe sticking out of a line.

Like an Olsen Twin with a vibrator.

Now that's an image I didn't need... *pours himself a glass of brainbleach*

Re: IF your comic isn't popular...

Townie's picture

[quote:0202bb9720="bigcheesepress"]We all know how few paintings Van Gogh sold in his life.

Um, that would be one

- Ben

RE: Re: IF your comic isn

As recent discussions have caused me to realize, money trumphs all other considerations. So I would suggest that if your comic is not catching your target demographic, then you should alter your plan and seek one that is under-served.

So much artsy angst, next time I'm only posting threads like this in the "Business" forum.

OH WAIT

Point taken. You wanted business advice and that's something I can't exactly give. But there were examples that deemed your theory wrong. How further this discussion can keep going is up to you now.

these guys may be too busy getting laid to read webcomics

[quote:4bab6b250e="KrazyKrow"]So much artsy angst, next time I'm only posting threads like this in the "Business" forum.
I know that I certainly hate it when art gets into a discussion about an artform.

Anyway, as I said: If one's comic is not catching one's target demographic, then one should alter their plan and seek a demographic that is currently under-served.

Otaku, gamers, tech-support people, role players, and so forth have an almost endless amount of material to choose from for their comic-viewing pleasure. Really, an artist would have to be providing a product substantially superior to everything else being provided, as well as pouring an ass-load of money into advertising so people will know about it, to take a dominant position in that market.

On the other hand, (just for example) I don't see too many comics about black, one-eyed, transvestite, midget, college radio DJs. Now, these guys may be too busy getting laid to read webcomics, being pure sex machines, but you never know. The person to tap into that under-served market could be raking in the big bucks and getting enough hits to laugh at us all.

Comic Popularity Re: Oversexed DJs

William brings up the "unserved audience" point. It is true there are lots of gamer, manga, etc comics out there. How do they survive? They have a subculture that venerates the internet and uses it frequently. The love people have for the subculture spawns more comics about it, and also is set up for sharing info about it.

You could totally hit up the DJs that may be too busy having sex William talks about. You could make the comic, it could really apply to them, and it could be their Penny Arcade. Or you could make it and it could be great and still get no visitors. The question is, how are you advertising? The less web-based your audience is, the harder the market to hit. Lawyers might love lawyer comics, or they could be too busy to remember to visit websites. So then how do you get them? That's the real trick, isn't it?

It's understood most webcomic artists have read Scott McLoud's books, but I'm curious how many have read the old Dave Sim's Notes From the President. I know they were widely read and distributed by small press publishers in the early 90s and subsequently responsible for tons of independent comics that would otherwise not have existed. While many of the articles don't pertain specifically to the quite different economic and publishing nature of the internet, a lot of business basics are there, which is what I would consider popularity more than anything else.

RE: these guys may be too busy getting laid to read webcomic

Stepping past the huge superiority complex, I'd just like to point out Real Life, RPGWorld, Sluggy, Mac Hal, and CAD were not sucesses in thier first year. Neither was MT if the first manga volume's forward is any indication.

Sometimes, comics hit a bloom deep into thier run. For example, only now do I see Shifters or Errant Story getting quick mentions on webcomic threads on the forums I skulk.

It's that old business idea of finding a need and filling it

[quote:f6aa810da0="bigcheesepress"]William brings up the "unserved audience" point. It is true there are lots of gamer, manga, etc comics out there. How do they survive? They have a subculture that venerates the internet and uses it frequently. The love people have for the subculture spawns more comics about it, and also is set up for sharing info about it.
Unless money has changed somewhat since I last checked, this audience only has a finite amount of cash to toss around. While they are the biggest brand addicts who'll buy anything with the right label out there, (hell, they kept Star Trek on tv for about fifteen years longer than it should have been) even they have to pay rent over buying the latest merchandise from "VideoGame X".

There are people making a living off of this audience, but the people who arent far out-number them. So I figure you can either try to elbow your way to the trough, or you could find one of your own. It's that old business idea of finding a need and filling it.

Quote:
You could totally hit up the DJs that may be too busy having sex William talks about. You could make the comic, it could really apply to them, and it could be their Penny Arcade. Or you could make it and it could be great and still get no visitors. The question is, how are you advertising? The less web-based your audience is, the harder the market to hit. Lawyers might love lawyer comics, or they could be too busy to remember to visit websites. So then how do you get them? That's the real trick, isn't it?

But they do visit websites to their interest. You just need to spend the cash to advertise on them. And really, all of us have to advertise anyway. Most of us get by on pimps from bigger comics and messageboard hype forums/ banner ads which are free or the closest to it.

Which is fine for the most part. Your gamer geek comic would do well advertising on Penny Arcade, but hyping on webcomic boards only gets you other webcomic artists.

So right now, I'm willing to suggest that the problem isn't advertising, but it's the material being sold. Some prefer the idea that you should just make the best gamer comic out there and you'll eventually shove aside the kings of the genre, and that may just work. But I figure that if your goal is to have the most popular comic and not just the most popular genre comic, then playing the same game everyone is doesnt make sense.

[quote:f6aa810da0="ledgermain"]Stepping past the huge superiority complex...
I dont think you have one. Quite the opposite in fact. Pep up old chum.

If your comic isn't popular in one year, it won't ever be

In the end, if it isn't popular, just keep working on improving your craft. With skills you can do other comics, other work, whatever. That's more important than page views, in the end. the cliche is something to the effect of: "You have to draw 3,000 comic pages before you draw your first good page." So get those pages done. If you want to post them on the web in the process, cool. But you won't get them done in a year.

I beleive CAD actually had around 30,000 readers daily at the one year point. Errant Story has been at around 10,000 readers a day since it started, thanks to Poe's previous comic. I don't know the numbers for Megatokyo, but they got linked from PvP pretty early in their run.

It'd be easier to objectively discuss this if everyone had an Extreme Tracker link on their page. I'm almost tempted to log in to Alexa and research a random sampling of comics and whip up some pretty scatter plots and R values, but then I rememer how lazy I am.

There are a few examples to the contrary, but I still think for the most part it's possible to predict the long-term growth in readership of a webcomic by the growth in its early stages.

PX!'s picture

Success in a market that is as of yet untested and still learnig to walk is a hard thing to peg.
We are making our book because we love it, and want to tell the story. Its a fun art form. We love reading cool comics and we love creating cool comics.
Every art forom will have its artsy crowd and its commercial crowd.
People don't generally make and "show" there art unless they want something from it. I'd be a liar if i said I don't care about succeeding in this venture. It'd be sweet to build a following and create a storey that people want to follwo and tell there friends about. I dream of people wearing PX! t-shirts and dressing up like pandas and lil' wikkity's for halloween, but the cold truth is that me and most people will never see that kind of success.

My advice...for whats its worth. Draw comics because you love it. Share it with the world because your passionate about doing it. I've known to many art/animation/film guys who make their art to get famous and make money. Most fail when that is the only motivator.
If you have been drawing a webcomic for a year and you haven't hit the industries established benchmark for success, well it would be time to evaluate your goals and dreams.

Are you still having fun at that point?
Do you have fanbase that follws you? (5000 plus people following you is damn good by traditional small press comic standards)
Are you marketing efficiently? (I know people have already brought that up)

I love drawing and telling stories. My co-hort loves telling stories. We make vidoe games by day and comics by night. Thats alot of fun.
PX! may never be a penny-arcade or PvP. But who cares...I get to freely distribute my story to people who, if they like it share it with others.

You can't ask for better PR, than people telling people.

I have always believed (and will continue to ) that good product will spread out to the fans who want it. It may take one person longer than another, but if time is allowed, good often rises to the top.

One thing the internet gives artists is time. If you were to try to go into print, unless you had a nice amount of expendable income, you'd need to be turning a decent profit after a few months in order to succeed or you'd be forced to stop/fall into the "bi-yearly because I can't afford to put it out quicker" mire of self-publishing.

Online, taking a year to be get a decent return is seen as being quick. Advice is even geared around this, with people asking what they can do to help their increase their audience often being, basically, to wait and see what happens. People can take this casual approach because the cost of a webcomic is almost non-existent(basically the price of supplies plus a few bucks each month for enough space to handle thousands of people daily). Someone could run a webcomic with a few resources and an allowance of $5 a week,and even a comic with absolutely no readers could be made to completion and presented to the public online on the creators willpower alone. Something taken for granted, but certainly much better than the old days of needing several thousand dollars to get a comic off of the ground with almost no advertising where it can be put in stores where no one knows anything about it.

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[quote:1e5942f0e0="KrazyKrow"]It'd be easier to objectively discuss this if everyone had an Extreme Tracker link on their page. I'm almost tempted to log in to Alexa and research a random sampling of comics and whip up some pretty scatter plots and R values, but then I rememer how lazy I am.
This is really the main problem when discussing these things. Extreme Tracker and Alexa are not accurate measuring tools. And they do not tell us anything about the type of people reading. There is no webcomic demomgraphics study I'm aware of. Penny Arcade's audience may all be soccer moms for all we know.

We do know that geeks are slavishly loyal to their "brand" and we know they have a signifigant internet presence. We dont know if they can sustain a webcomic industry by themselves, and we dont know if they're even willing to. We dont know if they're all reading webcomics now, or if there's more of them to come.

We need some hard data. All we have is anecdotal evidence. Someone start a long term study about this.

Erik Melander's picture

Such a study would be very difficult to do. Difficult, but not impossible. It would certainly need the help of many comic creators to work.

True. I think it would be extremely useful to have this data though. Not just for webcomics audience, but to see what the web audience itself looks like. Then maybe we can see where our focus should go as artists/ entertainers. Then we can go where the money is.

The question is.. who will do the research, how they will do it, and who will fund it?

Exxon? They're always supporting PBS.

Asking people via the internet would be a mistake because, lets face it, it's the land of bullshit. Anyone who would do the mystical "Who Uses The Web And What For" study would have to contact people in the real world to get a representational sample. Much like any survey, really.

I dunno, I have 15 times the audience I had at the end of my first year.

Of course, I joined Keenspot after that, but the point still stands. There are many things you can do to boost your readership.

I also admit that my comic was a lot uglier then.

Maritza
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