Beginners Guide to Webcomicking [ ARTICLE ]
I’ve been working regularly on webcomics since June of ’04. During which I have worked on almost seventeen hundred (1,700) different strips. That’s an average of five (5) comics a week for over six years. And in that time I have learned a few things about webcomics that might just help some of you who are just starting out.
If you wouldn’t read it, why the hell should I?
This is really common sense. If someone else had created a webcomic that looked and read like yours, would you still read it? If not, they why would you think someone else would. There’s a lot of competition out there and you are trying to convince someone else to give up some of their own valuable time to read your webcomic. If your comic is crap, don’t expect much in return.
Your friends and family don’t count!
If you want to get an honest opinion on whether or not your webcomic is good you need to expand beyond the opinions of your friends and family. Having your friends and family read your webcomic is fine, but they’re going to try to spare your feelings. They think that’s what you want to hear, when what you really need is an honest opinion.
Toughen the fuck up!
Not everyone is going to like your webcomic. In fact, the larger your audience becomes the more likely you are to come across people who vehemently despise your webcomic. If you can’t take criticism or your feelings get hurt easily, then just quit. I am serious. The internet is basically an anonymous, unfiltered, sounding board. There’s a good chance you might see or read something about your work that you don’t like. Get over it or get out!
Facebook is not the final step.
Posting a link to your webcomic for your friends and family on Facebook or Twitter won’t really help unless you’ve got friends like Jeph Jacques or Zach Weiner (famous webcomic people). Once again, these are your friends and family. Mentioning it on these sites doesn’t really expand your audience it just reminds them that you’re still putting stuff on the internet.
Get yourself some knee pads.
Unless you already have credentials from previous works or are friends with famous people (ie. Jeph Jacques or Zach Weiner) you, are going to have to whore yourself out. Regardless of your opinion, you are now at the bottom of a very large barrel of webcomics. If you want to move up you are going to have to work for it. That means self promotion, advertising, guest strips, etc… It’s how things work. Get used to it.
Size does matter!
At the end of the day, the size of your audience does matter. Having a strong core fanbase is good, but if your audience only totals a couple dozen it is not great. Until your readership base regular totals in the thousands, you are still just getting started.
Patience, my young Padawan…
It takes time. Success doesn’t come overnight. To be honest, it might never come. But, regardless if it does come, it’s going to be after a lot of time and hard work. So be patient… And I’m not talking about the kind of patiences that can be measured in weeks or months, but the kind that you measure in years.
Hopefully, I haven’t scared you guys away. The internet is vast and there’s more than enough potential readers for everyone. So best of luck on your webcomicking ventures, just try to keep a realistic perspective on your end goals.