So you’ve decided to start a webcomic. Or maybe you’re launching a new chapter in your ongoing webcomic. The question eventually arises: What’s the best way to launch? There are a few things you should keep in mind to maximize this exciting time…
DON’T drag this out
Remember “The Child Who Cried Wolf.” Your followers are only going to put up with a finite amount of “coming soon” messages. I would suggest that one or two weeks is plenty of time for pre-promotion. Longer than that is going to try your readers’ patience.
DO craft your message carefully
This is an incredibly fine line to walk. Your objective during this time is to express your excitement about an upcoming event — but not tease the event itself.
What’s the difference? Expressing your excitement doesn’t involve an implicit “go-and-look” share statement. This is a good time to post sketches or teaser images. But you’re not talking about the actual launch yet. Talking about the launch itself does involve an implicit go-and-look statement, and you want to save that for the final posts before the Grand Opening.
DON’T launch with one page
This is the biggest rookie mistake that webcomic creators make. They make a Big Noise about a launch — building an impressive amount of buzz around the event — and then, on the Big Day, they open to a single page.
Unless that single page has an extremely powerful emotional hook, you’ve effectively lost all of the momentum you’ve spent so much time building. This is especially true of your single page is ambiguous — like a longshot of a castle or a pair of feet running through mud puddles. There’s no emotional hook in a page like that — and therefore, no reason for a potential reader to come back for the rest of the story.
Instead, consider launching your webcomic with a well-developed hook. If you’re smart, you will have written the story so that hook happens quickly — perhaps even in the first eight pages. But whether it takes eight pages — or eighteen — you should have enough pages available on your site on Launch Day to captivate readers so they want to stick around for the entire story.
DO consider using a trailer
In the same way that feature films use trailers to entice moviegoers, you could prepare a trailer for your story. It doesn’t have to be animated — it doesn’t even have to be a video — but it should be created with the goal of whetting your potential readers’ appetites for the ongoing narrative.
DON’T get lazy on social media
Remember: Social media is all about sharing. Give your followers a reason to share your posts. And, let’s face it, unless you have a very large existing following of engaged readers, posting: “My comic just went live!” has extremely limited sharing potential.
Why? Because right now, you’re the only one who cares. You need to give your backers a reason to care. What’s that reason? It’s probably closely related to your Elevator Pitch. In other words, what’s your comic about? What makes it special? Why are people going to fall in love with it? Your messaging should be targeted at those concepts — not something mundane like “I just posted the first page.” Tell your followers why they should care.