Best of Webcomics.com — August 2017
August was an excellent example of the tremendous value offered by a subscription to Webcomics.com. My readers got early alerts on issues that would impact their businesses, helpful tutorials, insightful analysis, and meaningful feedback on their work. Here are some samples of what you may have missed…
Fraudulent charges on Patreon
I saw significant uptick in Patreon backers whose payment came back with the Fraud tag this month.
Luckily, we’re all pretty creative people, so if we can get ahead of the curve, perhaps we can nip this in the bud. So let’s start brainstorming some proactive measures. I’ll offer a few to start things off…
Editor’s Note: Using the strategies presented in this post, I saw a decrease in fraudulent charges of nearly 100%. [Subscribers can read the entire post]
Patreon Hot Seat
Custom Navigation Buttons — Tutorial
It’s no secret. I despise some of the default navigation buttons that are included with webcomic CMS packages. The ones (as seen on the right) that come with ComicsPress are especially high on this list.
Personal aesthetics aside, using the default buttons kinda makes your site look like every other webcomic. It labels you as generic. Making your navigation buttons fit the look of your Web site is the first step towards separating yourself from the pack.
Although these instructions are written with Comic Easel in mind, I’m assured that the instructions are directly transferable to ComicsPress users. [Free Friday! Read the entire post without a subscription!]
Ripl — No significant improvement in engagement
Tapastic announces a new incubator program
Tapastic’s “incubator program” has a lot of webcomics newcomers starry-eyed.
Let’s drill down on some details. [Subscribers can read the entire post]
Anatomy of an Effective Crowdfunding Video
The crowdfunding video is a deceptively difficult nut to crack for many of us. It’s a crucial aspect of a successful crowdfunding campaign. But we cartoonists don’t tend to exactly excel in the skills required to do this well. Recently, my friend, Dave Kellett launched a Kickstarter campaign that featured a video that was done so well, I wanted to use it as a case study in Doing Things Right. [Subscribers can read the entire post]
If you create exclusive content for Patreon backers, you may be interested in Patreon Marker — a Web app that puts an invisible watermark on the files your backers download. If you find that your exclusive work has been uploaded elsewhere, you can use the Patreon Marker app to read the file and discover who pirated your work. [Subscribers can read the entire post]
Stop Promoting to Other Cartoonists!
You see it every day — especially if you’re a member of any webcomics-themed Facebook groups. It’s ubiquitous. It’s pointless. It’s almost entirely useless. But more importantly, it belies a huge lack of understanding about the nature of promotion.
It’s cartoonists promoting their work to other cartoonists.
Let’s discuss why it’s so bad — and more importantly, let’s identify some much more effective methods of promotion! [Free Friday! Read the entire post without a subscription!]
One Simple Step Towards Better Social Media
Wanna do better at social media? It can be boiled down to two sentences.
Like less. Share more.
Keep it positive
In an earlier piece for Webcomics.com, I emphasized the importance of personal branding on social media. I said:
Is [my personal brand] accurate? Yes and no. All of the [descriptions] above are truthful, but my presentation of them is decidedly one-sided.
For example, if you follow me on social media, you’re going to hear a lot about my successes. I’m going to post positive stuff all day long. You’re going to hear much less about my failures and shortcomings. Is that because I don’t experience them? Hell, no.
It’s because I know why I’m on social media.
And it ain’t to tell you about my failures.
Let’s talk some more about that… [Subscribers can read the entire post]
The final reason to stop hosting reader comments
Note: This post originally ran last year.
In February 2015, I published a post that asked if webcomic creators really needed to host a comments section on their sites. By May of that year, I reported that I had curtailed commenting — and it had numerous positive side-effects for me. This release from NPR.org made it even more clear
Here’s an analysis of what that means to you…
Using GoFundMe… for comics?
Sadly, it’s not uncommon for me to see a GoFundMe campaign to help a family in need raise the money for an astronomical medical bill. But recently, I saw a GoFundMe campaign that sought the funds to launch a print comic book. My initial reaction was shock. This was a commercial enterprise in a place typically reserved for charitable donations! But beyond that, it made me sad to think that someone could have such a vast misunderstanding of simple business basics.
Here’s why I think that using GoFundMe to launch a new project is poorly thought-out… [Subscribers can read the entire post]
Six Common Mistakes Made by Webcartoonists
I’ve been writing for this site since 2009, and I see a lot of webcomics. I initiate critiques, I get asked to do portfolio reviews at conventions, and I do comic consulting. I do it because I like it. I love talking comics, and I like having the opportunity to pass along the things I’ve learned by doing this for so long. AND, as I often say — here and to my classes at Hussian School of Art — I’ve already made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.
In seeing all of those webcomics, I see a lot of the same mistakes pop up over and over again. So I want to isolate the top five — not in a “boy are you a loser” way. Rather, since many of these are so widespread, my hope is that we can take some big steps to eradicating these six.
Number one should be no big surprise…