Wednesday, January 16, 2008

10 Things Every Webcomic Creator Should Know (About Getting Rich)

  1. The odds of making money off Webcomic X are against you. Do the math: there's approximately 11,000 webcomics out there, according to thewebcomiclist. Maybe 100 of those are making a decent amount of cash. That's less than 1% of all the comics out there.
  2. The good news is, the same odds apply to almost any business field out there, Restaurants, Magazines, Bakeries... almost 90% of businesses fail in the first year, PERIOD. Consider yourself lucky that you're trying in a field that doesn't require significant financial outlays.
  3. Making a webcomic doesn't have to be expensive, but it's not free either. If nothing else, your time and the money you could be making for that amount of time is the cost involved.
  4. Don't think you can get away with doing less for your comic and still doing well. Yes, webcomics are a great place for artistic shortcuts, but people STILL give Tim Buckley about how much copypaste he does in Ctrl+Alt+Del.
  5. The less work you do, the more you should have to show for it. People are far more forgiving if a beautifully done piece of work only shows up once a week. Likewise, if it's stick figures, you ought to have plenty of new material up often (unless you're Xkcd, in which case your writing better be what holds you up)
  6. Some people will always be attracted to your work. Others won't. Not everyone likes manga, or furry, or superheroes, or hell, naturists. Deal with it and run from there.
  7. As soon as you find the ones willing to help you out, keep them nearby as long as you can. Everyone needs a couple die-hards, groupies, whatever you want to call 'em, and if they're friends in high places, so much the better.
  8. Nothing you do will result in a get-rich-quick scheme. This is the internet, after all. If we knew of one, everybody would be doing it.
  9. A lot of things you do, on the other hand, will each net a little money. THIS is how you support yourself; a little here, a little there, and so on. In my case, we're talking a donations button, some Project Wonderful ads, and (coming soon) a little supplementary income from conventions. It's not even enough to cover tuition at this point, but for what's effectively eight month's worth of work, it ain't bad either.
  10. The minute you stop looking for new ideas is the minute you start losing money. We're not saying you have to try a new hairbrained scheme each day, but paying attention to what you're doing and tweaking it to get rid of what doesn't work while capitalizing on what DOES work, will net you more in the long run.
So . . . if you're reading this, you probably haven't been paying attention to at least one of these details before now. Mind posting a comment to tell me which one? Curious minds want to know!

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At January 17, 2008 at 12:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with you on your sixth point about some people simply not liking a genre.

For example, while I usually can't stand superhero comics, I found "Hero By Night"'s early journal-form strips incredibly fun to read. Similarly, "The Phoenix Requiem" is called a Manga even though it doesn't follow any obvious genre conventions.

So personally, while I agree people do show a preference for specific genres or subjects, I think with enough work and originality you can easily attract readers who would usually overlook your comic. But I wouldn't say "deal with it" as though there's nothing that can be done.

At January 17, 2008 at 5:56 PM , Blogger Jigsaw Forte said...

It's not to say that there is nothing that can't be done, but at the same time, you can't please everyone.

Number six is said with a little venom, as I remember within the first month or so of showing off my comic I got so many remarks about it being 'furry', since there is (still) a fairly caustic divide involved there.

You CAN defend your work from remarks like this and gain people who otherwise would have no interest, but it may not necessarily be worth the effort to try and gain an audience member who is not only so willing to typecast your work in the first ten seconds, but also has an active dislike and/or hatred of that stereotype. Admirable, yes. An effective use of your time, maybe not (and possibly detrimental if said person is prone to enlisting 'outside assistance').

At January 18, 2008 at 10:25 AM , Blogger JK said...

I am really enjoying following your thought process. I have followed your development as a writer and as a comic artist so I'm happy to see you also developing as an business person. Thanks for sharing.

At January 18, 2008 at 7:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh. You asked for commentary on what we weren't doing.

I'm not doing a comic, for starters... ;-]

I suspect I might be one of your die-hard groupies, though.

At February 1, 2008 at 4:42 AM , Blogger Eretians said...

Making money is good and tempting but I think the biggest problem is how to get traffic into your website, getting people to read your webcomic.

Once you have traffic then making money on net is much much easier.

At April 12, 2008 at 3:22 PM , Blogger Rachel Keslensky said...

Traffic is certainly a problem, but most people consider money / sustainability to be a better indicator of success than traffic.

They're closely intertwined, though.

At January 7, 2009 at 8:53 AM , Blogger T III said...

Nice post, it makes for a good read. I have to admit out of those 10, oddly I only really ovelooked no. 3... more that I haven't really thought about the cost in regards to time spent producing comics etc.

I'm just starting up my own comics, theres a few produced and I'm planning to start updating likely on the 19th Jan 09. People may disagree but at present I haven't been considering making back costs such as time- perhaps I'm being less than realistic but I'd be happy to simply cover hosting charges etc. in the first year or so.

I can see why no. 6 contains a "little venom" and true it is possible to convert people but on the other hand could cause more trouble than its worth. I can imagine my comic will likely get the "furry" remarks as well.

At February 1, 2009 at 10:22 PM , Blogger Romaina M said...

the main problem is getting people to read your comic

At May 12, 2009 at 3:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a fan of xkcd, I have to nitpick. The following is from

"How do I write "xkcd"? There's nothing in Strunk and White about this.

For those of us pedantic enough to want a rule, here it is: The preferred form is "xkcd", all lower-case. In formal contexts where a lowercase word shouldn't start a sentence, "XKCD" is an okay alternative. "Xkcd" is frowned upon."

So, consider yourself frowned upon. : )

At January 11, 2013 at 12:26 PM , Blogger Qasim Ali said...

I feel good to read your comics

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At February 16, 2015 at 1:38 PM , Blogger Muhammad Muddassar said...

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