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Saturday Sketchbook: Bonus Wallpapers 2017

Saturday Sketchbook: Bonus Wallpapers 2017 published on No Comments on Saturday Sketchbook: Bonus Wallpapers 2017

Hey, readers, did you know you can support Leif & Thorn on Patreon?

Become a patron for as little as $1/month, and you’ll get fun rewards like a whole year’s worth of bonus wallpapers. Including these, all the worksafe Leif & Thorn ones from 2017.

New Leif & Thorn merch!

New Leif & Thorn merch! published on No Comments on New Leif & Thorn merch!

Hey, does anyone remember that I have a Society6 store?

Because I finally did! At least, enough to add a bunch of new But I’m A Cat Person and Leif & Thorn merchandise.

Click on through to get some new shirts, phone cases, mugs, clocks, and other exciting gear. And if there’s any art I’ve already done that you wish you had on a pillowcase, now would be the time to ask.

Ads and advertising on your comic, for #webcomicchat

Ads and advertising on your comic, for #webcomicchat published on No Comments on Ads and advertising on your comic, for #webcomicchat

An extended versions of last Sunday’s chat, since I didn’t have time to go into all the detail I wanted.

(…mostly because I was in a moving car with spotty Internet access.)

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Q1: Does your webcomic have ads? If not, would you ever consider getting some?

Yes, on both comics, because why not?

This is when some creators talk about Having Pure Motives and Providing The Best Experience. Thing is, as a reader, I’ve never found ads distracting or disruptive on anyone else’s comics. Not to mention, I can’t afford to directly support a ton of artists and writers, so it’s nice to know that at least my presence is doing something good for them.

For people who really can’t put up with ads, even for the sake of supporting indie creators, and haven’t developed the ability to tune them out…there’s always AdBlock.

Q2: What ad sites do you know of or use to earn revenue for your comics?

I use Project Wonderful, because it’s easy, automated, and works no matter how big your site is.

(Services like Google AdSense have a minimum traffic threshold. PW just gives people the ability to advertise on low-traffic sites for free, if nobody else is bidding.)

It doesn’t make a lot of money, just enough that I can turn it around and funnel it back into…

Q3: Do you advertise your webcomic? Do you use paid ads? Do you promote yourself using free strategies?

…buying PW ads. I’ve never actually withdrawn money from PW and spent it anywhere else. Set up a good campaign and it’ll be a reliable source of traffic.

The trick is to make lots of different banners, compare their performance, and cull the ones that nobody ever clicks on. If you set up a campaign that aims for cheap ad space on low-traffic sites, you can use that data to pinpoint the banners that really get attention, and use those in higher-cost campaigns.

PW lets you target by keywords, too. You’ll get a noticeably higher click-through rate if you search for, say, gay/LGBT sites, and then bid on them with your “romantic scenes with the m/m couple” banners.

I shelled out for banner ads on TopWebComics once. The admins actually screwed up the initial display date, so they were very apologetic and gave me a bunch of extra slots for free. It was nice, but not noticeably better than PW.

Free strategies: crossposting on DA/Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook, sharing with general-interest groups and blogs like lgbtwebcomics, urging readers to vote on TWC, the occasional fanart piece for someone else’s webcomic, and, lately, guest posts on LGBTQ Reads.

Q4: What techniques for earning ad revenue do you use, besides banner ads?

The only one that comes to mind is product placement, so…nothing.

Non-ad revenue comes from Patreon, commissions, and books/merchandise.

Q5: What is the most notable ad experience that you’ve ever encountered as a publisher and/or advertiser?

I’ve had to nix a couple of individual ads. One was a straight-up scam — it got reported and the user was removed. The other image wasn’t TOS-breaking, it just had a joke that didn’t look good next to a comic full of LGBT characters, so it got blocked from bidding on my sites.

It’s nice that PW makes that kind of filtering easy. (On top of the usual broad filtering for “child-friendly” on one end and “NSFW” on the other.)

Comments, for #WebcomicChat

Comments, for #WebcomicChat published on No Comments on Comments, for #WebcomicChat

Took a break from remastering BICP chapter 7 this afternoon, to talk about comments at @WebcomicChat.

(I’m also more than halfway through re-uploading And Shine Heaven Now to the new site with comments enabled! Not that I expect to get any, I’m just saying…it’s topical.)

Q1: What are your favorite types of comments to read on a webcomic?

Comments that catch stuff I missed. Especially helpful when there’s a code or puzzle…or a Dramatic Appearance by a character I totally forgot about, so I’m counting on more-avid readers to say “wow, it’s X’s sister we all thought was dead!”

That’s referring to other people’s webcomics, btw. I don’t forget about my own characters. (…usually.)

Q2: How can a reader craft a great comment?

I don’t want readers worrying about Greatness, I just want to hear from them. Even if it’s as simple as quoting a line that made you laugh and writing “LOL” afterward.

Trying to imagine the greatest possible comment, though…”I love your work, I told all my friends about it, these characters are my faves, here’s some fanart I drew, I just sent $10K via your PayPal Donate button, and would you like a book deal?”

Q3: Which platforms or systems do you find work best for commenting?

I like WordPress best. Disqus is useful for sites that don’t have a built-in system, but needs all kind of fussy Javascript to load properly. (Gonna go ahead and say Tumblr is worst.)

The personal feedback on Deviantart is nice, but it doesn’t give notifications for replies that aren’t directly to you, which makes it almost impossible to notice inter-reader conversations. And sometimes those are the best comments!

Q4: Are comments a necessity on webcomics? Why?

Well, uh, webcomics predate Web 2.0, so no.

(Kids these days don’t know how good they have it! Back when I got started, you could only “comment” by emailing the author, uphill in the snow both ways…)

Depends on how much moderating you’re able to do. Unless you hit a certain level of traffic, or a really dedicated army of trolls, it’s not hard to manually-approve all comments before they’re visible to the public.

Q5: How can a creator help foster a positive commenting community for their comics?

Be engaged and responsive, but don’t be too quick on the draw with Word Of God that stifles discussion and shuts down speculation.

(Lots of other people covered “set reasonable boundaries, and don’t be afraid to ban people who won’t respect them.” Although luckily I’ve only had to do that once. Or, technically, multiple times…but all for aliases of the same person, which only reinforces my conviction that they deserved to be banned in the first place.)

Guest Strip Week 2018 – Submissions

Guest Strip Week 2018 – Submissions published on No Comments on Guest Strip Week 2018 – Submissions

There’s a bit of a hole coming up in the Leif & Thorn posting schedule, so I’m opening the floor to guest strips!

Submissions will be open until January 31. If I get at least 7, they’ll be posted the last week of March. I got a few, but not 7, so the filler will be something else.

But it’s not too late — if you have an idea, go ahead and draw it and send it in, whenever you finish! I’ll save them up for a guest week later in the year.


Format: PNG, GIF, or JPG
Size: up to 825×825 pixels
Rating: up to PG-13 (basically, match the tone of the strip)
Characters: whoever you want!

You can use any AU, explore any era, include any headcanons. When you send them in, include whatever name you want to be credited by. And, if you like, a link to your gallery/blog/fanfiction account/webcomic/Etsy store.

Safest way to get the strips to me is by email (sailorptah at gmail dot com). You can also PM me on Deviantart, or submit them via Tumblr. (If you use Tumblr, send an ask, too, so I can respond and confirm that I received it.)

Happy stripping!

Short story: All Downhill From Here

Short story: All Downhill From Here published on 6 Comments on Short story: All Downhill From Here

Hey, if you like Leif & Thorn, and you like AUs, have I got a thing for you.

All Downhill From Here is 13,000 words of fantasy survival hurt/comfort m/m. A diplomatic conference is derailed by an avalanche, leaving native groundskeeper Leif and visiting knight Thorn buried together in the snow. Romantic tension, divided loyalties, malfunctioning magic, and hungry vampires.

And now it’s out!

Get the illustrated version on Paypal ($1.99):

Or: Get ebook-friendly formats on Smashwords (also $1.99).

Or: Support the artist on Patreon and get it as a reward (as little as $1).

Also, if you pay for it on one site but also want a format from the other site, no need to buy it twice. Just comment here or shoot me an email (sailorptah at yahoo dot com) and I’ll send you a copy.

And if fantasy snowbound hurt/comfort with divided loyalties isn’t your thing, stick around, because there will be other stories to come!

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