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Pitching, analyzing, and marketing your webcomic (a #WebcomicChat compilation)

Pitching, analyzing, and marketing your webcomic (a #WebcomicChat compilation) published on No Comments on Pitching, analyzing, and marketing your webcomic (a #WebcomicChat compilation)

Because Twitter is hard to backread, much less search, I’m doing more WebcomicChat answer roundups. Multiple topics per batch, this time, since I’ve fallen way too far behind.

(Also, they’re consolidated! Which is why you won’t always see all 5 prompts.)


April 29: Elevator Pitches

A headache. (See this Webcomic Woes.)

…which is why I keep using different context-specific promo descriptions at the start of every new chat, instead of having a stock one that works everywhere.

But I'm A Cat Person ad

But I’m A Cat Person does pretty well with “it’s about broke queer millennials with battle monsters,” but Leif & Thorn resists summaries. A one-liner that focuses on the romance makes it sound unfunny, and a one-liner about the comedy makes it sound non-dramatic, and “it has some comedy, some drama, and some romance!” just sounds uninterestingly vague.

Leif & Thorn ad

It used to be easy to do a quick head-to-head comparison of different slogans (or anything else) on Project Wonderful. RIP ;_;

Haven’t yet made enough via my Google AdSense experiments to start doing the same there.


June 3: Analytics & Demographics

My only target audience is “people who like the same stuff I do.” Which is part of why these comics are hard to market, since that’s not exactly a recognized and analyzed demographic…

The age range (for both BICP and Leif & Thorn) is at least 16+, since they have content not suitable for little eyes. That’s about as targeted as I get.

(Fanservice! …and if you’re not a fan of it, you’re probably off reading something else.)

Just the built-in stats in CPanel. Used to lean on the Project Wonderful ad stats for a quick look, but, well. Haven’t made the effort to install anything more complicated.

Twitter also has stats! Mostly what they tell me is “nobody clicked the links in your tweets.” Experimenting with hashtags has…not helped much. Tagging general webcomic accounts that do retweets can make a difference… sometimes… sparingly.

A lot of what analytics tells me is… unsurprising. The most popular pages are the front page, followed by the 3 or 4 strips directly preceding? Never woulda guessed.

(Data from mid-July 2018. Also near the top: the script that runs whenever you load a WordPress page, and the scripts that run whenever you load a wiki page.)

When I wasn’t sure how many people were even reading these blog posts, I didn’t use any high-tech data analysis, just posted this low-stakes low-effort poll. It drew some of those readers out of the woodwork to comment.

If we’re talking about reader demographics, those should really only matter to advertisers. The important thing for the creator is that they’re in the demographic of People Who Like This Work.

Say your kid-friendly comic is getting a lot of adult readers. Sure, they’re probably enjoying Adult Content from other sources — but they’re visiting your site because your content appeals to them as-is. Don’t mess with that.


June 23: Pitching Comic Projects

Including answers for a matching discussion from WeHeartComics!

A couple of anthology projects. So far, all polite rejections. (Not counting the ones that are unanswered as of this posting.)

Not sure if there’s anything I could’ve learned. In the one case that offered individual feedback, it turned out to be a matter of “your pitch made it to the final round, where we liked everything there but didn’t have space to print it all.”

I got a couple of pieces into the Webcomic Almanac zine (no longer on sale) — but it was to benefit Project HOPE, not the contributors, so I don’t believe they rejected anyone.

The benefit is, if you get accepted, someone else handles a bunch of administrative stuff – running Kickstarters, promoting the work, maybe selling at cons – that you don’t necessarily want to do.

Also: payment! The exposure part is nice, but if I want exposure for no money, I’ll get that by posting stuff on my own site/DA/Tumblr.

(Fundraising for a worthy nonprofit, see above, also counts.)

Some people talked about the value of community with your peers at this point, but that’s something you should be able to find in lots of other places. Right now I’m enjoying threads on the SpiderForest forum. Some users have pitched things to the collective (with or without getting accepted), but it’s not at all a prerequisite.

All the time you spend writing pitches that get rejected is time you could be spending on other things. Like making comics and sharing them on your own terms.

The requirements can bend you out of your artistic comfort zone, which could be a benefit or a drawback. For instance, my standard MO involves color, but the last submission I finished required grayscale…so I figured out how to make it look good in grayscale.

It’s definitely a drawback if you contort yourself too far. It would be stressful and draining trying to come up with ideas for an anthology where the basic theme bores you, and editors will notice that you don’t care about the idea for its own sake.

Finally, if you get a conditional acceptance, where the editors want to change your project before they’ll print it…that could also go either way, depending on what kind of editing they want. And on how much you’ve already drawn.

Have a timeframe for when you’re going to make the final selection, and send out emails during that timeframe. To everyone!

Individual feedback would also be nice, but even if you can’t give more than a polite form letter, don’t leave the rejected people hanging.

Honestly, I’m still struggling with this one. Short stories are intrinsically hard. If I care about the content enough to draw it, I inevitably come up with more material than a short-form would cover.

You would think, given how I do lots of standalone Sunday strips for Leif & Thorn, that a fun and engaging one-off would be more doable! But it’s hard to keep that energy going for 4, 6, 10 pages, without needing more worldbuilding and/or character development than you have time for.

…granted, this is a problem with lots of other writers’ short-form works, too. They leave me cold because they feel underdeveloped.

It would be great if more people got around that by writing multiple self-contained stories about the same world and characters. And I literally just brought an anthology of those for Narbonic, so my money’s where my mouth is.

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