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?
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…)
Q4: Not always… If your comic is for kids or all ages, it might better to just disable comments. The internet is dark and full of terrible people. #webcomicchat
— Gombik Comics (@GombiktheRobot) January 14, 2018
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.)
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. If not, I’ll save them for later in the year, and do a filler week of something else.
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 yahoo 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.)
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!
I’ve been doing some of these chats realtime because my only answers were Tweet-sized anyway. Figured I’d compile them here for reference, and for ease of reading.
Q1: Do you stick to webcomic communities and services that cater to webcomics for promotion? How is your strategy working out?
Yeah, mostly. I have a constant 1-cent-or-less Project Wonderful campaign, and do intermittent more-expensive one using the best-performing ads. It’s a steady referral source.
A Project Wonderful screenshot — steady exposure, for about $0.83 per week. (The costs are all covered by my own site running ads like this.)
The trick IME is trying lots of different ads, introducing new ones every so often, and then looking at metrics to see which get the higher click rates.
And I make sure both BICP and Leif & Thorn are on resources like the LGBT Webcomics Link List.
Q2: What are some other options outside of webcomic communities for sharing your work?
Think about your genre & build on that. Mine are LGBT-centric, so I’m writing some posts for @LGBTQReads, to put a variety of recs in front of an audience that likes LGBT+ stuff but might not have thought about webcomics before.
(Here’s their Webcomics tag! One reclist is already posted, and there are more in the queue.)
Q3: What things make you nervous about sharing your comics outside of webcomic communities?
#WebComicChat A3: Nothing. I am confident that my work stands on its own. If it doesn't I'll learn where I have to expand and get better. It's a win/win^^
— Ezekiel Rage – No need for ultralong names at all. (@RealEzekielRage) December 17, 2017
Yeah, this. It’s not like webcomic communities are magically nicer or better than the rest of the internet. Or like my strips are somehow inaccessible to a reader who’s never read webcomics before.
3) Surprisingly I don't get too nervous about sharing my comic, although looking back at earlier ones I'm now thinking maybe I should have been! #webcomicchat
— Colin Wmd 🖌️🗯️🎬 (@colinwmd) December 17, 2017
This is peak #relatable for all of us, I think.
Q4: What kinds of results have you had when talking to people about your comics outside of the webcomic communities? / Q5: What are resources that you have used outside of the webcomic niche to promote your webcomic?
Really just the stuff mentioned above. And when people IRL see me drawing, I tell them what it’s about, maybe give them the URL of the strip I’m working on.
Invariably, without fail, they say something like “oh, you’re so good, I can’t believe you’re not doing it full-time and making tons of money!”
…yeah, this is how you can tell someone isn’t familiar with webcomics.
So for the past few months my computer has had a couple of bluescreens and other random errors…culminating in this past Sunday, when it tried to boot and couldn’t even find the hard drive. Not fun.
The good news:
I got a new drive! Solid-state, so it’s faster and more durable. My programs are all reinstalled. Most of my data is safe. It only took four days, and I even had some things in the queue that I could post in the meantime.
The bad news:
It cost $600.
How you can help:
– Commission some art. Doable again, now that Photoshop and my scanner are back up and running. Having stuff to work on will even help me get all the settings reconfigured.
– Donate through PayPal – if you don’t want any art but still feel like sending money. This is the link that gets you a bonus wallpaper.
– Donate through Patreon – you can sign up for a recurring donation, or sign up and then cancel five minutes later to make a one-time payment. Also gets you wallpapers.
– Click the “Purchase” link on this art (it’s just the high-res version of the image) as a quick’n’easy way to send money through dA.
Every little bit helps – even $1 or $5 at a time can add up fast. And share this post around! If just 10% of readers chip in a few dollars each, we could have this thing covered by tomorrow.