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LCARS



Joined: 11 Jan 2003
Posts: 320

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 3:19 am    Post subject: Prove Your Worth, GS! Reply with quote

So it has been awhile since you joined Modern Tales/Graphic Smash, Justine. But I just have to know now- Is it paying off?

The general vibe I got at the Comic Con is that it's not working out so well. The closed off archives hurts the artist when he/she wants to show it to a professional or get new readers.

Thoughts?
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JustinPie



Joined: 31 May 2002
Posts: 8170
Location: Bean-with-Bacon Megarocket

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I may not be the best to answer, since I do alright - Graphic Smash does better than other Modern Tales sites, and I do a bit better than the average bear on GS itself.

Cashwise It's certainly not enough to quit my job, not even enough to pay for my Internets, but I might do a few hundred dollars worth of computer upgrades per year, and it about covers that. So if you're expecting to make more than that being on ANY subscription site at this point, your hopes will probably be dashed pretty quickly.

I don't know whether a subscription collective has helped or hurt my popularity, or just evened it out: for every reader I lose because of the subscription wall, I might gain another one who accidently clicks my link while distracted by Athena Voltaire's cleavage.
There have been many times when I wished my site was more accessible to new readers (or old readers who want to check out some plot point from a year ago), but Comixpedia and Steven Spielberg and stuff can get a temporary press pass from me easily.

I think there's more lucre if you're a popular standalone "free comics + sale trinkets" site, like Achewood or Scary-Go-Round, but it only works if you've got mulitple thousands of readers per day (maybe 10% of your readership will ever buy anything).
I do not have this much readership and probably never will, and the more popular one gets, the more they gotsta pay bandwidth anyway.
(Maybe that cost is not really high? I never figured out the numbers because, like I sez, I don't see Killroy and Tina ever being crushed under the weight of its own popularity).

HOWEVER, I do have a fan-friendly Plan of Interest for Killroy and Tina, coming to fruition in a couple of weeks.

Out of curiosity, which subscription sites and authors were representing their disappointment with subscriptions in San Diego? NAMES PLEASE.
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xmung



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 2032
Location: Oz

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

unless you have a really good deal with hosting it can get very pricey if you're doing a fair bit of traffic thru your site... and i'm talking maybe 1000 visitors a day. and 1000 a day may sound like a lot but it's peanuts really. of course, it depends on how much of the archives they read and how big the archives is too. so having a comic hosted by GS takes away that burden, but conversely having a comic hosted on GS can also reduce one's readership.

without wanting to blow my own trumpet, there was a vibe about magellan just starting to develop before it went to GS which kind of died when it did. having had the archives free as part of the WCCAs has revved up a bit more interest from people who said they weren't reading it because of the subscription thing. despite that magellan was doing comparatively OK in readership but not scoring any subscriptions.

some comics do quite well by the system but would they be doing better financially out solo or on keenspot? hard to know. i stopped reading penny & aggie when it switched from MT to keenspot. now that gun street girl has left GS for elsewhere i probably won't be checking it up. it's more to do with me being lazy than anything about those strips.

(this is officially a comment without any actual structure, ramble rating 96%)

edit... addin' some spaces
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Last edited by xmung on Thu Jul 21, 2005 7:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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timdemeter



Joined: 24 May 2004
Posts: 7334
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You raise a good point about the run-off reading, Stephen. I too, am quite lazy, and don't spend a lot time on the net, except at work, so if a webcomic is off living in a vaccuum, (like I used to be) I'll likely never find it.

Personally, I like this model because it allows me to balance out a web and print campaign. I like working in both mediums, as I am trying to advance myself in both areans, but the one that pays the bills first wins. I don't think you can launch a sucessful print book if you're GIVING it away on the internet, so even if the subscription service doesn't provide watershed profits it may encourage a book sale or two.

I think what it comes down to for me, is yes, it pisses some people off that folk on sites like GS don't offer up everything for free, but if you're mad... good. If you weren't interested in the work being offered you wouldn't care, so that frustration is actually a compliment. I do feel a little bit for people that really just can't be dolling out cash on comics (I've been there) but at that point, I just read fewer comics, and them's the breaks. If I emailed Mike Mignola at the time and said "Hey Mike, I really love Hellboy, please make it free, so I can read it." he'd tell me to sit and spin. (Or he should.)

In the drama of the whole micro-payment thing we've been seeing, I actually find myself agreeing, that yes, for now, it ain't going to happen in amounts that will allow McCloud to stand on high and say "I TOLD YA SO!!" But that doesn't mean it will NEVER happen and for guys like Justin, Stephen and myself, who are fortunate enough to have a decent measure of sucess, but not so wildly we'd see any significant, if any, gains from going solo at this point, we can stay under a subscription service without any fiancial repercussions, or some in cases, finaincial gain, and at the same time, kind of draw a line for fandom that says either you're going to get used to paying for online content or you're going to lose out on some things.

Your choice.

So, if I could sell enough ads/merch to allow me to quit my job, you bet your ass I'd make my book free becasue I wouldn't care how the print editions were doing, but until that time, or another job-quitting style opportunity arrises that forces me to leave, Make Mine Manley.
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JustinPie



Joined: 31 May 2002
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah! That's true. Aside from the juggernauts of PVP and Penny Arcade, most comics that are heavily-followed today, such as Scary Go Round, WIGU, etc. started up on some collective like Keenspot, MT, etc. There're even some non-official affiliations like "DinoComics/ASofterWorld/PerryBibleFellowship" that reinforce each others readership.

That's not to say there can't be a great solo comic that makes it big, but they often need to pimp or advertise themselves pretty heavily, which takes away resources, money and time from ACTUALLY MAKING COMICS, and that's probably the dirtiest shame in this whole dog-and-pony show.
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timdemeter



Joined: 24 May 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JustinPie wrote:
That's not to say there can't be a great solo comic that makes it big, but they often need to pimp or advertise themselves pretty heavily, which takes away resources, money and time from ACTUALLY MAKING COMICS, and that's probably the dirtiest shame in this whole dog-and-pony show.


Yeah, doing a webcomic is tough enough becasue you have to squeeze it into the context of the rest of your life, so the less legwork you have to do outside the work itself, the better off you are, and that, to me at least, is a big part of the attraction of being in a collective, regardless of the business model.
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And if, somehow, I managed to get home again, I promised God and myself that I would find a quiet piece of land someplace and spend the rest of my life in peace. - Major Richard D. Winters
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xmung



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 2032
Location: Oz

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i consider myself fairly useless at the pimping side of this biz. having the chance to do some ads for the TAC forum really stretched my boundaries even though it ended up being fun. drawing takes up so much time and the other stuff can really take away from that.

what really helps to garner readership is other people doing the word of mouth thing. apart from the fact narbonic and digger are great comics they obviously benefit from the fact that lots of people are also saying "hey! narbonic and digger are great comics!!" and they especially benefit from the fact that blogs like websnark say that frequently. but that is the way of things in most cases anyway. advertising can be largely a waste of time and money, it's the word of mouth that will bring people in.

i've read a lot of posts to the effect that someone has subbed to MT or GS on the strength of websnark's praise for digger and/or narbonic. it's still up to each artist to get the word out about their comic though. barb from gun street gurl did huge and massive ammounts of work in that regard but was ultimately (i presume) not happy with her readership under the GS subscripion model so maybe her readership will increase now she's in a free view collective.

collectives definitely seem to help push up the readership of all comics - dumbrella and blank label are other examples. my feeling is that we're still at the tip of the iceberg in this regard. when mobile/cell phones first came out they were large and clunky and expensive and unreliable and only rich yuppies and pretentious wankers seemed to be the main users - everyone else sneered and disdained them. webcomics may find that the landscape starts to shift in a similar vein as the tech improves over the next five or so years.

edit... addin' some spaces!
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Last edited by xmung on Thu Jul 21, 2005 7:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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AceTachyon



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 230
Location: The Lair, California

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I take it the key is to find an optimum balance between doing the comic and publicity without becoming a hermit and shunning all human contact.

With limited resources (I'm going to assume that the majority of webcomickers don't have a million dollar publicity budget) would the suggestions from the various guerrilla marketing books be of help?
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chrisdmid



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:50 pm    Post subject: how does a subscription work? Reply with quote

Without being condecending. I mean, is it just your basic "username and password" type of deals, or is it something so contrary to logic that I would wail in pain to consider its inner workings? I don't know what that would be, but still.

The reason I ask is because I want to get a couple of my friends in on KnT, but there's the "archives" concern. They certainly help the story, but mostly because there are so many good jokes to see. ("Uh... not that you're old... I mean, I am the night! I vanish! ... just kidding... you're not mad, are you?"). So I'd like to just get a month subscription and give 'em that long to go through the archives and catch up.

And I don't want the author to be pissed that I'm giving people freebies.

Seriously, Killroy and Tina rock. I say aloud "New K-n-T!" when I remember it's been updated. And I'm not announcing it to anyone around here; I live alone with my cat (my GOD that sounded pathetic).

-chris
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Shadowydreamer



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 375
Location: Vancouver'ish Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Xmung, I can't read your posts.. please use white space. >_< (Not won't, literally.. can't.)

I will honestly say, I prefer webcomics with free archives and paying membership gets you nifty stuff (AKA Sluggy) but I wouldn't stop reading K&T because of it. I was just really pissed when I missed an update due to being in the hospital and .. sad as it is to say, I can't afford to pay for the subscription.

I originally found K&T via.. Keenspace, I think. It was some special (Christmas?) that had Killroy & Tina doing something in the kitchen.. and it amused the hell outta me, so I just HAD to go see where the characters were from.. and got me hooked.

So at least one community did something for you Justin. Wink

As far as independance goes, my host pays $1 per 1 gb of traffic, which I think is pretty damn good.. but I can see how that would add up fast. I don't have a whole heck of a lot of readers, probably more to do with the comic itself, tho, than it's independance. Certainly 4 times as many people know ABOUT Tux and Bunny as read it.

-Shady.
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xmung



Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 2032
Location: Oz

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shadowydreamer wrote:
Xmung, I can't read your posts.. please use white space. >_< (Not won't, literally.. can't.)

y'know, as i scrolled down the page i thought "those ramblings of mine sure are one big block of text... i really should have added some para breaks."

and now, suitably chastised i have done so. of course, now you can read them, you may wish you hadn't! Wink
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JustinPie



Joined: 31 May 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh boy, chrismid, there are some BIG THINGS coming up in this regard, as soon as I get OFF MY ASS and do them.
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alschroeder



Joined: 28 May 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Y'know, it may pay for the MT group of comics to do a rotating free look at the archives----one month do Killroy and Tina, the next month do Reckless Life, the next one do MAgellan, etc.. You might get some people who might not pay if they know it's coming up, but you also might get some people who are hooked in the archives and decide to keep reading/ subscriibing. Then when that "free" section is closed off to them, they'll need to subscribe.---Al
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timdemeter



Joined: 24 May 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alschroeder wrote:
Y'know, it may pay for the MT group of comics to do a rotating free look at the archives----one month do Killroy and Tina, the next month do Reckless Life


I'm reasonabley certain if someone read Justin and my archieves, in their entirity, in consecutive months, they would walk away with serious brain damage.

The only hole in the plot there is that if you don't want to subscribe, all you have to do is wait for your favorite series to come up in the freebie rotation, and get it then. It's a solid thought though. What if, on a rotating basis a certain series was allowed a considerabley larger free chunk than we have now (which is ten perecent) allowing the artist to chose which of their best feet to put forward, but still leaving people incentive to subscribe, becasue they don't get the whole magilla?
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And if, somehow, I managed to get home again, I promised God and myself that I would find a quiet piece of land someplace and spend the rest of my life in peace. - Major Richard D. Winters
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Blob



Joined: 15 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

timdemeter wrote:

I'm reasonabley certain if someone read Justin and my archieves, in their entirity, in consecutive months, they would walk away with serious brain damage.


Well, then they'd fit in with the rest of your readers! Twisted Evil

Tim-o-rama wrote:
The only hole in the plot there is that if you don't want to subscribe, all you have to do is wait for your favorite series to come up in the freebie rotation, and get it then.


On the other hand, there are a BUNCH of comics on GS. It'd take a while for the archives to roll around, especially if series that were finished (like Fans) were included.

As for collectives, they're a huge help. Both PA and PvP used to be featured on Gamespy (which is actually where I first got started on webcomics). Every comic I've read faithful has been part of a collective. There are several series on GS that I wouldn't follow if they left. It's just too much trouble to do so.
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