How does this webcomic thing work, again?

For discussions, announcements, non-technical questions and anything else comics-related or otherwise that doesn't fit in any of the other categories.

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby Phact0rri on Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:07 am

You could also plan on not planning.
Image
<KittyKatBlack> You look deranged. But I mean that in the nicest way possible. ^_^;
User avatar
Phact0rri
The Establishment (Moderator)
The Establishment (Moderator)
 
Posts: 5775
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:04 pm
Location: ????

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby McDuffies on Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:47 am

Bustertheclown wrote:I disagree. That might've been true years ago, but the internet has changed, and along with it, people's habits have changed... etc

You have been saying that a lot and I keep expecting you to finally stand behind your opinions but you keep not doing that and instead just speaking in broad theory, while many of blanket statements you make sound dubious in my reading experience. If at least you named a few examples that support your theories, it would at least put a bit of meat on their bones. Now it's starting to look like you're trying to convince people to work with the model that would potentially award them with less, while you yourself don't plan to put any stakes into your theories.

Mo wrote:So while doodling at work I suddenly had an idea for a webcomic that's obviously going to make me rich and famous yadda yadda. Now it's kind of got me wondering how I would go about it, in theory, if I wanted to start another comic. Apart from the obvious stuff (drawing a buffer first, selling soul to McDuffies, trying not to suck, then giving up on the whole thing by page 2)....

Venues have changed. Wordpress-based systems allowed people to post comics without relying on webcomic-specific hosts and to make smaller, hand-picked communities. Which is how most of comics I read nowadays get posted.
CG hasn't changed anything in years, which is deadly in internet business. I see recent comics rotating in cg newsbox so that must be working, but I don't know how worthwhile that is, since CG isn't a main venue for hosting small comics anymore. Keenspot isn't a major name that it used to be either.
There's generally less one-comic-wonders and comics that fizzle out quickly, but I find that as far as long-running, quality comics go, things are pretty well. While people say that webcomics are dying out, my impression is that they went from stadium of adolescent obsessive fascination to a stadium of maturity.

Social networks seem to be the most effective way of advertising nowadays. One comic that catches the attention of your fb friends can propagate rather deep. I find that many people who otherwise don't even read comics follow something like "Cyanide & Happiness" because they saw something of theirs on facebook. I still wouldn't make a social network my main host for the comic, but I plan on reposting my comics on my accounts.
Project wonderful must be good since you can get prominent add space for free or very cheap, it never hurts to try.
If you really want to be snazzy and fancy, make your site phone-friendly. How one would make reading comics on phone easy is a dilemma, but that's how kids have their internet these days.
I'm behind on various promotional sites for webcomics. I don't even know if there are any.
User avatar
McDuffies
Bob was here (Moderator)
Bob was here (Moderator)
 
Posts: 29943
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 1999 4:00 pm
Location: Serbia

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby Phact0rri on Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:10 pm

McDuffies wrote:If you really want to be snazzy and fancy, make your site phone-friendly. How one would make reading comics on phone easy is a dilemma, but that's how kids have their internet these days.


There's some interesting touch friendly, site designs. that might be worth it. but I think the advance by clicking on the comic image would be good for that. you could also make a mobile version that just displays the images without the site layout for easy access. *shrugs*
Image
<KittyKatBlack> You look deranged. But I mean that in the nicest way possible. ^_^;
User avatar
Phact0rri
The Establishment (Moderator)
The Establishment (Moderator)
 
Posts: 5775
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:04 pm
Location: ????

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby Yeahduff on Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:59 pm

McDuffies wrote:
Bustertheclown wrote:I disagree. That might've been true years ago, but the internet has changed, and along with it, people's habits have changed... etc

You have been saying that a lot and I keep expecting you to finally stand behind your opinions but you keep not doing that and instead just speaking in broad theory, while many of blanket statements you make sound dubious in my reading experience. If at least you named a few examples that support your theories, it would at least put a bit of meat on their bones. Now it's starting to look like you're trying to convince people to work with the model that would potentially award them with less, while you yourself don't plan to put any stakes into your theories.

I dunno. I was on twitter like a year ago in the middle of the damn night and suddenly The-Dream is like "I just made and album. Here you go." Wasn't expecting it and he didn't put another one out on Wednesday and Friday but I still jumped all over it as did many other people (I mean it sucked but that's not the point). All sorts of artists are doing that sorta thing these days, and they're building an audience with it. Can't give examples of people doing it successfully in webcomics, but I can't give examples of people doing anything successfully in webcomics (except Komiyan. Good job.). Most of us aren't gonna get popular, our best bet is to do what best suits the work. And that might be page-atta-time, but it doesn't have to be the default.
Image
I won't be the stars in your dark night.
User avatar
Yeahduff
Resident Stoic (Moderator)
 
Posts: 9092
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 4:16 pm
Location: I jumped into your grave and died.

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby Bustertheclown on Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:20 pm

Yeahduff wrote:
McDuffies wrote:
Bustertheclown wrote:I disagree. That might've been true years ago, but the internet has changed, and along with it, people's habits have changed... etc

You have been saying that a lot and I keep expecting you to finally stand behind your opinions but you keep not doing that and instead just speaking in broad theory, while many of blanket statements you make sound dubious in my reading experience. If at least you named a few examples that support your theories, it would at least put a bit of meat on their bones. Now it's starting to look like you're trying to convince people to work with the model that would potentially award them with less, while you yourself don't plan to put any stakes into your theories.

I dunno. I was on twitter like a year ago in the middle of the damn night and suddenly The-Dream is like "I just made and album. Here you go." Wasn't expecting it and he didn't put another one out on Wednesday and Friday but I still jumped all over it as did many other people (I mean it sucked but that's not the point). All sorts of artists are doing that sorta thing these days, and they're building an audience with it. Can't give examples of people doing it successfully in webcomics, but I can't give examples of people doing anything successfully in webcomics (except Komiyan. Good job.). Most of us aren't gonna get popular, our best bet is to do what best suits the work. And that might be page-atta-time, but it doesn't have to be the default.


That's the thing. As I've already said, the internet is an on-demand form of conveyance. Even if a creator follows a schedule, the material stays put, and doesn't go away, meaning that the audience can access it anytime that they want, at their convenience. There are plenty of anecdotes that can illustrate this, but McDuffies, since you asked, I'll provide a more detailed and cited argument from my side. Give me a few days to get it all in order.

And in my defense, the other side of the issue uses just as broad statements. "Schedules are the only way to go because people like schedules" is not exactly a pointed observation. First rule of rhetoric: combat generalities with generalities, refine into detail as necessary.
"Just because we're amateurs, doesn't mean our comics have to be amateurish." -McDuffies

http://hastilyscribbled.comicgenesis.com
User avatar
Bustertheclown
Cartoon Hero
 
Posts: 2370
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: ATOMIC!

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby McDuffies on Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:28 am

The more I think, the more I'm certain of the opposite. As postmodernists would say, our experience of the world is getting more and more fractured every day. Artist can try to fight that and if he's an established artist he may succeed, but if he's a novice, he already has one huge, more important fight to do - the one of finding an audience.

In music, it's more evident than anywhere. As much as I like albums, I can see that album form is slowly dying and being replaced by the format of EPs and individual singles, which allows bands to stay in public eye constantly, release a single, make a video every month or so, have an EP release twice a year, definitely much better for an artist than short outbursts of publicity during the promotion of the album every few years, and internet has given many venues for that kind of publishing.
Of course albums will never completely die because nothing ever completely dies. It's just that soon enough they won't be the main format of releasing music anymore. Right now most of avid music listeners and musicians still come from the era of the albums and they're attached to the format, but even now an army of casual listeners who were interested in a few songs per album anyways, rears it's head and plunders downloading services, internet radios and youtube. Old artists like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, with older fanbase, will stick to albums, and even a band like The-Dream can release an album and be heard, but they know that each single they release will be listened to be a wide population, while their album will be listened to, well, people who listen to albums, number of which is getting smaller by day.

You can apply that to webcomics. You say today's audience is more sophisticated, but this has nothing to do with sophistication, it's about the fragmentation, about more and more ways to spend time, about fighting for reader's attention. If you think internet was breeding frangmentation (short attention span if you will) before, just think of Web 2.0 in which it has became the norm that facebook and twitter feeds pop out at you uninvited, from all corners of the page.
You say that there are new venues for advertising and that's true, but even these venues are highly populated and competitive (otherwise they wouldn't be good for advertising anyway, right?). Average person on facebook with a couple hundred of friends and a couple dozen of groups receives more feeds than he can reasonably process in a few hours daily. How do you make that person choose your comic instead of playing farm or chatting or whatever?
Offering page by page means going with the nature of the venue, offering a book means going against it. If someone gets notification of a new page, it is likely that they'll read it and proceed doing whatever is next. If you offer them a 20 pages book, it is likely they'll say "I'll read this later when I have time" and then forget about it. Even more so if the last issue was six months ago and they have to re-read previous issues to remember what it is about.
Of course, an avid fan will go and read a 20 pages book. But you don't want to cater only to a core of a few avid fans. Whether you admit it or not, you also want casual fans, and you also want to attract new readers, who, by definition, aren't fans yet.
And even if one webcomic's archives are larger, they are still structured in a friendlier form. There is an implied full stop at the end of every issue, and it's easier to read such comic in small pieces. With such perception of the comic, people are more likely to check it out, assuming that they don't have to go through entire book in order to "get it".

I am not very attached to the batch publishing in webcomics. But I lament the demise of music albums. I like that form, an individual song means much less to me without a context to put it in. I could be making rationales to why albums are actually not dead and why they'll rise again and whatever, but that would be just avoiding to see things how they are. I think that that's what you're doing, Buster: seeing webcomics how you'd like them to be, not how they are.

To clarify, I am a big advocate of webcomics as a hobby. This means that you are not obligated to follow any guidelines but what you think is best, and that's great.
But I believe that here we are talking about what is the best way if you want to build an audience, if you are striving for some sizeable popularity, and in this case saying "Schedules are basically the only way to build an audience", with all that it implies, is a perfectly accurate assessment. Adding that "you don't have to go by the schedule, that you should publish the way it suits you" is a right answer, but to a completely different question. Saying that your choice of publishing model will have no consequence to your chances of building a sizable readership is plain untrue.
User avatar
McDuffies
Bob was here (Moderator)
Bob was here (Moderator)
 
Posts: 29943
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 1999 4:00 pm
Location: Serbia

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:20 am

McDuffies wrote:But I lament the demise of music albums. I like that form, an individual song means much less to me without a context to put it in. I could be making rationales to why albums are actually not dead and why they'll rise again and whatever, but that would be just avoiding to see things how they are.


I don't think things in the music world are quite that bad yet, rather I believe that the digital single situation could actually have a positive effect for album creation. Sure the big label popstars will move on with the manufactured single every couple of months model but I'm seeing a lot of bands that are seeing it as a reason to put together an ALBUM worth buying as opposed to an okay album with a couple of good singles.
Outside of the pop realm the pattern still seems to be release a good/solid album every year or so and spend the rest of the time touring and periodically releasing singles.
And as a music fan I prefer it that way, especially with bands/artists who write their own stuff, it gives them time to experience stuff to actually sing about.
ImageDeviantart~tumblr
"Your service is to the story and to the characters. Fuck the audience and fuck your own whims." - Yeahduff
User avatar
RobboAKAscooby
Cartoon Hero
 
Posts: 1110
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:00 pm
Location: Brisvegas

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby McDuffies on Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:45 am

RobboAKAscooby wrote:I don't think things in the music world are quite that bad yet,

Well, from objective standpoint it's neither bad or good. Ways of releasing music have been rapidly changing for more than a century, following development in technology. We tend to think that the way we grew up with is the normal way, we're forced to change that perception as new ways become dominant but the most reactionary among us still think that, say, lp records, or tape compilations were the real thing and this thing today isn't (You know, when I listen to an album, in my mind I still split it to A side and B side). But the very concept of a musical album is less than 60 years old, and the idea of hearing an artist recorded is just a bit older.

rather I believe that the digital single situation could actually have a positive effect for album creation. Sure the big label popstars will move on with the manufactured single every couple of months model but I'm seeing a lot of bands that are seeing it as a reason to put together an ALBUM worth buying as opposed to an okay album with a couple of good singles.Outside of the pop realm the pattern still seems to be release a good/solid album every year or so and spend the rest of the time touring and periodically releasing singles.
And as a music fan I prefer it that way, especially with bands/artists who write their own stuff, it gives them time to experience stuff to actually sing about.

But albums just aren't being sold as much as before, as opposed to individual songs. I find that majority of people don't care to hear an entire album if they liked one song, and they're just looking to get a song or two that they heard on tv or radio. "Nine types of light" may be a great album fully deserving to be listened in entirety, but most of casual listeners are still only interested in getting "Will do" on their playlist. Commercially there's not much incentive to put more effort into albums since that will only help you with musical erudites, and they're a minor part of audience - unless you're a niche artist or one with firmly established fanbase, most of your money will come from selling what was played on the radio.

The other option would be to release an album and then gradually release or licence most of songs from that album like Moby did, then people might choose to buy album instead of, say, six of it's songs. But I see young musicians choosing to gradually record and release songs, then later compile and remaster them into album from anyone who wants it. It's more instantly rewarding in a way how publishing a webcomic page by page gives you more gratification spread over time.

Of course albums will continue to exist. There is appeal to the musical long form for both artists and listeners, and there will always be people who'll choose to get a dozen of songs at once and who think seeking out song by song is tiresome (I do. Please Radiohead, if you have enough spare recordings for another album, release it).
It just seems that album is fading as the main format of releasing music, specially when I get to talk to younger people, teenagers, and they're the ones who'll be buying most of music in next 20 years. I also see more variability in formats, as you're no longer limited to a certain length of an album, so EP's of various length are now being heard more than they used to be, specially in indy rock which is the music I listen to mostly nowadays. Today it's even easier to release a double or triple, if you're a prog-rocker.
User avatar
McDuffies
Bob was here (Moderator)
Bob was here (Moderator)
 
Posts: 29943
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 1999 4:00 pm
Location: Serbia

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby McDuffies on Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:50 am

Phact0rri wrote:
McDuffies wrote:If you really want to be snazzy and fancy, make your site phone-friendly. How one would make reading comics on phone easy is a dilemma, but that's how kids have their internet these days.


There's some interesting touch friendly, site designs. that might be worth it. but I think the advance by clicking on the comic image would be good for that. you could also make a mobile version that just displays the images without the site layout for easy access. *shrugs*


My intuition goes toward rearranging panels for different displays, for instance having them aligned vertically for cell phone screens so they can be displayed in full size. Although it's counterintuitive to my purist attitude, it seems to be where technology is leading us.
User avatar
McDuffies
Bob was here (Moderator)
Bob was here (Moderator)
 
Posts: 29943
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 1999 4:00 pm
Location: Serbia

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby Yeahduff on Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:06 pm

Well, see, singles might be gaining more prominence due to the success of iTunes and iPod playlists, etc, but the album isn't going away. Indeed, vinyl is seeing a resurgence (modest as it may be). What the music market shows (other than a complete loss as to how to make money in this day and age (but that's a whole other thing)) is that we aren't bound by a single format. Are you great at making individual songs but not albums? Just do a single at a time. But if your work makes more sense in the album format, there are ways it's gonna get heard if it's really good, to the people who care enough to spend that kind of time to listen.

Comics have a similar openness. We don't have to worry about syndicates or publishers to decide for us how we're gonna present our comic, how often, or in what format. Dropping a page at a time that needs little context to understand is going to get you lots of individual page views from casual fans, but there are people who are looking to actually read a long form story told in pictures who would prefer to wait for it all to be laid out for them. People still read books, comic books even, on e-readers or in physical form.

There's also the fact that listening to "Karma Police" is gonna do a lot more for you than reading page 37 of Ghost World. If you're not creating pages to stand alone, you shouldn't be publishing them that way.
Image
I won't be the stars in your dark night.
User avatar
Yeahduff
Resident Stoic (Moderator)
 
Posts: 9092
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 4:16 pm
Location: I jumped into your grave and died.

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby robotthepirate on Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:56 am

McDuffies wrote:Commercially there's not much incentive to put more effort into albums since that will only help you with musical erudites, and they're a minor part of audience - unless you're a niche artist or one with firmly established fanbase, most of your money will come from selling what was played on the radio.


In this case then, stand alone gag strips people can tweet or share singly are pop music. They appeal to a broad spectrum of people. Don't take a lot of effort to find funny or background knowledge to understand. You're given it to enjoy and then you move on.

But if you're writing a story you're appealing to people who want to commit more than 5 seconds of their life and if they're in short supply in this techno age then you're already writing for a niche market. You've already decided that you're not going to write the most popular webcomic of all time. From then on you have a bit more flexibility how you'd like to apeal to you niche market, who tend to be more commited that the casual observer anyway.
Image Image Image Image
User avatar
robotthepirate
Regular Poster
 
Posts: 563
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:02 am
Location: Staffordshire, UK

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby McDuffies on Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:40 am

Yeahduff wrote:Well, see, singles might be gaining more prominence due to the success of iTunes and iPod playlists, etc, but the album isn't going away. Indeed, vinyl is seeing a resurgence (modest as it may be).

Isn't a certain peak of album sales basically an aberration caused by a few exceptional artists, memetic wonders so to say, like Adele and Lady Gaga? But yeah, it isn't going away, it is just stepping out of the spotlight and into the background. (And can you honestly say that vinyl resurgence is anything more than an idle nostalgia?)

What the music market shows (other than a complete loss as to how to make money in this day and age (but that's a whole other thing)) is that we aren't bound by a single format. Are you great at making individual songs but not albums? Just do a single at a time. But if your work makes more sense in the album format, there are ways it's gonna get heard if it's really good, to the people who care enough to spend that kind of time to listen.

Comics have a similar openness. We don't have to worry about syndicates or publishers to decide for us how we're gonna present our comic, how often, or in what format.


There's no doubt that you can do whatever you want, and if you press hard and do your marketing right you are going to gain some readership either way. What I'm concerned about is, which is the format that is the most rewarding, the most likely to have you rewarded for your efforts.

Like, if a newcomer comes and asks me for advice, I think that the good advice would be to note that most of popular comics, in past and present, are comics that offered smaller chunks of content on a tightly regular schedule. If I was to say "You update whenever, do whatever you like, this is internet" without any further clarification, I believe that I would have mislead him to thinking that schedule does not play a role in readership.
You'll at least agree that updating in batches is so rare that it can be considered an experiment. You'll also have to agree that even if you update in batches, schedule can help you greatly. You'll do much better if you tell readers "next update in six months" and then own up to it, than if you say "next update whenever I feel like".

Despite what I'll say in paragraphs below, I do think that there is space for variety of formats, but I'm not happy that every time someone tries to give a completely fine advice that consistent schedule is the 'best' way, someone else should jump at his neck and start talking people into using a different, undoubtedly more problematic model, specially if that person ignores many benefits that standard model has for novices (instant feedback, motivation...).
Unless you have a preconceived idea of which model is most suitable for you, like you do Duff, page-by-page model indeed is the best, for reasons that I probably elaborated on last time we had this discussion. If someone is asking what model to use, chances are he doesn't have a preconceived idea.

To digress slightly, I'm apparently not attached to the idea that comic's concept dictates the publishing model as much as you are. Like I've said many, many times, I think that there is already an implied full-stop, "commercial break" at the end of every page, a little breather where you turn the page, and webcomics only exaggerated that.
Standard model (which, despite what Buster said elsewhere, is very different from newspaper comics model) naturally evolved on internet: there have been comics that updated in batches even in 90ies. That they didn't survive but PA or Sluggy did can at least partly be attributed to comics like PA and Sluggy utilizing internet better.
Of course that was a different time but size of an individual "quant" or information that internet citizen is used to receiving only grew smaller with time.

You advocate freedom to work in any publishing mode you like. I might contradict by advocating freedom to reshape your comic into a form better suitable for medium that you have available, instead of rigidly sticking with the form that you originally had in your mind.
Isn't batch publishing an old, retro, pre-internet model? You gotta ask yourself, is your desire to work in that model really insistence on what is suitable for the comic, or is it just unwillingness to let go of the format you're used to, unwillingness to accept the idea that your comic is a webcomic and not a printed comic?
Does 8:1 really function better in batch publishing when many people including me said it functioned in page-by-page just fine? Or is it your preconceived notion of what the comic should be instead of letting it be what it can be? I know at least one very strong reason why 8:1 functions better when uploaded page-by-page.
It's standard model that gives you all the flexibility: you choose not only update schedule, but size and shape of the page. I propose that by choosing batch publishing you are not being flexible, but quite the oposite.

Dropping a page at a time that needs little context to understand is going to get you lots of individual page views from casual fans, but there are people who are looking to actually read a long form story told in pictures who would prefer to wait for it all to be laid out for them. People still read books, comic books even, on e-readers or in physical form.

There's also the fact that listening to "Karma Police" is gonna do a lot more for you than reading page 37 of Ghost World. If you're not creating pages to stand alone, you shouldn't be publishing them that way.

But webcomics are usually (inevitably, due to the way they're produced) designed so that individual pages have a certain weight independent of the others, which was not the case with Ghost World. Additionally you'll remember that Ghost World was originally published in serialized format, with chapters designed to be to some level independent. Better analogy would be Carma Police versus Ghost World chapter.
User avatar
McDuffies
Bob was here (Moderator)
Bob was here (Moderator)
 
Posts: 29943
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 1999 4:00 pm
Location: Serbia

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby Mo on Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:23 am

Thinking of dropping the webcomic thing and spend my time listening to records instead...

When it comes to music I must be stuck in the past: I never buy singles, and I don't buy music in digital format e.g. iTunes at all. There are few new releases I get excited about and when I find one I'm more likely to buy the whole album or to just listen to a song I like on YouTube.

Most comics I read (of which admittedly there are only a handful now) I read regularly, but there are a few I like to leave alone for months and then come back to and batch-read.

As a reader, I do like regularity. But as a cartoonist, I find it much harder to commit to a schedule.
User avatar
Mo
Cartoon Villain (GTC)
 
Posts: 5085
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 6:55 am
Location: On the shoulder of a giant

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:49 am

I think the nutshell of the issue is that a webcomic needs to update regularly enough to maintain interest in an audience while still offering enough to satisfy the reader in the moment (and make them want to come back).

With a gag comic it's easy enough to have more regular updates (say 3 times a week) but with a story-based comic it might be more difficult, with an ongoing story there's the need for a hook at the end of each page (at least during an ongoing scene) so I can see why as a creator the idea of batch uploading may be attractive.

I guess it all comes down to finding that middle ground and the fact that all projects are different means that middle ground is different for each.
ImageDeviantart~tumblr
"Your service is to the story and to the characters. Fuck the audience and fuck your own whims." - Yeahduff
User avatar
RobboAKAscooby
Cartoon Hero
 
Posts: 1110
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:00 pm
Location: Brisvegas

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby Phact0rri on Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:18 am

speaking of various touch design interfaces, and also taking a cue from touch displays for web access, I find Mark Waid's Thrillbent.com as an interesting take. It sort of reminds me of those marvel digital comics they did in the 90's with motion graphics and stuff.
Image
<KittyKatBlack> You look deranged. But I mean that in the nicest way possible. ^_^;
User avatar
Phact0rri
The Establishment (Moderator)
The Establishment (Moderator)
 
Posts: 5775
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:04 pm
Location: ????

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby Shucking Oysters on Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:35 am

RobboAKAscooby wrote:With a gag comic it's easy enough to have more regular updates (say 3 times a week) but with a story-based comic it might be more difficult, with an ongoing story there's the need for a hook at the end of each page (at least during an ongoing scene) so I can see why as a creator the idea of batch uploading may be attractive.


The problem that I've run into with batches as a reader is that If a comic isn't updated regularly, I tend to forget that it exists.

As a creator, I know that if I don't hold myself to a certain schedule, despite the fact that I'm doing a story comic, nothing will ever get posted. The work is never good enough, and there's always the strong temptation to go back if the work hasn't yet seen the light of day. That side of it, though, depends on the artist's personality and whether they know they can hold themselves to that sort of workload.

Despite, that, I think the comics risk a certain amount of disconnect from their readers by going in batches as it gives older readers more opportunity to lose interest.
Image
User avatar
Shucking Oysters
Regular Poster
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:13 am
Location: About 20m to the left, and 3.62s forward

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby Yeahduff on Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:29 pm

McDuffies wrote:Isn't a certain peak of album sales basically an aberration caused by a few exceptional artists, memetic wonders so to say, like Adele and Lady Gaga? But yeah, it isn't going away, it is just stepping out of the spotlight and into the background. (And can you honestly say that vinyl resurgence is anything more than an idle nostalgia?)

The music industry as a money-making engine is in serious trouble right now, yes. Going into the whys and hows would throw us serious off-topic though. I can honestly say that vinyl will never go away, because it's the choice of those truly devoted to the album who take music seriously. I still primarily purchase compact discs but I don't expect I'll be able to do so for much longer.

McDuffies wrote:Like, if a newcomer comes and asks me for advice, I think that the good advice would be to note that most of popular comics, in past and present, are comics that offered smaller chunks of content on a tightly regular schedule. If I was to say "You update whenever, do whatever you like, this is internet" without any further clarification, I believe that I would have mislead him to thinking that schedule does not play a role in readership.
You'll at least agree that updating in batches is so rare that it can be considered an experiment. You'll also have to agree that even if you update in batches, schedule can help you greatly. You'll do much better if you tell readers "next update in six months" and then own up to it, than if you say "next update whenever I feel like".

Well, pretty big ifs here. I'd tell the newcomer that if popularity is important to her, some schedule would be a good idea, but I'd also tell her that fulfilling her vision for the work is more important, and if pursuing that vision makes a regular schedule difficult to impossible, there are ways to make that not such a big deal.

McDuffies wrote:Despite what I'll say in paragraphs below, I do think that there is space for variety of formats, but I'm not happy that every time someone tries to give a completely fine advice that consistent schedule is the 'best' way, someone else should jump at his neck and start talking people into using a different, undoubtedly more problematic model, specially if that person ignores many benefits that standard model has for novices (instant feedback, motivation...).
Unless you have a preconceived idea of which model is most suitable for you, like you do Duff, page-by-page model indeed is the best, for reasons that I probably elaborated on last time we had this discussion. If someone is asking what model to use, chances are he doesn't have a preconceived idea.

But the point is most people are going in with that as the default mindset, and it doesn't have to be. A lot of people are doing story comics but running them like gag-a-days. I do think that's the wrong way of going about that, and I'm gonna say so. And you should feel free to disagree with me.

McDuffies wrote:You advocate freedom to work in any publishing mode you like. I might contradict by advocating freedom to reshape your comic into a form better suitable for medium that you have available, instead of rigidly sticking with the form that you originally had in your mind.
Isn't batch publishing an old, retro, pre-internet model? You gotta ask yourself, is your desire to work in that model really insistence on what is suitable for the comic, or is it just unwillingness to let go of the format you're used to, unwillingness to accept the idea that your comic is a webcomic and not a printed comic?
Does 8:1 really function better in batch publishing when many people including me said it functioned in page-by-page just fine? Or is it your preconceived notion of what the comic should be instead of letting it be what it can be?

Ha, strange definition of "freedom".

But yes, I'm a traditionalist with my own work. I'm on the internet because it's cheaper than printing. There are a lot things the internet allows me to do, but I'm not interested in doing them. I know what I want, and the internet allows me to do it. I do stories and character studies, not gags, and the old way communicates that in the way I want. That's just the work I'm doing. Yeah, it's better suited to print, but the recent popularity of e-readers means long-form comics have a new digital venue. If someone wants to get lost in my comic for a while on the train, it's easier for them to do so. Otherwise, I don't think asking twenty minutes out of someone's day once every few months (hahahaha...) is that much to ask. I'm not competing with lolcats or julianassangeisgorgeous.com so I'm not going to chase their way of doing things.

McDuffies wrote:I know at least one very strong reason why 8:1 functions better when uploaded page-by-page.
It's standard model that gives you all the flexibility: you choose not only update schedule, but size and shape of the page. I propose that by choosing batch publishing you are not being flexible, but quite the oposite.

Eh, I still have that flexibility. I just haven't used it for years, way before I stopped posting single pages.

I don't claim to be flexible. But the internet is.

McDuffies wrote:But webcomics are usually (inevitably, due to the way they're produced) designed so that individual pages have a certain weight independent of the others, which was not the case with Ghost World. Additionally you'll remember that Ghost World was originally published in serialized format, with chapters designed to be to some level independent. Better analogy would be Carma Police versus Ghost World chapter.

Well I don't want to worry about making pages that stand on their own anymore, and I don't think anyone has to. Indeed, my pages rarely stood up on their own anyway.

A Ghost World chapter would be a bulk upload. It's exactly where my inspiration comes from.
Image
I won't be the stars in your dark night.
User avatar
Yeahduff
Resident Stoic (Moderator)
 
Posts: 9092
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 4:16 pm
Location: I jumped into your grave and died.

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby McDuffies on Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:16 am

Well, pretty big ifs here. I'd tell the newcomer that if popularity is important to her, some schedule would be a good idea, but I'd also tell her that fulfilling her vision for the work is more important, and if pursuing that vision makes a regular schedule difficult to impossible, there are ways to make that not such a big deal.

I've yet to see a proof that it's not such a big deal. I do think that you can have success with batch updates, but I think that it would take more effort, more expert advertising, and in general lesser reward in pageviews (something that I know even you care about. On the plus side, you're probably more likely to gain a cult audience).
If I was a total opportunist, of course, I would probably be doing a gaming comic with sarcastic protagonists and slapstick violence right now, instead I am doing a comic in a format that probably guarantees it will never be particularly well known. On the other hand, you won't see me three years from now, asking myself how comes I'm not popular yet, because I'm going in it with awareness of it's drawbacks, which is not what you can say for all participants in this discussion.

But the point is most people are going in with that as the default mindset, and it doesn't have to be. A lot of people are doing story comics but running them like gag-a-days. I do think that's the wrong way of going about that, and I'm gonna say so. And you should feel free to disagree with me.

I think that most of people are going in with that mindset because they already love some other comics that are doing it the same way... kind of the same reason you're choosing the other way.

But I'll always be a proponent of prevailing format because I think it is a genuine webcomic's invention. In it's best cases, it has instant gratification of newspaper comics, continuity or comic books and epic scope of very long-running comics. I think that if webcomics are ever to gain any recognition, they have to develop, and be proud of things that are genuinely theirs, things that make them more than just "comics that happen to be on web", things that can't be achieved in other forms of publishing, and this is genuinely one of them.
I think that only watching through lenses of printed comics, through mindset that printed comics are what comics should be, can you think that this model is inferior, simply because you'll still be thinking along the lines of "well, that won't look good when it's printed on page". They aren't meant to be printed on page, web is their natural environment, and in that environment they function excellent. So I can not justify any scorn for that format.
Batch updates are attempt to recreate printed comics on web, to pretend, fifteen years onto webcomic's history, that you are not actually on web.

But yes, I'm a traditionalist with my own work. I'm on the internet because it's cheaper than printing. There are a lot things the internet allows me to do, but I'm not interested in doing them. I know what I want, and the internet allows me to do it. I do stories and character studies, not gags, and the old way communicates that in the way I want.

But you know very well that page-by-page updates are not all about gags. Rather, they are about dramatic structure of any kind on micro level.

A Ghost World chapter would be a bulk upload. It's exactly where my inspiration comes from.

Do you still see your comic as Ghost world ersatz after all these years?
User avatar
McDuffies
Bob was here (Moderator)
Bob was here (Moderator)
 
Posts: 29943
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 1999 4:00 pm
Location: Serbia

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby Yeahduff on Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:37 pm

McDuffies wrote:I've yet to see a proof that it's not such a big deal. I do think that you can have success with batch updates, but I think that it would take more effort, more expert advertising, and in general lesser reward in pageviews (something that I know even you care about. On the plus side, you're probably more likely to gain a cult audience).

Everything's a tradeoff. Doing something other than a scheduled release might make it harder to gain popularity but I don't see why it's impossible. I guess it's unproven but other types of entertainment get along just fine without regularly scheduled updates.

Wouldn't say getting hits is trivial to me, but it's more important to present my work in the way I want. Apparently you feel similarly.

McDuffies wrote:If I was a total opportunist, of course, I would probably be doing a gaming comic with sarcastic protagonists and slapstick violence right now, instead I am doing a comic in a format that probably guarantees it will never be particularly well known. On the other hand, you won't see me three years from now, asking myself how comes I'm not popular yet, because I'm going in it with awareness of it's drawbacks, which is not what you can say for all participants in this discussion.

The simple fact is most people aren't going to get popular. So formatting your comic with the first thought in mind "What will make me popular?" doesn't make sense to me. Anyone starting off should certainly take in consideration how webcomics typically go but in the end go with a process they'll get the most enjoyment out of or that will fulfill their vision.

McDuffies wrote:I think that most of people are going in with that mindset because they already love some other comics that are doing it the same way... kind of the same reason you're choosing the other way.

Eh, fair enough. And that's the point, isn't it? If your vision of what comics are was shaped by Boy Meets Boy, than make comics like that. If not, you shouldn't feel like you have to do it that way because you're publishing on the web.

McDuffies wrote:But I'll always be a proponent of prevailing format because I think it is a genuine webcomic's invention. In it's best cases, it has instant gratification of newspaper comics, continuity or comic books and epic scope of very long-running comics. I think that if webcomics are ever to gain any recognition, they have to develop, and be proud of things that are genuinely theirs, things that make them more than just "comics that happen to be on web", things that can't be achieved in other forms of publishing, and this is genuinely one of them.
I think that only watching through lenses of printed comics, through mindset that printed comics are what comics should be, can you think that this model is inferior, simply because you'll still be thinking along the lines of "well, that won't look good when it's printed on page". They aren't meant to be printed on page, web is their natural environment, and in that environment they function excellent. So I can not justify any scorn for that format.

Fine that you like it so much. I'm just not a fan. I don't want my pages to have to stand on their own, because that's not how I'm thinking about them. It's not really about inferior or superiour, it's just what you like and what you don't.

McDuffies wrote:Batch updates are attempt to recreate printed comics on web, to pretend, fifteen years onto webcomic's history, that you are not actually on web.

It's not pretending their not on the web, it's being indifferent to them being on the web. I don't want each page to seem like it's own free-standing unit, I want it to be part of a bigger whole. And the web can accommodate that just fine. Used to be comics were kids stuff and not to be taken seriously. Then graphic novels happened. It's a big medium, there's room for lots of methods.

McDuffies wrote:But you know very well that page-by-page updates are not all about gags. Rather, they are about dramatic structure of any kind on micro level.

But I just don't think it works as well if you're stringing pages together. If you want a free standing comic page, great, this works. It's not for everyone though.

McDuffies wrote:Do you still see your comic as Ghost world ersatz after all these years?

Only in jest.

What I really meant was that Clowes put Ghost World in his issues of Eightball when he felt like doing so. And then he threw other things in there if he felt like it. As I come to the end of this latest installment of 8:1, I'm thinking of whether I'll do another right away or work on a different project (it'll probably be another 8:1, for the record). When I was doing this in standard webcomic fashion it just felt weird. Now I feel like I can finish a complete thought and then move on to something else. This is what works for me, and it would work fine for other people too. It's just about what you want.
Image
I won't be the stars in your dark night.
User avatar
Yeahduff
Resident Stoic (Moderator)
 
Posts: 9092
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 4:16 pm
Location: I jumped into your grave and died.

Re: How does this webcomic thing work, again?

Postby McDuffies on Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:58 am

Wouldn't say getting hits is trivial to me, but it's more important to present my work in the way I want. Apparently you feel similarly.

Well in a way, we are jaded, somewhat disappointed webcomic veterans. We also know what we want, we tried something and it didn't quite work for us, so thanks to that, now we know exactly what we want. So it's easy for us to talk.
I'm not sure I knew what I wanted when I was starting in webcomics, I feel that I wanted to get out there in any way possible, irrespective of what I preferred the most, and then I felt trapped. I'd be happy to do comics like LWK all the time, in exact same form, but that's themes and moods that don't go well over in webcomics, unlike mcDuffies which comes from the same sluggy mold as 10.000 of other webcomics.
On the other hand if mcDuffies had ever made a splash, I might have felt different.

Fine that you like it so much. I'm just not a fan. I don't want my pages to have to stand on their own, because that's not how I'm thinking about them. It's not really about inferior or superiour, it's just what you like and what you don't.

Far from saying that everyone should do it the same way, I just think that if webcomics were ever to be considered as notable art medium, it's a good general trend to utilize what the medium is capable of. If cinema was still stuck with one-camera word-by-word reciting of popular theatre pieces, would it have been the great art of 20th century?

What I really meant was that Clowes put Ghost World in his issues of Eightball when he felt like doing so. And then he threw other things in there if he felt like it. As I come to the end of this latest installment of 8:1, I'm thinking of whether I'll do another right away or work on a different project (it'll probably be another 8:1, for the record). When I was doing this in standard webcomic fashion it just felt weird.

It's a common desire. And I also know a lot of webcomics that do something similar. Like Hark! A Vagrant that gives usual historical vignettes, but then wonders off to something autobiographical or just absurdism for a few weeks.
User avatar
McDuffies
Bob was here (Moderator)
Bob was here (Moderator)
 
Posts: 29943
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 1999 4:00 pm
Location: Serbia

PreviousNext

 

Return to General Discussion



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest