That's all fine and dandy, Mr. Hayes. Good on you for holding onto your beliefs. But you either missed or ignored my point entirely.
When you said:
How many times have you found a favorite artist, writer, musician, comedian, actor, etc. only to discover, in an ugly October Surprise, that the artist you'd been supporting with your trade for years held beliefs or practices you found unimaginably repugnant?
... I would have to say, "Yes, at least once, just now."
You're not catching the fact that there's a large number of people out there, that find your
views "unimaginably", or at least annoyingly, repugnant. I know you refuse to admit that, but your locked-and-any-dissention-deleted Livejournal says otherwise.
The proof is right here on this board; you have two or three board regulars that either lightly or strongly disagree with at least some of your points. And again, that's fine, there's no reason at all you can't hold whatever views you wish.
But, from a business
standpoint, let me repeat that, from a Business
standpoint, Mr. Hayes, throwing those beliefs on the front page, in place of the regular comic strip
, is an extremely poor way to market your comic strip.
As I said, it's very possible to make a living, even a comfortable living, doing a webcomic. Jon from Goats
is rumored to make $100K a year, off ads, shirts and toys. The Penny Arcade
guys earn almost two million
a year. Howard from Schlock Mercenary
supports a family of four, including house and car payments, with his comic. Pete at Sluggy Freelance
, Kurtz at PvP Online
and Tim at CAD
all make a considerable income off their strip.
But, as I pointed out in my previous post, none of them do a sort-of-weekly strip, none of them use any filler, none of them post political rants in place of the comic, and they all update on a regular, consistent basis. In other words, they treat the strip as a job
You, Mr. Hayes, don't. You treat it as a lackadasical hobby and then wonder why you don't get paid.
You treat it as your social club, as your own personal bully pulpit, as the first thing that gets dropped when you have other things to attend to.
Those would all be perfectly fine if you weren't trying to make a living off the strip.
If it was just a hobby for you, I'd have no problem. I could accept all those things, and read what I could, when I could.
But, you have publicly stated you make your living off the strip(s), publicly complained of low sales, and finally had to move back in with your parents because of your lack of income... from the strips.
Do I have any of that wrong, Mr. Hayes?
I have no doubt you can make a decent living off your strips. But to do so, you will have to make some changes, and stick to them. I'm not saying that as my opinion, I'm saying that as one who has been in online business for a while, and as a long time webcomic fancier.
One, the strip comes first. Not "the first thing you drop when time gets short", the comic comes first. We, the readers, are your customers, and not serving customers is a damn fine way to go out of business.
Two, update on a regular schedule. You haven't had a regular schedule in a year, and readers are going to lose interest if they don't know when, or even if, the strip updates. Pick a schedule, advertise that schedule on the front page
, and stick to it.
Three, skip the filler. The majority of your readers don't care about somebody's birthday or somebody elses' anniversary, and statistically speaking at least half
of them won't care for your religious or political views. Increasing readership means bringing in any
reader who likes the strip, regardless of political affiliation. Liberal athiests can like Quentyn just as easily as deep-south Baptists.
Four, clean up your archives. It's a huge mess in there, and new readers who start back at the beginning are subjected to all-too-common filler, complaints, and outdated pleas for money. On a serialized story like Questor
, a brand-new reader should be able to click back to Page One, and read through to Today smoothly and without interruption. T%hat makes it easier for them to get "into" the story, and thus easier for the story to "hook" them and keep them coming back.
If you keep jarring them out of that smooth read with ads, rants or moneybegging (all now months or even years out of date) you lose that suspension-of-disbelief so necessary to enjoy a good book or movie.
Take all the filler, secondary comics, and other non-story strips out, and put them elsewhere; a gallery, another site, another folder, whereever. Just make the strip's main archive full of nothing but that strip. Hook the reader on the strip, and let them look at the other fluff and filler later, on their own.
And five, leave the politics out of it. You can't afford to alienate fifty percent of your potential readership. The smarmy "I'm right, you're wrong" arguments between the characters and the beaver fellow in Nip & Tuck
are annoying (and I'm largely conservative myself) but they're rare enough to not interfere too much with the storyline. The parts in Questor
where Qentyn might state, simply, briefly and non-confrontationally, his beliefs, or when the priest fellow demonstrates
his faith (which is far different from ramming it down anyones' throats) were far better done, and more tolerable for those who don't hold those beliefs.
You have a Livejournal already full of similar-thinkers and sycophants, I suggest keeping the politics and overt religion in there. That's plenty public enough, but seperate enough from the strip that it won't or shouldn't bother those who dare to think differently.
If it were me, as a suggestion, I'd move Questor
, clearly your most popular strip as shown by donation trends, to at least twice-weekly, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Meaning it's up Monday night at Midnight, and up again Wednesday at Midnight. Regularly, like clockwork.
to once-weekly. Since they pretty much are already once-weekly, but make them a regular
once weekly. Say, Goblin
on Saturday and Tuck
on Sunday, or vice-versa. Again, update the same time, same day, every time.
Then stick to it, come the proverbial hell or metaphorical high water. If you had a day job, you'd need to be there at 9:00am whether or not you "felt" like it- the comic is precisely the same thing. You need to be there at midnight, whether or not you "feel" like it.
If you're going to make it your day job, then damn well act like it.