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Afterthoughts

 
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c.urban



Joined: 16 Apr 2014
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:39 pm    Post subject: Afterthoughts Reply with quote

Hello,

I am newly registered here having recently committed myself!

(I am starting up a political webcomic.) I know, I'm completely insane! But I love creating them!

Right now I have it hosted exclusively on Patreon. I know it's very early in the game, but since I have 3 episodes up, I thought I would share it with you guys and maybe get some feedback on whatever one might feel like giving feedback on.

With this webcomic concept, I like the idea of hosting it exclusively on Patreon, and as a working artist, I believe in Patreon. One thing I wonder is if being exclusively on Patreon could translate to a negative for the reader somehow (as opposed to hosting it on a website).

Here is the link to the page on Patreon:
http://www.patreon.com/afterthoughts

Adding content as much as I can, when I have the time to work on it! Starting out committing to at least one episode a month. If by some miracle I hit pledge goals, this will free me up to work on it more.

I suppose now is as good a time as any for it to be criticized as I am just starting up!



Thank you in advance for any feedback or insights you are inclined to give !!!
In the end I want to create the best experience for the reader/consumer. I know, the only way to ensure that may be to delete it!

Thanks again
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Ronin Glen



Joined: 25 Mar 2013
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since the material isn't behind a paywall I don't really see why it would be a big issue for readers although a casual glance might lead someone to THINK they have to pay for the comic. I'm not clear on your update schedule which is probably my biggest concern. Are you only going to produce a comic (once a month) if people give you $100? Last time I bought a newspaper (been awhile) I got something like 30 comics strips for 50 cents. The internet is filled with people giving away multiple pages every WEEK.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing your comic (which is pretty good) or suggesting you don't deserve to get paid. I think Patreon is fantastic and I hope it starts to push the world back towards supporting creators. Unfortunately, until that happens I could see your comic vanishing into the ether for lack of support and I'm not sure I like the idea of providing more evidence that a pay model can't work.

Good luck either way!
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c.urban



Joined: 16 Apr 2014
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ronin,
Thanks so much for your reply and the compliment; thanks for checkin it out and this precious feedback.

That is a concern of mine too. My thought was: I am going to update this as much as possible, but let's be 'safe' and 'officially' commit to once a month.
Now I'm starting to realize that just might not cut it at all, and that an ingredient to this succeeding is to do an update every week, or bi-weekly (still not enough perhaps), and stick to that minimum religiously. Sounds like I need to make that schedule clear on the page too.

The $100 Goal really is just there to say "yay". That goal is most likely fairly needless, perhaps I need to send a free print to each patron should the goal be hit.

Also another ingredient seems to be providing completely free content; but I feel I would have to continue to be very creative to provide motivation to pledge. This should get easier as I continue creating content for it, I hope. Since each episode is it's own 'story', perhaps I can use this to my advantage, so to speak:
I am wondering if it would be better to consistently offer one or two free episodes a month, and then 3, 4, and 5 episodes a month at different Reward levels? That kind of provides incentive for me to stay committed to a regular schedule and motivates an interested reader to become a patron. Free content, check; motivation to donate, check. And it makes more sense rather than expecting patrons to 'hope the goals get met so they can see more content...if the creator follows through'....more money per month buys more content (which would be more 'verifiable' by visiting the feed) per month.

Not sure if my Rewards are rewarding enough as they are. Again, as time goes by and more content is added, and as I get more feedback, maybe it will be easier to create more excellent Rewards. But now I am thinking of doing prints and collections at the different goal levels instead of as rewards, and more content as rewards instead of goals.


I totally agree with you wholeheartedly about Patreon and I know it 'can' work....how to make it work with this concept, how to ensure I don't slave away for nothing while still benefiting patrons is going to be tricky.
I may end up adding content for months and months maybe even years before a cent is 'donated'. But, my thought is, that might be the chance that has to be taken. If I do really believe in this completely, stay committed to it, and really do the work, one day, maybe people will start to read it, spread the word, and want to 'see what will be in the next one.'

I actually went through a period where I told myself over and over again not to do this, it simply would not be worth it!
Yet here I am! After doing the third one I realized that I'm not going to be able to stop, and that I have started something I love and now I have to pursue because I have gotten 'hooked' onto the idea. I know I will never be able to walk away from this idea until I do it now.

I have been over those goals and rewards a hundred times trying to structure them right. Your post is an enormous help to me.
Thanks again for checkin it out and taking the time to fill me in.
Very much appreciated!
Ronin I'd like to offer you one my first collections for your help. No, the collection doesn't exist yet, but it's the thought that counts!
Seriously, if you want to PM me some sort of identifier I will make a note of it so I can send you one when I get there. I know, it's very generous of me to offer you something that doesn't even exist yet!
Congratulations!
Thanks again
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MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are my thoughts on hosting just through Patreon:

  • Like Ronin Glen said, it immediately gives off the impression you're behind a paywall. People just skimming the page will likely miss that your pages are free to view.
  • Discovery on Patreon is really piss poor right now. It's a feature they're working on so it won't always be this way, but currently to get any return from the model, you have to already have fans that you can point to the page. In order to search for your comic, you have to search for "Afterthoughts" specifically. Normally typing in the creator's name works as well, but for some reason, your name isn't giving me any results. Might just be a burp in the system.
  • By not having your own archive, you've seriously limited your other discovery options. Have you ever heard of Comic Rocket? It's basically a website that sends a crawler to the webcomics in its database to check for new updates, then alerts subscribers of that comic. This will not work with Patreon, so anyone who might read comics exclusively there has zero chance of joining your audience. There are a number of sites that work similarly.
  • People who don't want to pay have no way to be notified if there's a new comic available (unless "Following" a creator gives updates? I'm not sure, but my impression is it doesn't). Like I said above, you can't use the third party comic readers like Comic Rocket. You also have no RSS feed and no way to build an email list.
  • You have no way to judge how many people read your comic. When you have a website, you can install Google Analytics or another stat tracker to get an idea of how many people visit your site. You won't know when someone links to your site from somewhere else (site analytics will tell you this as well), or where your readers are coming from. Patreon will tell you how many patrons and follows you have, but it won't give you an idea how many people are actually stopping by.
  • There is no way to contact you. As far as I can tell, you can only message someone who is pledging to you - but I don't think they can initiate a message to you. In the very least you should include an email, Twitter handle, Facebook page, just something.
  • Patreon is still new enough to where a whole lot of people know what it is or how it works. The FAQ for Patreon suggests creating a video and explaining how Patreon works to your readers. Your page currently assumes that they already know.
  • You have eliminated the possibility of ad revenue.

Patreon is a good model, however I think you're going about this the complete wrong way. It's not the place to introduce yourself. And by offering your comics for free anyway, I'm not entirely sure what your perceived advantage is.


Let's talk about numbers a bit. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is the top webcomic on Patreon - it's featured on the front page, not hard to find.

At the moment he has nearly 3000 patrons and is making just over 8k a month from it. That's quite a bit. But, how is that compared to how many people actually read his comic?

We don't have those numbers, but we have something kind of close we can look at. The creator, Zach Weiner, uses a Project Wonderful ad on his page. PW gives the average views for the last five days on their ad listing. So pulling that up, we see...



Nearly 700k page views a day. Now it gets hazy if you want to calculate how many views are attributed to one person (such as someone who comes just for the new daily update versus someone who's reading the whole archive in one sitting) but we can't make those assumptions with this data. However, that doesn't change the magnitude of 700k being vastly larger than 3k.

To put this in a smaller scale: I don't want to say how many readers I have, but let's just vaguely say it's over 100. Compare 100 to my currently 6 (awesome, wonderful) supporters on Patreon. That's still 94 people at least who, for whatever reason, have decided to not even pitch in $1 a month for something they come by twice a week for. (And I don't mean that bitterly, because I've been doing this for free for a year anyway.)

I'm certain there are no free webcomics where the majority of readers are buyers. Most readers of webcomics will not be buyers - people like free on the internet. But the free readers still help, because they talk to their friends and say "hey, I saw this hiliarious political cartoon, let me link it to you." And maybe their friend happens to be a buyer, or they tell their friend who is a buyer.

To make money here, you need to establish an audience, especially if you're going to mix in free content. You're going about it backwards in a way that'll be really difficult to get eyeballs on your comics.

I don't want to discourage you from doing your comic, or even from having a Patreon page. But I think using Patreon as your host is a poor choice that may also disappoint you in the long run.
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Last edited by MindChimera on Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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c.urban



Joined: 16 Apr 2014
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Such excellent feedback MindChimera; I feel lucky and grateful that you wanted to break your thoughts down for me in such an excellent manner; thank you so much for this feedback.

In all honesty, at first, I mainly wanted to host these somewhere convenient where I could share them in one place, and *maybe* get some support as I continue to develop the actual content, since it's just starting out; I wasn't quite solely relying on Discovery, but didn't realize how poorly it actually worked. I also want to keep everything very simple.
There's this old man inside me (I'm not an old man yet) that keeps waving his cane and yelling in a gravely voice "Simpler is better! Keep it simple! Ridiculously simple! Are you even listening" And this dude is usually right! But maybe he's just afraid of gettin' his old man hands and nylon pants dirty.

Another thought I had is that I like the UI of the Patreon feed; but I am assuming people will want to comment on these and perhaps have discussions about the issues, etc. I might be totally wrong about that! Actually, you might want to pretend those last few sentences were imaginary; I'm really not sure.

Naturally, I want to devote all of my time towards creating content rather than website building and everything that goes with it (I know, join the club!). My thought was that if I can create something really unique and entertaining on a regular basis, people will eventually share it, and visit it no matter where it is hosted. So I might as well host it in one place. That place might as well be Patreon, where there is a simple structure already in place for support, etc.

But based on your post, I think you have some seriously valid points and the advantages of hosting it on my own website clearly are enormous, primarily from a marketing perspective. It does seem like I may be selling myself short!

Perhaps the best way is to find that medium that will do justice to this webcomic concept and most importantly the readers. Perhaps free episodes available on the site, with more episodes per month available to patrons exclusively on Patreon. Maybe this way I could have the advantages of a website presence (ad. revenue, RSS subscriptions, link sharing, etc.) but still have that extra value available for those who want it, or a way for those who just want to support it.
Ultimately, I'm not doing this for myself, I am creating these for people. I really need to have the right publishing model to ensure the best thing for the 'consumer,' without loosing an appendage in the process.

Thanks so much for your insight.

MindChimera, I'd like to offer you one my first collections for your help. No, the collection doesn't exist yet, but it's the thought that counts!
Seriously, if you want to PM me some sort of identifier I will make a note of it so I can send you one when I get there. I know, it's very generous of me to offer you something that doesn't even exist yet! (Clearly I have this Patreon thing down! In that spirit I'd like to sell you a house! It doesn't exist yet, but, it's gonna be awesome!)
Congratulations!
Thank you
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MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

c.urban wrote:
In all honesty, at first, I mainly wanted to host these somewhere convenient where I could share them in one place, and *maybe* get some support as I continue to develop the actual content, since it's just starting out; I wasn't quite solely relying on Discovery, but didn't realize how poorly it actually worked. I also want to keep everything very simple.
There's this old man inside me (I'm not an old man yet) that keeps waving his cane and yelling in a gravely voice "Simpler is better! Keep it simple! Ridiculously simple! Are you even listening" And this dude is usually right! But maybe he's just afraid of gettin' his old man hands and nylon pants dirty.

Oh yeah, I can understand not wanting to complicate things. It's ultimately up to you whether or not to go through the trouble of setting up a site. It costs money if you want to do it properly, so maybe you're not up for that.

You may want to do some general research on webcomic hosting. Have you heard of WordPress? With the right plugins, it's a really popular choice for making a webcomic site. A lot of the people I talk to who use it have little to no experience with HTML/CSS, or websites in general. I'm sure there are guides for beginners for setting these up, maybe even webcomic-specific ones.

c.urban wrote:
Another thought I had is that I like the UI of the Patreon feed; but I am assuming people will want to comment on these and perhaps have discussions about the issues, etc. I might be totally wrong about that! Actually, you might want to pretend those last few sentences were imaginary; I'm really not sure.

Sure! You can also have comments on your website. There are free services like Gravatar and Disqus (I prefer Disqus) that let you easily plug comments into your page. I think these both have WordPress plugins that make it easy.

c.urban wrote:
Naturally, I want to devote all of my time towards creating content rather than website building and everything that goes with it (I know, join the club!). My thought was that if I can create something really unique and entertaining on a regular basis, people will eventually share it, and visit it no matter where it is hosted. So I might as well host it in one place. That place might as well be Patreon, where there is a simple structure already in place for support, etc.

Do keep in mind that you get what you give, though. Having a poor website, or even none at all, gives a sour first impression. Marketing is also part of the game; whether you choose free methods or paid advertising, you'll need to invest time to get eyeballs. Webcomics really aren't just focusing on only content, unfortunately. If you do that, you may end up with some really great content but only a small handful of readers.

c.urban wrote:
Perhaps the best way is to find that medium that will do justice to this webcomic concept and most importantly the readers. Perhaps free episodes available on the site, with more episodes per month available to patrons exclusively on Patreon. Maybe this way I could have the advantages of a website presence (ad. revenue, RSS subscriptions, link sharing, etc.) but still have that extra value available for those who want it, or a way for those who just want to support it.

I think this would be the best option.

For all I know, I could be wrong and hosting on Patreon could work out perfectly for you. There are things you can do to give yourself an edge, but there's no one right way to do things. So give it some thought and do some research, imo.

c.urban wrote:
MindChimera, I'd like to offer you one my first collections for your help. No, the collection doesn't exist yet, but it's the thought that counts!

Thanks, but I offer my inane ramblings absolutely free of charge. Wink
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