Starting a Webcomic
#1
Hey fellow Daggers! I would like to start producing in the future a free webcomic and post it on a weekly basis. It would be a finite project, not an ongoing one.
It would serve as Dave Rapoza is doing, to gain some experience to produce in the future other projects.
Do you have any tips/ considerations/ suggestions/ procedures that would help spreading, optimizing and facilitating any viewer to read easily, way of present or where to publish? Hopefully any feedback given will encourage/ help others with a similar intent.
Any links posted will be appreciated as well.

Cheers!

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#2
Not super sure how Dave did his thing.. I don't know the process he went through to making his work viral.

Maybe quick tips/suggestions/regurgitation (if you have come across it in some shape of form):

- Tapastic (https://tapastic.com/) and Webtoons (http://www.webtoons.com/) are two of the largest free publishing platforms out there. There are guys who use Tumblr to host their content. Short funnies/Strip format are super effective in Facebook and Twitter. That's data from 1 to 2 years ago. There are probably more now! Remember to cast a wide net!

- Whenever you publish, it's not a bad idea to broadcast it via social media (given you aren't hosting the content there). Make your link visible!

- If you use Photoshop to make your comic, "Save for Web" optimize it as JPEG. Good compression. Which in turn, faster loading time! You don't have to go balls out for image quality. But then again, you'd want to avoid the pesky pixalation if your content has intricate colors. That's calls some room for experiment!

- Don't forget to make the text readable for mobile device users! Some tend to cram words in, the size of the text makes it so hard to read.

Don't quite remember any more stuff. I'll add if I do recall..

Oh and don't forget to share it here!

It's debatable whether or not what you're trying to achieve is indeed impossible. One thing's for sure: it's impossible to defeat a person who doesn't know how to quit.
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#3
Thanks for the feedback John. I think that Dave had already a solid following when he tackled comics, then he had some solid supporters.

Interesting links, and i was suprised to see Lackadaisy there. Surelly they´re good platforms. I was considering facebook for announcements and topical pages, maybe just on english but i would like also to translate it to portuguese, so i´m not sure which is the best platform to post in both languages.

Thanks for the tips. To be fair, my main references are Daniel Lieske "Wormworld Saga" and "Emma", the online webcomic and the awesome emotive paintings of Pascal Campion.

Yeah haha, i wanna but it will take some time until it´s apt to be published.
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#4
Heya Rik! 
Gonna dump some info a friend of mine (AraPersonica on the forum. I will direct her to this thread later, hopefully she doesn't mind me reposting her message ) 
She has made a couple of webcomics and is really serious about this stuff, I queried her only on Taptastic as a platform.  I will put spoilers on bits that are really long, and a tldr before it.  I can't vouch for a lot of this info from first hand experience but it all sounds common sense to me, especially especially the update buffer.

Message begins------------------

Main points to nail for webcomics. Note the first 3!!! :) :

1) Update
2) Update regularly
3) Even if you go months without an update, keep updating
4) Page buffer for sanity.  [I wouldn’t even begin posting a comic until I had about 70-100 pages ready to go.]
5) Cross post them [On DA, on your favorite art website, on Tumblr, but most importantly, on your comic’s own website.
6) If you get a big enough following, I would start a Patreon, or a donation button to PayPal.
(my comment on 6) I totally agree on Patreon working best for people who already have audience, but if you have a good buffer and are committed, I would start a Patreon earlier. Nobody can join it, if it doesn't exist in the first place.  "You have to be in it, to win it" as they say :)

On Taptastic specifically
TL;DR
If all of my other ideas for getting a comic started failed, I might resort to this monstrosity. But only if I was desperate. The site is godawfully, overwhelmingly pro-Tapastic for revenue.

(my comment) I think anyone with a good following and amazing content can use any platform and it starts to be about convenience and the amount of time you have to create your own platform vs the amount of revenue, you're willing to give up for that convenience. But I agree with her overall. Cut out the middle man whenever you can.

As far as I have seen, having a site for the comic, hosted by yourself, is the best way to go. Especially if you can fit it into a budget for your own website.


She lists off some of her favourites below. Note I haven't heard of or checked out any of these in any detail yet, but some of the comments might indicate ones to research even if you don't like the comics yourself.

Links

Here’s where I find nearly all of my comics: http://topwebcomics.com/
That site is basically my salvation. I found almost all of the comics I follow there. Fans vote for the series they like, getting little goodies in return.

There are also places where you can advertise your comic, like forums, etc. and places that will host it.
http://www.thehiveworks.com/
http://www.4de.com/
http://gmimanga.exepicstudios.com/

It’s not going to be easy. Webcomics are a labor of love. You can’t make easy money off of them. It’s something I learned long ago. These guys were slaving away at their comics for years before anyone noticed them.

--------------------------------

And so ends her message :)

From what I have seen Dave and Dan posted quite a few places, and it particularly exploded on Imgur and on tumblr.  Dan said once that Lichman started off as one page idea, which is an easy format for easy sharing and thus for potential virality.

They also pre-planned a lot of how the promo work would go I think. You can actually see it in phases with the release of regular promo free material (test and tease and to build new audience) before the real campaign started (Kickstarter). This is a bit different for a web only comic, for which updating and being consistent about it is the most relevant.

I would also send links to people who blog or review comics, to see if they would like to review yours once you have your stuff in advance,  or intermittently once it has been running for a bit.
 
Hope it helps

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#5
Hey good luck with this Rick :).

Great responses from John and Amit!

I'm also familiar with Tapastic but wasn't aware of the revenue hit that AraPersonica described. Personally I intend to run a webcomic on my own website and use Tapastic as a mirror hoping to tap into an already receptive audience.

In terms of presentation, definitely consider mobile devices, I found this Tapastic article a while back which was quite useful:

https://tapastic.com/episode/68726

From my own experience I have purchased hosting from a host provider and am running WordPress on it. The advantage with using a platform such as WordPress (there are others) is you don't have to spend energy coding your own website. There are also many plugins tailored specifically to presenting webcomics (I intend to research this a bit more myself and will let you know what I find out if you're interested).

I also think AraPersonica's point on cross posting is important for promoting your comic - you probably were considering this already but I would use all the social media channels Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram etc.

Hope this helps.

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

CD Sketchbook



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#6
Hmmm I had a bit of a thought and did some quick and dirty research on taptastic looking at some of the most popular.  

The following is what I found

ERMA: https://tapastic.com/series/Erma
4.5m views / 12k subs

GhostBlade:  https://tapastic.com/series/GhostBlade
1.5m views / 26.7k subs
Kickstarter vol1 : 12k  Kickstarter vol2 : 10k

Countdown to Countdown:  https://tapastic.com/series/Countdown
1.6m views / 31.4k subs

Lichman: https://tapastic.com/series/SteveLichman 
Free epiodes as teasers only  
'Only' 181k views / 5k subs in comparison. Not main platform, only one of many.
Kickstarters 1 : over 100k, Kickstarter vol 2L over 200k!

I actually discovered Taptastic through WLop's dA. He also has a Patreon. He is a good model to look at for the distributed wide model for something intended fully for web I think.  Also, he updated his taptastic VERY infrequently, and still got that many hits and it was his main platform.

I think it's interesting to note the difference in kickstarter amounts between Lichman and Wlop (didn't look into the others).  It makes sense that fewer people would want to buy a kickstarter for something they have already read online.  

So I would say either tease to build audience and kickstart the full thing, or go whole hog on doing it online but don't necessarily expect much from a kickstarter.  WLop has a healthy Patreon which I suspect he got a lot from his Taptastic subs as well as everywhere else.  

General rule is though, spam the f*(C out of everywhere it seems.

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#7
Whoa, thank you for such a complete answer Amit.

I intent to update it flawlessly, weekly, even though it´s a finite project, not too much focused on quantity but rather on quality, and start posting when the content is at 60% or so of completion.

Since the target audience covers all ages i´m not sure if there are special strategies that i should focus on.

I really know little about Patreon or Kick starter, i should research those names in depth. Another issue is that i don´t have a big presence online, don´t have a lot of contacts of fellow artists that could help sharing the project, not as a "cohersion" l(lol) but rather if they identify themselves with the project. I have to focus extra time on building some bridges haha.

I´m not expecting any rentability with this one, just gain experience, word of mouth hopefuly if my work sticks and do a story i´m invested in. If the project generates some revenue, it´s a very good extra though.

Those links are very interesting, i will consider heavily exploring Tapastic.

I guess i´ll follow your advance and spam a little bit haha. I will take some time until it goes forward but i want to lay the foundations right now.

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#8
Thanks Artloader! Yeah, great answers indeed.

Haha make sure you keep us informed about your webcomic. That´s a clever strategy. I´m realizing that Tapastic is a great site to share webcomics.

Those are very good points i´ve never considered. I´ll keep in mind the vertical reading, specially crafted for devices users. I never realized how relevant it is to optimize content for people that use mobiles.
Yeah, i´m interested. I´m searching for options and then pick the most relevant for my needs.

Yeah, specially a FB page, maybe it´s time i start using Twitter.

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#9
My comics teacher put all his notes onto one of his sites.

A lot of info on comics in general, not specifically about webcomics, but he did share some of his experience in class about formatting, storytelling and publishing platforms used for webcomics, and how they differ from traditional comics. This part sadly was mainly taught orally and was not documented as far as I know, but maybe his stuff will help a bit?

http://makingcomics.spiltink.org/
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#10
(03-21-2017, 12:57 PM)Orange Pekoe Wrote: My comics teacher put all his notes onto one of his sites.

A lot of info on comics in general, not specifically about webcomics, but he did share some of his experience in class about formatting, storytelling and publishing platforms used for webcomics, and how they differ from traditional comics. This part sadly was mainly taught orally and was not documented as far as I know, but maybe his stuff will help a bit?

http://makingcomics.spiltink.org/

Hey that looks like a great site for aspiring comics creators - thanks for sharing dude!

I was interested in the analogue lettering - something about hand writing your word balloons appeals to me :).

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

CD Sketchbook



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#11
Great looking resource Orange. peKO'ed dat sucka.

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