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Author Topic: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'  (Read 10301 times)

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Offline Rob

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2010, 04:48:48 PM »
Do you think we could have a talk over an IM or something before you get started. There are some suggestions and some things I know I've been confused about that I would like to offer up; mostly because I'd love to see them explained.

All my contact info is here under my avatar. I have all three IM's and you can catch me through GMail IM as well through my e-mail address robertctracy@gmail.com

Let me know.  ;)

Offline Chris Crosby

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2010, 07:01:13 PM »
For T-Shirts, Brunetto's got the best rates and service, IMHO.  http://www.brunettotshirts.com/tshirts.html

They do all of the TopatoCo shirts, I believe.  And they've done most of my shirts.

Offline Rob

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2010, 09:17:32 PM »
LOL. Indeed. Brunetto is right down the street from me. I've used him myself and his stuff is Primo! In every sense of the word. Last time I was at his place it was literally... floor to ceiling "Cogito Ergo Nom" shirts from Questionable Content. Kieth (I think his name was Kieth... it's been awhile I forget) goes, "yeah I don't think Jeph's going to be able to go to any cons right now because he doesn't have any shirts. These are all to fill orders that were placed already." Then I peed, just a little. Not on any of the shirts though. I think.

They also have fantastic prices.

That said, there are certain file requirement that have to be met for even helpful places like Brunetto. Not only that but to buy a minimum order of a single color shirt from Brunetto is like $150 for 12 shirts (which is completely reasonable but it brings up all kinds of supply chain issues like, what sizes do you buy? You won't know what people want until you sell them will you? Also, where do you keep your inventory?) which can be a real hunk of change for some of us. And as you add colors the price goes up (as you increase your order there are volume discounts though which come off the shirts themselves and the work Brunetto does which does make a great difference in profit margin).

Additionally, you have to get special permission from him to print more than four or five colors (I can't remember if it's four or five but I'm leaning towards five).

What I feel like I want someone to write an article about is this sort of setup (for those who can afford it) as well as the print on demand places that have MUCH stricter rules about their file requirements (and honestly after the vector nightmare I went through, not knowing the first thing about Illustrator and trying to get Spreadshirt to approve an image I wanted printed and never getting them to I'd like a real discussion on what it takes to to get those files set up for the dye cutters they use) and offer different kinds of printing than the silkscreen Brunetto does, as well as the different color and quality options.

If I had unlimited funds I would definitely stick with Brunetto and I would hire a graphic artist to get all my files in order before printing and rent space to store my inventory and heck, maybe even sign on with Topatoco (and if my hits were still in the 90k for that one magical weekend I had a guest comic up at Questionable Content and my artist hadn't run out on me might just be able to do that). But as of right now I'm seriously considering a much smaller venture with maybe a Spreadshirt store with just a couple shirt designs and maybe a coffee mug or something. If I can figure out the file issues.

So I'd love to see something really comprehensive that covers everything in simple terms that any chowderhead can understand. Because the folks at Spreadshirt (and the other place I tried whose name escapes me) and their instructions make me want to kick a puppy.

mwytrykus

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2010, 02:14:57 AM »
Here are some questions. Answering them will help people like myself make decisions as to whether the advice that you give is worth much.

• How long has your webcomic been running, and what is it's readership? (unique views a week, or something like that)
• How are you doing in terms of webcomic business? (Clearly, I'm not asking for hard numbers for that would be rude, but try not to be too vague and do be honest)
• What percentage of your genome is of the Sciuridae family.

I'm tempted to just quote from Beetlejuice in regards to my qualifications, but I don't feel like looking up his whole spiel. So I guess I'll just be frank.

My comic has been running, on and off, since September of 2000. I've never really had a good sense of my readership. My traffic fluctuates greatly, obviously, depending on when I'm actually updating. Right now, I mostly have a couple dozen friends and acquaintances reading it. Probably a few random people. I don't get much feedback or comments on my site. My best year was, by far, 2006, when I was able to maintain a M-W-F schedule for six months or so. I had a decent amount of people reading then. Fans responded to a survey or two, posted some comments. It was nice.

I've made barely any money on my comics, and I've sinked way more money into my creative ventures than I have earned. I've never had enough traffic to make much on ads, but I do fun Project Wonderful spots currently. I've done a couple conventions where I sold a few print on demand comic books (3 pamphlet issues and one trade paperback) and some sketches. I sold several more copies of the comic thru one of my local comic shops.

That's really about it.  Grimstone has always been more of a hobby / experiment for me. A learning experience. I'm working on some new strips right now, hope to start updating again soon. And I've got another project that I'm going to be more serious about, so I'm waiting until I decide just what route I want to go with it before I put anything out there.

Offline TTallan

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2010, 09:46:19 AM »
My webcomic has been running for 3+ years. (It was also a print comic from 1993-2000.) Considering that it is a long-form, black-and-white, once-a-week, Blogless, Twitterless comic-- in other words, doing everything wrong from the How To Make Webcomics model ;) -- I think I'm doing OK. Comic Rank currently lists me at 1550 readers, which is as good a popularity benchmark as any.

I'm pretty happy with how I'm doing, business-wise. I don't sell a lot of merchandise for the main reason that I don't have that much for sale. I printed up 250 print-on-demand copies of a 144pg collection of my comic last May, and sold out of most of them during the convention season (I mostly attended local shows last year, and my last show was at the end of September). I got copies in a few stores, mainly local ones or out-of-town stores that I was able to visit personally over the course of my travels. I'll be doing an offset print run this spring, which should last me a little while longer this time!


Offline KidGalactus

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2010, 12:39:16 PM »
This is all fairly illuminating, but isn't there some sort of danger in assuming that someone's advice or casual observation is more or less valid depending on how big their e-peen(tm) is next to yours?

Offline Matt

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2010, 01:12:03 PM »
KidGalactus, I don't think there is much danger. I know I'd rather take advice regarding book printing for someone who has printed three already than the guy who has done a Lulu.com run. Everyone knows the positions of authority that Brad Guigar and Khoo hold, but not everyone is so notable. Obviously, just because someone is notable doesn't make their advice 'more valid' as you say, I think there is a lot to be learnt from the webcartoonists who have messed up and are kind enough to share where they went wrong.

All this thread does is to let would-be question-askers see people's credentials, to help them weigh advice for themselves.

Offline KidGalactus

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2010, 01:46:23 PM »
I think your post actually supports my original point, but whatever.

Fair warning though, the first time I try to help somebody and they're like 'well what are your webcomic credentials? I didn't see you post in that thread' I'm going to fly off the handle at them.

Fair warning is all. Now I'm leaving this thread

mwytrykus

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2010, 03:20:57 PM »
KidGalactus, I don't think there is much danger. I know I'd rather take advice regarding book printing for someone who has printed three already than the guy who has done a Lulu.com run.

Ah, but some people won't be ready for a full-on offset print run and will be looking to do print-on-demand. So for them, they'll want to ask someone who has used print on demand, mostly for recommendations on who has the best product.

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Obviously, just because someone is notable doesn't make their advice 'more valid' as you say, I think there is a lot to be learnt from the webcartoonists who have messed up and are kind enough to share where they went wrong.

Agreed. It is good to learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others. Really, that's one of the ways authorities become authorities. They learn just as much from where they went wrong as where they went right.

Offline Novil

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Re: How many of you are turning a profit?
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2010, 03:55:13 PM »
Quote
How long has your webcomic been running, and what is it's readership?

Since 19 October 2008 (M/T).
4250 visits/day + 900 RSS feed subscribers. Comicrank reports 8800 regular readers.

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How are you doing in terms of webcomic business?

Advertising revenues are quite good, the sales of book and merch not so much.

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What percentage of your genome is of the Sciuridae family.

60%?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 02:04:05 PM by Novil »

Offline Alectric

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2010, 10:20:45 PM »
How do you find out how many people subscribe to your feed?  That'd be nice to know.

Offline Novil

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2010, 04:21:27 AM »
How do you find out how many people subscribe to your feed?  That'd be nice to know.

I’m using Google FeedBurner. It automatically reports your subscriber numbers on the admin panel.

Offline JGray

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2010, 06:24:16 AM »
Quote
• How long has your webcomic been running, and what is it's readership? (unique views a week, or something like that)

Just over one year. My average visits per day 1,448. Average page views per day 6, 441. Comic Rank has me at 2,316 readers.

Quote
• How are you doing in terms of webcomic business? (Clearly, I'm not asking for hard numbers for that would be rude, but try not to be too vague and do be honest)

I think you should ask for hard numbers, honestly. I make roughly $.30 - $.50 a day in advertisements. I pull in between $10-30 a month in donations. The comic doesn't pay for itself yet.

Quote
• What percentage of your genome is of the Sciuridae family.

I don't write El Goonish Shive...

Offline jeffa

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Re: Your Webcomic Business 'Qualifications'
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2010, 08:10:06 AM »
I started Funzietown back in Fall of '08. I updated twice a week until the end of March when I stopped updating at all. I made one comic in July and then restarted in December. I've been doing one or two updates a week since.

My readership fluctuates each day between zero and infinity. By infinity I mean around 10.

Google ads made me about $50 over several months, but they don't pay you anything until you break $100.

My original intent was to monetize my comic, but since that wasn't working out, I decided to give that idea up and do it as a hobby. That took a lot of stress off and made me comfortable with a weekly posting schedule (on no specific day). I dropped the Google ads from my site since they occassionally posted ads that I found inappropriate for my my hypothetical audience of alleged children. It also means that I can experiment with drawing styles, tools and techniques that lead to wide differences in my characters from strip to strip. Very few readers + no profit motive = do what I want.

I am really only just learning to draw, so I now view my comic as a vehicle to have fun and practice.

As for the Scuridae family (also known as the "varmint food-group": I haven't checked my traps today, but if I ever do catch one of the little buggers, you can bet I'll strap him down Robot Chicken style and force him to read my comic!