Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Web Comic Project: Day 85

I've been a Mac fan since forever and have never much cared for PCs. However, this looks very cool and represents a possible Ultimate Ebook Reader. And in other ebook reader news, another one enters the market.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Web Comic Project: Day 81

I got back a little bit ago from the first ever SLG Comics Fest (I had to leave a bit early to attend family matters). I had a nice time talking to folks (granted, they were mostly people I already knew so I didn't uncover many new readers). By the time I left (with two hours remaining in the show) a very nice energy filled the room and there were a lot of animated conversations going on. I suspect that in a couple of show's time Comics Fest could really turn into something worth looking forward to.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Web Comic Project: Day 77

Google Fast Flip: Web comics don't currently appear to be searchable but I like the idea of powering through a bunch of web pages. Interesting and maybe one day useful to web comic fans (certainly potentially more useful than top lists).

Comics Fest: SLG Publishing is hosting a very mini convention Saturday, September 19th. The very talented Gene Yang will be a guest as well as some other fine cartoonists. I'll be let in as well. More info here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Web Comic Project: Day 76

I asked Bryn Colvin, writer of the brand-new web comic The Copper Age, to share with all of us her inaugural promotional efforts:

The Copper Age launch.

Before the launch, we recruited 38 people to help out on the day. We created a pack for them – banner code, blurb, links etc. Two people interviewed us for their blogs, we were also interviewed on blogtalkradio on the Sunday of the launch. Our support people were not just comics folk – there were friends, family members, erotica writers from my other work, and a fair few pagans. It meant we were presenting our work to people who do not normally encounter, much less read comics.

Over the weekend, at least 30 people were posting our links on twitter (some overlap with the helper’s list, and some who got involved because they had followed links, liked, and wished to share.)

We posted articles on http://thepaganandthepen.wordpress.com/ and also used myspace, facebook, tribe.net, various pages on ning.com, goodreads.com a number of egroups – some comics orientated, some horror, fantasy, steampunk, pagan and places I tend to hang out.

We had 928 hits on the site on the Saturday when we launched, and 388 on the Sunday. 17 subscribers on the RSS and 6 via email. Half a dozen people joined the yahoo group based newsletter. Over the weekend we also had 272 hits on our fictional newspaper – same setting as the comic, and more than twice the hits we usually get on a regular weekend.

In terms of numbers, we’re very happy with how it went. Thanks I suspect to the many links to our pages, we now appear on the first page of google listings for ‘Copper Age’.

The feedback has been tremendous, we’ve had lots of wonderful and very encouraging comments from people. I mean to collect some of them up and re-post them. My feeling is that the team of supporters (who were brilliant and did a lot of work on Saturday) made all the difference. It allowed us to reach out to all kinds of people.


Thanks very much for sharing the info, Bryn. Getting so many people to help launch a web comic isn't possible for everyone but it's a great idea. Twitter is really impressing me as a promotional tool for web comics (the trick, I guess, is to get the attention of twitterers with huge piles of followers). Bryn and company seem to be going after non-web comic readers too (note highlighted text). I'm still trying to get a handle on just what constitutes "the web comic community" but if you work outside the majority's sphere of interests searching for a fresh audience is probably not a bad idea.

Thanks again, Bryn. Best of luck to you and artist Tom Brown.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Web Comic Project: Day 73

I've finally made some long-overdue navigation fixes for Java Town. Also, I've uploaded a handful of new pages at both the back and front of the story.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Web Comic Project: Day 67

Once again, the power of Twitter reveals itsself. Templar, Arizona's Spike tweeted about my efforts here with this tweet definitely getting my attention:

The blog is interesting reading. But it's still kinda uncomfortable. Like watching a stranger checking himself out in the mirror. Nude.


Sigh.

Spike did also directly offer me any help I may want and I do sincerely appreciate that. Her tweets brought lots of page views today (maybe even another record breaker -- that would be 3 in one week) and I appreciate that as well.

For the record, I am wearing clothes as I type this.

LATE UPDATE: Yep, the day was another personal record-breaker.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Web Comic Project: Day 65

It is a Circle is a new web comic set to debut September 12. Currently, only the website minus the comics is up but what's there is very nicely designed and illustrated. Writer Bryn Colvin and artist Tom Brown are planning to "be all over the internet, doing interviews, blogging and giving things away" in an effort to promote their comic ahead of launch. Sounds like a good idea. I've asked Bryn to let me know how effective her efforts are and I'll try to get some hard numbers and if I do, I'll share them here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Web Comic Project: Day 64

My visitor stats are telling me that I'm getting lots of hits from the Something Awful forums so if you are coming here from there: Suck it. Or, perhaps, welcome, my new friend. You pick. In either case, have a look around.

I've not seen Something Awful before but it's apparently a site that finds the best of the stupidest so, for a brief Internet moment at any rate, I'm digital swill. It happens.

The forum post that started it actually cracked me up:

dude is basically trying to see if he can make a living off of a webcomic and chronicling what he's doing to try and make it happen

too bad the comic is terrible


I realize that lots of folks haven't heard of me but I've been around for a long while. I've done the convention thing, the trade show thing, and the store signing thing. I've had people tell me to my face that I'm not funny and I've gotten bad reviews. It's all part of putting yourself out there so you need to develop a thick skin especially in this day and age when self-control and civility are in short supply. Here's the first reply to the above quoted post:

I hope he starves to death.


My kidney failure hasn't killed me so I seriously doubt that Web Comic Failure will.

After that comment, interest in fragging me drops off a bit but amid the muck, there is something not awful to get out of this. Even when people yell, if you listen carefully you may hear something worth hearing. So, yes, I know my interface needs work as one or two pointed out. I'm getting to it as I can and it will improve as my coding-fu improves and as time allows. My ads come in for some hate too, but tough.

And best of all: it appears that a lot of the new visitors from the Something Awful forum are actually reading the entire Java Town strip. If they don't like it after that, that's fine and fair. I really can't ask for more (oh, wait, yes I can: Buy My Mugs!).

UPDATE: I just noticed right after posting this that my Zazzle store had 26 hits so far today (0-2 is the daily average). Since almost all of today's Java Town hits have come from Something Awful I guess not everyone hates ads.

UPDATE 2: Another thing I just realized: the complaints in the forum seem to be about the flash version of Java Town (and linked from the large banner at the top of Now What?'s home page). About two-thirds of the new visitors aren't clicking on the large banner, they're clicking on the smaller Java Town square to the far right on the home page which leads them to the more popular non-flash version. This confusion is my fault and I'll fix it as soon as I can.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Web Comic Project: Day 63

Earlier last month I had some good results with Java Town ads (via Project Wonderful) at The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. Percentage-wise the ads weren't real effective but McNinja gets so many page views that even a small portion of his audience clicking through made a big difference on my visitor logs. The big question at the time was would any of those visitors return. The answer seems to be yes. The last week or so has seen returning visitor stats for the first time and while the numbers aren't very impressive it's a positive sign.

I'm been experimenting with both cheap and relatively expensive ads. My most recent "big money" ads have been at Drawn! (a terrific art inspiration blog) and ScaryGoRound, an attractive web comic getting some press because its story line is coming to a close (I chose this comic to advertise on in part because it roughly shares the comic page format of Java Town).


(Click on image to embiggen)

ScaryGoRound generally gets the best numbers that matter to me of the three ads. At half of a .05 percent, the click through isn't impressive but the cost per thousand page views (4 cents) and cost per click (7 cents) seem pretty reasonable to me.

Of the inexpensive ads, The Uniblog was a really good value. As you can see from the results below the Uniblog generated a nearly half of a percentage point response rate (point of reference: in direct mail marketing a response rate of 2% is considered a Win) with per click cost of only 1 cent. My ad on Fleen, a web comic blog, also did okay also but wasn't nearly as cheap.



Web to Print: Nice Publishers Weekly article on popular web comics making transition to print.

ComicPress 2.8 is ready for download: Does not appear to have the support for Blogger that I heard would be part of this release. Too bad for me, great for Wordpress users. More info here.