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Webcomics Wednesdays: The Dos and Don’ts of Webcomicking

This is going to have to be a quickie because I’m sick as a dog and can’t think straight.

In my previous post talking about manga marketing, a reader Sara K. suggested that manga publishers pay webcomic artists to draw fanart and place it on their websites in order to promote the manga. I immediately balked, but Sara showed me that Girl Genius had done just that for an online gaming site and it was well met by their fans who were just happy to see the creators making money. I’m still a little bit wary on the idea of manga companies doing that (and I imagine there would be some legal troubles for them if they did), but it isn’t the worst way to make a little dough.

It got me thinking about the dos and don’ts of making and promoting webcomics. Here’s a short list of what I like seeing creators do and what would make me immediately stop following their work:

-Do: Connect with your fans via Twitter by showing them in-progress work, side doodles or just sharing your thoughts. Might I add that Twitter is where the cool kids are at, including other influential webcomic creators you could make friends with.

-Don’t: Make your characters into sexist jerks just to make a joke. If your character is consistently sexist because it moves your story forward and that sexism isn’t frequent fodder for your punchlines, that’s fine. If the sexism is only there as a punchline, quit now and take a writing class before you start another webcomic.

-Do: Open up shop or put a donation button up. Webcomic-making is an act of love and it’s your choice to put your work up online for free. It’s not unreasonable to try and get paid a little for all your hard work. Most fans seem to understand that and will be willing to support you monetarily. (Or, if you’re not ready for that kind of thing, try putting advertising on your site.) Plus, if you make wearable items like shirts, totes or buttons, your readers can spread word of mouth about your comic.

-Don’t: Exploit your readers for next month’s rent. Unless you’re making the transition from making webcomics as partial source of income to a full source of income, don’t beg your readers for money constantly. This is a rough economy and if you think you can rely on your readers to suddenly replace your income because you’re too lazy to be realistic and get a job, you’ll starve.

-Do: Draw fanart and accept fanart. You will connect with fans on a different level that way and it will help you out to have a couple of pieces around for when you might need a break, but don’t want to miss an update.

What are the dos and don’ts when it comes to the webcomics you read? Is there anything you just can’t stand to see webcomic creators doing? Anything that makes you giddy with joy?

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Filed under opinion, webcomics