A post to webcomic readers
This originally appeared in my deviant art journal, but that’s not exactly a great place to post this and I thought it was one of the more poignant pieces I’ve ever written on what Webcomic readers can do to support their favorite comics without spending a dime. A lot of webcomic readers are young, and understandably don’t have a lot of cash, but when it comes to support, lifting your favorite comic up doesn’t have to require a credit card or even a bank account. If you are interested in seriously showing webcomic artists some appreciation, read on.
When you do a comic, especially a webcomic, there isn’t a lot of reward. You don’t get any money for it unless you really go out of your way to monetize your comic (and not everyone has the resources, business savvy, or discipline to do it.) and its not as easy as some people seem to think. People read webcomics largely because they are free, and people like free entertainment. Unfortunately a lot of people also equate free with worthless and free stuff holds less value in the minds of the people who consume it. Unless they actually set out at some point to do something like create a comic, they just don’t get how much suffering and work goes into making stuff. Most webcomic authors do it for the love of making comics, but you know what? Its really nice sometimes to get SOMETHING for all your hard work.
Now I also realize that a lot of webcomic readers are young people. Elementary school, high school, college. They don’t have a lot of money, so financial contribution is out of the question. Hey, that’s cool, I understand. I work and I STILL don’t have any money. I’m pretty sure a lot of people are nodding right about now. But there is still stuff you can do to show your love and support of a webcomic that won’t cost you a cent. Curious? Well read on.
This is probably the most direct thing you can do to show the comic author that you are reading and care. Do you like updates? Well comment on them! Most webcomics have some kind of comment feature these days. Many don’t even require you sign up with a membership, just post a message saying you like and appreciate them. its like giving your favorite webcomic a cookie.
A true story: I get the MOST comments when I *stop* updating. I’ve had more comments and stories about how people appreciated/loved/wanted Shifters AFTER I quit doing it. If I had heard those voices BEFORE I stopped, I might have felt it worth continuing despite the problems. But there is only negative voices or worse, nothing at all, its like a musician playing for an empty auditorium. Its depressing and kinda disheartening. So, because people seemed not to care, I decided ‘okay, no one will miss it if I go off and do what I need to do on my own time’.
Doesn’t it seem odd to you? That I get a ‘cookie’ when I stop doing something? Shouldn’t I get cookies when I do?
I’m not alone either. We only hear from you guys when you bitch. Its kind of disheartening honestly. If you really want more updating, you need to reward us when we DO update, and not slag us when we don’t.
So if you love your webcomics, COMMENT. Don’t be a lurker. Says something to let us know you are listening. Even if its just. “Thanks for the update!”
2) Vote and Fave!
Getting seen in the webcomics arena these days can be pretty competitive. For webcomics who can’t afford paid advertising we have to kinda do what we can with things like toplists. You might see vote buttons or links to comic directories (like onlinecomics.net for example). Take five seconds to click through the vote, every day you get a chance or every day it updates or whatever you feel is fair. Even if there is no vote incentive. If you think the comic is worth reading, give them a vote or a favorite.
A lot of artists these days often use social networking, like twitter, facebook, myspace, ustream, RSS, etc to try to spread the word of our works. If people are following us or friending us, then we know people are listening, but if we aren’t being followed or friended, we feel that our message isn’t getting out (which it isn’t) and no one is listening.
Webcomics rely on ‘word of mouth’ advertising, especially in these times of social networking. If you see a comic has updated or you find a comic you like, share us with your friends! Re-tweet comic updates, link us on your website/blog/facebook/myspace. Digg us and Stumbleupon us. It doesn’t take a lot of effort on your part, but it shows you feel we are good enough that you are willing to share us with your friends. We can see when these numbers spike (most webcomic artists if they are freaks like me, do track referers. If we see we’ve been getting stumbled upon or digged or refered from various social sources, we know someone is giving us some love.)
5)Send us fanart.
Its probably the most time consuming on your part, but most webcomic people that aren’t enormous love to get fan art. Its really cool to see other people take on your characters, and that you inspired someone enough to draw your characters. Its flattering and super cool. We might be able to make our own art, but seriously, who doesn’t like presents? It doesn’t have to be art either, it could be a fan story, sculpture, plushie, hell even a picture of you cosplaying our characters at a con. Now that’s super awesome.
Interaction. We love it just as much as you do (well some of us do, I know I do, but some artists can be really weird about it). Reply to us on twitter, sign up and get involved on forums, ask questions, send an email, visit our Ustreams, come visit us at conventions. A lot of people get intimidated or feel weird about interacting with people they might look up to or like, but don’t. We are still people and usually like to talk about our projects and work. Some artists aren’t so good about it but some thrive on it. There are so many ways these days to interact, its crazy. I’ve got several fans that are now my friends because they got involved and talked to me.