sequential daze

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

And here I was thinking I was chatting to myself!

My webcomic traffic post from last week has enjoyed a few more eyeballs than I expected - mainly due to a kind link from Comixpedia which was picked up by Digital Strips and Fleen. That'll teach me to spin out half-baked postulations, eh?

Interestingly, the discussion has moved quickly to one of the ratio of "number of readers:making a living/turning a profit", which is an interesting development. Although I never mentioned that thought specifically in my original post I guess the connection has always been in the back of my head: ergo, more readers for my webcomics would naturally mean I'd be able to start making money from my work to the point where it became a 'day job'. Despite always believing this in some non-specific and vague way I never had a magic number of readers that would be a catalyst for this. To be honest, I think my projects would need a helluva lot of readers before financial liberation would ensue. Even if I did reach a magic number I don't actually have anything much in the way of product, plus I hate running advertising (despite having a small Google AdSense thingy on Magellan) - so all of that probably leaves me in a situation of not ever earning much even if I had over 100,000 readers per day.

Merchandising is a drag and I'm somewhat anti-consumerist, but it is still the most likely way I'm ever going to spin some financial gain. Probably the majority of webcartoonists who've ever tried self-publishing will admit that publishing printed versions of their comics is not a great money spinner, especially when printing colour comics (which mine are). And believe me the ratio of people who ask about a printed version and/or say they would buy one compared to the number who actually buy said printed version is (in my experience) somewhat alarmingly unbalanced (that is, plenty want one but then won't buy it once it exists. Yes, I am a bitter man). As for merchandise such as t-shirts, caps or mugs, I'm not sensing an interest from readers for these items. Magellan doesn't lend itself to iconic moments or sayings for a t-shirt although that hasn't stopped other cartoonists, often with very good results.

Possibly my main comic project just isn't merchandisable anyway. If that's so I'm just going to have to get used to doing them for the love not the money, even if I do get a million readers a day!

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Nice idea. Needs work.

Some months ago I had a brief dalliance with the idea of a visual travel blog - which I called a 'Trog'; this may or may not have been a clever name, I still haven't decided. My thinking at the time was that since I spent two half hours a day crammed into a train carriage commuting to and from work it was time that could be used to sketch some of the more interesting, annoying and or obnoxious passengers onboard and then posting it online.

What I realised, once I started working on producing Trog, was that most passengers were not all that obnoxious or interesting, and if they were annoying it was usually loud iPods or half heard phone conversations that were the cause of it - pretty dull stuff. Additionally I tried drawing the subjects covertly (really hard in a crowded, swaying train BTW) and the sketch from the day's journey was what went online, no corrections, no embellishments - so the overall quality was, well, sketchy!

In the two weeks or so I tried this little experiment I only had one truly bizarre moment:
Yes, she really said that! From what I could tell (and it wasn't too hard to deduce because she talked loudly and frequently, mostly about herself) was that she was studying to become a pediatrician (parents - do you know who your children are being examined by?). Anyway, no other Trog entries were anywhere near as interesting as this and I soon lost interest myself... another project bites the dust.

It occurs to me though that Trog still has some merit. Probably the following would improve and sustain it:
  • only do worthy subjects (usually those having loud un-self-censored conversations with others)
  • do a sketch, take down some lines of dialogue but do a proper job of it once not on the train (or bus or whatever)
  • accuracy of the subject's appearance isn't that important, go for caricature but ensure the dialogue is spot on
  • don't worry about keeping any kind of update schedule, when gold is there - gold is there!

This was all precipitated after my trip home yesterday. To sum it up here would do it no justice, but maybe a Trog posting at some point in the near future might!

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Has to count for something, right?

I don't know about other webcartoonists, but if they're anything like me (at least in this regard) they will care about their stats. They will care how many readers they get and how often and all that stuff. Like I say, I don't know if they do, but I know I do. Most of the time I pretend that I don't care, but really, deep down I do. And I know that because I'm always checking the page views and the Extreme Tracker stats I've stuck on my comic.

There are probably five levels of readership numbers:
  1. Stellar: so many you can't really count them; 100,000+ readers per day; eg Penny Arcade, PvP
  2. Super: high to very high; 10,000-100,000 per day; examples? I don't know!
  3. Maintaining altitude: medium to high; 1,000-10,000 per day
  4. Limping along: low to medium; 250-1,000 per day; eg my comic goes here!
  5. Hello? Hellooo? Anyone?: nothing to low; 0-250 per day; eg many webcomics

Magellan is a bit hard to judge since I have it on Graphic Smash as well as Comic Genesis but I'm guessing the fourth catagory is the best fit.

Readers come and go, I'm sure many only read in blocks (I' myself have taken to doing that now for all but my most favorite - trying to keep up with tens and tens of plot lines on a weekly basis was getting pretty difficult). So daily stats probably don't reflect true reader numbers anyway. All the same, if I could lift the readership into the third category I think I'd be a very happy webcartoonist. It should be possible, maybe that should be my mission for 2007!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

So what do you call a dead blog?

I guess the internet must be littered with them. And it's probably clogged up with zombie blogs too... those that were dead and which get reanimated from time to time - usually only when the writer can be bothered, or is bored, or is depressed, or is procrastinating about something else or all of the above. Fortunately, for the moment, for me, it is none of the above.

OK - I am actually bored. But the current state of Sequential Daze (ie not updating) leads me to do some pondering over what happened to flat-line it in the first place...

Everything blogwise was doing quite well in the earlier part of the year then I just failed to update it. For the longest time I did intend to get back to it - but somehow I forgot I about it altogether as other life priorities took over. Before I knew it, it was eight months later! The other day something jogged my memory and today I checked it out. Oh yeah, there it is... still alive online on the internets! Had this blog been a small mammal instead it's fate would have no doubt been much more tragic.

Anyway. Is this a 'dead blog' or a 'zombie blog' or can it even become a 'made a full recovery blog'? Possibly the trick is to write smaller, less time consuming entries that are still worth reading. A challenge!