Two very good pieces of advice

Brigid Alverson discusses how to allow people to read your webcomics:

What I saw was a decent enough comic that was rendered virtually unreadable by its website. It lacked all the navigational tools that have become standard among webcomics, including showing the comic at a readable size in the browser. Under the comic were the helpful words “Click on comic to expand,” which, sure enough, takes you off the main page to a page that contains just the image. To look at the next comic, you have to go back to the home page and… wait, there’s no “previous” or “next” button… ah, there in the sidebar is a drop-down archives menu. Yes, that’s the ticket.

201005141023 Two very good pieces of advice
• And Shaenon K. Garrity explains Five Things To Know Before You Publish Your First Comic

1.It won’t change your life. Some people will buy it, some people won’t, some people will care, most people won’t, and before you know it you’ll be moving on to the next thing. Very few cartoonists make a big impact with their first book. Put it this way: how many people read Lost at Sea when it came out? Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks? Goodbye Chunky Rice? Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron? How many of these books have you even heard of?

Comments

  1. Jim Caldwell says:

    Doesn’t Lloyd Llewellyn predate Like a Velvet Glove Cast In Iron by a lot of years? (Honest question. I’m trying to rely on some hazy Amazing Heroes Preview Special recollections. Not that I’m saying it negates Shaenon Garrity’s point, either.)

  2. Al™ says:

    Somewhere, soon, a company will make paperless digital comics available in a big big way. It will work beautifully. No clicking back and forth, or squinting at our tablets. We will all be excited with them for a day or two.

    Then within a month, seeing the cash flowing by, all other companies will jump in make THEIR digital comics available in exactly the same way, but casually, matter-of-factly, as if they had it all figured out all along.

    And when people question the industry why it took so long, a public relations person will be trotted out to utter the usual content, including:
    “branding, push/pull, social media, vertical integration and natural evolution of the trend. opportunities to partner and proud to be the innovator and obvious leader in this new and exciting “chapter” in delivering media.”

  3. Torsten Adair says:

    I do not know if this is the fundamental law of web design, but it is rather important:
    If I can not read your website, I will not read your website.

    You might have a better mousetrap that has mice beating a path to your URL. However, no matter how good it is, I won’t waste my time at your site if it is hard to read and navigate. There are a multitude of other sites I can visit, each with interesting content.

    Yes, I will tolerate the occasional ad in the middle of an article, or a pop-up ad roadblock before the page loads. These pay for the website, and are easily ignored.

    The web has been around since 1994. There are a multitude of templates one can use, sometimes for free.

    My only pet peeve, and it’s minor, are websites which are top heavy. Most of the menus and boilerplate which is seen on every page appear at the top of the page. On my cellphone, this means scrolling down about ten screens before reaching the content on this website. (I see EVERY subcategory of EVERY submenu on this site.) Perhaps it is just my Treo which does this, perhaps it does not happen on iphones or droids. Again… a minor inconvenience.

    (Hey… remember in the Wild West days of the Internet, when sites would post web awards and reviews? And Yahoo had a PRINT magazine about websites?)

  4. I hear Marvel’s killin’ ‘em with their iPad app. I like DC’s Zuda initiative but they REALLY need an iPhone solution. Desperately. Get on that, Ron

  5. Nate Horn says:

    I bought Goodbye, Chunky Rice when it first came out! ^_^ I’ve always felt good about that.

    I was also early to the Or Else party, too! ^_^ I wasn’t there for Supermonster, though….

  6. Shaenon summed up the first book experience perfectly. What I realized after Pinocchio came out was how much work remained if I wanted to really make a go of a career in comics.

    That said, the nice thing about having a book out is that, all of a sudden, you’re a peer, not just another person with a great idea and a pocketful of aspirations.

  7. Lloyd Llewellyn does indeed predate Like a Velvet Glove Cast In Iron significantly, but the two had widely disparate levels of impact.

  8. Tim O'Neil says:

    Yeah, Like A Velvet Glove is a very bad example because some people still consider it one of the greatest comics ever made. (Like, you know, myself.)

  9. I would be interested in more content like this from you. I think a lot like you on this subject and your perspective is interesting. Will there be more soon?

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