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How to Make Webcomics book sells out

PVP online webcomic creator Scott Kurtz reports that “How To Make Webcomics” that he co-authored with Brad Guiger, (Evil Inc), Kris Straub (Starslip Crisis), and Dave Kellett (Sheldon) has sold out at the distributor level meaning the only books left are basically the ones sitting on book store shelves.

The performance of this book has shocked all of us. I know that I put the book on sale without any inventory restraints unaware of how fast and how many would go through the PvP online store. Because of this, and our miscalculation of how much personal stock we would need at the studio, weâ??re horribly behind on fulfilling orders.

Itâ??s a problem. A frustrating problem, especially for those waiting for books. But of all the problems to have, I guess this is the best one to be saddled with: Demand is outweighing supply at the moment.

A second printing is planned.

Community Comments

#1 Eric Burke
May/20/2008
@ 6:55 am

How to make webcomics is a great informative read that should be acknowledged as the sequel to Your career in comics. It’s the natural evolution of the medium.

I bought my copy a few months back and have been reading and re-reading certain chapters. I find the chapter on cons really interesting. All four artists do a great job, particularly Dave and Brad.

I highly suggest anyone that doesn’t have a copy search one out and add it to your collection, especially if you have a comic to promote online.

#2 Jason Nocera
May/20/2008
@ 7:27 am

I just received my copy and I’m reading through it a bit each night. Some interesting tidbits and a good read.

#3 Malc McGookin
May/20/2008
@ 8:58 pm

Why the big surprise at this popularity?

Write a book called How To Draw Manga Comics (even if there’s already one out there) and watch it fly off the shelves.

Similarly, try

“How To Create Kickass Websites”

“How To Get Girls To Like You”

“How To Be A Totally Sick Dude”

“How To Develop Awesome Nunchuck Skills”

#4 Dave Kellett
May/21/2008
@ 1:08 am

We’re hoping to have the second printing ready as soon as possible (…at the very least, by San Diego Comic-Con).

#5 Corey Pandolph
May/21/2008
@ 8:21 am

“How to Make Webcomics Without Endless and Mind-numbing Discussion”

Now that, I’d read.

#6 Wiley Miller
May/21/2008
@ 8:26 am

Let’s see… how to make web comics…

Step 1: Draw cartoons.

Step 2: Create web site

Step 3: Post cartoons on web site.

#7 Phil Wohlrab
May/21/2008
@ 8:33 am

I’m going to write a “how to make how to books” book.

#8 Larry Levine
May/21/2008
@ 8:51 am

Wiley, Or pay Comics Sherpa $99 a year :(

#9 KRANKY (JOE RANK)
May/21/2008
@ 11:53 am

Alternately, the heading could have also read: “How to Create a False Buzz”.

I would be more interested in the sequel:
“How to Make Money with Webcomics”

#10 Phil Wohlrab
May/21/2008
@ 12:21 pm

yea I let that comics sherpa thing expire. It felt odd making a living as an artist yet having to pay in order to post my art on someone else’s website. Screw that. Comics sherpa is spec work. Work done with the hope of someday making money. If a regular submission won’t sell, then doing a years worth of material on comics sherpa is just an excercise in futility.

#11 lefitte
May/21/2008
@ 9:46 pm

Fair enough, Phil. But I’ve built a pretty good size readership on Sherpa that I hope to take with me at one point to my own site. I have no delusions of a syndicate paying attention.

#12 Lee Mayer
May/22/2008
@ 3:54 am

What was your first print run? Five books? 500? 5000?

I’ve seen the book at my local Barnes and Noble… and it’s just sitting there. The way it’s being hyped here, I was sure it’d be flying around the store swooping down on unsuspecting customers.

#13 Eric Burke
May/22/2008
@ 7:50 am

There are many quality books just sitting on the shelves of Barnes and Noble.

The book’s value is in it’s info on the business side of web comics. I think it’s a good read for people looking to make an attempt at making money from their feature.

But, I guess ripping the book without reading it is just as good. Less time consuming…

#14 Wiley Miller
May/22/2008
@ 8:15 am

The publisher sells the books to the book stores. The book stores sell the books to the consumer. So when a book has sold out of its first run, that means all the copies of the books have been sold to the book stores, who have it in their inventory. It doesn’t mean there aren’t any copies available to buy.

#15 Corey Pandolph
May/22/2008
@ 8:55 am

Eric,

I’m not ripping the idea of the book, just the guys who wrote it.

I don’t question the combined experience of the four authors, in fact, I’ve mentioned here that Dave Kellett is a great businessman.

My problem is with the way these gents, and many around them, carry themselves in the world of comics. There’s a palpable pretentiousness that surrounds them. Like they’re saying “We figured it all out, we’re great, and you can be too.”

Maybe they did figure it out, but I guess I don’t know why I should care. One needs to swallow a certain amount of humble pie to work well in entertainment, and to proclaim thyself a success over and over again can be annoying… And it seems to breed these endless diatribes of “serious discussion” over a career that’s just plain silly to be able to make money at.

I’m sure it’s a fine book for those interested in doing it the patented, tried and true-packaged way: “Put a stamp on it, you just succeeded in webcomics, the Kurtz, Kellett, Straub and Guiger way!”

It all just seems quite contrived, in a Dr. Phil-save-the-world-by -staying-vanilla, sort of way.

Of course, I could be completely wrong, and there’s a good chance I’ll fall victim to the webcomics mafia, but I gotta me. I get the feeling I’m not well liked in these circle jerks anyhow, so it’s cool.

And just so no one jumps all over me for taking sides, the same can be said for the attitude of the majority of print cartoonists, as well. I’m an equal opportunity outcast.

Said my piece, back to worky work.

#16 Rick Stromoski
May/22/2008
@ 12:23 pm

I think I’ll jutt my crotch into this discussion and side with Corey on this … I did purchase the book and read it. To me it was a basic how to cartoon book with 95 % of the content was dedicated to the perfunctory chapters that ALL cartoon advice books have on staging, writing, composition, etc. I kept waiting for some earth shattering innovative breakthrough that the web offers that print doesn’t. It wasn’t there.

Nothing in it was new or innovative that couldn’t be found in the plethora of How to Cartoon books that preceded it over the past 50 years(Mort Gerberg’s book did it best) or any other “How to do website” books on the shelves now.

The money making aspect that was supposedly new is a rehashing of established freelance approaches. They present the advice as cutting edge by prettying up the language to make it sound more innovative using newspeak gobbledegook like “Branding” “Monetyzing” and “Income streams”… ie: Getting a readership to buy licensed products with your images on them…. Hawking them and originals at comicons….printing BOOKS of your strip. Something every print cartoonist does and have been doing for decades.

There was a snarkiness tone to the whole thing…much in the way the cover sets the tone: A balled up sunday comics page

…it’s the feeling I get whenever I find myself being dragged into a Starbucks…with all the bells and whistles , the pretentious naming of the drinks served by “barristers” …it’s still just a cup of burnt coffee served by a counter clerk with pimples…

I’m sure all four of these guys make a living doing what they do , as all hard working freelancers should. But as a blueprint for success or new information about emerging markets on the web it fails. I see nothing new other than the fact the vehicle for your product is on a screen as opposed to a piece of paper.

Not worth the $12.99 I shelled out for it

#17 Scott Kurtz
May/22/2008
@ 3:57 pm

Wiley, you gadfly. So quick with the zingers.

It’s funny, I guess I didn’t expect any congratulations from this bunch on our book selling out. But I wanted to say one thing here: We never claimed we had some special secret that didn’t already exist out there. We never have.

In fact, I think in both the book and on the podcast, we’ve been pretty adamant about the exact opposite. If there’s a mantra to that book, it is that “there are many paths to the same mountain.”

Wiley tried to be snide when he quipped “make comics, post it, voila.” but he’s right. And we mention that in the book.

You guys can sit here and turn your nose up and what we wrote all you want. But I’ve sat across a convention table from over 100 different people who were passionate and excited about the book. I’ve sat in a room with people who wanted to ask us questions about getting into Webcomics.

Sometimes I think you guys are so busy trying to come up with an argument against us, you never realize that we’re all trying to say the same thing.

P.S. Wiley…we never said the book was sold out at anything BUT the distributor level. We’ve specifically reminded people that it’s still out there at stores and shops and to make calls and find the book if they want to get one before we can reprint and sell them directly.

We’re doing good work here, guys. I’m baffled at why any of you who call yourselves cartoonists would be so happy and eager to crap on us for it.

#18 J.G Moore
May/22/2008
@ 4:45 pm

Keep up the good work Scott. Just “brush your shoulders off” my man. You are a succes$ and with that brings “haters”. I think the “Dead Trees” just don’t get the whole “webcomic” scene. imho

#19 DrewPrice
May/22/2008
@ 4:46 pm

I’m sure that book will help out a lot of up and coming cartoonists. The truth is, there hasn’t been a “how to” book about specifically webcomics, and the community aspect– what these guys don’t get is– guys like Wiley, Rick– the newspaper guys generally is… it’s also about community. There’s a reason if there was a Scott Kurtz or Penny Arcade panel at San Diego Comicon, it’s standing room only– if there was a Wiley or Rick panel, you’d have standing crickets only.

Kurtz and the boys are doing good work, and maybe they didn’t enlighten old, cynical, washed up cartoonists– but at least they’re inspiring a new generation and being positive about what they do, instead of posting bitter responses to the success of this thing.

#20 Wiley Miller
May/22/2008
@ 5:04 pm

Scott-
I don’t know what it is about how you read my posts, but they weren’t directed at you or the book. They were in response to the previous posters. In fact, my last post was in defense of the book in response to Lee Mayer’s post, which was rather dismissive of the success of your book and seemed to lack understanding of how book sales work. I never said anything about the sales of your book.

Please stop trying to make me out as the arch-villain of web cartooning. I don’t know how many times I’ve said here and elsewhere that, as a professional cartoonist, I would dearly love to see this new market open up as the others in print are dying.

As for the the two who followed Scott’s post, you just proved the accuracy of Corey Pandolph’s post.

#21 brian anderson
May/22/2008
@ 5:15 pm

I’ve got my popcorn. Ready to see some fists fly!

#22 r stevens
May/22/2008
@ 5:24 pm

“My problem is with the way these gents, and many around them, carry themselves in the world of comics. Thereâ??s a palpable pretentiousness that surrounds them. Like theyâ??re saying ‘We figured it all out, weâ??re great, and you can be too.’ ”

I don’t know about pretentiousness, but they certainly need to carry themselves as successes in order for the book to have any credibility. To each their own interpretation!

#23 Ben Gordon
May/22/2008
@ 5:30 pm

I’d like to offer that those awaiting copies might find value and distraction in Todd Allen’s “The Economics of Webcomics, 2nd Edition.”

I own both books, and recommend different ones to different prospective readers.

The Allen book is a good business-end read, and cheap.

Congratulations to all four gentlemen on the sell-out. Do we get to hear how many copies that is, roughly? I am curious about what it says about the size of the market.

Oh, and BTW, I love to see people put their link on their comment, so I can learn who you are.

Best,
Ben Gordon
http://scratchinpost.synthasite.com/
http://floatinglightbulb.blogspot.com/
http://redmenace.synthasite.com/
http://psychedelictreehouse.synthasite.com/

#24 Jason Nocera
May/22/2008
@ 5:47 pm

C’mon, now, Wiley, your Three Step approach was a bit of bait, wasn’t it? Let’s be honest.

And Rick, the book touches upon ways of building traffic, different hosting methods, and an array of other things that are web specific – which certainly weren’t touched upon by books printed twenty or more years ago. I believe you once stated that if you learn just one new thing from a book it’s well worth the price.

And Corey, even you can find the humor in someone labeling someone else pretentious but self-proclaiming themselves a “fake rockstar” with cool sunglasses to boot. I hope the Barkeater Lake experience hasn’t made you so jaded.

#25 Wiley Miller
May/22/2008
@ 5:54 pm

“Câ??mon, now, Wiley, your Three Step approach was a bit of bait, wasnâ??t it? Letâ??s be honest.”

No. Certainly wasn’t intended to be anything other than silly. Lighten up and go be successful any way you can.

#26 Steven Cloud
May/22/2008
@ 6:00 pm

Congratulations to all the “How to Make Webcomics” guys. In today’s market, for any book that sells out it’s first run is an accomplishment. I know each of you worked (work) your butts off and have brought some much needed attention to our art. You deserve your success.

I really wish there were more civility in the Web/Print debate. There are a lot passive-aggressive taunts from both sides.

Personally, I expect more from established cartoonists in the print world. They’ve “made it” and are supposed to be professionals. I don’t see how making snide remarks on a comic news blog improves their standing in the community, or helps the community in any way.

There is room for all of us here. Let’s be supportive.

And if we can’t do that, let’s keep our opinions to ourselves.

#27 Malc McGookin
May/22/2008
@ 6:03 pm

Rick, that’s “baristas”, i.e. those people who prepare coffee in your coffee shop.

A barista is someone who offers an overpriced, incompetent service with a snooty supercilious tone.

A barrister is the same.

#28 KRANKY (JOE RANK)
May/22/2008
@ 6:45 pm

To Jason and Wiley:
I have a twelve step approach…
Draw a cartoon.
Repeat twelve times.

Something else about knowing the difference between courage and spinach, or something like that.

#29 Dave Kellett
May/22/2008
@ 6:51 pm

Ben: I think we mentioned the size of the run on the Webcomics Weekly podcast a few times, but I’ll glad to share it again…

Because the book covers such a niche topic, Image didn’t go super-crazy on the first run: It was either 5,000 or 5,500. Something like that.

But since those copies went in 10-12 weeks, I imagine the second run will be larger.

#30 Scott Kurtz
May/22/2008
@ 6:55 pm

Wiley,

I am more than excited and pleased to hear that I am mis-interpreting your comments. I took it as bait, but I’m really happy to hear that you didn’t intend it as such.

All four of us who wrote the book really feel the same way as you when it comes to encouraging any expansion of his market.

I would MUCH rather have you as a friend and colleague than an enemy. I’m sorry if I’m falsely portraying you as a villain when it comes to webcomics.

#31 Eric Burke
May/22/2008
@ 8:37 pm

Corey,
I wasn’t actually refering to you, it was the majority of the other posts that I was refering to. I know your humor by now.

Your brother in bacon,
Eric

ps. Sorry to hear about your Yankees and their gold thong scandal. That’s just plain icky and creepy…

#32 Garey Mckee
May/22/2008
@ 8:40 pm

I want to buy Malc’s book, “How To Be A Totally Sick Dude.”

#33 Malc McGookin
May/22/2008
@ 9:13 pm

Thanks Garey, orders are piling in for a book that hasn’t even been written yet. Now THAT’s an author…

#34 Corey Pandolph
May/22/2008
@ 10:00 pm

Just so we’re clear, I’m not on anyone’s side. I really don’t like any of you people, but I chose cartoonist as my profession, so I’ll tolerate those of you that can get me what I need.

I hope you all converse/blog/convention the fine points of humor to death.

Yours in Hell or high water,

Corey “FRS” Pandolph.

#35 Dawn Douglass
May/22/2008
@ 10:15 pm

Ooh, kissing and making up. I should get the camera.

#36 Gregory Fink
May/22/2008
@ 10:27 pm

ooh! best conversation in awhile. Seriously, best to any of you, in print or the web, who can figure out making the doodles most of us love to do into a full time job. I just study the history and draw from time to time. Pretty easy to opine but you lads go out and make it happen every day.

Keep it up but play nice! Cartooning is a huge sandbox!

Greg

#37 Rick Stromoski
May/23/2008
@ 3:19 am

>>>Sometimes I think you guys are so busy trying to come up with an argument against us, you never realize that weâ??re all trying to say the same thing.

That was the point of my post…nothing in the book said anything that hasn’t been said before. It was a critique… something you should get used to if you’re going to put your work out to the public.

Old washed up bitter print guy Rick.

#38 Wiley Miller
May/23/2008
@ 6:26 am

“I would MUCH rather have you as a friend and colleague than an enemy. Iâ??m sorry if Iâ??m falsely portraying you as a villain when it comes to webcomics.”

Scott-
It has always been this way with me. The problem has always come from the web cartoonists who somehow think any criticism, not matter how mild and well intentioned, is viewed as a slam and an attempt to keep them down, and is met with volcanic vitriol.

As I have tried to point out many times over the years, web comics and syndicated comics are NOT mutually exclusive. They are two entirely different mediums, and are no more competitive with each other than comic strips are with magazine gag cartoons or animation. It’s a new, developing medium that has a potential for cartoonists make a living on while the old markets die. We just haven’t found it as a replacement for what we have in print yet. If I could make the same living doing my work on the web as I am in syndication, why would I want to stay in newspapers? But the business model I see so far only adds a lot more work to even begin, so there’s no enticement right now.

But what continues to confound me is why people doing comics on the web are still imitating newspaper comic strips in format, style and writing. There is such a dearth of creativity in this forum that allows so much freedom for greater art and story. Why do so many confine themselves to the same limitations that we’re stuck with in print? This is what is really holding back the art form on the web, in my opinion… lack of originality. You guys really need to forget everything about how comics have been done in the past and reinvent it from the ground up. Some are doing it, most are not.

#39 Jason Nocera
May/23/2008
@ 6:52 am

Wiley – those questions were touched upon in the book. There are a couple of reasons. One, it allows for the opportunity to have the comics appear in newspapers and magazines. Secondly, it makes it easier to have the strips printed in a book format.

Why shoot yourself in the foot by cutting off those two possible income streams?

#40 Norm Feuti
May/23/2008
@ 6:53 am

“Why do so many confine themselves to the same limitations that weâ??re stuck with in print?”

I would guess that web cartoonists make a good chunk of their income from selling compilation books of their work at conventions … which would limit their online work to what can ultimately be printed in a cost-effective format.

Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s always been my assumption as to why the successful web comics follow the traditional printed format.

#41 Guy Gilchrist
May/23/2008
@ 7:03 am

Congratulations, Boys! Keep on plugging! Keep on teaching! Hope your tenth printing sells out.
Guy

#42 Phil Wohlrab
May/23/2008
@ 7:09 am

â??Why do so many confine themselves to the same limitations that weâ??re stuck with in print?â?

that’s what I’ve been asking! If the sole purpose of the cartoon is to be on the internet, then It might as well be huge bold illustrations or gigantic sixty panel storyboards that you could follow along….or animatics or flash cartoons. Sure, I guess then it’s not a comic strip anymore, but I’d choose the former as being more appealing on the internet than a 3 panel cartoon that is meant to squashed in a newspaper. Having a comic strip created solely for the web is like having a giant canvas and only painting the corner.

#43 Dawn Douglass
May/23/2008
@ 8:42 am

My comic Swiggle, which I write and Matthew Meskel draws, is really more like an illustration than a comic strip, though we often use multiple panels.

I use it to attract attention from well know bloggers (Robert Scoble can draw thousands of hits) and as a teaser to my posts.

Sometimes it’s one panel, sometimes it’s ten panels.

One of the great things about comics is that they can be flexible and take on the personality and emotions of the creator. As I’ve said a million times, if newspapers would allow cartoonists the ability to create with authenticity again, instead of making them take on fake voices confined to tiny space, 1950’s sensibilities and 2000’s political correctness, comic pages wouldn’t be in so much trouble.

I think the #1 reason most web cartoonists restrict themselves to the newspaper format is that they still hope against hope that they will get syndicated someday.

#44 Scott Kurtz
May/23/2008
@ 9:04 am

“Why do so many confine themselves to the same limitations that weâ??re stuck with in print?”

The biggest reason, aside for re-printability and repackaging is that…it’s what consumers want.

I dunno, but every time I see someone doing grand experiments with format, it never succeeds as well as traditional formats. People just want that stuff quick and easy to consume. The more complex you make the format, the less they’re willing to invest time reading your work.

I mean, I’m sure we could go into the psychology of that, or maybe some rant about how American audiences have gotten progressively stupider and lost attention span….but I’m not sure how much of that is relevant.

I think that the American comic strip got it right a long time ago, and that certainly we can work larger, but if we go anything beyond Little Nemo formatting, people start to lose interest.

We even see a difference between reader retention in sites that have comic strips and sites that have full comic book pages.

Financially and from a business standpoint, I think the traditional formats succeed better.

#45 Jason Nocera
May/23/2008
@ 9:10 am

You’re missing a few important concepts. If a webcomic resides on the internet for free that means that other income streams must be made available. These include book collections. Making a web comic that stretches sixty panels would make it very difficult to create merchandise. It would create a lot of additional work or might not be feasable at all.

I keep my Buddy and Hopkins comic strip in a typical format because it does appear in newspapers and magazines (paid) – so that’s an income stream I don’t want to sacrifice. I also have a print collection which provides an important income stream.

Everyone always comments that it doesn’t have to be “one or the other,” so doesn’t it make sense to keep the strips in familiar formats that can be utilized in both areas? It makes good business sense.

#46 Jason Nocera
May/23/2008
@ 9:11 am

(I posted same time as Scott – my message is intended to answer the same old question from print tooners – “Why keep the traditional format?”)

#47 Larry Levine
May/23/2008
@ 9:12 am

I produce my webcomic AW PRUNES! to look like a cross between tradtional strips & animated cartoons because both mediums have equally influenced me.

Only on the web can a cartoonist be Charles Schulz & Chuck Jones at the same time!

#48 Phil Wohlrab
May/23/2008
@ 9:52 am

I think the #1 reason most web cartoonists restrict themselves to the newspaper format is that they still hope against hope that they will get syndicated someday.”

I think Dawn got it right.

#49 Larry Levine
May/23/2008
@ 10:35 am

I only produced B&W versions of my strip for mail-in submissions. If an editor wants to further review the strip online, I want to show it’s fullest potential so I splurge for Technicolor.

I’m for creating one’s own rules for a webcomic, but, those rules should be supportive of the gag & not just be added to show off–you must also wear the hat of editor.

#50 Scott Kurtz
May/23/2008
@ 2:43 pm

“I think the #1 reason most web cartoonists restrict themselves to the newspaper format is that they still hope against hope that they will get syndicated someday.”

I don’t think that’s it at all. I think it’s a combination of a lot of things, but I don’t think that’s it at all.

I think for the most part, most webcartoonists gave up a long time ago on the notion of ever getting syndicated to newspapers.

#51 Eric Burke
May/23/2008
@ 3:49 pm

Ooh, kissing and making up. I should get the camera.

Ohhh, kinky, Dawn. I’m surprised…and impressed!

I think the #1 reason most web cartoonists restrict themselves to the newspaper format is that they still hope against hope that they will get syndicated someday.

I think the real reason is that cartoonists with features online are first and foremost fans of comic strips/panels and still love the format and medium, it’s just that they don’t “love” the content restrictions associated with what is found in syndication.

There’s something appealing about the strip format. Even when strips are redone in tabloid format with seemingly more room, it isn’t as good a read,..

#52 Dawn Douglass
May/23/2008
@ 3:50 pm

Well, Scott, I worked with many cartoonists when I was doing Full Tilt Features and am still in touch with dozens of artists and eventual syndication is still the prevailing desire.

I also still talk to Lee Salem. Universal still gets thousands of submission a year. The Web hasn’t changed that.

I said “most” web cartoonists, which are hosted on places like Comics Sherpa and Keenspot, or whatever it’s called now.

If you’re talking about those cartoonists who have their own sites and have managed to make some money on their own, then I agree with you. But even then I think that’s primarily because building an audience on your own largely means creating a feature that newspapers wouldn’t touch.

#53 Dawn Douglass
May/23/2008
@ 3:52 pm

“Ohhh, kinky, Dawn. Iâ??m surprisedâ?¦and impressed!”

LOL Your Johnny is showing, Eric.

Oh wait, that sounds bad, too.

#54 Larry Levine
May/23/2008
@ 4:46 pm

Scott, I cannot speak for other web cartoonists, but for myself syndication is still the brass ring & a very active goal–but I do keep other options open.

#55 Garey Mckee
May/23/2008
@ 8:35 pm

â??Why do so many confine themselves to the same limitations that weâ??re stuck with in print?â?

Another element of reasoning that hasn’t been touched on here, is that the restrictions of the print medium has not only dictated the production format of the comic strip, but those restrictions have become the disciplines of the art form. In fact, in all art forms the restriction of the mediums used become the disciplines of that art form.

So now with many of those restrictions lifted in webcomics, does that mean that webcomics themselves are a different form of art?

#56 Phil Wohlrab
May/23/2008
@ 9:31 pm

“So now with many of those restrictions lifted in webcomics, does that mean that webcomics themselves are a different form of art?”

One danger is that certain Web comics without a solid concept could turn to cheap gimmicks, like misplaced animation, where as in print media they couldn’t. Regardless of the medium, the idea has to be great…. and the idea should fit the medium. I think if, say, Harry Potter started as a web comic, it’d be doomed to obscurity and not reach it’s full potential.

I recognize that a few people appear to be able to make a living at doing webcomics but when I hear “web comic” I think: amature comic that I can read for free and never buy merchandise for.
Cafe press is a predator for people who think they can sell their virtually unknown cartoon on a T-shirt. Cafe press is the one making money people! You know who you are.

Obviously this doesn’t apply to all. I don’t want to offend the people that are living off their web comics, so I salute all three of you. I have no clue how you’ve done it. I chalk it up to your unrelenting determination and ingenuity.

#57 Dawn Douglass
May/24/2008
@ 7:19 am

“I donâ??t want to offend the people that are living off their web comics, so I salute all three of you.”

LOL Yeah, that’s about the number, alright.

“I have no clue how youâ??ve done it.”

Phil, here’s the surefire recipe to have a successful web comic:

1) Come up with a concept that is targeted to geeks.
2) Be cynical, complain a lot.
3) Create an “us vs. them” atmosphere. All the people who don’t “get” it is a good common enemy group for you and your readers. No need to define what “it” is. They’ll know.
4) Beware the fine line. You need to be a victim of this those-who-don’t-get-it group, but you also need to be a champion against them at the same time.
5) Create controversy however you can and as often as you can.
6) Talk about sex periodically.
7) Don’t be afraid to be sexist, even misogynistic.
8) Most importantly, cuss a lot. Again, watch the fine line. You want to be as shocking as possible but never look like you’re trying to be as shocking as possible. When in doubt, use the always sure to please “F*** YOU.”

#58 Gregory Fink
May/24/2008
@ 9:02 am

Dawn, not all of the strips are doing what you suggest. Many of them would be a good addition to the newspaper. Dave Kellet’s Sheldon and Mike Witmer’s Pinkerton would be great in the local paper. Sadly, syndication is a much smaller world than it was even 35 years ago when I started to read newspaper comics.

I think the web as a place for comic artists to stretch and develop talent is a good thing. Many of the artists on the web will take their work just so far and then give it up. But there will be a few gems that will develop into something special.

Don’t give up on the genre just yet. I have the suspicion that it has a few surprises in store for all of us.

#59 Larry Levine
May/24/2008
@ 10:27 am

Dawn, have you read “Kiskaloo”?

http://chrissandersart.com/www/blog.php

This brilliant webcomic is in no way a ‘geek’ aimed/blue humored 2nd cousin to print strips, in fact if there were ever a webcomic that deserves to be in 2000 newspapers, it’s this one!

#60 KRANKY (JOE RANK)
May/24/2008
@ 1:18 pm

This is a fun and insightful thread. Lots of good comments about the dynamics…and the changing dynamics.

I was reminded of the time Chester Gould was asked what his business was.
Gould replied, “To sell newspapers.”.
I know this sounds counterintuitive, but it makes sense, at least initially.
The fame and fortune follow, with the creation of a brand.
Now, there are niches that do not fit the mold, and I congratulate all that find theirs.

Are there opportunities for marketing and merchandising available beyond print? Absolutely. But, will they be by discovery and hard work, or facilitated by another “How to” book?

#61 Scott Kurtz
May/24/2008
@ 2:30 pm

I really hope that all this willful ignorance, cynicism and bitterness is enough to help some of you feel better about what’s ahead of you career wise in the next 5-10 years.

I really do.

#62 Andertoons
May/24/2008
@ 2:57 pm

I cannot believe how many times I’ve read this same argument, and I get sucked into it every freakin’ time. Ugh…

#63 Malc McGookin
May/24/2008
@ 4:38 pm

First, I’d like to thank Larry for posting a link that brings actual rewards – what beautiful work and intelligent writing. Just shows what’s out there in the cyber…er..whatever.

Some influences from Watterson AND Disney, I reckon, but that’s not a bad combination, especially allied with Chris’s own natural talent.

I see Kiskaloo as something the syndicates just don’t have the ability or will to sell, unfortunately, but if its internet popularity is substantial, many. many people will want a full colour book to own, and that publishing success will give it celebrity appeal and it’ll boomerang back to newspaper comics pages.

#64 Michael Shonk
May/24/2008
@ 5:54 pm

If R Stevens is still reading this thread could you please answer a question?
Your “Diesel Sweeties” exists in both worlds, print and web. At this time which format is the most profitable?

#65 Corey Pandolph
May/24/2008
@ 7:41 pm

I don’t care if you’re drawing cartoons online, on paper, on a garbage bag, or on your brother’s shoe…

It’s the piss-poor-cry-ass-I-can’t-take-a-bit-of-criticism-because I’m-the-greatest-thing-ever-attitude-that-bothers-me… From both sides, all sides and every side in between.

That, and the fact that no one can stop discussing/arguing/beating the dead horse over it. Don’t you all have work to do?

Please stop proving my point and do your own thing, grow some thicker skin and shut the hell up.

All of you. Print/web/garbage bag/brother’s shoe.

Jezzus eefin Christmas in Conneticut.

#66 Corey Pandolph
May/24/2008
@ 7:42 pm

I don’t care if you’re drawing cartoons online, on paper, on a garbage bag, or on your brother’s shoe…

It’s the piss-poor-cry-ass-I-can’t-take-a-bit-of-criticism-because I’m-the-greatest-thing-ever-attitude that bothers me… From both sides, all sides and every side in between.

That, and the fact that no one can stop discussing/arguing/beating the dead horse over it. Don’t you all have work to do?

Please stop proving my point and do your own thing, grow some thicker skin and shut the hell up.

All of you. Print/web/garbage bag/brother’s shoe.

Jezzus eefin Christmas in Conneticut.

#67 Corey Pandolph
May/24/2008
@ 7:43 pm

And sorry for the double post, dammit.

#68 Krishna Sadasivam
May/24/2008
@ 10:26 pm

I’ve had an opportunity to read the book and I found it chock full of good information. I’ve been drawing comics online for almost 10 years, and I would have killed to have a book like this when I first started. The chapters on prepping and formatting your comic for the web, how to organize your work for a book, and making the most out of selling your books at a convention were particularly useful for me, and I find that aspiring cartoonists would find the other aspects (character silhouettes,word bubble placement, etc.) useful as well.

I’m very happy the book has done so well, and if it brings more people into cartooning (web/print/otherwise) than that’s a good thing.

-Krishna
(not bitter about anything) :)

#69 Jeff Vella
May/24/2008
@ 11:13 pm

“Jezzus eefin Christmas in Conneticut.”

Corey – WHAT? – I don’t think I’ve EVER heard that phrase before, and I live in Connecticut (actually born & raised here). I like it, you don’t mind if I use it, do you?

#70 Alex Hallatt
May/25/2008
@ 2:16 am

First of all, congrats on the book. I’m a syndicated cartoonist, and I enjoy listening to the Webcomics Weekly podcast for two reasons:

1. I usually learn something. It may be on community-building, or RSS feeds or twitter, or something else pertaining to the web environment (which is useful since print cartoonists are web cartoonists also), but it is often just about the craft – layout, scripting, character development, etc., which applies to most of us on this board.

2. I usually end up laughing, which is quite an achievement, considering that I listen to it on my ipod when I’m inking my strips, alone in my studio and stone-cold sober. It’s like being with your mates and talking shop and taking the piss out of each other in a way that reflects how much you like them.

So I imagine that the book is a reflection of a lot of those kind of chats and should be informative and entertaining. I look forward to reading it when I get my arse in gear to order it on the 2nd or 3rd print run, assuming you deliver to the antipodes.

As for the format of web comics, I’d say most of them differ markedly from newspapers in that they are big enough to read . It astounds me that most syndicates put their content online at less than 800 pixels. You can look at the art in something like Sheldon, but GoComics barely displays large enough to read the text!

It has been a long time developing the best way to deliver a gag in sequential art. The wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented if it gets the reader to where they want to go.

#71 Garey Mckee
May/25/2008
@ 2:49 am

” donâ??t care if youâ??re drawing cartoons online, on paper, on a garbage bag, or on your brotherâ??s shoeâ?¦”

Associated Press – Cartoonist Corey Pandolph, creator of BARKEATER LAKE and TOBY ROBOT SATAN announced today the launching of his features on his brother’s shoes.

“I feel confident that the future of comics is on the side of my brother’s shoe,” Pandolph stated during a phone interview earlier this week, “and those shoes are sure to become the next great opiat of the masses.”

However, the decision has not come easily. Pandolph readily admits that ad revenue generated from the sides of shoes is shakey at best, “I’m just not sure how much revenue can be generated from those types of adds. Trust me, you haven’t smelled my brother’s feet!”

Traditional print cartoonists have felt threatened by this new and strange shoe medium. Wiley Miller, creator of the popular comic strip Non Sequitur responded to this threat by sardonically stating, “The only comic strip I’d ever want to see on a freakin’ shoe is..well..uh…Shoe!”

Though the controversary over cartoons on people’s brother’s shoes rages on, one thing is certain. There is no certainty anymore.

#72 Garey Mckee
May/25/2008
@ 2:55 am

Editor’s Notes: Apparently cartoonists who are up all night drawing then try to write fake articles don’t know how to spell the word OPIATE. We apologize.

#73 Corey Pandolph
May/25/2008
@ 5:06 am

Jeff, as long as you foot note me with a ©2008 Fake Rockstar, its all yours.

Garey, You need help. Wiley would never make such a clever remark.

#74 Eric Burke
May/25/2008
@ 6:54 am

I’m glad to see someone else reading Kiskaloo! I plug that toon almost every post in my Sunday Funnies Review thread at ToonTalk. A great strip to look at, and fun to read…

…I wasn’t a fan of Lilo and Sticth, but love theis strip…

#75 Dawn Douglass
May/25/2008
@ 9:36 am

“I really hope that all this willful ignorance, cynicism and bitterness is enough to help some of you feel better about whatâ??s ahead of you career wise in the next 5-10 years.”

LOL Lighten up, Scott

It’s all good. In five years, the line between web and newspaper cartoonists will be gone and there will be more opportunity for cartoonists than ever before.

Congratulations on the success of your book.

#76 Millus
May/25/2008
@ 4:05 pm

@kranky
quote: â??How to Make Money with Webcomicsâ?

I am interested in this topic too and I am doing my experiments in that field.
Soon I will begin my new onlinecomic and I will test some stuff to earn money with simple independent tricks. And then I will post the result online… but the bad news is I am doing it in german.
:)
But I will find a person to translate it.
I created a concept to earn a bit money with onlinecomic without a publisher etc. in the background. I think it is interesting for all independent artists to earn a bit money with their art.

#77 Pab Sungenis
May/27/2008
@ 5:16 pm

Scott and company: congratulations. Maybe to quell the complaints, you might reconsider the title, or consider a followup. “HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH WEBCOMICS” might be an even bigger seller.

Wiley: I don’t know about anyone else, but I imitate the old newspaper model because it’s what I grew up reading, learned from, and feel most comfortable with. Walt Kelly and Charles Schulz wrote using the four-panel format, and that was how I learned to story-tell with comics, so that’s what I do. It’s not right nor is it wrong.

Corey: Queen Victoria juts her crotch at you in celebration of your remarks.

#78 buywowgold
September/24/2012
@ 4:20 pm

You can definitely see your expertise in the paintings you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

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