PART 1 - intro, goals, when you should start, comic length
PART 2 - inspiration, ideas, research
PART 3 - page sizes, hosting sites, patreon
PART 4 - characters, art references, promotional
PART 5 - outlining, scripting, thumbnailing
PART 6 - sketching, inking, coloring
PART 7 - updating, guest comics
PART 8 (here) - merch, self-care, fandom and boundaries
i think having at least a POD (print on demand, like redbubble, teepublic, etc) shop is good if you've got any kind of following online! it's minimal work and serves as passive income, even if you don't get many customers you wouldn't be losing anything. POD stores tend to have a low profit margin, meaning you'll only be making cents or a few dollars maybe for each sale.
if you're more serious about making merchandise for your comic, prints, stickers, charms, pins, and other small items can be ordered and shipped yourself for a higher profit margin
here's more info from people who know more about merch!
Merchandising and Conventions 101
Enamel pin making guide part 1 and part 2
Crowdfunding and Campaign Planner Template
you've heard of "stretching" and "taking breaks" now get ready for........ actually fucking doing that!! seriously!! do it!! i'm talking to myself here too! please goddamn!!
burnout is something pretty much every webcomic artist has gone through, but there's ways to make it more bearable! first, recognize the signs of burnout
- feeling stressed out/irritable
- exhaustion regardless of how much you sleep
- lack of energy or excitement for things you used to enjoy
- trouble starting work/concentrating (if this usually isn't an issue)
here's some things that can cause burnout:
- difficult or unrealistic deadlines
- disorganized schedule
- messy/uncomfortable/dysfunctional work environment
- basically everything about social media
- overworking (yes, even if it's fun) (looks at myself)
- lack of support
pay attention to how you're feeling when working on your comic and recognize the signs of burnout so you can take a break or make adjustments ASAP.
and here's some suggestions for what to do:
(note: this is about webcomic-specific burnout, if you're burnt out from other life situations check google or youtube for advice!)
- take a break or go on hiatus. tell your readers you're taking a break for 1-2 weeks minimum (or however long you think you need!) your webcomic might have a posting schedule when people are expecting new pages, but your readers won't die if you're late
- make a schedule for yourself if you don't have one already! i use google calendar, which is free! i jot down months in advance what days i'll be making comic pages, when they'll be posted, etc. it helps a LOT. keep it updated and stick to it!
- if your workspace is messy, try cleaning it up as much as you can. i know i personally feel better when my space is clean. having a quiet or private place to work is important too.
- limit your time on social media. give yourself 30 minutes a day or less to check social media, post art, whatever you need to do, and then leave it alone. split it into two 15 minute chunks, even.
- set specific hours and days for when you work on your comic. currently i try to stick to 9am-5pm mon-thurs work hours. GIVE YOURSELF AT LEAST 2 DAYS OFF A WEEK "but i can't because-" you gotta figure out some way to make it work dude. you owe that to yourself. overworking WILL cause burnout and it will be Bad
- having a lack of support absolutely can cause burnout too. if you feel like you're doing all this work on a comic that nobody acknowledges, it fucking sucks!! be open about it with your friends! share what you're working on with them and lift each other up!
fandom and boundaries
if your comic really takes off and you suddenly find yourself with a fandom, it can be a super daunting feeling. hopefully your fandom will be mostly full of supportive, friendly readers, but there's always going to be some weirdos in every fandom. here's some things to look out for:
- entitlement - "why are the updates taking so long??" "i know your character better than you" "what do you mean i can't use your art without permission? it's in a comic!"
- over-familiarity - this usually looks like playful insults or strangers talking to you as if you're good friends. expecting you to give them special attention and getting upset when you don't is crossing a line
- suspicious interest in your personal life - asking questions about your personal life including your location, family, or anything else that you wouldn't normally disclose to a stranger
- unwanted sexual attention - towards you or your characters
- deliberate imitation - this looks like someone trying to lift your identity to make it their own. this is NOT someone simply taking inspiration from you. this is someone trying to be exactly like you due to idolization
- over-critical behavior - "everything you do is wrong! you should listen to me, your caring follower who knows what's best for you/your comic"
- constant contact - i recommend closing your DMs to strangers on social media. a friendly hello or conversation is one thing, but if it's to the point of discomfort, something is wrong. listen to your instincts
- obsession - it's (probably) totally normal to get super into a thing you like! fans loving the hell out of your comic is great! obsessing over YOU as a person though, is not ok. if you're not sure if someone's behavior is inappropriate, consider how it makes you feel when you interact with them
sometimes people need a reminder that you are a PERSON, and not just some pixels on a screen that makes a comic they like. KNOW what you will and will not tolerate, and let your followers know if you feel up for it. then block, report, and document inappropriate behavior. do not engage with people that set off alarms in your head. do not try to reason with unreasonable people. do not share your real full name or location. do not share photos of your location with identifiable landmarks. go into social media expecting at least one person to be a creepy stalker. what would you NOT want them to know?
additional advice: if you're growing in followers, don't beat yourself up for not being able to respond/interact with every person wanting your attention. it's just not possible and it's not healthy to try. before Long Exposure really took off, i tried to reply to everybody as much as i could. after it became unrealistic, i beat myself up about it a lot because i thought i had set an expectation that i had to be everybody's friend and i would disappoint everyone if i wasn't.
learn from my mistakes!! if you're feeling overwhelmed with attention, do what you need to do! only reply to people occasionally! or not at all! close your DMs! it might bum some people out that they don't get a reply, but at the end of the day, your needs matter more someone else's wants. always!!
i also suggest watching youtube videos about parasocial relationships if you're unfamiliar with the term.
here's some additional resources! take all advice with a grain of salt, as usual, but hopefully these will be helpful too!
Database for marginalized comic creators
Pitch packet info thread (for graphic novels)
and once again, i'm not an expert in any of this. i'm just one person sharing my experiences! there's plenty i could be wrong about!! these are just suggestions and tips, but you should ultimately do what works best for you.
AND THAT'S IT FOR THE WEBCOMIC GUIDE!! i hope it was helpful!!?!??! if you've got questions or additional tips/resources, drop a comment! i might add a FAQ here later if there's warrant for one!
and as always THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE SUPPORT !!