She was responding to a video I put on Youtube, but didn’t say which one. I’m assuming it was my Patreon video. I’ve removed her name, contact info and some parts of her questions, since I didn’t ask for permission to post this. I just thought some of my ideas might be helpful to others.
Hi Joel Watson! Thanks for responding! I actually have 100 comics that I have been posting on my G plus page for two weeks now. I am planning on establishing the characters to start and I have looked at Project Wonderful. I am just trying to establish the right business plan, because I need to replace my day job slowly but surely.
That’s a bit “cart before the horse.” Get your audience first. Then figure out how they are willing to support you through experimentation and open, honest dialog with them. At first I relied heavily on donations, then it was merch for a few years, and now I dont sell much merch and I’m back to donations (Patreon). It’s different for everyone.
Do you monetize purely by people purchasing the comic now or merchandising?
All of my comics are free. I make money from advertising, conventions, online merch (not so much any more), donations and freelance work.
Would you say it’s a enough to cover a mortgage?
My artistic endeavors are my only source of income, but no one in particular is enough to pay all of my bills. I try not to rely too heavily on any one source of income because they can all disappear at the drop of a hat.
I was wondering how you actually got your very first few readers, and discovered that they were geeks.
I got my first readers from the art forums that I already frequented and posted on. Then it was primarily word of mouth, and the occasional social media bump. That was in 2007 and I don’t think it’s a very good plan for today. Word of mouth is best, but advertising/marketing are the only realistic ways to get your name out there in the ever expanding sea of “things to pay attention to on the Internet.”
How do you suggest testing and finding out who is gravitating towards your story, even before the advertising? Would I be able to pay you to assist me with my business plan for this comic?
I don’t suggest doing this at all, and no, I would not be able to help you with this. Make your comics, then SEE who is gravitating towards your story. There are the readers you want and the readers you get. Best case scenario is there’s some overlap, but you have less control over this than you think. Readers will tend to mirror your attitude and the attitude of your work. Act like an asshole online and you get asshole fans. Be kind and honest online and in your work and you are more likely to attract those types of people. As for market demographics, don’t worry about that. If young people end up reading your comics, sell t-shirts. If adults read it, offer them something funny and attractive they can hang in their home or office.
I am working on doing things properly this time to leave my day job for good. Also, I’m engaged, so I am working on supporting a family with my comic. So I have serious planning to do, and it helps to learn form someone that has been there.
This is an awesome plan and very similar to my original one, but in hindsight I would suggest building a safety net/nest egg before taking the leap. If your combined income with your partner just barely pays the bills, don’t cut it in half without a backup. If your partner can support you both for a couple of years, then you have more wiggle room. Expect to make around $0 a month for the first year or two.
I can’t stress enough that you need to focus on the work and not the business. You aren’t Kickstarting a new kind of smartphone connected bottle opener. You are creating art that will be given away for free in the hopes that a small percentage of your audience will give you money eventually… for something. It’s a very unorthodox business and this can’t be figured out with projections and charts and demographic studies… UNTIL you have A) a lot of comics and B) a dedicated audience.
Is your very first comic on your blog in the archives?
Yup. It looks awful, but it’s still pretty funny and reminds me where I came from.
as one of Willis's fans just gotta say "dick move man , dick move"
I am ALSO one of Willis’s fans. The character “Joel” in the comic is masking his jealousy over David’s much larger audience with insults and humor. I’m sure your eyes are no more weeping butts than mine are.
Apr 1, 2014 at 2:00 am +$1,046.52 processed to your account from your patrons. $1,167.30 Pledged / $62.40 CC Fees / $58.38 Patreon
…and I just wanted to share some updates about what’s going on with my Patreon and the various rewards I’m currently working on.
3 COMICS A WEEK: So far I’ve been pretty awful at this. So far in March we’ve had a hail storm that damaged both our cars, and our roof. We spent a night huddled in the closet due to tornado warnings, and a few days dealing with insurance, roofers, etc. Then I finsihed a comic and my laptop died before I could upload it. THEN my wife’s hard drive died the next day. I spent several days scrambling to fix these issues. Bottom line is I am almost caught up on last week’s comics and I will have 3 more for this week before the weekend is over (barring an act of universal chaos). Excuses, excuses, blah, blah, blah I need to work harder.
eBooks: I just uploaded the first 2 eBooks for $5+ Patrons to download. Check the activity stream to get the links. There will be a new eBook before April is over and one new one a month until I run out of material (which should be at least a year or more).
Video Blogs: Working on having at least 2 this month, if not the full 3. Post your questions in the comments concerning “Comic Conventions,” “The Hardware/tech I use to make comics” and any suggestions for a quick and dirty cover song. You can also post these to #HEVB on twitter.
Patron Only Hangout: How about Wednesday night 4/16 for about an hour? I will post the link here in the activity feed.
HijiNKS HANGOUT: I have two planned for this month. One with David Willis (www.dumbingofage.com) and Angela Melick (www.wastedtalent.ca) and another one with guest(s) TBD. Post questions for the guests, or future guest suggestions in the comments here or on twitter with #HijiNKSHangout
That’s a lot for the next 2.5 weeks (until I have to do it all over again for May), but you Fancy Patrons have been more than generous and I aim to keep up with my side of the bargain.
I've been missing Josh and Eli. Will they be returning soon?
I missed drawing them too. I had no idea when I started this convention storyline that it was take me so far away from the core cast for so long. Luckily I’d been planning to toss Josh in the mix for a while now, and have finally reached the point that he appears.
Been meaning to ask this for a bit, but what sort of computers and tablets would you recommend for someone looking to get into webcomics? I've been looking for a while, but I've honestly never been sure where to start, so I figured I'd ask an actual web cartoonist.
I’m not sure what I’d recommend for someone looking to “get into” webcomics. The thing I use right now is, like, a $2500 Cintiq. That’s not really an entry point.
But before that, I just used pencil and paper and scanned it into Photoshop 5 and used a mouse to color it.
SEATTLE FANCY BASTARDS! Emerald City Comicon is next week!
ECCC is my absolute favorite convention of the year, and it is SHOCKINGLY close to happening nowish. David and I will be at booth #1412 right next to Cyanide & Happiness! I will have the leftover DDDT prints, other prints, books, shirts, Wil Wheaton plushies and sketches.
I’ll be doing TWO PANELS:
"The Cyanide and Happiness Group Sketch Jam Panel" / Friday, March 28, 6:10pm, Hall B, (Rooms 608-609)
"The Experiment: Making a Living Doing What you Love" / Saturday, March 29, 6:00pm, ROOM 3AB. THIS is the one I REEEEEEALLY need you to show up for. My first ever totally SOLO panel.
More panel info HERE. Seattle always takes AMAZING care of me, but for the uninitiated, offerings in the forms of tasty treats (cookies, cakes, Cadburry Creme Eggs, Starbucks Doubleshots [the tiny cans, NOT the energy drinks]) and tasty booze (DELICIOUS BOOZE) are always accepted and appreciated. Tiny booze bottles will have their contents slipped stealthily into my drinks at restaurants, while larger bottles will have to contents shared with my cartoonist friends in various hotels rooms in your fair city.