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Is there a market?
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Thomas
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2003 5:40 pm    Post subject: Is there a market? Reply with quote

Hello,
I have a simple question for all of us that make online or electronic comics. Is there a market for our comics?

I'm not asking about what we hope will one day happen, but right now is there a market for online comics? Do regular people, non artists, want to read comics online? Are we all just fooling ourselves?

Ok these are several simple questions, but I feel they need to be asked and we all need to really think about the answers to them and decide if what we are doing is truly filling a need in any market or if we are all just spinning our wheels and going nowhere.

Comments?
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ragtag
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not a direct reply...but....

...POP....eye opener. Found this list over the bestselling e-books over at www.ebooks.com....

1. 30 Minutes ... To Boost Your Communication Skills
2. Arguing Well
3. Time Management
4. The 80/20 Principle
5. Holy Bible, New International Version
6. Eight Habits of Highly Successful People
7. Satisfaction Guaranteed
8. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Organizing Your Life
9. Prey
10. Instant Brainpower

EIGHT of these eBooks are help yourself become a successfull person, one is the Bible (the most sold book ever) and there is only one work of fiction there: Prey in 9th place.

It seems the people buying eBooks are business men, on the way up WASP kind of people. And maybe some wannabees.

Is this a market for weird independent comics?

Ragnar

p.s. Or not so weird ordinary old fashioned comics for that matter?
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Kevin Pease
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 5:35 pm    Post subject: Stuffed-suit comix Reply with quote

Perhaps. Scott Adams doesn't have to have a monopoly on cartoon business books. The popularity of the light storybook format of "The Ten Minute Manager" and "Who Moved My Cheese" indicates that the middle-manager types would love to be able to keep up with these business fads without having to do so much, you know, reading. Someone could really clean up and start a trend by putting this sort of thing in comic form.
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InkAddict
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2003 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ragtag wrote:
EIGHT of these eBooks are help yourself become a successfull person, one is the Bible [...]
It seems the people buying eBooks are business men, on the way up WASP kind of people. And maybe some wannabees.


IMHO the "real" successful people (i.e. the ones making money) aren't those reading & buying those books, but those writing & selling them!

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 3:20 pm    Post subject: Can we make a living? Reply with quote

I've just about given up hope on this topic, but am reading it anyway. All I really want to do is make art and writing; I don't know why that should be such a struggle. I don't mean the artistic struggle, which I don't grudge, but the absurd financial struggle.

Yingo, your "InkAddict" link leads to a Page Not Found page. I looked for InkAddict and Yingo in the alphabetical listings of the website they offered, but no go.

See my work at:
http://websafestudio.tripod.com
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Tim Tylor
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2003 5:46 pm    Post subject: Hope... Reply with quote

ragtag wrote:
It seems the people buying eBooks are business men, on the way up WASP kind of people. And maybe some wannabees.

Is this a market for weird independent comics?

Ragnar

p.s. Or not so weird ordinary old fashioned comics for that matter?


Top of today's ebooks.com top ten: Darwin's Radio, by Greg Bear. A wierd science-fiction novel, by a great writer of wierd science-fiction novels. There are two other fiction titles as well. Maybe things are changing. (Or maybe you picked a bad day. )
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ragtag
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I had an unlucky day, and maybe top 10 lists aren't important. But to get back to the original topic:
Is there a market for online comics?
I think the answer has to be YES...but I don't think it is very big. Sites like Modern Tales have shown that people are willing to pay for quality material, but I think most of the subscribers there are either comics artists/writers or long time comics fans, and not what you call regular people. I know you can get the non-comic reading public to read comics online (most of the people who have read my comics onine, juding from feedback, were not comics fans or creators), but I'm not sure they would be willing to pay.
I think this will change in the future, as people become more comfortable with buying stuff online and comics become more widespread.

Ragnar
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losttoy
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2003 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My friend and I are playing around with the idea of making our own web comics portal ... like the dirt mall version of Modern Tales. This is from an e-mail between the business partners.

Quote:
We are planning to sell yearly subcriptions
competivily at $30 at year. That puts it at about
$2.50 per subscriber, per month.

We are having about 10 artists. I think it is
reasonable to say that each artist alone will bring in
about 10-50 readers just from their own sites. Add
another 100 from our promoution campain when we start
up. So let us estimate our first month readership to
be about 100-600.

The low numbers: 100 x $2.50 = $250 a month - server
costs ($10-$40 a month) = about $210 of profit. This
will be split based on our undeveloped point share
system with you and me and 10 artists in 12 ways, so
roughly $17.50 per artist a month to start.

The high numbers: 600 x $2.50 = $1,500 a month -
server costs ($10-$40 a month) = about $1,460 of
profit. This will be split based on our undeveloped
point share system in 12 ways, so roughly $121.67 per
artist a month to start.

When Modern Tales started and were realitively
unknown, they got 700 readers the first month and now
they have over 3,000, not including all their sister
sites (Seralizer, Graphic Smash, Girlamatic, American
Elf, Jazz Age Comics, Rumble Girls, Whimville and
others). I am not saying that we could ever reach the
levels that Modern Tales is (since Joey has spent lots
of money to do it all), the point is that there is a
market out there and people are willing to pay for
quality comics.


Now, as I have said in another post with Vince, webcomics is not going to pay your rent unless you are really good and famous. Although in current economic times, even an extra $20-$100 a month helps. The point is less about money and more about just doing it.

Quote:
I am not expecting to make to much money doing this
... at least not at start. I am not giving up graphic
design or expecting anybody to quit their day job.
This idea for me is more of a weekend project.
Hopefully, we can make a buck or two after buying a
domian name, getting a reliable server service and
marketing/promoution. However, more of the point is
creating a community of artists, getting exposure, and
allowing artists to get experience.


There is that saying, together we stand, divided we fall. A community seems to be the best idea to attract the most attention. There is also that joke, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice practice." Having a place where you can have the disapline to draw a comic on a regular basis, not for money, but for the experience is really helpful. The more reeader feedback the better. There are hundreds of web comics out there. But which ones are the ones getting attention? Mostly the ones from Modern Tales or Keanspot. Sure a comics all by themselves like Absurd Notions, Keaner, Scary Go Round or PVP can be sucessful in their own ways. It matters on how you measure sucess, either getting readers and being satisfied with your art, or making money on your comic. However, the majority of webcomics are faceless numbers and may not get the exposure they deserve. We may not be pathetic amatures, but we are not quite ready for the responcibilty of a syndicated strip like Dilbert.
Quote:
a community of artists that are really
talented (but are not quite ready for prime time)


Is there a market? The question seems to be, what exact kind of market you are looking for and why? Is it to gain exposure? Is it to make money? Is it to get the practice and experience to grow from? Is it just to have fun? Steve Rolston did web comics before drawing the first Queen and Country and winning an Eisner Award. Now, he just came out with his own graphic novel at Oni. Everybody has to start from somewhere.
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losttoy
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2003 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I once got an e-mail from Drew Weing of the Journal Comic and Pup. He said he gets most of his "income" from selling products like mini-comics based off his web comic. Food for thought. Newspapers make their money from advertising, not from subcriptions. Yes, selling ad space on your web site does not work very well, but it is the idea behind that fact that gets you wondering.
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damonk13
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2003 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ragtag wrote:
...but I think most of the subscribers there are either comics artists/writers or long time comics fans, and not what you call regular people. I know you can get the non-comic reading public to read comics ...


People need to remember that a market is a market. Who goes to most sports venues? Sports fans. Who goes to most art shows? Art fans. Who goes to truck pulls? Truck pull fans.

It only makes sense that people who like comics are comics readers/creators. "Regular people" seems an inaccurate term to use here, because I honestly doubt that thee are people out there who aren't interested in SOMETHING.

The North American comics market prolly averages at about a half-million people -- people who buy or read comics in one form or another regularly.

The webcomics market prolly averages close to that, too, but the ones who are more avid webcomics readers are prolly more in the number of 100,000 tops, if even that. Your "average" webcomic reader is not a paying consumer yet of webcomics.

The number of paying webcomics consumers is prolly in the range of 30,000, maybe (and I think I'm being generous there).

But we are still very much a fledgling market -- too new and too unstable to properly worry or direct ourselves with any certainty to any proper conclusions.

Give it another 5-10 years and ask again, and you'll see how the numbers have grown and the outlook has changed. ^_^

-damonk
www.damonk.com
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2003 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello All,

There's definitely a market for webcomics. People want to be entertained. Getting entertainment through their computer is much more convenient then going to a comic book store and it's open all the time. As for paying customers... I believe they will support their favorite artists and writers. Heck, many people spend $20 bucks or more a month on comic books and $9 to $15 dollars on a movie. Spending 25 cents to $2 dollars on an artist they enjoy is like a drop in the bucket.

Like may other things in life you need to keep working at it to become successful. Those who do will find their audience.

Good luck all!

Mark Bernal
www.digitalfear.com
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DecafSilicon
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*waves hand* I'm a market! I'm a market!

And I link my friends to my favorite web comics...and I'm convincing a couple to buy BitPass accounts.

And yeah, let's have more business books in comic form!
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DecafSilicon
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, oh, oh, has anyone approached rageboy about this? He's huge in the web business world. Co-wrote the Cluetrain Manifesto. And business comics sound up his alley.
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scottreed
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2003 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There probably won't be a real market for web comics until the general perception of the value of web content changes. I see that starting to happen, and it should trickle down to web comics eventually as more and more unique content is offered on-line for a small price. The key is to be able to offer something online that you can't get in print or anywhere else. Micropayments is the answer, but I can't say I'm convinced Bitpass is the solution. Paypal already has a subscription solution that can work for web content. I'm not sure how Bitpass is any easier or user-friendly, and Paypal is everywhere. Bitpass has a long ways to go.

If you've been to my site, you'll see that I no longer give away my web comics. I charge a small $2 yearly subscription fee, and members are then emailed the unobstructed comic strips. I don't have subscribers flooding my site, but they do trickle in.

Another solution is to get outside of the regular comics community and look for readers who may not normally read comics at all--personally, I want the sunday paper crowd, the 'civilians' who casually follow their favorite strips and might be convinced to pay a couple of bucks to have it delivered.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2003 12:19 am    Post subject: focus on the current needs... Reply with quote

How about selling web comics to businesses who would provide such comics to their customers. The business sets the theme and you draw the comic. web comics will then have a wider auidence and acceptance. I think this will help the web comic industry.

I used to work for an Interactive agency on the west coast and we developed a short web comic for one of our customers. The comic helped sell lots of dresses in stores.
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Pumpkin Pie
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think part of the problem is that the vast majority of webcomic creators have little understanding of business or, even more importantly, marketing and sales.

I've been a marketing consultant for a long time now. Currently, I'm looking into starting my own webcomic. I've been reading what's posted here and elsewhere and that opening statement seems so far accurate.

I think part of the problem is simply that webcomic creators don't realize they're in a business and business is to make a profit. I see a lot that love the "all-by-myself" mindset that plagues all one-man-shop businesses. When a business seeks assistance from the outside is when they really start to grow and the profits start rolling in.

The key is focusing on what you do best in the whole long equation of your business and to adequately delegate everything else to someone else that focuses on that part for their business. Be that an employee or outside business.

Businesses succeed on a team mentality and not the lone gunman one. Webcomic creators need to understand that.

Are you poor at selling advertising on your webcomic? The proof is in the end results. Any other business would go, "God, I suck at sales. I better hire a salesperson." And you can hire them on a commission basis. It is harder. They will be FAR more picky, but, odds are, they'll generate more then enough revenue to not only cover their commission but hand over more money than you're currently pulling in.

Now where do you get such a sales force? You could do the Help Wanted, but I'd recommend against it. Instead, I would suggest you contact independent magazines that are in the same genre as your webcomic. They already have a sales force working for them that has contacts with businesses that want to advertise in your shared genre. All you have to do is give their salespeople a commission and their publisher a reseller commission. Yes, they'll be taking a sizeable cut out of your revenue pie, but that pie will be a whole lot bigger than it currently is so you'll make more money in the end. Simply send the magazine publisher an email explaining this set-up and ask for a meeting. The publisher is a businessperson and as interested in making more money as you are.

Personally, I think subscription-based webcomics isn't the way to go. Many use the analogy of newspapers but that's a false one. VERY few people buy a newspaper for the comics. The comics within is just a "free" add-on. Newspapers know this ... thus why comics rarely rate more than one page and they keep shrinking them to fit more and more onto that one page.

What I do think is the solution is multi-stream revenue. I woudn't view your webcomic as the product to sell, but as the thing that sells other products. That's exactly the approach I plan to take with my webcomic! In fact, I released a white paper a year ago about this. It focused on peer-to-peer networking, but it is applicable to webcomics and even has a section on them. Here's a link to it: http://www.scottjensenshow.com/P2PRevolution.pdf

A few other things worth thinking about...

How many webcomic creators advertise their webcomics? I've been surfing the net for over ten years and I've rarely ever see an ad for a webcomic. Webcomic creators seem to have a "if we build it, they will come" mentality. Yes, word-of-mouth is FANTASTIC advertising ... but if no one sees your webcomic, no word of mouth can get started. Sorry, but "if we build it, they will come" only works as often as you do winning the big lottery. Yes, someone does win it. However, I wouldn't recommend buying lottery tickets as a retirement plan. If you want more traffic, you need to go out there and get it. As for doing that...

Barter! When you listen to an ad for a TV show on radio or a local radio show on TV, they very rarely paid for those spots. What they did is barter them. You advertise mine and I'll advertise yours. Webcomic creators need to get in on that action. And, NO, this doesn't mean those webring deals with other webcomics. You need to go out into the webcomic-less world, stand up on a soapbox, and get people to notice your webcomic. Religious ministers don't build large congregations by preaching to the chior but converting the non-believer, lost sheep, and the lax believer. Remember the magazines I talked about earlier that are in the same genre as your webcomic? Talk to them about advertising their magazine on your website and they advertising your webcomic in their printed magazine. Think about it. If your webcomic covers the adventures of a moutain climber, magazines for mountain climbers is where you want to advertise. Barter with them. The worse they can say is "no". Well, they could be nasty about it, but essentially that's what they're saying.

And speaking of barter, NEVER underestimate its power. You can join barter networks where you trade advertising on your webcomic for barter dollars which you can use to purchase other stuff. If you're a bit more creative and ambitious, the sky is the limit on what you can rope in. Like to go on a cruise vacation for practically free? Barter for it. Do you know a local store than has a website? Barter advertising of their store's website for stuff in their store. I've bartered for tons of things. Private use of a nightclub, services from a law firm, services from a PR firm, and many others. You can too. In other words, you're sitting on a gold mine! Mine it!

There are also other things you can do. How about arranging a group vacation of your fans to someplace exotic? You make money by essentially becoming a travel agent. No, you do not have to become a travel agent. Remember what I said earlier about getting others to help you? Walk down to your local travel agency and talk to them about doing this. Visit ALL your local travel agencies and discuss this with them. You want to know what they can do and what kind of a commission you can get for setting these trips up. Now will your fans want to do on such a trip? They might. It offers them two fun things to do at the same time. See someplace exotic AND talk about their favorite webcomic WITH its creator. They'll be in heaven and you'll get a free vacation out of it, your ego insanely stroked, and some money to boot!

Now I have tons of other ideas, but this post is long enough as it is. If you have any questions, fire away and I'll try to answer them. In fact, I'll be trying out a lot of these idea with my own webcomic so I'm not just blowing hot air but telling you what's part of my game plan.

Webcomics have GREAT potential. All webcomic creators have to do is get out of the one-man-shop mentality and start thinking like other successful businesses.

Good luck all!!!
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Joel Fagin
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 6:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Is there a market? Reply with quote

Thomas wrote:
Do regular people, non artists, want to read comics online? Are we all just fooling ourselves?


Of course! Non-writers read books, non-directors watch movies and, heck, non horse racers watch horse races. It is, if you'll forgive me, a really silly question.

I find the problem with webcomics is that they only advertise on each other's websites and when they don't, it's still on the web. What they're doing, in fact, is recycling the same 15-30 male computer-savvy demographic around and around and around. The only reason there's any growth is because there's growth on the web in general.

- Joel Fagin
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HolmesMonaco
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think there is a market, but its bigger for certain types of comics, and smaller for others. i dont think i could tell you which types are which though.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are interested in making money from comics (web, print or both), my marketing director, Bill Kellogg, and I are putting on a seminar in Las Vegas in September on just that topic. We have lined up a great group of speakers who have been successful in different areas of cartooning to talk and answer questions on how they have done it. We will cover everything from web to print to syndication to online advertising. The details of the seminar are available at:

http://www.tundracomics.com/content.asp?CAT_ID=75

or you can e-mail Bill at bill@tundracomics.com with questions or for more information.

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Chanimnya
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:31 am    Post subject: There's definitely a market for online comics Reply with quote

I think there is definitely a market for online comics. It's just a mater of getting our products out there. Currently the average age of internet users are close to the target demographic of most online comics. There are definitely lots potential consumers its just a mater of getting to them. I guess the better question is: What's the best way to market online comics.
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GrimFinger
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:52 am    Post subject: Re: Is there a market? Reply with quote

Thomas wrote:
Hello,
I have a simple question for all of us that make online or electronic comics. Is there a market for our comics?

I'm not asking about what we hope will one day happen, but right now is there a market for online comics? Do regular people, non artists, want to read comics online? Are we all just fooling ourselves?

Ok these are several simple questions, but I feel they need to be asked and we all need to really think about the answers to them and decide if what we are doing is truly filling a need in any market or if we are all just spinning our wheels and going nowhere.

Comments?


This is an old posting that I am responding to. It was posted over ten years ago. So, why am I responding to it, just now?

Well, because I think that it's a question that still has much relevance, today, a full decade later.

I read lots of comic books, as a kid growing up. Recently, I went to two local comic book stores. What did I find?

Lots of titles. Lots and lots and lots of comic book titles.

How many did I buy?

Exactly zero.

Not a single one. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nada. None.

Why? Because, they are ridiculously overpriced. From my perspective, comic books appear to be Hell-bent on pricing themselves out of the market.

When I look at comic books, these days, I tend to cringe at the small text. Rather than being entertaining, reading them is a chore.

What I, personally, would like to see are comic books offered via streaming TV. Namely, I want to read/view them through my Roku box, which is hooked to my television.

Why? So that I can actually see the text. I wouldn't be entirely opposed to an audio narration, though if done poorly, it could quickly become annoying (and a reason to not view comic books that way).
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Bee Bop
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:18 am    Post subject: Re: Is there a market? Reply with quote

I love writing and drawing and reading comics. I have made many, a few have been printed, not many. Will my love of comics feed my kids? No. Does mean I should stop? No. But I wouldn't class that as fooling myself. I have a day job, it's a drudge but there you go... I'm lucky to have a job. And if I can draw at night... I'm happy.
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