Saturday, September 18, 2010

Webcomic Tutorial - 1: Getting Started

This is one of a series of posts I will make that are wecomic specific. They will cover many topics - banner design, template coding, promoting, communicating with fans, merchandising, etc. Updates will come periodically...meaning whenever I feel like it or someone bothers me for the next one haha

This first post shall all be about getting started and prepared to post your webcomic!


- Where to host? -
There are quite a few websites you can host your webcomic on.

[Smackjeeves] My personal favorite. The community on the forum is very nice and helpful, and the templates are VERY easy to edit! You have lots of control what your comic looks like.

[ComicGenisis]

[DrunkDuck] Very hard to edit templates on this site, which I really don't like. But I hear the community is active and good.

[ComicFury]

[The Fabler] A relatively new site that's really primarily good for uploading and the option of print. Good for having a mirror location for more exposure and being able to read fullscreen in their flash reader is pretty neat.

There are likely others if you google around, but the first four are pretty much the mainstream sites where most people choose to have their comics hosted for free.

- What if I already have a site, but I can't code? -
If you have a website but are in need of coding expertise, I recommend using ComicPress. It's made by the same people who made wordpress and is easy to use and easy for viewers to understand and navigate. Changing the template may be more difficult, but you can find tutorials for doing so.


- Do I need a domain name? -
To start, no. However a short and sweet domain name can be easier for people to remember and find your site. Having a unique name for your comic they can search for also would help. Do whatever you can to make sure that people who want to find you, can - but for just starting out, that doesn't mean a domain is necessary.


- What do I need to start? -
Before you start posting your comics, you will probably want the following: a few page buffer, a banner design, a synopsis/description, and a decent template up. If you can't get it all up at once, its no biggie, but it will help.

Why the buffer? It will help you stay consistently updating in the beginning. Consistent updates are very important to help in building a fan base and you never know what make come up, especially with schoolwork. Having a buffer that's good for at least a few weeks will help you stay ahead. However, not everyone can do this - some people need to update every week, or they end up procrastinating and not doing anything because they feel they don't need to.

Why a banner? This will help draw people's eye to your comic. It usually includes the logo/title, an image from the comic, and sometimes a slogan that tells quickly a bit about what the comic is about. Make sure the art is consistent with the comic - you don't want it to give a low impression, or disappoint them if the banner looks better than the comic!

Why a synopsis/description? Most sites you'll advertise your comic on will want and expect you to provide something about what your comic is about.  It should be short, tell the basis premise, and be written so that it intrigues readers to want to check it out. Try to keep it around 250 words or less.

Why a decent template? First impressions are everything! In this day and age, people have very low tolerance for bad websites. They should be able to navigate your comic with ease. They should be able to find links to the archive, first, and last buttons quickly and obviously. Design-wise people may be more forgiving, but having a custom template that shows more of your art and makes your site have more of a unique identity is very helpful.

- What's next? - 
That is a basic summary of what you need to get your comic started. In coming weeks I will post about more specifics - time-management tips, preparing pages for the web, building a fan base and communicating with fans, and a lot more. Not sure what order I shall do this all in exactly, but keep tuned...or tell me what you want next and I'll get workin' on it. :)

~Laura, C3 president

1 comment:

  1. lol… nice post… about that domain part, it is really important. You can use a domain to brand yourself and get more traffic to your blog actually. When you're done with it, you can sell your domain off for a lot of money depending on your traffic. There's people selling off at average of USD1-3k… initial start for a domain is quite cheap nowadays, let's take it for an example… new domains cost so cheap nowadays. If you really wanna get one, you can refer to http://exabytes.com.my/services/domain/ for more information.

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