8 Steps to a Successful Webcomic

“The Depths” webcomic is starting its third year soon, and we’re sure everyone has to be wondering how we’ve managed to do a lot of things others with a webcomic to showcase simply haven’t. It’s no secret that we owe a lot of people a lot of credit, from art to marketing to business structure. Connections were essential, networking was invaluable, and high quality art skills had to be phenomenal, and so on. We suppose we could argue that we broke a few rules when it comes to typical webcomic creation, design, and marketing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break them either. So let us offer some advice for you, the webcomic creator, that we hope you’ll consider. As a disclaimer, of course, we can’t guarantee anything good will happen from reading this, but we hope you will learn some really cool ideas and tricks.

1) Your Characters Before Your Webcomic

KJ once related a story to us about a woman who had started a webcomic but no one was coming to see it because no one knew anything about the characters to begin with. Oh sure, readers could go to the “About us” page and learn, but people were pretty much in the dark…and a lot of readers simply didn’t want to take the time to get to know her characters unless they read the webcomic itself. So, she went on a little hiatus for a few months, and instead started drawing her characters in various ways, sexy pin-ups, funny one-page scenes, poses, reference sheets, etc., and introduced the characters to everyone that way. As popularity of her characters grew, she could then tell folks, “Hey! If you love these characters, check out this webcomic I have!” And right away, her readership soared.

This is why we say, introduce your characters first. Create some awesome art of them and share on forums, online art galleries, chatrooms, Discord, Telegram, wherever you can show your work. Get people to love those characters – and they’re going to love your webcomic.

2) The Social Media Dilemma

There are now so many social media platforms out there, you might think the tendency is to spread your webcomic out on as many platforms as you can. Don’t do it. a) It’s going to become a full-time job just to handle all of that, and b) you’re really not doing anything effective. And here’s why: If your webcomic goes to 15-20 different platforms, all you’ve done is create 15-20 platforms where only a handful of people know you. Sure, you might get followers over time, but doesn’t it make sense to choose two, or even one platform, and dominate there so that you can gain a lot of followers quickly? Our platform of choice right now is Twitter, and there’s a very good reason why. It’s easy to maintain, post art, create polls, have a Q&A session, hold meetings, and follow and post about popular #trends. We gain about 100 followers every 90 days, and a lot of those followers have thousands of followers of their own. It’s good social media sense.

3) The Patreon Puzzle

Should you or shouldn’t you? If you decide on a Patreon, understand that this decision will warrant your treating your webcomic like a business, and such you’ll be responsible for expenses, profits, etc., just like one. Patreon is tricky though. We wouldn’t suggest trying it unless you have a good readership to begin with, and if you do your own art, do NOT expect people to pay you to continue doing it right away. We’ve found in our travels that a lot of people just want to see the goods and not be obligated in any way. To get fans of the comic, your Patreon needs to highlight that. We don’t want to get into a How-To on Patreon, because it’s still a puzzle to US! *^^* But what has really helped us is to treat our Patreon folks like part of an exclusive fan-club. That’s the best advice we have. So research a bunch of famous fan-clubs out there and see what they did to get hundreds or even thousands of fans. Then use that strategy to run your Patreon.

4) Make Friends!

One of the best moves we made was contacting a webcomic review team online called Shots With Comics, and asking them to review us. Well, they did, and quite favorably, to their thousands of fans. Then we contacted other webcomics that were part of a site called Top Webcomics, which is the largest webcomic ranking site in the world right now, and asked if they’d like to connect with us. Soon we were exchanging banners and links, and before you knew it, they had more traffic, and we had more traffic. And we made some amazing friends besides. We still chat openly with webcomic creators all the time. So…don’t be afraid of the competition. Embrace it. There are some wonderful people out there doing what you do, and by and large, they are friendly, engaging, and willing to help others out of their shells. We’ve written reviews for several of them too, which extends that connection outwards. The internet is the connection king – use it.

5) Blog, Blog, Blog!

If you host your own website, one of the best things you can do is to have a blog page, a place where you can post extra art, engage readers, hold contests, etc. It’s also a place where you can write articles (like this one!) and get extra attention from readers or visitors. One of the key elements to getting seen on Google, is to have a blog page with articles that really sell. We don’t want to get into too much here, suffice to say keeping a blog and updating it often is a huge key to success on Google searches. Just use important keywords about your webcomic, and then write articles based on those keywords. It’s simple, easy, and can lead to super traffic. Proof? We had approximately 300 users a day on this site just two months ago. We’re now close to 1,000. “The Depths” also ranks at the top of most Google lists for adult furry comics. If you want help, let us know. We won’t charge much at all.

6) Get into Groups

Whether it’s Reddit, or Telegram, or Discord, do a search to find webcomic discussion groups where you can chat with other creators, learn their tricks, get advice, discover new talent, etc. Like we said before, success is all about connecting. So join a lot of groups and meet a lot of people. Don’t be shy about sharing your work either. A lot of these people might be better than you are. It’s okay if they are. Remember, don’t see them as competition. You can make a lot of friends if you try.

7) Fan the Fans

Regular readers of your webcomic will probably go mad with desire if you do something for them, especially at no extra cost. Like a fan-fiction section, for example, where you accept short stories about your comic from others, or an art gallery with more naughty stuff than usual, or contests for prizes, free merchandise, maybe a live Podcast event, etc. These people are your fans. Treat them like kings. Also, if someone leaves a comment on your page, for goodness sake, ANSWER them. About 95% of the time, people make a comment on something online in the hopes someone will read and RESPOND to it. You can make their day by doing so.

8) Be patient!

We’re not kidding. A webcomic can take years from your life better left doing something else. A webcomic for some is their whole life. To be successful, you must realize it’ll take time, perhaps years. Unless you have an ace in the hole, like maybe Wil Wheaton Tweets your comic one day, don’t count on overnight success. If you really LOVE what you’re doing, if you believe in it, and you have faith in yourself, you’ll succeed. 

Good luck!

Paola, Paul, and KJ