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Why aren't we doing this???
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 2923
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Craig Daley wrote:
How much possible income are we talking about?

If you mean the potential I was talking about from ads, it will vary widely depending on your site, readership demographics, ad networks, etc, but maybe something in the neighborhood of $0.50 to $1.00 per thousand page views for a site layout with multiple large ad spaces.
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talesofthetwinmoons



Joined: 10 Mar 2012
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I prefer the idea of including extra material within a printed copy of a comic as incentive for people to buy it, like Teahouse too.

We were also toying with the idea of selling other merchandise like keychains and such since they're not at all expensive to produce and they're a cute little extra just to have without all this monthly subscription nonsense hanging over a user's head.

What if they suddenly can't afford it? Readers have RL commitments too and I know from bitter experience myself that even a small amount of money mounts up.

It'd be much easier to keep interest if no money was involved except as an optional extra and people just did a good enough webcomic that fans were pleased to donate, like in the case of Artifice.

Also, I personally have nothing wrong with keeping our comic on a free website as long as it's marketed correctly from there. It helps that the artist has gained quite a huge following on dA certainly, because then I use that to our advantage. This minimizes our costs and it doens't cost anything for anyone to come over and have a glance.
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vulpeslibertas
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Joined: 19 Dec 2005
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Location: Here and there...mostly there. Sometimes kinda in between.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Comments:

1. Once you start charging weekly, you need to update regularly. You can't take people's money, then not have reliable updates. This means updating frequently and on time.

2. You need to balance out the payments with the updates. No one will pay $1 per week to read a single webcomic. The price is too high. For $1 a week, I'd expect at least 1 update a day, and really high quality material. Even then, you've relegated yourself to a very small market. Think beer and champagne. Better to have a cheaper commodity at a lower price than a high-end commodity at a high price. You need exponential gains in quality to justify arithmetic increases in price.

3. Overhead costs. Every transaction that comes out of my bank count has a transaction fee. That's overhead. Better to pay for a yearly subscription than weekly.

Also on the subject of overhead, sign-up is a pain. Nobody likes to sign up and give away personal information. Nobody likes to remember 50 different passwords. It may not be money, but it is overhead cost. Making readers jump through these hoops will reduce your readership, even if you charge nothing at all.

---

Putting all of this together, I'd say micropayments can work, but the logistics require a little something special:

A webcomic collective, where you can subscribe to 10 or more webcomics. One payment for the whole thing. You can make some kind of profile where people can subscribe to specific comics, but the big deal here is there's one login for multiple comics. This makes less hassle for the reader. One-stop-shopping, so to speak.

Consider charging by the chapter instead of by the page. Or by the year, instead of by the week.

Charge a reasonable amount. Unless you are doing pornography, you won't be able to charge more than a few cents per page. Look at traditional comic books, and see what the price per page is. Look at the price of a DVD television season, factor how long the viewer will actually spend watching it, and compare their price-per minute to your price-per-minute. Then factor in the quality of your work compared to theirs.

Have a reasonable product. Story based products will have more money-making power than gag-a-day. There is incentive to return and commitment to continuation. Gag comics are everywhere. How many comics made jokes about "Wii"? Why should someone pay for your joke, when everyone else is doing the same joke for free?

Remember it's the internet. Copy-paste. It's that simple. One of the great things about ad-based revenue is: You get payed per site visit, not per whoever-feels-like-paying. There's no incentive to copy your work to some other part of the internet (since access is unrestricted and free), so you get a higher ratio of Views-on-my-site/total-internet-readership.
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ewomack
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Joined: 05 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would have to really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really like a webcomic to pay for it, even $1.00 a week. Especially since so much free stuff already exists. Bill Watterson could definitely charge, as could others with established reputations. But I don't see why I would pay for a new or not yet established webcomic. It's hard enough to get readers for free.

Just my opinion. Take or leave.
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Craig Daley



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know this is really local, but I produced a murder mystery comic on CDrom called 'Meadowhell: The True Horror of Shopping', which was already the established nickname of Meadowhall, the local shopping mall, due to the bad parking and queues and I also just happen to run a design company...
We produced, mugs, t-shirts, keyrings, moosemats, fridge magnets, car bumper stickers etc... and ended up selling more of them than the comic. Not saying that's a good thing, but it could work for some of you...
I know a lot of you guys do conventions, you could just find yourself a small and local cheap design company and print on various items... It has to be small and local, they will do smaller runs, you don't want to over produce or you will end up with a huge pile of keyrings.
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lexia



Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

People have and still try a subscription but till this day it fails or just gets little money. It ends up being people will leave and not bother returning there is much better ways to get money then this...

On average only 0-15% of your audience will pay, so if you get 10k fans, only so anywhere from 0-1500 of your fans will pay if even they will, but you will have to update and never be late and have no excuses. Because a normal comic is around 20 pages and cost around 4$ so really you get around 5 pages for 1$ So over all why should they view a web site that only offers less then that you have to make it worth it and that money will not come fast.

I myself read a few comics, one moved to G+ and I stopped reading it and I know for sure if any of those make you pay for something odds are I will drop them, I can't spend money to get something I can find elsewhere free, unless i get more out of it then what i was getting. Also, i much rather buy a book then pay weekly.
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raines80



Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 162

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All of your responses have very good points. I will address the ones that seem to be popping up in move of the posts-

Updates: Currently my comic is scheduled to update 3Xs a week. Over the last 3 months I have missed this quota once. If I had paying subscribers that would be completely unacceptable. The reasoning behind missing the updates was personal, but it would have been a lot less likely to happen if I were actually bringing in income. My wife took front seat that week... I couldn't tell her "my 5,000 readers want their updates".... but if I had 5k subscribers I would be in a different situation.

Comics Who Have Tried and Failed: There are plenty of comics that are free and have failed. Part of the reason for the failure is that they never established a reliable source of income. Banners are nice... and I have used them in the past and they didn't work for me. At the time I would say I had around 2k readers... not enough for it to reallly work, but it didn't work at all. I don't plan on pushing forward with the idea until I have a reliable 10k readers a month. The odds are... the idea will fail, but that is why most people don't make over 100k a year... most ideas fail. If you never try.. that is wayyyyy worse than failing.

Readers Leaving Because of Change in Economic Status: This happens everywhere. People drop things that charge them monthly every day because their economic changes have caught up to them. I expect to lose readers to this. You have to expect to lose readers.... but you also have to be good at marketing to attract new ones. I think my rate of loss will be lower than most subscription models because I plan to make it only a buck a month.

A normal comic costs 2.50 for 20 pages! Why should I pay a dollar for yours??: That is where the archives come into play. You get the first 10-20 pages (where ever the cliff hanger ends up) free... than.. in order to access the archive it costs a dollar a month. I am probably looking at at least 3 more months of development before the subscription comes into play.. so that will leave me with around 40+ pages in the archive to start with. The dollar also pays for the 3 updates during the week.

Someone Mentioned a Group Idea: I like the idea of having a group of comics you can access to for your subscription. I think that idea would actually work VERY well. But, you need a site that can attract many readers to work because you will have to payout the comics you have on your site. The current setup for me means I don't have to pay anyone but me.*** If someone else is actually interested in the group idea... shoot me an email bryan(at)timetorant.com. I would be happy to talk to you about it and if we could make it work... who knows.


It isn't a perfect model and I plan to iron out a few details as I go, but it is a solid one. I think it will be ready to go in about 3 months (maybe longer) and it may fail horribly. I am okay with failure. I have failed mannnnnnny times in my life, but I have won mannny times as well.

I think where many of you have trouble with this idea is.... we are forcing people to pay to enjoy our work. We can't fathom the idea that someone would pay money to read something we created. We are jaded and it is killing our self confidence. I have seen a lot of your webcomics and I know for a fact people would actually pay money to read them if they had to. The only thing stopping us from turning Webcomics into a REAL job is us.
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lexia



Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

raines80 wrote:
All of your responses have very good points. I will address the ones that seem to be popping up in move of the posts-

Updates: Currently my comic is scheduled to update 3Xs a week. Over the last 3 months I have missed this quota once. If I had paying subscribers that would be completely unacceptable. The reasoning behind missing the updates was personal, but it would have been a lot less likely to happen if I were actually bringing in income. My wife took front seat that week... I couldn't tell her "my 5,000 readers want their updates".... but if I had 5k subscribers I would be in a different situation.

You think your 5k readers are all going to pay for your comics? I do not think so but you can try really

Comics Who Have Tried and Failed: There are plenty of comics that are free and have failed. Part of the reason for the failure is that they never established a reliable source of income. Banners are nice... and I have used them in the past and they didn't work for me. At the time I would say I had around 2k readers... not enough for it to reallly work, but it didn't work at all. I don't plan on pushing forward with the idea until I have a reliable 10k readers a month. The odds are... the idea will fail, but that is why most people don't make over 100k a year... most ideas fail. If you never try.. that is wayyyyy worse than failing.

Just making money is not why comics failed, that may be your reason, but them not updating and them not wanting to do it anymore is more common reasons, they rather play games or just do other things.

Readers Leaving Because of Change in Economic Status: This happens everywhere. People drop things that charge them monthly every day because their economic changes have caught up to them. I expect to lose readers to this. You have to expect to lose readers.... but you also have to be good at marketing to attract new ones. I think my rate of loss will be lower than most subscription models because I plan to make it only a buck a month.

A normal comic costs 2.50 for 20 pages! Why should I pay a dollar for yours??: That is where the archives come into play. You get the first 10-20 pages (where ever the cliff hanger ends up) free... than.. in order to access the archive it costs a dollar a month. I am probably looking at at least 3 more months of development before the subscription comes into play.. so that will leave me with around 40+ pages in the archive to start with. The dollar also pays for the 3 updates during the week.

That is fine and dandy but others have thought the same as you.. Odds are you will loose them, maybe your art is good and story ok, but over all they may not pay and may never return..


Someone Mentioned a Group Idea: I like the idea of having a group of comics you can access to for your subscription. I think that idea would actually work VERY well. But, you need a site that can attract many readers to work because you will have to payout the comics you have on your site. The current setup for me means I don't have to pay anyone but me.*** If someone else is actually interested in the group idea... shoot me an email bryan(at)timetorant.com. I would be happy to talk to you about it and if we could make it work... who knows.


It isn't a perfect model and I plan to iron out a few details as I go, but it is a solid one. I think it will be ready to go in about 3 months (maybe longer) and it may fail horribly. I am okay with failure. I have failed mannnnnnny times in my life, but I have won mannny times as well.

I think where many of you have trouble with this idea is.... we are forcing people to pay to enjoy our work. We can't fathom the idea that someone would pay money to read something we created. We are jaded and it is killing our self confidence. I have seen a lot of your webcomics and I know for a fact people would actually pay money to read them if they had to. The only thing stopping us from turning Webcomics into a REAL job is us.


NO you are wrong, you forget not all our viewers are not adults, some are kids and teens you think they will put out money like that you may be right but you may be wrong. Even in normal comic industry stuff happens and you are alone in your comics, so any lack of updates or any failings on your part you will loose audience and maybe it's only 1$ but if it's 1$ and you loose most your audience odds are you will loose any advertisers and so on. You can try it, and see if it works out, but in end i do think you will not see as much as you think you will. But who knows maybe the many other webcomics that tried your same idea or similar did something wrong, not like we in a bad economy time or anything I am sure your fans can say lets spend X amount of money on one comic when there is no other web comics that are free, who knows maybe you can do better, good luck
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 2923
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

raines80 wrote:
Currently my comic is scheduled to update 3Xs a week.

It's actually difficult to tell that from your site, because the little calendar widget in the left bar only shows three updates this month, for instance. I think it's just showing blog updates? Anyway, looking at that I would assume you've only posted three comics this month.

raines80 wrote:
That is where the archives come into play.

You may want to have an "Archive" or something link in your top menu, or in the navigation bar under the comic, because right now it isn't very clear how one would get to it.

Also, I can get to some sort of single month archive listing by clicking the name of the previous month in the calendar widget, but there seems to be some kind of bug with it--it is listing what I take to be the month's blog listings (which is again probably not what the average reader wants), of which it shows two--but just above that it says "9 results." So is it hiding another seven somehow? :o
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did a bit more thinking about the paywall vs free + ads approach and thought some simple calculations might be interesting.

Let's say you have 10,000 readers (that is a lot, by the way). Put your comic behind a $1/month pay wall, and the usual 1% stick around.

That means 100 people, and for one month you earn $100.

On the other hand, let's say you keep the comic free, and put ads on it that get about $0.50 per thousand page views. 10,000 readers viewing twelve updates per month would mean a minimum of 120,000 page views, paying a total of $60.

So at least in the short term your subscription model wins! Congrats.

Granted, both sides could argue their profits are being underestimated: a higher percentage of existing readers might stick around, or one could without too much trouble probably get more like $1.00 per thousand page views, and would get an average of more than one page view per reader per update--for instance, I think I probably have about 2000 actual dedicated readers, but I do get a lot of passers-by from my ads on other sites, and I take in about $20-$30 a day in ad revenue from showing other people's ads on my site; granted, I spend about $20-$25 a day on advertising, so maybe I only really make about $5 a day from ads, or $150/month--but that does beat the subscription model intake, and from a much smaller initial reader base. (Ah! But I do update 5x per week, and some months of the year are bad for ad revenue, like the two months after Christmas; but I also started with 1/5th the readers of the subscription model calculation, so maybe that kind of balances out.)

Anyway I'm willing to call those offsetting arguments of calculation generosity a wash, so the subscription still wins. Still, I think in the longer term it doesn't win, because there's another calculation to factor in: word of mouth. The subscription site has 1% of the readership and thus 1% of the word of mouth, and thus probably somewhere near 1% the growth rate of a non-paywall comic. So while the subscription site may make a bit more money in the first few months, by maybe about two years down the road it will be making less than the free site--and less to an ever-increasing degree as time goes on.

However, except where I was giving my own comic's income and expenditure figures, this is all pretty obviously speculative, so if you give it a shot I hope you'll let us know how you do!
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Kail



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 424

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

smbhax.com wrote:
Did a bit more thinking about the paywall vs free + ads approach and thought some simple calculations might be interesting.

Let's say you have 10,000 readers (that is a lot, by the way). Put your comic behind a $1/month pay wall, and the usual 1% stick around.

That means 100 people, and for one month you earn $100.

On the other hand, let's say you keep the comic free, and put ads on it that get about $0.50 per thousand page views. 10,000 readers viewing twelve updates per month would mean a minimum of 120,000 page views, paying a total of $60.


The 1% number I see tossed around usually refers to the number of readers who will contribute to your comic in any way. So if you've got merchandise or a donation box, they're the ones who are clicking on it. And if they're donating/buying an average of $1.00 each then you're earning from them about what you'd get from a sub fee anyways, without killing your advertising money to do so.
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kail wrote:
smbhax.com wrote:
Did a bit more thinking about the paywall vs free + ads approach and thought some simple calculations might be interesting.

Let's say you have 10,000 readers (that is a lot, by the way). Put your comic behind a $1/month pay wall, and the usual 1% stick around.

That means 100 people, and for one month you earn $100.

On the other hand, let's say you keep the comic free, and put ads on it that get about $0.50 per thousand page views. 10,000 readers viewing twelve updates per month would mean a minimum of 120,000 page views, paying a total of $60.


The 1% number I see tossed around usually refers to the number of readers who will contribute to your comic in any way. So if you've got merchandise or a donation box, they're the ones who are clicking on it. And if they're donating/buying an average of $1.00 each then you're earning from them about what you'd get from a sub fee anyways, without killing your advertising money to do so.

Ah very true, I was too absorbed just thinking about ad revenue and forgot merch/donations! So yeah the outlook for the subscription model is even a lot worse than it was already, with that taken into account.
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raines80



Joined: 10 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the problem people are having is adjusting to the idea of paying for something they usually get for free.. and the problem I am having is adjusting to the idea that people are getting for free what we are spending countless hours doing work on.

I also think people are underestimating the webcomic reader. Sure..... if you give someone something for free 99 times out of 100 they will just take it a leave. If something is free we have become accustomed to avoid any money transfer because we get scared of the SCAM. Now... let us take away the idea of FREE. What happens when they must pay for their 15 minutes of entertainment they receive from us?? They won't go running away.. I bet a good portion will actually like the idea (given that it must be done in a professional manner.).

Everyone keeps trying to point out that 10 years ago this didn't work... people try an point out that everyone fails at this everyday, but no one has pointed out which comics have failed. The reason.... there have been hardly any stand alone webcomics that have tried this. I really think this might work.

Let me stress again... I have NO intention of starting this any time soon. I need to get a much more dependable reader base and MANY more comics in my archives before I even think of attempting such a thing. But, mark my words, I will be trying this eventually.
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uncaringmachine



Joined: 09 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just happy a few people enjoy my comic. I'm not going to scare them away by making them pay for it. I have a few ad boxes, but the comic started free, and will remain free. Now, if anyone wants to donate some cash, I would be happy to accept it..... Very Happy
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raines80



Joined: 10 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

uncaringmachine wrote:
I'm just happy a few people enjoy my comic. I'm not going to scare them away by making them pay for it. I have a few ad boxes, but the comic started free, and will remain free. Now, if anyone wants to donate some cash, I would be happy to accept it..... Very Happy


See.. this is the PROBLEM!!! We are undervaluing ourselves as artists! We need to stop thinking about.. well... we started as Free... other webcomics are free... so I should stay free.

HELL NO!! We are VERY talented professionals that have mastered (mastered is a broad term... especially considering my work) our work!! We should be getting paid 10Xs what these sleezy bankers and politicians are making!
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