The webcomics blog about webcomics

Gettin’ The Word Out

So this email showed up the other day:

Alright, you probably get hit with this kind of question a lot, but I’ve got kind of a new comic and I was wondering if you had and tips/tricks/tactics for getting the word out? I’m not much on the whole promoting yourself thing.

Several possibilities, actually, and today offers some good examples of each. Up first, we have Brad Guigar, Master Of The Press Release:


May 18, 2007


Brad Guigar’s weekly comic about life in Philadelphia, Phables (, has been awarded Best Local Column by the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the Society of Prefessional Journalists.

“This is a really big step in broadening the acceptance of the comics as more than just ‘kids’ stuff,'” said Guigar. “Seeing ‘Phables’ honored as a newspaper column is a significant achievement for me.”

Phables tells stories about ordinary Philadelphians living their extraordinary lives. Readers often submit stories to Guigar, who then interviews them and creates a full-page comic based on the results. Sometimes Guigar tells his own stories or shares opinions about city life from a first-person perspective.

Earlier in the year, “Phables” was nominated for an Eisner Award, which is considered the highest honor in the comic-book industry. That award will be announced in July.

See how it’s done? Timely; strong prose; quote in the second graf (written in the third person); short, punchy grafs with one idea each; URL provided for quick linking in the story; easily editable by somebody (like me) anxious to fill column-inches, but wanting to feel like they actually contributed something to the final copy. Guigar’s an expert at these things (but then, he’s been in the newz biz for years), so anybody want to write their own — I strongly urge you to steal from the best. Take the text above, replace with your info, and off you go.

Second, the low-key announcement on the social networking site, which can work surprisingly well. Of course, Mer Gran has a couple of things going for her that you might not:

  • She’s spent more than a third of her life webcomicking;
  • The right couple hundred people already read her LJ;
  • She’s got a proven track record to go on

If you don’t have those things, start with the network you do have; if your work’s good (and here good means better than what’s required to make your existing friends say it’s good just to humor you), they’ll push the word out for you. Doesn’t hurt if you did what Mer did, which was send me the first seven episodes of her new webcomic a few weeks ago as a sneak peek. Got my interest, made me feel like I’m in a secret, cool-kids club, made me want to pimp the hell out of it.

(Obligatory disclaimer: Mer’s a personal friend, and she did our masthead illustration up there.)
(Obligatory disclaimer to the disclaimer: This doesn’t negate the fact that Octopus Pie is twelve kinds of ass-kicking awesome.)

And third possibility: have a connection to a previous story; this particularly works if the new story is good news, everyone.

Not really related to the promotion, but I feel obligated to mention it anyway: make sure your project is worth promoting. Various creators have made various suggestions over the years, but several have stuck with me:

  • Do the first six months without telling anybody
  • After six months, if you can stand to look at your earlier work, feel free to post it (and you have a hell of a buffer)
  • If you can’t, redo it the way you’d do it now
  • Don’t suck
  • And if you have sucked in the past, please stop sucking

‘Cause I gotta warn you, there’s a zillion crappy webcomics out there already, and if yours sucks, I ain’t gonna mention it, just as a kindness to my readers. Fortunately in this case, I dig squid. Two pieces of advice:

  1. The archive is counterintuitive, and I stopped reading after about three strips
  2. S-Q-U-I-D; misspelling the name of your own comic doesn’t make me hopeful

Still — squid.

I saw this comic a little while back, and it really confused me with that misspelling in the masthead. Could it somehow be intentional? And if not, how could you miss something like that?

It’s intentional; look at the whole title. The Ego and the Sqid…it’s a play on the ego and the id.

I really can’t work out if you’re recommending Ego and Sqid or criticising it. Both, perhaps?

[…] Xaviar Xerxes talks to Brad Guigar, creator of the Eisner-nominated slice-of-life strip Phables, which as Gary Tyrrell notes, was also recently awarded Best Local Column by the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. (Above: sequence from a recent Phables vignette, ©2007 Brad J. Guigar.) […]

6 months worth of buffer? Right. Back to the drawing board.

(Although to be quit ehonest with you 6 months sounds a bit like overkill…see, if at some point in your strip you want to talk about current real world events, by the time those strips are released you’d have a 6 month delay.)

Very helpful entry, thanks! Would love it if you’d have a look at my own poorly-promoted comic:

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