The webcomics blog about webcomics

A Quote You May Enjoy

Advice for aspiring comic artists:

Before the Internet, I would have had a totally different set of rules. But now people are putting their work up on the Internet and getting a response, so that might be the way to go. Can you discipline yourself to turn out work on a regular basis?

Many people can’t do a syndicated strip for more than three years. People not my age are programmed to want change, to want excitement. They’re not embarrassed to leave a job to move to a new city. They’re not likely to stick with the same thing for 30 years. With that kind of itchy-feet need for change, it’s difficult work. It’s not like you do a doodle in the morning and then you’re free. They realize the pressure is on. You’re working evenings, weekends, in hotel rooms, on airplanes. And you can’t turn out work that’s not your best, because you have to fight for that real estate in the paper. A lot of people can’t do it more than three years.

But if you can do it every day for a year online, disciplining yourself, getting honest feedback from readers —- well, some miserable dough-heads don’t deserve a voice, but you’ll also get good feedback from honest readers. If someone says, “I don’t get it,” that’s your best reader.

Lynn Johnston of For Better or For Worse, in an interview this week at The Grindstone. Her strip may not have been to everybody’s tastes (particularly as it approached wrap-up), but nobody’s ever said that Johnston phoned it in or didn’t put in the many, many hours across 30-odd years in syndication.

I trust you’ve seen this? Radical Adventures? Videogame? Starring Dr McNinja? It’s got an interesting dilemma, as the game is free to play, so what to offer in the way of backer rewards at the low levels, which are traditionally filled with things like You get a free copy of the game?

Answer: credit for in-game power-ups and future content updates, which is pretty clever when you think of it, and which presently is what most backers are opting for. At higher levels there are things like custom McNinja soda packs, original art, and inclusion in the game (as an enemy, to be killed again and again and again). At the very highest level, you get a pizza party with Chris Hastings, who is an excellent dude to eat pizza with. They don’t say where the pizza is from, but if you get that prize I’d suggest asking for the the corner pub-looking place near where the giant feral raccoons¹ scurry between the power substation and the cemetery, haunting Brooklyn with their sinisterly dexterous² hands. The pizza there was awesome.

Anyways, less than a day in and approaching ten percent of goal, which is a bit slower than other recent Kickstarts for webcomics-type properties with built in fan bases. I’m attributing this not to a dearth of desire for a cool videogame that features Dr McNinja doing awesome things, but rather because the rewards hypothesis I’m working on identifies low-dollar-value pledge rewards as a particular challenge.

As of this writing (too early to draw strong conclusions, to be honest), some 57% of backers are at the two lowest reward tiers, in for US$15 or less. This can work, especially considering the zero cost associated with distributing the rewards at these tiers, but you need a whole lot of people to make up for the low incremental dollar value each contributes. I’m going to keep my eye on the third through sixth tiers, with dollar values up to $US50, and see what kind of growth occurs there; that’s going to be where Dr McNinja’s Radical Adventure makes goal, or obliterates it with awesome punchings.

I was experimenting with horizontal rules yesterday to give The Bradster the pull-quote treatment, but now I’m quite liking them. Could I at long last be shucking off the yoke of bullets and unnumbered lists?

¹ All together now: Aaaaaahhhh!

² I swear to dog when I wrote that I wasn’t intending to make a pun in Latin.

Heya, lead producer on the McNinja project here :) I’m curious about your thoughts on how we could overcome the rewards issue for the low end, as we’ve had the same thought kicking about our heads. We definitely want to keep it free to play, or rather, an indefinitely large demo with a pay what you want model backing it, but how do we engage with people on kickstarter still? Thanks for the write up, by the way :)

[…] a time traveler, he’s probably in a better place than I am to answer this comment/question from yesterday’s post: Heya, lead producer on the McNinja project here :) I’m curious about your thoughts on how we […]

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