Here’s my cheatsheet for the TOP FIVE free social media automators for comics creatives and superhero novelists. Almost all my social media is completely automatic, and yet it updates daily or every time I make something. That’s hundreds of hours saved for creating! We all know that to truly connect with fans you’ve got to get personal sometimes, and get on there and talk to them. But when you’re busy making stuff, it’s nice to have someone (or something) else do your talking for you. I use:
IFTTT: Connect anything to anything so you can post to social media automatically from Blogspot or non-Wordpress websites
BulkBuffer with Buffer: Upload multiple future tweets and FB messages at one time
Social Networks Auto-Poster: Post to most social media sites automatically
Blog2Social: Post to all social media sites at once
Revive.Social or Revive Old Posts: Automatically re-post your old posts
More info, and full reviews of all of these, in the free booklet!
1. Upwork.com I used to work as a freelancer on this site myself; now I use Upwork to hire everyone from artists to social media experts. I’ve had the best experience personally with Majority World (low income nation) artists—I got kind of annoyed when the American college student I hired failed to complete any actual work.
On the other hand, I was also a young creator from a wealthy nation, and I formed serious long- lasting business relationships on this site, so, you know. Just make sure you take advantage of
Upwork’s review system and completion policy requirements to protect yourself. Make sure you make the requirements of the job clear up front, and if necessary consult a legal advisor. That really goes for all of the below.
2. https://forum.deviantart.com/jobs/offers/ You can post your active job request on this forum, or just browse Deviantart for the art style you like and contact an artist directly! Make sure to follow the forum rules. I like this website because it won’t cost you anything extra to find good talent.
3. https://www.freelancer.com/ Like Upwork, but pricier. Less regulated market (wider range of skill levels), to my understanding. Lots of design talent available here.
4. Fiverr.com Don’t expect to get your full two-page technicolor action scene here for five bucks—think more like a small strip, or like you can discover a neat art gig that leads you to the artist you end up contracting long-term. I found my website designer and several formatting jobs for my books through this site.
5. https://creativepool.com Like a social media site for creatives.
A little more comic art to analyze. Check this out:
Please visit the original comic at its home at https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2020/04/20/teens It’s an artful comic!
Pretty simple, right? These guys make thousands of dollars on their comics, without a big machine behind them, on something they built themselves, from scratch. So they know what they’re doing in the webcomics sphere.
Two notes here: comic story pacing, and the communicative importance of the lettering and bubbling.
You’re a creator. You sell things via e-mail. And as you know, what applies to fitness e-mail marketers may not apply to your steampunk elephant comic; mileage varies.
I’ve spent a little time studying the expert copy creators who net thousands of dollars per e-mail. I’ve also tried applying their principles to COMICS creators and scifi fans like myself over several years and a tight niche of several thousand e-mails. Voila, below.
And as far as I’m tracking, the blog post you’re reading is the only analysis available online now about e-mail subject lines that work for small fringe culture creators like me and you.
What I’ve learned from expert copy creators:
Putting a dollar sign in your subject line increases opens. For a lot of copywriters, subject lines offering money still work. “A $2000 ethical bribe?” and so forth.
From the Gmail Boomerang add-on (which I highly recommend), computer analysis demonstrated that asking questions (putting a ?) in the subject line helps. For that matter, asking questions in the e-mail increases response rate, and subject lines like “Your Questions Answered” also generated thousands of clicks. Questions imply conversation. People want to continue that.
Creating scarcity works. Subject lines that seemed to work from several resources I studied (“you missed it” or “expires tonight”) make readers uncomfortable enough to click. FOMO, baby. Other subject lines that created discomfort in other ways worked, too, like offering “a quick warning,” or “Please don’t be angry” etc. Your e-mail better actually deliver on the threat, though: a lot of us find this use of negative emotion annoying and click-bait-y. I would be careful using this specifically for indie comics fans, who tend to be a bit more cynical.
Giving away free stuff they know about works (“I’m giving away tickets to XXX).
What I discovered from my own tests on a couple thousand specifically scifi or comics readers over several years:
I got one of my highest open rates, 56.7% open rate, astoundingly high in this industry, with the simple subject line “I failed.” That’s one you can use, too. This worked for me because I’ve already built up a relationship, so people care if I’ve failed, but of course there’s no denying the human desire for schadenfreude. People want to look at train wrecks. Maybe give them a train wreck every now and then.
Got almost 50 percent, from my e-mail address with the subject line “My artist got robbed.” I attribute this to PERSONAL relationship already built up, and the sense of drama the personal “my” and the statement create. Granted, at that time my open rate was somewhat increased because I had just purged non-openers (something you should definitely do), but the result still stands: tell a story in one sentence.
41% open rate for “Now YOU can earn money off MY scifi! Also, more organism-city space opera”. Several e-mails in that particular series had open rates over 40 percent, likely because of interest built by the series (people want to keep reading what they’re already reading). But the offer of money didn’t hurt.
Last year, “Thought I’d lost you” got over 50 percent opens, a number generally unheard of in e-mail marketing. This uses the same “threat” principle described above. Use negative emotion carefully.
“What weird adventure skill do you want to learn? Can I help?” got over 50 percent as well last year. Again, that entire series did well because I was sharing, in pieces, this scifi story about living in a city made of organic moving hallways. But this e-mail stood out above the rest because of the question.
“Cowboy hat, photon blaster, and a thousand dollar question.” 40 percent open rate. These weird scifi lists of things tend to get good open rates for me, but usually around the low 40s. It helps that this particular subject line included money and the word question.
At a whopping 63 percent sits the simple subject line from two years ago: “You left this at my house”. I can’t find the AB test, but I am fairly sure I tested this same subject line against “This belongs to you.” AB testing helped with my open rates a lot in the beginning. It’s a neat feature you can use in Mailchimp. It didn’t go so well when I tried to repeat a similar subject line too close to the original “you left this at my house.”
My open rates went up, in general, when I changed my e-mail format to something my subscribers could understand and expect. I went from an average of twenties to an average of forties by rebranding as “your scifi superhero sister,” where I send ONE scifi story and ONE #superheroalert in each e-mail, and try to keep the chit-chat short. I let people know up front what to expect by setting that standard with a series of automated e-mails they get as soon as they join my list. This gets people in the habit of clicking my e-mails for free things, and then eventually when I send out my marketing e-mails they click to buy things.
Note that for a small, tight-knit, niche audience like mine, I have higher expectations overall: while Mailchimp lists the artist industry average at about 35 percent, I expect open rates much higher, and generally consider a 22 percent a failure even though in other industries that’s quite good. This picture is pretty common for indie fiction creators, whose work relies on close emotional connection more than most other industries. At any one time, I have no more than 2000 subscribers; I have had over 6000 to 7000 various contacts at one time or another, but I aggressively purge people who aren’t going to read my work. Don’t want to waste their time or mine. And that scales up: the big successful creators with thousands of rabid fans start from a base of a few hundred rabid fans, but the key is still rabies.
Create rabies by telling a story with your subject lines. That’s the bottom line for fiction creators, and the main thing that sets us apart from the rest of the e-mail marketing industry. We tell stories.
Funding Successful contacted me during my crowdfunding campaign promising:
“Funding Successful specializes in Email Campaigning, Project Marketing, Social Media Marketing and much more. We have got existing backers list, individual buyers list, bloggers, Influencers and more. With our services, you get more traffic and backers.”
Additionally, they promised:
“We’re also offering 500 backers contacts who already backed many projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.” They also promised market-targeted social media, saying they already had contacts in my specific field (Comics).
I completed my crowdfunding to between 50 and 75% funding, and I figured if I–someone with no marketing background–could raise $2000 on my own, well this service could easily finish out my crowdfunding, yes?
From Kevin T. Chin on https://www.instagram.com/kevinchinart
I am super-psyched to share art tips for you from successful video game and concept artist Kevin Chin, who I had the pleasure of meeting at Wizard World Austin after drooling over his delicately detailed digitals online. If you’re an avid Warhammer 40K player, you’ve probably seen some of his stuff; if your tastes run to the other end of the toughness gamut, and you’ve played Epic Mickey 2, you’ve definitely seen his stuff. He used to work for Disney Interactive, and now he’s the Senior Concept Artist at KingsIsle Entertainment. You’ve seen his stuff.
Here’s your chance to learn a tiny bit from that stuff! Read More…
2020 Update: Back in 2017 Blog2Social had a security leak that caused a phishing attempt on my site. I deleted the plug-in, contacted them, and after about a year reinstalled the plug-in. Haven’t had any more phishing issues since, so it looks like the security issue’s fixed. Just full disclosure fyi.
How do you promote your comics on all TEH SOCIALS? It’s one of the questions that came up recently on the Webcomics Facebook Group I’m part of. Should you even bother posting your comics on socials? If so, which social media outlets should you bother with, anyway?
It’s better to do one social well than to do a million poorly. However, the more places your comic exists online, the more opportunities other people have to run into it. Posting to multiple socials also provides a great back-up in case your site goes down (like mine did last month), and, most importantly of all–
The more high-profile websites that link to your website, the better its ranking in Google.
Oh snap! You know what qualifies as a high-profile website? Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, the works!
That’s why I started posting my comics to the socials I don’t use all the time. And you know what? Since I started doing that, my views have multiplied by tens, yay! BUT OH MY GOSH IT IS TEDIOUS AND HORRIBLE to try to log in and post to a gazillion social media sites HOLY CRAP WHY WOULD I DO THAT–
Jeremy Biggs is a cyberpunk comics writer who, along with his artist Simeon Aston, creates the world of Metal Made Flesh.He offers a unique perspective to comic creators looking to crowdfund, because he’s fully funded three physical comics, instead of running off a webcomics community. He offered some unique rewards–a tangible replica of the weapons used in the story, and sculptures of the characters and ships–so he faced some unique logistics challenges.
Jeremy agreed to give us a lengthy interview with a wealth of information and resources, including some unusual prize ideas. Here’s the dish. Read More…
Angela “Jam” Melick ran an incredibly successful comics Kickstarter, clocking in at over 45,000 Canadian dollars, and that’s just one of many ways she’s monetized her comics. With her simple, colorful drawing style and her Women in STEM social commentary, she’s entertained fans for over eleven years as the full-time creator of the popular engineering-focused webcomic, Wasted Talent. She kindly agreed to give us a few crowdfunding-related tips!
1. Let’s talk about prizes. What are the best prizes for comics-related crowdfunding, in your experience? How did signing things affect their value and the amount of work you had to put in?
The best prize is what you’re making! Most people are only interested in the product itself, and that’s where most of your effort should go. Additional rewards just act as a little “thank you” for additional levels of support. They should be things that you’re used to designing, that don’t carry a lot of additional expense or complexity. I always prefer things that are flat, don’t carry sizes, and don’t weigh too much. Signing pieces don’t really add any value, monetarily, but it’s a personal touch than many readers appreciate. I’m limited by my wrist, but I try to add a personal touch to as many things as I can.
2. Most difficult aspect of comics crowdfunding for you, logistically?
I work full time. There’s a lot of extra messaging and work involved that’s difficult to balance. In the past I’ve done my own fulfillment and that’s by far the most time consuming aspect, I’m excited to be partnering with another group who can relieve me of that task this time.
3. Number one most important tip you’d give to comics crowdfunders?
Keep your vision as simple as possible. Extra inventory isn’t as valuable as you might think.
4. Now what? What are you working on now, post-success, and what are you excited about that you’ve got coming down the pipe? (Good place for self-promotion links!)
I’ll be focused on short stories for awhile, but I’m not ready to commit to anything specific. I’ll need several months to complete the work associated with this Kickstarter, and after that I’ll be taking a well-deserved break.
Many thanks to Jam for being willing to answer a few of our questions!
I’ll be following up soon with more crowdfunding comics posts–we’ve got some tasty interviews with some great experts and creators coming down the line. If you want EXTRA interviews and stats, there’ll actually be a whole e-book about comics crowdfunding available to my e-mail list below. Drop me your info and I’ll let you know when that’s ready.
Or, to see all the comics-creating posts hosted here on Jace’s Bookshelf, including art tips and what-not, go to “Making Comics”, here. If you’re all like, “naw, Jen, you can’t teach me anything, I wanna talk to a pro,” go here to get a special in to a class with Boom! Comics’ Palle Schmidt (only valid til Jan 15, 2017!). Feel free to click on Jace’s Bookshelf above to keep browsing other “books,” like SuperGear and Superhero Alerts.
Hello all! I’m thrilled to present to you the first blog post in my little “making comics” series. This post’s goodies? Art technique tips from Palle Schmidt, the artist of Boom! Comics’ “Thomas Alsop” and internationally-published comic writer in both Denmark and the US. In his spare time, Palle offers a very popular introductory class to burgeoning comics artists, and if you want in I’ve got a hot, sexy tip for you at the end of this article. Tasty!
Let’s check out some of Palle’s secrets, tools, and tips.
Quick intro: Preferred Medium and Style
Palle: My style varies quite a bit depending on the job. But I tend to lean towards the somewhat gritty noir. I was introduced on a website as “Danish noir artist” which made me very proud, because I think that’s the first time in history anyone has ever been called that! Nowadays I do mostly painted art, all done on paper with a watercolor ink wash. I try to use the computer as little as possible and only for things that speed up the overall process.
Biggest technique breakthrough
Palle: As an artist, I’m very fast and intuitive when I work. My art took a giant leap forward when I accepted that and stopped trying to ink in this slick fashion everyone else seemed to be masters at. Now I “ink” in pencil and it’s much more enjoyable for me. I stopped cramping up and wanting to create “perfect” art and just let loose.
Four most important tools
Palle: Ecoline watercolors, miner pencil, white Posca acrylic marker, Staedtler lumocolor av marker. In the end I think it’s all about finding the tools that work for you, and that’s not necessarily what everyone else is using.
New technique experiments
Palle: Right now I’m loving an old white crayon I found in a drawer, because I’m drawing a book that has a lot of snow scenes in it. I’ve also started flipping my roughs and printing them out on the back of the board for further sketching. That’s saving me a ton of time. I’m always looking for little hacks to fine tune the process, because drawing comics just takes so incredibly long.
Number One technique tip for aspiring artists
Palle: Finish something. Learn from it. Move on.
Favorite project you’re working on right now?
Palle: I’m finishing up a 132-page graphic novel version of a Danish crime noir bestseller called “The Last Good Man”. That will be out next year over here but I strongly suspect it to be published in English as well. And the second volume of Thomas Alsop is finally out in trade paperback, so I’m excited about that too.
Big thanks to Palle for taking the time to offer us this feedback. So bottom line? Try coloring in a different style, if it helps you save time, and don’t be afraid to use things you find lying around for your art.
Because Palle is a pretty cool dude, I also got you guys a special “in” on his art class. As he explains somewhere on his site, for Palle to come teach you comics, like, in your house would normally be hundreds of dollars. He offers that same valuable information through exclusive access to his video classes to a lot of people for as low as $40. But for my peeps? There’s a special opportunity to get in for $25. That’s like 40 percent off. Are you one of my peeps? If you want in on this tastiness, drop me your e-mail and I’ll send you the secret code! You gotta do it soon, though, because the code expires January 15th. Also, this is a great, possibly life-changing gift for that artist in your life who’s just starting out.
EDIT: Deal expired, but you can have in to a bunch of other cool extra art tips from smart artists by dropping into this list!