Updating Schedules?

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Updating Schedules?

Postby SketchLines » May 1st, 2019, 5:44 am

Hey there! DrSketchLines here again, asking for more advice from a community that knows far more than I do! I'm a bit new at this...

So i've been grinding out my comic, A Wizard and A Cat, and I found that the standard - 1 update a week - updating schedule is something that I just cannot do. There's so much that I have to take into account. Besides the fact I don't have a team or another writer or colorist to help me with anything, I basically do everything all alone. The writing, the storyboarding, the scenes, the set up, the coloring, the shading. Not to mention the real life circumstances that does happen to get in the way a few times.

So I wonder, how often do independent webcomic creators ACTUALLY update their own comics? Bi-weekly? Monthly? Or do you guys stick to the standard 'one update a week' thing? How I would LOVE to be able to hammer out an update a week, but personally I feel that within that week, I just don't get enough time to write. Fleshing out the stories, motivation, planning the next chapter. Not to mention the dozens of drafts that goes into one single chapter now-a-days, for me at least.

I'd love to hear some feedback to take into consideration on how I work around or along this. I feel I just do not update enough.
My comic, A Wizard and A Cat :) http://awac.smackjeeves.com/
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Re: Updating Schedules?

Postby eishiya » May 1st, 2019, 7:31 am

Most of the authors you see on SJ are working alone, just like you. Many manage a weekly or even more frequent schedule, generally through having optimized workflows and having enough practice that they can work quickly, in addition to possibly just having more time available than you do. One thing many authors do is batch their work though. They don't write, storyboard, thumbnail, ink, colour, etc all in one go, they'll take the time to write entire chapters or a bunch of strips at once, then thumbnail them all (or a scene's worth), then sketch them all, and so on. This generally works out to be faster because you don't have to switch mindsets and tools in a single work session.

Also, you may want to note that 1 update for most people on SJ is a single standard-sized page. Your updates are more like 2 pages due to the long-scroll/webtoon format, so you're doing more work than most people!

If you can't do a weekly schedule, then do one that works for you. As long the story keeps moving, readers will come back. There are comics that update 1-2 times a month or even less and it works for them. It's harder to grow readership that way, sure, but if you're enjoying it, that's what matters! Plus, it's not like the comic disappears after a while. It'll still be there when you can work more quickly and update more, and it'll still be there after you've finished it, it can still find its readership then.


Whether you update enough or not is a bit irrelevant, if you're updating at the fastest pace you can do. You'll get faster over time, but for now, do what you can. If you enjoy the comic, then do it at whatever pace is comfortable for you!
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Re: Updating Schedules?

Postby calmcnichols » May 1st, 2019, 12:54 pm

coming from someone who's opinion may not matter much and is also relatively new to the webcomic scene, my advice is march to the beat of your own drum. if circumstances or personality won't let you stick to a certain rate, then stick to a rate which works for you. It may not even be much of a schedule at all and I think that's totally okay. even apart from real life constraints, everyone is wired different. you're not broken because you can't work like X or Y artist. I think the reason some people burn out doing what they love is they are doing it in a way that they think they 'should' rather than something enjoyable to them. I really believe that the enjoyment you get out of doing something inefficiently in a way you like will almost always get better results than slogging through it.

honestly, just have fun. if you enjoy it, you'll want to do more. if you don't, then no harm was done. win-win imo.
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Re: Updating Schedules?

Postby jellyfishin » May 1st, 2019, 9:25 pm

As single-person content creators, we kind of do worry that not updating frequently enough would cause readers to lose interest. This does have some basis; but the frequency that works for one comic audience (and comic creator) will vastly differ from another. Just because a newspaper-style-comic-strips creator uploads daily doesn't mean the graphic novelist should do the same; likewise, just because a graphic novelist might upload in chapter batches monthly doesn't mean a newspaper-style-comic-strips creator should do the same.

I get the impression you're working on something long term based on the last three pages of your comic. You could consider working in batches and then updating in bulk all at once with longer wait times between batch release. Alternatively, you could work on a batch of pages and then release each page singularly on a set schedule once the batch is done, making it look like frequent updates for the reader while you're working with a time buffer on the next batch.

But overall, do what works well for you. Most readers will usually understand if a creator will needs more time than another creator to create something, or if a creator has to break out of schedule for reasons beyond their control. Readers aren't subjecting a must-follow fabricated schedule on you, don't burn yourself out by self-imposing one on yourself.
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Re: Updating Schedules?

Postby SketchLines » May 2nd, 2019, 6:33 am

Eishiya

eishiya wrote:Most of the authors you see on SJ are working alone, just like you.


Oh! They are? I'm so sorry, I assumed. That's on me, my apologies...

Though I was thinking of a Tapastic and Webtoon kind of way, it's kind of assholish of me to assume that every other comic on SJ, Tapas, or Webtoon are made with the help of multiple people, huh?

Sorry about that, everyone...

eishiya wrote:Many manage a weekly or even more frequent schedule, generally through having optimized workflows and having enough practice that they can work quickly, in addition to possibly just having more time available than you do. One thing many authors do is batch their work though.


That's definitely something that I need to achieve. With the way my life is right now, there's no stability. There are only 'holes' throughout the day when I can actually work on them. Unfortunately I'm sick, and it really dampers my ability to not only write, but draw.

eishiya wrote:They don't write, storyboard, thumbnail, ink, colour, etc all in one go, they'll take the time to write entire chapters or a bunch of strips at once, then thumbnail them all (or a scene's worth), then sketch them all, and so on. This generally works out to be faster because you don't have to switch mindsets and tools in a single work session.


Oh for real?! Huh... that's interesting. I knew that some people don't write or storyboard, but I never thought that they'd dedicate, like, (i don't know how to put this without sounding naive or stupid, but...) time to write entire chapters and then basically work on strips and storyboards and thumbnails all before sketching and so forth.

Honestly, even the most obvious things flies over my head, so I'm glad to have it pointed out to me :P Thanks for pulling it in front of my eyes XD I'm oblivious sometimes, and I hate it. (That sounds sarcastic, but I assure you, I'm not being sarcastic :P)

eishiya wrote:Also, you may want to note that 1 update for most people on SJ is a single standard-sized page. Your updates are more like 2 pages due to the long-scroll/webtoon format, so you're doing more work than most people!


Oh :| Well, shoot. I never thought of it that way before. In my head it's always "a comic page is about 6 to 8 panels" - basically I have the mentality of an old, stubborn man mule.

I really do hope that some people on SJ aren't annoyed by the scrolling format, though. I should check up on my last post, to see how some people are reacting to it. It's been a while since i've seen it.

eishiya wrote:If you can't do a weekly schedule, then do one that works for you. As long the story keeps moving, readers will come back. There are comics that update 1-2 times a month or even less and it works for them. It's harder to grow readership that way, sure, but if you're enjoying it, that's what matters! Plus, it's not like the comic disappears after a while. It'll still be there when you can work more quickly and update more, and it'll still be there after you've finished it, it can still find its readership then.


Whether you update enough or not is a bit irrelevant, if you're updating at the fastest pace you can do. You'll get faster over time, but for now, do what you can. If you enjoy the comic, then do it at whatever pace is comfortable for you!


Yeah :) I should find a pace that works for me, which I'm gonna have to do, because I'll go nuts with my own brain telling me to do so if I don't!

I was always thinking that I was more of a bi-weekly kind of guy :)


calmcnichols

calmcnichols wrote:coming from someone who's opinion may not matter much


Don't worry, it does! I promise! Everyone who did respond all gave me a bigger picture to look at. Everyone, from all different viewpoints, hobbyists and professionals, the bitter and the sweet. They all helped me tonight, and gave me confidence. Your opinion did help me gain confidence and clarity too, by the way :)

calmcnichols wrote:and is also relatively new to the webcomic scene, my advice is march to the beat of your own drum. if circumstances or personality won't let you stick to a certain rate, then stick to a rate which works for you.


Yeah, I've been starting to think that maybe I'm more of a bi-weekly kind of guy. It's just unfortunate that I've been sick for the past 4 days, this day included, and am not able to draw or write whatsoever. Each time I attempt to do so, leaves my brain fried within just five minutes, and it sucks!

calmcnichols wrote:It may not even be much of a schedule at all and I think that's totally okay. even apart from real life constraints, everyone is wired different. you're not broken because you can't work like X or Y artist.


Yeah, I gotta stop comparing myself to others. Not in a critical and analytical kind of way, like "what are they doing that I can also do?" Kind of way, but a "what's the point? They have people reading and they're so much more experienced than I'll ever be. Some of them are even younger than me...".

THAT, I gotta stop that. Like you said, I'm not broken, I'm just wired different, man.

calmcnichols wrote:I think the reason some people burn out doing what they love is they are doing it in a way that they think they 'should' rather than something enjoyable to them. I really believe that the enjoyment you get out of doing something inefficiently in a way you like will almost always get better results than slogging through it.


Oh wow, that's important. Accidentally transforming the wants into shoulds. I've done that before, even with AWAC I've done that. Thankfully I've learned to pull myself out of that unproductive way of thinking.

Enjoyment IS key! If you don't like it, why do it? Especially if it's a hobby!

calmcnichols wrote:honestly, just have fun. if you enjoy it, you'll want to do more. if you don't, then no harm was done. win-win imo.


Yeah :) I think my problem at first was "AWAC should be, like, fuckin' serious man! With a huge plot and everything!" But i'm like "Dawg, i want tits in there and I want cat panties and stuff...". I really should add more things that I'll enjoy :) Even if some people are offended by it or if it isn't their cup of tea. It's not my problem, because the tea happens to be mine :) Some people have to like the same flavor!~



jellyfishin

jellyfishin wrote:As single-person content creators, we kind of do worry that not updating frequently enough would cause readers to lose interest. This does have some basis;.


Yeah, I can relate as well, even though I'm not that big.

jellyfishin wrote: but the frequency that works for one comic audience (and comic creator) will vastly differ from another. Just because a newspaper-style-comic-strips creator uploads daily doesn't mean the graphic novelist should do the same; likewise, just because a graphic novelist might upload in chapter batches monthly doesn't mean a newspaper-style-comic-strips creator should do the same.


Oh! Very interesting, I've never thought about it like that before.

jellyfishin wrote:I get the impression you're working on something long term based on the last three pages of your comic. You could consider working in batches and then updating in bulk all at once with longer wait times between batch release.


Actually, I've been thinking about doing that! Unfortunately, I wouldn't get the reader numbers that I'd like, probably. But I think that telling a long-term story is a lot more important than garnering readership at this stage in the game, for me.

It may look dead, but once the month is over, a whole new chapter is released!

jellyfishin wrote:Alternatively, you could work on a batch of pages and then release each page singularly on a set schedule once the batch is done, making it look like frequent updates for the reader while you're working with a time buffer on the next batch.


Hmm... been thinking about that too... But not sure if I should do it. Like, I'd love to have a whole chapter out so that way people can read it, but I'd also hate to bore the readers with only updating everynow and again, even if all the pages are quite literally done.

jellyfishin wrote:But overall, do what works well for you. Most readers will usually understand if a creator will needs more time than another creator to create something, or if a creator has to break out of schedule for reasons beyond their control. Readers aren't subjecting a must-follow fabricated schedule on you, don't burn yourself out by self-imposing one on yourself.


Thank you so much! You've definitely given me a lot to think about when it comes to scheduling and how i should handle myself during those schedules. I was thinking of scheduling as a sort of 'arbitrary rule', in which case, I guess that's a bit debatable, but in my case it's something I have to see a bit differently.

I did start to burn myself out on making updates every single week. It killed me, and damn near almost killed the project! I'll make sure not to do that again!
My comic, A Wizard and A Cat :) http://awac.smackjeeves.com/
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Re: Updating Schedules?

Postby claudeb » May 2nd, 2019, 7:07 am

Speaking as a reader, I don't mind if a webcomic updates rarely, because on Smack Jeeves I can keep up via RSS and in-site updates. Comics that don't have either? Yeah, sooner or later I'm gonna stop checking back manually if they look abandoned.

Even so, I follow a couple of webcomics that post half a chapter or so at once, very rarely, and that's a problem for two reasons:

  1. Figuring out where they left off and how far back I have to go to catch up is annoying and confusing.
  2. With long intervals between updates, I start to forget where the story was at and what was going on.

So if you work slowly, it's probably best to prepare one chapter in advance then schedule one, two, three posts per week like most webcomics do while you work on the next one. That way readers will enjoy a continuous stream of updates, with maybe small breaks when the next chapter is a little late for some reason.

You know what else works the same? Online video. Work smartly, and take care of yourself.
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Re: Updating Schedules?

Postby Gibson Twist » May 2nd, 2019, 9:25 am

I do recommend setting yourself a specific update schedule, if only so you have incentive to produce the pages, but not to the point of stressing or damaging your relationship with the work. Have the deadline, but don't be afraid to blow the deadline. Personally, I would put it at once-a-week or more if only for the regularity, and Mondays have typically the most webcomic reading traffic. I would also give serious thought to Eishiya's suggestion of splitting up your updates to give yourself a little more breathing room.

All that said, comics that update more frequently will always have a better time attracting an audience. I have two ongoing comics online, one that updates three times a week and one that updates whenever the artist is able to finish a page. The regularly-updating comic has 10 times the readership even though the irregular one has much better art, and the infrequent updates is a big part of that.

So, have a schedule, but don't hurt yourself over it.
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Re: Updating Schedules?

Postby SketchLines » May 2nd, 2019, 11:52 am

Gibson Twist wrote: Personally, I would put it at once-a-week or more if only for the regularity, and Mondays have typically the most webcomic reading traffic. I would also give serious thought to Eishiya's suggestion of splitting up your updates to give yourself a little more breathing room.


Hmm, yeah. I've already been thinking about how I could efficiently start updating either weekly or bi-weekly. I think what I'll do, that'll incorporate some breathing room too, is work on the chapter as a whole: Get everything written, get everything storyboarded, and once that's done, get everything lined. Then I start wondering how many panels justifies an update for a week. Is it usually 4-6 or more? I'll have to think about that, especially because I'm going for the vertical scrolling comic format. Hmm, It's a thumb biter for me; not of nervousness, but of thinking maybe a bit too much...

Sorry, kind of pouring thoughts onto the page at the moment, been pondering for a while. I've been feeling better (been sick for four days) and am thinking about going about working on the comic tomorrow. lol
My comic, A Wizard and A Cat :) http://awac.smackjeeves.com/
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Re: Updating Schedules?

Postby SketchLines » May 2nd, 2019, 11:57 am

claudeb wrote:
  1. Figuring out where they left off and how far back I have to go to catch up is annoying and confusing.
  2. With long intervals between updates, I start to forget where the story was at and what was going on.

So if you work slowly, it's probably best to prepare one chapter in advance then schedule one, two, three posts per week like most webcomics do while you work on the next one. That way readers will enjoy a continuous stream of updates, with maybe small breaks when the next chapter is a little late for some reason.


Oh, interesting having a valid opinion from a readers' perspective vs. a comic making one! That sure puts things into perspective for me.

But yeah, I've been thinking about finishing chapter 3 and, as many have suggested both on SJ and on Tapastic (those lovely lovely people, you included) "Work on at least one chapter, then start laying out the comic to be scheduled for an update once or twice a week, usually on a Monday, suggested by Gibson, and work on the next chapter as your buffer of updates do the work for you" kinda thing. :)

Thanks for your input, really :) Everyone is giving me all the push I needed. It's so great having a community give you advice and giving you a new way to look at the bigger picture.
My comic, A Wizard and A Cat :) http://awac.smackjeeves.com/
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