The Business of... Covers

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The Business of... Covers

Postby MemaiShirosaki » July 6th, 2018, 10:40 am

Alright! So I got into a discussion with a friend about covers for webcomics.

Is it really important, especially for a digital medium? Our advertising is a little different from printed works sitting on a shelf, but many of us do format and print out our own comics to sell as physical copies at cons or shops.

Some comics I've read just have nice splash art/chapter title pages and no formal cover (so to speak), and they're some of the most successful I've seen. Others just jump straight onto the first page.

What are your thoughts? Are covers really that important for a digital medium like webcomics, or are they just a nice finishing touch to make your work look polished?

(And mods, apologies if this doesn't quite belong here!)
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Re: The Business of... Covers

Postby eishiya » July 6th, 2018, 10:46 am

This is more of a general discussion topic, I think. I could more it there if you'd like.


I think covers that are part of the comic flow are a distraction, but they're good as promotional art and many comic sites (including SJ) require them as a sort of banner. So, they're good to make, but I don't think they should be included with the pages. By the time a reader goes to start reading the comic, they've already been sold on the comic by the banners, summary, misc promo art, website, etc, so there's no need for a cover, unless it's helping to tell the story (in which case, it's really just a shiny page 1).

Chapter covers are another story, since they help separate chapters, and thus serve an important purpose that justifies their inclusion as part of the flow.
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Re: The Business of... Covers

Postby MemaiShirosaki » July 7th, 2018, 12:43 am

If you feel it's best moved there, feel free to move it over :D

Yeah that's really what I was thinking. Usually when I want to start reading a new webcomic, I'd like to skip past all the fluff at the beginning. They're great for print, not sure if it's suited for online consumption.

But for those who DO include them; why did you do what you did? Does a comic cover make the work feel more polished? Feel free to share your thoughts guys X)
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Re: The Business of... Covers

Postby Gibson Twist » July 7th, 2018, 9:43 am

Covers are a hugely important part of comics marketing, I think it's fair to call it business related.

In webcomics, cover pages are useful as chapter breaks for some comics, if only to help the reader frame the story flow, like a paragraph break or punctuation. Some comics it will help, some it won't. I think something that gets missed, though, is the equivalent of a printed comic's cover in webcomics isn't a cover page, it's a landing page. For most, it's the first page new readers see, and it can sell someone on reading farther. Most strip comics just land you on the most recent page, but for story comics it's important whether you drop new readers to the most recent art, the first page to start reading, something more like a menu, or something else. Whatever you want to be the first thing people see when they come to your comic, that's your cover in webcomics. Anything else is an optional storytelling device.
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Re: The Business of... Covers

Postby StanleyComics » July 7th, 2018, 5:58 pm

Like most, I use covers to separate the different issues of my comic. Each cover is different and kinda shows what'll be happening in the issue to come. I don't know how sensible that is, but the way I see it, it's like a little trailer, foreshadowing the plot just slightly, and grabbing people's attention in what's gonna happen.
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Re: The Business of... Covers

Postby kayotics » July 8th, 2018, 6:22 pm

I'd say it's dependent on the comic itself. Obviously, there's no right or wrong answer here, but I also don't think there's a "best practice" when it comes to webcomics having covers either.

I think a lot of people in this thread agree on chapter covers being helpful. I think there's a lot of different ways that it can be used successfully, whether it's a big splash page/illustration to signify the newest chapter, or if it's the chapter title and going straight into the actual comic on that very page. I love the idea of using the chapter cover as a means to enter the actual chapter, rather than just using it as a splash image. It's something I've been thinking about for when I get to a new chapter.

As for actual comic covers (as opposed to chapter covers to separate out story arcs), I really think it's up to you. I like them. While I think that good writing can make or break a comic, a really fantastic cover illustration for their story usually helps draw me in. As much as people say "don't judge a book by it's cover", that's exactly what we do, ESPECIALLY with a visual heavy medium like comics. That first image tells me a lot about whether or not I'm going to like the art or not. Also, a good cover can be used as promotional material later.
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Re: The Business of... Covers

Postby MemaiShirosaki » July 10th, 2018, 10:19 am

Lots of insightful discussion here! Love it <3

I like the thought that little splash art or chapter covers work as little trailers for what's to come, I definitely feel that! I'm seeing it a lot more with webcomics these days and I love how creative a lot of creators have since become. It actually gives me some motivation to do nicer ones for mine (ah, but don't we all grow fond of the text only covers sometimes?)

kayotics wrote:As for actual comic covers (as opposed to chapter covers to separate out story arcs), I really think it's up to you. I like them. While I think that good writing can make or break a comic, a really fantastic cover illustration for their story usually helps draw me in. As much as people say "don't judge a book by it's cover", that's exactly what we do, ESPECIALLY with a visual heavy medium like comics. That first image tells me a lot about whether or not I'm going to like the art or not. Also, a good cover can be used as promotional material later.


That's actually really why I'm sort of torn between the whole thing of like, an actual comic cover for stuff on the web. More often than not, I don't really see a need for it, as I prefer jumping straight into the story pages rather than all the nice splash art (I am impatient). But like you say, no right or wrong answer! I think if a comic has a beautifully done cover and hints at the greater story/theme, I certainly don't see the harm in it. I suppose my gripe is when creators fall to like, floating head type covers?
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Re: The Business of... Covers

Postby EmperorWalrusComics » July 18th, 2018, 12:33 am

Covers are usually helpful in informing the reader what the comic's style will look like. But even with that being said, I don't think they're necessary. Very useful when attracting new readers and making the comic feel like a finished product, but not a clear-cut requirement.
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Re: The Business of... Covers

Postby bert » August 1st, 2018, 2:26 am

EmperorWalrusComics wrote:Covers are usually helpful in informing the reader what the comic's style will look like. But even with that being said, I don't think they're necessary. Very useful when attracting new readers and making the comic feel like a finished product, but not a clear-cut requirement.

Just the way I like it!
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Re: The Business of... Covers

Postby authorloremipsum » August 2nd, 2018, 11:54 am

Personally, I don't want to use all the extra time it takes for me to draw a cover after every chapter ends, so I don't bother with chapter specific covers. However, I do break chapters up with compilations of doodles I made during while i was drawing the chapter and use that as an opportunity to do a bit of advertising. I imagine you could do the same with chapter covers and it'd work just as well!

I also had to recently re-do the focal point of the cover for my comic because it was bugging me for being outdated, that being said, the cover of the comic should reflect the art style it's drawn in, so people know what they're getting into. If anything, it should be as great as you can make it, something to show off and impress, because that'll draw people in.
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