Sticking to a webcomic routine

Creating a Routine to Schedule Comics

If I credit one thing as being the crux of growing this webcomic, it is routine. Viral fame might render routine a moot point, but even Perry Bible Fellowship and Poorly Drawn Lines had/have comic publishing routines. But for most, having a set routine for publishing your comics is advisable.

How many comics per week should you publish?

Three comics a week seemed manageable, but I decided on two.

I wouldn’t have been able to keep up a comic per day (and I wonder what magic potion Zach of SMBC Comics takes to manage it!). I would’ve been OK creating three comics per week, but now that my comic style is becoming more detailed, I’m glad I opted for two.

I also considered whether I could produce the content to begin with. I love comics and I love thinking about new ideas, but I have other interests too. Constantly thinking about absurd webcomic ideas might affect personal relationships.

Two comics per week frees my mind for some other pursuits.

Which days of the week should you publish a webcomic?

Once I settled on publishing two comics a week, I decided to do it on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Here’s my reasoning.

Posting Monday would mean I’d have to work on the weekend. I wanted wiggle room to be able to put off a comic until Monday if I had other plans for Sunday. As it turns out, I create most of my comics over the weekend anyway.

Tuesday is a good day because it’s early in the week. Thursday however doesn’t seem to be one of the best comic days. How do I know this? I don’t really, but I’m gauging it by how much engagement I see on the networks where I publish the comics. I think the best would be to publish Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It’s also a more competitive schedule, which is why I didn’t choose it… but I’m thinking about it. Monday to Wednesday are definitely the best days, but it’s good to have another day to create a sense of continuity so as not to keep your readers hanging on until next week.

Creating a webcomic publishing schedule and sticking to it

It’s important to publish when you say you’re going to publish. This is probably true for most of us. It’s a great exercise in dedication and I’m happy to say that it has been nearly a year and I haven’t missed a day.

So how can you stick to a routine? The best way to ensure your routine is to have it well defined. This means coming up with a specific hour in the days you’ve chosen. The hour matters because once your post goes live, it’ll show up on RSS, Facebook, Twitter, tumblr and whatever other feeds you offer. So if you post at 11am when everyone’s at work or school, they won’t see it. The best times are in the morning or afternoon. I post around 7am EST.

I’m lucky because I’m in Europe so the equivalent of 7am EST is around noon my time. But when I’m stateside and need to publish a post, I can set it automatically with WordPress’ scheduling option.

Wordpress schedule options
The WordPress dash for scheduling a comic post

Tapastic has the same option, which allows you to program a comic to publish at a future hour.

Tapastic scheduling. You can schedule comics with Tapastic's schedule option
Tapastic’s scheduling option to prepare a comic

Posting to media like Reddit requires that you identify optimal hours for publishing, which varies by subreddit. Publishing here is a manual task.

Update, 2017: I have changed how I publish comics. I still believe that sticking to a schedule is important. However, since now I’m writing posts, creating Tales, and composing letters, I post almost daily. Instead of following a schedule, I pick random rest days. I’ve learned that posting every day helps grow Facebook followings as well.

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