Posting my webcomic to this website will only take it so far. Creating the comic is everything, but distributing it is the everywhere. I’m somewhat averse to being social online, but in order to grow a webcomic you need to suck it up and be part-publicist, so I’m doing that. Enter third-party websites. I decided to start a series of articles about where else I post my webcomic apart from this website. This is the first article, which is about posting comics to Reddit via Imgur. (You should also make sure that you host your comic with a web host that can handle Reddit traffic spikes)
What is Reddit?
Reddit was a mystery to me before starting a webcomic. I’d read here and there about this powerful platform for getting your work in front of more eyes, but understanding the system took me a little while. Thanks to a few scattered articles I was able to eventually wrap my head around it. Reddit is a communal place where users vote for content (upvote) or against it (downvote). The faster a piece of content receives upvotes, and the more upvotes it receives every minute in relation to downvotes, the higher this piece of content will appear on the subreddit where it was posted.
Subreddits are forums dedicated to a single theme, and there are rules that dictate which content belongs there and which will be removed by the moderators. If your content is upvoted fast enough within the subreddit, Reddit then pins it to the main reddit.com home pagination, where it can be skyrocketed to brief internet fame.
/r/comics: Where the Wild Things Go
There are two main comic subreddits where I post Things in Squares stuff. The heavy-hitter by far is /r/comics, with nearly 400k subscribers, followed by the subreddit /r/webcomics, which has 74k. There are hundreds of subreddits, so if my comic has something to do with, say, France, then /r/France and /r/French is where I’ll post. Then of course there’s the mega-subreddit /r/funny, which is dedicated to anything funny. While /r/comics subscribers have a longer attention span, successful posts in /r/funny tend to be light on text and length, and usually apply to a broader sample of the general population (mainstream humor, I guess).
These subreddits are great places to discover new artists and get all gigiddy about established names like JimKB, sellyourcomputer, shenanigansen and Lunarbaboon. Posting to Reddit for me has borne the greatest fruit, yielded the best harvest, resulted in the most optimized numbers, garnered the most attention, received the highest praise, triggered the stormiest threads, and etcetera–you get the idea.
What is Imgur?
Imgur is Reddit’s repository for images, but it’s a powerful platform unto itself. A note on it’s pronunciation from the website itself: “Imgur is pronounced ‘image-er/im-ij-er.’ The name comes from ‘ur’ and the extension ‘img’ – your image!”
Users have both a reddit.com username and an imgur.com username, which are distinct. Once you upload an image to imgur, you can link to it from a subreddit. In some subreddits, it’s ok to post links to the image on your own website. For example, /r/comics allows and encourages artists to link to work on their own websites. However, /r/funny requires all image posts to link exclusively to imgur.
Why use Imgur instead of your website?
It’s only logical that comic artists want more visitors to their website. In marketing terms, we want conversions. This means we want visitors to complete some action like e-mail subscription, Facebook page liking, Twitter sharing, or clicking on AdSense ads. To do this, we post links to our websites.
When I share a link to my comic on Imgur, those who click on it are taken to the Imgur site, where they won’t be able to click on my ads, social media pages or e-mail subscription. All I can do is link to thingsinsquares.com in the description of the image, which will only be visible if I share the link to the image page, and not to the image file itself. The screenshot below shows images that are linked to an image alone as i.imgur.com, and those that are linked to the imgur page of that image, imgur.com.
So why use Imgur? Here are a few reasons:
- Imgur runs on a powerful server that can handle Reddit traffic spikes (thousands of visits). My server will crash if the post gets too popular.
- Imgur has millions of users, so your work gets in front of more eyes.
- Reddit users trust Imgur, so they’re more likely to click an image that’s hosted on Imgur than on your website.
- Imgur posts are therefore more likely to reach the front page of Reddit.
If you want to read about why comic artists post to Reddit using Imgur, this thread is recent, and exhaustive, with many of the comic artists sharing their view on the matter.
A step-by-step guide to posting to Reddit using Imgur
Step 1: Create a Reddit account
My username is /u/velabas.
Step 2: Request ‘flair’ from the various subreddits
Some subreddits allow you to use ‘flair’, which basically proves to redditors that you’re the creator of your comics. Flair shows up beside your username on your posts. To do this, contact the moderators of each subreddit and give them proof that you’re the OC (original creator) by linking to a page on your website that says “I’m –reddit username-, and I want some flair!”
Step 3: Create an Imgur account
Create an Imgur account! My username is tiscomics.
Step 4: Upload an image to Imgur.
Hover over your username in the top right corner of the screen once logged in, and click ‘images’. Then click ‘Computer’ to upload (you should avoid uploading from a URL in case it’s hotlinked–I’m not sure).
Step 5: Share the image to Imgur’s library
Once you upload the image, it’ll appear in your image library to the left. Select the image you want to share.
Click “Publish to Imgur”, a green button that formerly read “Share to Imgur library” and had confused me for weeks. You’ll have to give it a catchy title, and put the link to its location on your website in the description.
The Imgur library is not Reddit. It’s the thumbnails on the front page of Imgur, and it changes really, really quickly if you organize them by “newest first”. It’s safe to say that if you can get your comic on the front page of Imgur, it’s better than on the front page of Reddit. That one’s up for debate, though.
Step 6: Share to Reddit subreddit /r/comics
Or any subreddit for that matter. Make sure you’re logged into your reddit account, and be sure that the image is already published publicly on Imgur. Click the little Reddit guy to share the image page to reddit.
You’ll be redirected to Reddit and prompted for information. Like it says in the screenshot below, it’s all about the relationship between your comic and the title that redditors will see. This was my most successful reddit post:
You’re not sharing only your comic, you’re sharing your wit. If it’s a shitty title, it won’t get clicked. This comic in the above screenshot wasn’t better than other comics that did much worse on Reddit. I’ve lost out on plenty of eyes because I couldn’t make that connection between title and content. I think a good title leaves something for the viewer to be curious about, like, “What’s ‘it’?”
So here’s the screenshot below of the submit page for a subreddit. Also, you’ll need to select the subreddit (ie ‘comics’ or ‘funny’).
So sharing the image page will take people to the screenshots we’ve seen of my comic on the Imgur site. If you link to the image file directly (i.imgur.com), it’ll take visitors to a browser window with only your image. Get the image link here:
Step 7: Participate
In the comments section, post a link to the image’s original location on your website so that those interested can find it. Sometimes redditors will comment on your thread, and you should reply to the level-headed ones.
Step 8: Repost, and to more than one subreddit
Avoid reposting at all costs. Redditors really hate when they see the same content repeated. However, it’s only natural for us to want to optimize that tricky title-content relationship. So, if you post something that gets downvoted too quickly, and you think it’s the title, just delete the post and try again. Don’t abuse this, but don’t be scared away by die-hard zealots either.
In the same vein, you can post the same content to different subreddits. Some zealots won’t like this, but then again, most of the people in /r/funny aren’t going to be the same people from /r/comics, and the people who linger around the homepage might never go into either of these subreddits. My point is that Reddit exists as a place to help creators share their original work, and as long as you don’t abuse the system, it’ll work for you.
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