Currently I share comics to social media including Facebook, Tapastic, Tumblr, Twitter, Reddit/Imgur, RSS, and Instagram. I only recently started to share comics to Instagram, and my number of followers has skyrocketed there. The number of followers I have on Tapas (previously Tapastic) has hovered around 4k for well over a year. My tumblr following reached 50k before tapering off, and now it doesn’t grow much. I’m writing this post because I’ve decided to remove Tapas and Tumblr from my header, and I think it merits an explanation.
They say post your comics everywhere
Posting to as many places as possible seems to be standard advice. It’s sound advice, especially when just starting out. But over time you start to see trends. You can learn how different audiences interact with your comics, and whether or not visits to your website increase.
By removing tumblr and Tapas icons from this website’s header, it signals that I’m shifting focus and energy to only a few platforms. I am removing the icons, but I’ll still post comics to Tapas and Tumblr. The difference is that I wont promote my comics on these platforms.
The purpose of this comic is to share art, but it’s also to make a living. Those social media platforms that I feature on my header need to have pragmatic effect on the growth of this comic. I’ll explain briefly why I’m removing these icons.
Why I’m removing the tumblr icon
Tumblr has been receptive to my comics, but few tumblrians come to this website when I share there. The only benefit of having the tumblr icon on the website is to reveal to tumblrians who happen to visit my site organically that they can follow me on tumblr. Tumblrians are less likely to click an external link that navigates away from tumblr than someone using Facebook or Twitter. So naturally, for anyone who wants to follow this comic via tumblr, they’re more likely to find me via tumblr anyway.
The same can be said of Instagram, it’s true. But Instagram is an app, so that icon connects the browser to the app.
The tumblr icon, on the other hand, is redundant.
Why I’m removing the Tapas icon
I’ve been edging toward dropping Tapas completely due to a number of reasons. Recent controversial changes to their TOS which they later rescinded after concentrated resistance from their creator community is one reason. That change had suggested that they get first right to refusal (what’s this?). It was brazen, and signaled a direction the company was taking that caught many of its users off-guard.
To grow a following on a platform like Tapas, you have to promote your comics there. That would mean promoting the same comic there that I post everywhere else. Instead of posting the comic directly to Facebook and Twitter, I’d post a link to the comic on Tapas. So to make Tapas work for you, it needs to be your primary location for posting comics; I prefer total autonomy in the form of this website.
Alternatively, if the community takes to your comics, your Tapas following will grow. But after years of posting there, I’ve concluded that my comics do not suit that community’s taste. Tapas favors long-form story comics, cute comics, anything with teen protagonists, fantasy and adventure, ultra-relatable pop-culture slice of life comics, etc. My comics do not fit the bill; comics that are too adult tend to flop on Tapas.
For now I’ll keep posting comics to Tapas. It’s a great platform that provides options for your followers to “tip” you, and there’s revenue sharing from ads served. But these structures only reward comics with large followings, and no way will Things in Squares get there.
Why focus on only a few social media platforms
The expression “you’re stretched too thin” applies to armies on the front line, to people who try to do too much in one day, and to comics that try to promote themselves across too many platforms. This was a long time coming.
I want visitors to trust that I’ll be active on the platforms I promote. This is as much a mental decision as a pragmatic one. Hopefully, I can learn how to tweet.
Also, this frees up real estate on the site for a Patreon icon, or, in the future, a Webtoons icon.
These blog posts are meant for webcomic creators who want to making a living with their art. Here are some other related posts that might be interesting reads:
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