When trying to promote my own webcomics, I noticed a huge lack of quality when it came to Facebook groups dedicated to comic creation. Each group’s wall was flooded with self-promotional posts. Don’t get me wrong – I had no qualms about plastering my links everywhere and anywhere. The problem is, when everyone is elbowing each other, trying to be seen in a sea of thumbnails, no one stands out. What’s worse is that little to no conversation is encouraged or initiated. It’s just an endless wall of “Look at my comic! Kthanksbye!” Needless to say, after religiously checking our analytics every night, I found that my Facebook promo efforts were often in vain. Few if any page views, never a comment, and the occasional “like” from the groups’ admins here and there. Not exactly the front page of Reddit.
After realizing that Facebook comic groups lack activity, I also found out that…well, there’s a serious lack of webcomic-related groups to begin with. Hundreds of thriving Taylor Swift groups, but slim pickings for those who prefer to trash their exes via word balloon. Unsatisfied with the situation, I decided to create a new group. One that embraces promotion, but gently slaps the wrists of members who get spammy. One that encourages creators to put the Wacom away for a few minutes and engage in human conversation. One that allows its hard-working members to shine in the spotlight for a bit and receive creative criticism to boot.
I will say that after creating the Webcomic Underdogs Facebook group, I was worried that no one would join, due to the guidelines I created. “Who’s going to read these rules, let alone follow them?” I also fretted that the group would pan out to be fertile breeding ground for fluff and sneaky self-promotional posts. “Yeah, I like to draw things. And write. Oh yeah – in case any of you are curious, I’m going to leave my url right here…” To my surprise, however, that didn’t happen. Webcomic Underdogs grew steadily, and the members blew me away with their intelligence, wit, respect, and, to my absolute pleasure, complete understanding of the purpose of the group.
The Underdogs Outgrow Their Britches
After reaching 150 members or so, I realized that we needed to expand. To sow our wild oats. Facebook simply doesn’t offer an ideal platform for expansion. So, I decided to take the plunge and raise money for an official Underdogs site. And, thanks to the donations of some extremely generous members, we reached our goal very shortly!
In 2013, I began talking with Patrick Yurick, CEO of MakingComics.com. I was impressed by what he had achieved in such a short amount of time, and was excited to hear his ideas about providing resources, educating, and inspiring comic creators. One thing led to another, and our two teams decided to become one. Comic Underdogs is now the official community of MakingComics.com, and we couldn’t be happier to be under the MC umbrella!
To Infinity and Beyond
So, here we are! We’re grateful that we’ve come so far, and know that we wouldn’t have been able to do it had it not been for our supportive community. We hope to continue to be a much-needed resource for creators who are looking for encouragement, support, and advice.
Keep keepin’ on, Underdogs!