If it seems like we were just talking about LINE Webtoons last week, that’s because we were. But where last week, they had just announced a partnership with Patreon, seemingly in the hope of attracting more webcomikers to their platform, this week they announced a partnership with DeviantArt to promote both groups at comic conventions. DeviantArt has acted as sort of an online portfolio (as well as a supportive community) for many artists, and more than a few have seen the work posted there to lead to professional gigs. Some as webcomic artists.
This new partnership seems to be set up to bring artists to both platforms. Their press release notes that at the conventions they attend, they will have “a variety of exciting panel discussions, Artist Alley Sponsorships, live draw events, influencer and creator demonstration areas and onsite contests – getting creators new and old experiencing vertical storytelling and thinking about comics in stimulating new ways.” So for artists not already showcasing their work online, it will introduce them to a venue where they might do just that, but for artists already comfortable on the system, they’ll be shown opportunities in webcomics that they might not have considered.
There’s a couple of relevant points here. First, both Webtoons and DeviantArt know that, in order to attract more artists, they need to get in front of them. They’ll be going to conventions and literally getting in front of their audience to get their attention.
The other relevant point is that they timed their announcements a week apart. Which means that it’s going to keep Webtoons top-of-mind for a longer period. Instead of one announcement that might fall to the wayside after a few days, they get a second bump with this announcement which will likely last longer because it reinforces the message from last week. You need to look no further than this column, as this is the second week in a row I’ve talked about them.
The basic lesson, which should be learned by all webcomikers, is that intent is to get and hold people’s attention. See, webcomics aren’t in competition with one another. Not really. Webcomics are in competition with every other thing on the internet. News. Games. Email. Facebook. Amazon. YouTube. Anything that can distract a person from your comic with one click.
So a creator has to find a way to keep readers’ attention over a long haul. This is why sporadic updates or long hiatuses can be a death knell; people lose interest and move on to something else. That’s also why many successful creators are active on Twitter or their own message boards or whatever. It’s a quick/easy way to keep in contact with readers (thereby keeping the creator and the comic top-of-mind) in between updates. It’s certainly no guarantee but it does help to remind readers that you’re still around.
It’s been noted that the point of social media is to make the statement, “I am here.” And whether it’s through social media and/or some other channels, that’s what webcomiker often need to say to ensure they’ve captured readers’ attention for a little while longer.