Many of the creators whose webcomics I follow regularly have Twitter accounts. I don’t interact much with most of them, but I follow them to see how they work, what challenges they face both in making webcomics and just generally, and who they’re interacting with. (Side note: A great way to discover new webcomics is to see what your favorite webcomikers are reading and what other creators they’re talking with!)

One thing that should come as no surprise is that the more popular and well-known creators have larger followings. By extension, those creators have more fan interactions as well. Makes sense, right? If there are more people reading, there’s more people who can respond. The flip side of that, however, is that with fewer readers, there’s less opportunity for interaction. And that can lead to feelings of doubt or insecurity.

Let’s say you’re working on a webcomic and you’ve been publishing it regularly and consistently for about a year. But because you’re still building up a readership, every time you post a new update, it doesn’t generate any feedback. The comments section is dark; you don’t get any re-tweets. Or maybe you do get a few, but they’re always from the same two or three people who don’t say anything of substance. “Nice page” or, worse, “Like.”

This can be disheartening for a creator. While comic creators have toiled away in solitary for most of comics’ very existence, it was until recently understood that there simply were not many avenues for fans to interact with the creators. Charles Schulz almost certainly had no idea how many Peanuts strips were cut out from newspapers and saved into scrapbooks or pinned up in cubicle walls or hung between a refrigerator door and a small magnet. And while he did get fan mail through the post office, that wasn’t something that happened right away. It took him some time to build up an audience as well.

But what Schulz did have was an editor. Someone whose job it was to respond to every strip and make recommendations and provide critical feedback. Webcomikers don’t have that. Which, in some ways, is very positive because they can craft their stories any way they like and aren’t subject to whatever ‘creative’ story and marketing ideas anyone else has. (Schulz famously hated the name Peanuts that his editors saddled his strip with.) But at the same time, they’re also left without any consistent source of useful feedback. They can be left wondering if what they’re doing is connecting with anyone else, or if they’re just shouting into the wind.

I’ve talked before about webcomikers being passionate about their work. This is why they have to be. Without a consistent source of feedback to let them know how they’re doing, they can feel like they’re working in a vacuum. Which is do-able, but requires a great deal of internal motivation and drive. Of course, not every comic is going to be The Next Big Thing™ but even a little external encouragement can go a long way.