Unshelved comic strip for 1/14/2008

How to Make Webcomics

There is no faster growing medium today than webcomics. In the old days if you wanted people to see your comic strip you needed to get accepted by a syndicate, go through a sometimes-lengthy development phase which often involved sacrificing one's creative vision to match the syndicate's opinion of what the market wanted, and then wait while the syndicate tried to sell your strip to newspaper editors, who had their own opinion of what their readers wanted. Now you just put a comic strip up on the web.

But it's not quite that easy. What sort of strip should you draw? Using what tools? Where should you host it, how can you build the website, and what should it look like? How do you get an audience? And, perhaps most importantly for those of us not with trust funds, how do you make money?

For several years I helped answer these questsions by moderating a series of "webcomics school" panels at ComicCon, featuring some of the brightest lights (and sharpest minds) in webcomics. Now four of them, my friends Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub, Dave Kellett, and Brad Guigar, have come together to write a book on the subject, How to Make Webcomics, published by Image Comics. It is now available for preorder, and should be out shortly. I don't think there's a better guide for those interested in becoming cartoonists and, really, who isn't interested in becoming a cartoonist?

This week's Unshelved is sponsored by these four gentlemen, who also have a hilarious and informative podcast on the subject called Webcomics Weekly which has joined This American Life on my must-hear list.

Drop-In Titles

It's been a little while since I mentioned Drop-In Titles, the service we offer to help librarians, booksellers, and readers find out about books that are released by publishers too late to get into most catalogs. It's at the bottom of our webpage, the daily email, and in a special RSS feed. It took a few weeks to work the kinks out, but now it's operating smoothly and many of you have written in to say how useful you're finding it.

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