Eric: The idea is to tease people, not piss them off.
So, I read a recommendation for Lottie vs. the Dead, over in a forum post on Comixpedia. And the description sounded appealing -- it's Superhero Satire, which is a form I know well. (I've, frighteningly enough, written just shy of a million words of Superhero Satire in my time.) It features a cynical heroine. And the guy recommending it says he likes it. It's on Wirepop, which is Yet Another Subscription Webcomics Site, but they boast having a robust free preview. So I go.
I can see today's entry free, a la Modern Tales, though it doesn't exactly pull me in. And checking out the "free preview," I discover it's the first episode of the first chapter.
The first episode of the first chapter is nothing but a relatively boring, utterly cliche Zombie Attack.
I look to the gallery, to see if I'll at least think the art fits the whole "superhero parody" genre well. Only the Gallery is subscriber only.
The gallery is subscriber only!!!!!
Okay guys. Marketing 101 for you. If you're going to give away a freebie, make sure it includes enough hooks into your series to make people want to read more. Absolutely make sure it actually involves your main series. And gallery artwork? Gallery artwork isn't a premium bonus. It's an advertisement. There's a good number of people out there who won't plunk down even three bucks a month on a superhero story without knowing if there are hot babes. There are others who won't commit without some sense of artistic style. And as for me? I'm not going to commit without having some concept of what kind of story you're telling.
(Yes, this means I think Modern Tales needs to remarket too -- but at least with Modern Tales, things like Gallery pages aren't locked away.)
As for me? I have no idea if Lottie vs. the Dead is worth my time right now, and I'm not that interested in finding out. And that is not good for Wirepop.
Want to get me interested? Give me a six page Lottie story. Just enough to let me know a bit about her and a bit about what I can expect. And for Christ's sake, if you're going to rip off George Romaro, figure out what made George Romaro work, first.
Posted by Eric Burns-White at October 2, 2004 6:02 PM
Comment from: Sembazuru posted at October 2, 2004 7:14 PM
I'm betting that the "zombie attack" is a movie being watched by one of the characters.
Comment from: Sembazuru posted at October 2, 2004 7:17 PM
Oh, wait, it is. Also, the comic's available for free on the creator's website:
Comment from: Bo Lindbergh posted at October 3, 2004 4:50 AM
For this particular comic, you can abuse the quirks of the Wirepop system to read a lot more. You see, the cartoonist likes multi-page episodes very much, and every page of the current episode is free. At the moment, the "Pages in this Episode" menu has 26 entries. That's more than half of the entire archive.
Comment from: Bo Lindbergh posted at October 3, 2004 5:00 AM
Unsolicited opinion: the best Wirepop comic is Realms of Ishikaze. All of chapter 1 is free (24 pages).
Comment from: Egak posted at October 3, 2004 6:33 AM
Sembazuru is wrong. The site he gave you does not have the entire archives for free, but, between it and the samples on the wirepop site, roughly 3/4s of the comic can be accessed free.
Comment from: Phalanx posted at October 3, 2004 6:35 AM
Just out of curiosity, Eric, how do you think Modern Tales should restructure?
Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 3, 2004 1:26 PM
I've been to the artist's site. Lottie looks like it might be fun. Wirepop seriously needs to leverage that better.
Phalanx -- somewhere between Modern Tales (Graphic Smash, Girlamatic, etc etc etc) and PV Comics is a happy medium. Some means by which the comic can be appropriately teased without giving away the whole would be ideal. I'm thinking maybe the first several pages/episodes (enough to give the idea of what's going on) should be available and well advertised, plus different "perks" like a gallery page or fanart section. PV Comics does that to a degree (KU-2 does it just about perfectly, and when I inevitably subscribe it will be because of that).
I think Wirepop wants to do this, but the way they execute it is a little too automated. For example -- the whole "zombie movie" think I reference in the Snark is, as Sembazuru said, a movie that's being watched. So the cliches are acceptable in context of the story. Absent the story and context, they're just cliches and do Lottie a severe disservice.
In the end, the individual site editor and strip creator need to put their heads to best determine what "teaser" material is best suited for each strip.
Also -- the Manley sites need cast pages. Badly. But they already know that -- my understanding is they're coming with the Webcomicsnation shiftover.
Comment from: Shaenon posted at October 3, 2004 2:01 PM
For the record, the amount of each Modern Tales comic that's available to nonsubscribers is up to the individual artist. I've got two Narbonic storylines available for free, and I'm planning to free up more in the future. Supposedly, the new MT control panel, which will come along with the Webcomics Nation launch, will allow us to free and un-free sections ourselves, rather than emailing Joey and making him do it for us. That will be nice.
Cast pages are also coming with the new Webcomics Nation order. Joey has a whole ambitious plan to make cast pages that will explain the characters' relationships and let you link to the characters' past appearances, and having the cast information accessible from the archives, and on and on blah blah blah.
Which is why Webcomics Nation -- and the MT revamp -- is so damn late.
Comment from: alschroeder posted at October 18, 2004 8:20 AM
I guess I should feel guilty, since you were evidently responding to my comment. But as others mentioned before---and as I mentioned in the original Comixpedia comment you were evidently responding to...all you have to do is go to the current comic, and there are multiple pages to read. It's too bad you didn't do so at the time I recommended it, but if you go to the CURRENT comic it starts with a Wonder Woman lookalike calling the heroine a "whore" at here
and continues for FIFTEEN MORE PAGES to a really interesting discussion about the death penalty as applied to super-villains, as well as the aforementioned confrontation with the heroine and her Superman-like father---as mentioned.
No. Subscription. Required.
I don't blame you for your confusion, though. After all, you're used to the MODERN TALES model, where you get usually just one page free. We're not used to getting a LOT more from a paysite.---Al
Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 18, 2004 9:08 AM
As listed, when I went through on that day, I did many different things to try to get more information. You saw exactly what I was able to access. On the day of the comic, the only thing I could get at Wirepop was her driving a motorcycle for one page and going back to the beginning, which had the George Romaro film sequence with none of the Lottie sequence.
And, as listed, a locked gallery page. Which is really what set off the above. And which I stick by. That's just not smart.
However, I was able to find more about Lottie on the webcartoonist's website, and was able to see that Lottie definitely looks like a worthy piece. So take the above as annoyance at Wirepop, possibly caused by my looking at it on exactly the wrong day, and not a rejection of Lottie versus the Dead.
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