Before I begin planning out 2018 I want to reflect on how 2017 turned out: One of my personal goals for 2017 was to start some sort of creative project. I knew it was probably going to be a webcomic, but the issue was, and still is, my complete and total inability to consistently draw any person place or thing that is even remotely recognizable as a person, place or thing. When I draw my own comics I have to explain them in the same way that a toddler might explain a crayon scribble to his mother.
Over the summer of 2017 I started writing out comic ideas, playing around with formats and graphics and really figuring out what I could and couldn’t do with my current abilities. In July and August I started putting graphics together with words and spent a lot of time experimenting with colors and layout. During that time I also started buying up silly domain names and modifying WordPress themes, getting frustrated, giving up, deciding not to try again and modifying new WordPress themes two days later.
By late August I’d put together a domain, a website and about five finished comics with another five mostly finished. I printed out a bunch and showed them to a few family members. Everyone was supportive and I even got a few giggles from my 11-year-old so I figured if nothing else I could resort to poop jokes to get a few laughs. I started publishing weekly comics to the Great Void known as The Internet in September, but I didn’t really announce it to anyone until the end of October.
By the end of 2017 I’d only created about 18 comics, which is a relatively small number compared to any established artist or author, but it’s also 18 more comics than I had produced in 2016 and it’s 18 more comics than most people have made. I’m happy with my progress so far.
But enough about the past! It’s a new year and it’s time to look towards the future. I’m still relatively new to this whole webcomic thing, but now that I have a few months under my belt I’m getting a better idea of the challenges that come with making a free comic.
Making the comic is fun, but getting that comic in front of interested people and growing a regular audience is hard, especially when I’m only publishing on a weekly basis. As a busy dad, husband and guy with a time-consuming full-time job I don’t see my publishing frequency changing this year, though it is a long-term goal to have the freedom to produce more comics on a regular basis.
Here then are my personal goals for Parkington Park for 2018:
Create 52 More Comics
I have a few commitments throughout the year which may throw my publishing schedule off by a day or two, but I plan to stick with a weekly schedule and publish, at a minimum, 52 more comics this year. Along with creating these comics is the unspoken part about getting better at making funny comics. I learned long ago that humor is subjective and different people really like different things, but better made things are liked by more people. It may not be easily measurable, but you can get better at writing humor and I intend to work at it.
Create Five Design Pieces
I have some ideas for somewhat silly, non-linear comic art pieces that could work on T-Shirts or mugs a little better than a 3 or 4 panel strip comic. It’s hard NOT to have ideas when you spend as much time looking through tens of thousands of vintage images in all your free time.
Increase Web Views
Right now the visitor traffic to Parkington Park is a series of peaks and valleys where web traffic spikes on publishing days and then drops to almost nothing the rest of the week. I get an average of about 60 visits per day during the week and usually a spike of a few hundred visits once a week when I publish a new comic and drop it onto Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. My goal in 2018 is to average around 500 visits a day during the week.
I publish my each comic on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. I have, approximately, zero followers on any of those platforms right now. I get a few nice compliments and a few nice likes, but there clearly isn’t any sort of real audience yet. I would like to have an audience. That would make things a little easier for me and would keep me pushing forward when I start doubting myself in the wee hours of the morning. The goal for 2018? Have about 200 followers across all the social networks that I use.
Pay the Bills
Ahh, the controversial goal. There are a lot of heated discussions about artists making money online right now. I think if people make things that are enjoyed by other people then they should be compensated for that work. So far Parkington Park has earned me about 13 cents, which tells me I probably haven’t added much value to the world yet. I think I’d like to aim low on this one for 2018 and see what happens. If I could end up making $365 for the year, or an average of $1.00 per day, then I think that would be amazing. I don’t really see how that might happen at this point, but I’m guessing making better comics and bringing in more readers would help.
So there you have my five goals for 2018. I have no idea how I’ll accomplish most of these right now, but that’s a challenge for another day. I’ll try to post updates to these goals every few months and let you know how I’m doing as a new comic webcomic author.