I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that you can always come to for both your comic & non-comic making needs. These are the sorts of things that you should always consider when you’re trying to treat comics/self-publishing as a business.
I’ll add to it as I learn more, but in the future I will reference this page quite often. I recommend bookmarking it. Enjoy!
- WordPress: The #1 blogging platform to use in my opinion. I’ve used many different sites over the years as well as creating my own from scratch but WP is definitely where it’s at. It’s FREE, wonderful and easily customizable.
- Woo Themes: The ultimate resource for premium WordPress themes that have been downloaded nearly 8 million times by users! Choose from over 105 different themes.
- Bluehost: Easy to use, 1-click automatic WordPress installation, and excellent customer service. Highly recommended for your first site.
- Dreamhost: Same as above. All of my sites have been hosted by these two and I have no complaints.
- HostGator: I’ve been looking at these guys for all my new hosting as they seem to be the cheapest! Basic plans starting very low and judging by reviews online a pleasure to work with.
Distribution and Shopping Cart Systems
- Digital Delivery App: The shopping cart system I currently use to sell my digital goods. I’ve written about DDA before in one of my How to… Digital articles. Have a look there for some more in depth information. There’s a reason I feature their ad on my site so prominently after all!
- E-Junkie: A shopping cart system that’s used to sell digital and tangible goods. You can sell ebooks, sell mp3 tracks and albums, fonts, artwork, cds, posters, books, t-shirts and almost everything else you want to sell. E-junkie has no transaction limit, no bandwidth limit, no setup fee and no transaction fee.
- Pulley App: Pulley is a service of Big Cartel. It can be summed up in a few words: Create, Sell, Deliver and Track. You can find their plan pricing here.
- Paypal: By now I’m sure everyone knows who Paypal is… I use them in tangent with my other digital distribution systems. They help act as a payment gateway.
Email Subscriptions and Marketing
- Aweber: Sign ups start at a $1 for the first month, $19 thereafter. They feature auto-responders (which are fantastic btw), 150 templates, RSS, analytics and more.
- MailChimp: These guys offer a number of different plans. I especially like the FREE one: “You can send 12,000 emails a month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers with MailChimp’s Forever Free plan, though a few features are only available to paying users.” They have auto-responders as well as some nifty social sharing capabilities.
Affiliate and Advertising Programs
- Google Adsense: Make money by placing relevant ads on your website that are generated from advertisers using Google Adwords. This is free to use, but you have to register for an account.
- Google Adwords: This is the opposite of Adsense. This time you’re the advertiser and you’re paying to market yourself. You set a budget and pay when someone clicks on your links/images.
- Amazon Associates: The affiliate program from Amazon. You advertise their products/website and when someone places an order you get paid a commission on the sale(s). Your percentage could vary depending on how many “sales” you make in a month.
- Project Wonderful: I haven’t used Project Wonderful myself too much yet but it is something I hope to change once I launch my first webcomic.
- Commission Junction: Another affiliate program where you display ads and get paid from merchants.
- LinkShare: Rakuten LinkShare is a leading provider of full-service online marketing solutions specializing in the areas of Affiliate Marketing, Search Marketing, and Lead Generation. As a publisher you advertise links and images for advertisers who aim to increase their online sales.
- Google Analytics: The holy grail to some, confusing as all hell to others. I fall somewhere in between. I bounce between GA and StatCounter — the one listed next.
- StatCounter: I’ve been with StatCounter since well before 2008 when I first started dabbling in website design. Definitely not as specific as GA but for those that are curious and would just like a peek behind the curtain of your traffic, etc this could work perfectly.
- Digital Webbing: An area to post want ads for your comic making needs. The link takes you to their Creator Community Forum on the site. There are two different areas you could post into: Collaboration Area and Paid Job Area. Remember to be specific in what you’re looking for and give as much information as possible to achieve best results. I’d also recommend asking applicants to add specific things like entering key phrases into the Subject Field of their email to weed out any potential non-desirables. One other thing is to make sure to read the rules for posting in each area. They contain valuable tips as well!
- deviantART: A little hard to navigate easily and there’s no real way to post an ad for the most part. You’re far better off searching the various portfolios on the site and contacting those artists you find appealing. This will definitely take some time.
- Gutterzombie: The link takes you directly to the Work for Hire section of the forum. This site is more dedicated to Colourists and Flatters in particular. But a valuable resource area nonetheless.
- DC Comics Guide to:
- Colouring and Lettering: Mark Chiarello talks to us about colour and Todd Klein guides us through lettering and logo design.
- Writing: Dennis O’Neill guides us through writing comics.
- Pencilling: Klaus Janson guides us through the art of pencilling comics.
- Inking: Klaus Janson this time guides us through inking.
- Digitally Drawing: Freddie Williams guides us through drawing digitally in Adobe Photoshop. I liked this one an awful lot. I don’t have much interest in drawing digitally but I do have an interest in saving myself some time. There are plenty of useful techniques in here that will save you some headaches and time.
- Framed Ink: Spanish artist Marcos Mateu-Mestre worked as a visual concept artist on films such as The Prince of Egypt, Balto and Surf’s Up. Here he’s distilled 20 years of experience into a practical manual on the language of images. Not a large section on comics by any means but there’s some damn good stuff in here on composition, lighting, setting mood, etc. He has a lovely style as well.
- Panel Discussions: An excellent book that covers everything from pacing, story flow, word balloon placement, color theory, spotting blacks and how gutters between panels affect the story. It has some great photos to drive home the point and includes interviews with Mike Mignola, Brian Stelfreeze, David Mazzucchelli, Walter Simonson, George Pratt, Will Eisner and more!
- How to Make Webcomics: The bible of sorts from the guys behind PVP and Halfpixel.com It basically covers every topic so there’s not much point in outlining them all here.
- Studio Space: A very large book featuring a ton of interviews with artists such as Sean Phillips, Tim Bradstreet, Mike Mignola, Jim Lee, Frank Miller, Alex Ross, Dave Gibbons, Adam Hughes and many many more. Inside you’ll find plenty of full colour images (some full page) and discussions with the artists where they share their methods on how they work, how they got started in the business and some further insight into the work.
- How to Draw Noir: Shawn Martinbrough who’s illustrated comics from DC, Vertigo and Marvel takes us on a journey in the use of black as a colour. Here you’ll find advice on creating shadows, silhouettes, texture and more. He demonstrates how to achieve mood, design characters and locations, stage action and other topics such as page layout, panel design and cover design. This one may be a little too specific for some but I quite enjoyed it myself.
- Comic Book Lettering – The Comicraft Way: Learn the basics as well as some neat tricks in this small, handy guide directly from Comicraft who letter a ton of comics. Are you a writer who’s wanted to get into lettering your own comic? I’d start here.
- Google Webmaster Tools: Strongly recommended as you get data, tools and diagnostics to make a healthy Google-friendly website. Here you’ll be able to see things like search queries, broken links, incoming/outgoing links that point to your website. But it’ll also help you figure out if there are problems with your site.