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What to do when you are going to miss an update

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, Sept. 14, 2018
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It almost seems an inevitability for unpaid webcomic artists but there may come a time where you will miss an update. Various reasons aside, there remains the question of what should one do in the event that this occurs?

Upload a notice
Most readers are forgiving and would like to know what's going on. There may be some that follow your various social media accounts but chances are the fastest way to inform them is but releasing a page explaining why you are not updating.

If the wait between updates is going to be long you can also….

Post an FAQ
Have any of your readers asked you a question on an episode or is there information you think could be explained to further the understanding of your world and characters? Then you can do a small FAQ. The benefits of this being that your readers will be able to learn something about your comic in spite of a missing page or two.

Of course there is the option of saying nothing at all
However, this only really works if your comic doesn't have an established updating schedule. By saying nothing you could run the risk of alienating your readers, particularly those who tune in at a particular time each week to read your comic.

So what do you do when you think you'll miss an update? As a reader what do you prefer? And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST) where we’ll be talking about this topic!

comment

anonymous?

skyangel at 4:43PM, Sept. 18, 2018

I'd imagine that the number of comic creators on here who produce comics for free is extremely high which means that like me they have to juggle their spare time around friends, family and jobs, so it never surprises me in the least when people falter on updates and that's not including technical problems like loss of internet, and computers breaking down etc. It can be frustrating as a reader for sure especially when you are really hooked on a story but as Usedbooks mentioned I too feel too many apologies can be detrimental in the long run. I always let the readers know, if I'm aware there is a serious delay on the way but at times if it's just one week missed I don't apologise any more as I've had the impression in the past that it can come across as if you're a bit up yourself about the value of your own comic! As a reader I'm only ever concerned when one filler is followed by another and then another because I then start to get the feeling that the comics heading for abandonment.

AmeliaP at 12:15PM, Sept. 17, 2018

In 3rd world countries, there is other type of problem that makes you miss an update: Raining season XD It can make you miss your update even with a publisher (paid job), so you have to inform them before the things get hairy. But... YEAH! Webcomic creators are superheroes of comics. Doing an unpaid job is an Herculean effort. However, comic book creators can make only a few cents per unit sold. Selling comics is poorly underpaid. Government taxes (27%, U.S.), 60% Diamond cut and publisher cut make comics an ungrateful job as a creator XDDDDDDDDD the reality is that you'll find more comics being a platform to leverage for other medias, like movies and games, because... because... Man, it's tough. The most hardcore industry inside the entertainment industry.

jerrie at 12:31AM, Sept. 16, 2018

I don't really have a set update schedule. I make a bunch of pages for the comics, and update until they're gone...then take off to make more. I used to try to have a set schedule, but I just couldn't keep it.

KimLuster at 2:40PM, Sept. 14, 2018

I was like clockwork for about 5 years (a page every 5 days, unless something bizarre happened), but RL has hit me hard lately. It keeps seeming like things will revert back to normalcy at some point, and I think it will... but it hasn't happened yet! I hope I don't ever get to a full hiatus (I'd be quite sad), but getting out pages on any kind of reliable schedule has been so hard lately! The life of a Webcomicer I suppose...

JustNoPoint at 7:42AM, Sept. 14, 2018

I dropped off for the past 3-4 years ;_; I had a kid and my obsessive nature with my comic was taking too much time away from his needs. Now that he's starting Pre K I've been working on it again. This time I plan to have at least 3 issues of buffer finished before I even begin updating though! Not only to be certain that I have a decent buffer but to also let my readers know they they are guaranteed and allotted amount of pages. So they don't have to worry about me disappearing and dropping the comic again. When you're gone this long you're basically starting over anyway!

bravo1102 at 7:20AM, Sept. 14, 2018

Dropped from 2-3 pages a week to one and now that's in jeopardy. I've done five weeks of filler and the readership is dwindling. Now a hiatus is unavoidable and there the comic may disappear completely. I can only do so much.

usedbooks at 6:51AM, Sept. 14, 2018

Lately, this has been happening a lot. I hate to put up a "no update" filler every other week though. When it happened before, I changed to a more manageable update schedule. I refuse to do less than once a week (officially). I find I actually stay on schedule better if I stay active in the community. Non-webcomic related art can get me motivated for webcomics.

PaulEberhardt at 3:47AM, Sept. 14, 2018

At another time I tried to force myself to get stuff done by not visiting any webcomic until I produced something of my own again. Don't do that EVER. I won't do that either, not any more. It only makes things worse because you basically take away all the reasons for your readers not to give up on you (which makes me extra-grateful that most of them didn't). Also, it makes things that much more frustrating for yourself; it doesn't make you work any faster, but the (entirely justified!) feeling of being a million miles aways from where you want to be grows disproportionally stronger.

PaulEberhardt at 3:42AM, Sept. 14, 2018

That's exactly why I stopped bothering with an update schedule long ago. RL forces me to be on hiatus so often and for so long it wouldn't make sense to have one ("updates every 133 1/3 days on average"? Duh!). I tried giving ETAs for the next update for some time, as a kind of compromise, but even that didn't really work in the long run. It's important to keep your promises, if you do that kind of thing, and if you can't just don't make any. What you can and should do, however, is to stay present in some other way. In my case there is a small core group of readers who I can't thank enough for coming back even after really excruciatingly long waits, and if I can't manage to update, the least I can do is to let them know in some way that I'm still around and that someone would have to twist the pencil from my cold dead fingers before I'd even consider giving up.


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