Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Naming names...

Well hello there. Yesterday's blog was rather confusing, wasn't it? I started it several times, didn't like what I wrote, and then got very sleepy, so it was basically the last thing I did before bed. Sorry about that.

Today's blog is much more focused, because this is something I have real opinions on. I read a lot of webcomics and I read a lot of blogs and I have noticed a tendency in these two groups to hand out attitude to the readers.

So I'm calling them out on this. Listen up. I realize that by providing your blog you are giving a service the readers. And that the same goes for those of you comic artists sharing your art on the web. We acknowledge and appreciate that service. But let me just lay a little factoid on the line for you. You need your readers. If you are making money? You need us. You need us to click on your ads, to buy your stuff, and for those of you paid by the click on your blogs, you need us to give you the page views.

Recently, over at Manolo for the Big Girl, the primary blogger, Plumcake declared that despite the fact that her readers liked the sales posts, she would no longer be doing them. Why? Because the clothes on most sites aren't nice enough for her. She then followed that up with a little snark on how low class some of the pieces were and snarked on her former co-blogger for doing "street level clothes which gave (Plumcake) room to put clothes that were actually tasteful and attractive (oh snap!)." Which attitude one can only hope is unrelated to the reasons that the former co-blogger is now...former.

I'm sure many of the readers, like myself, appreciated having the idea that our "street level" fashion was neither tasteful nor attractive. Other readers, however, commented that she should post whatever she wanted because they're not "paying for Manolo for the Big Girl." Which...is technically true, except how it's not. If no one read it, would "the Manolo" who heads the blogging network MftBG is part of keep paying Plumcake to write it?

Which brings us to webcomics. It is a technically true statement that readers are (typically) not paying for the privilege. However, readers buy your merchandise and click on your ads. So when you don't update for six weeks, and then post a belligerent note to the readers telling them to quit hassling you?

You suck.

Some (indeed, most) comic artists don't make their living off the strips, and...fair enough. you're not making your salary off your work, and that's a bummer. But if you ever want to? Try not actively insulting your readers.

And finally, not safe for work content. Questionable Content and Shortpacked tripped over this a few months back, Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell bumped into it last week. Ultimately, they have the right to post what they want, with or without warnings. But when they post NSFW content, people ARE going to get upset. In some cases, this generates a response of "Well then I guess you shouldn't be reading this comic (or blog) at work."

And...they're not wrong. You shouldn't be! But...you probably are. A good portion of the audience probably is. And if they want to brush it off with that response, ok. But...it's not very realistic, is it? People ARE going to read it at work and they ARE going to want a warning. I stopped reading the blogs for QC and Shortpacked as a result of their little brouhaha. I don't really feel like I'm missing anything, and I am sure they aren't missing me. I'm ok with that. But ultimately, if that attitude continued and carried on to the main pages? I'd stop reading those. And I'm sure I'm not alone. And they don't owe me anything, and there are plenty to take my place.

But...if youa re a blogger or a comic artist, a writer or a musician, take a moment to think about your work and your audience. You don't exist in a vacuum. Your audience may not be paying you per page view, but they do support you. The dismissive, snotty, I don't need you, if you don't like then leave attitude? It makes some of us very cranky.

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