Can you make money from webcomics?
If you enjoy making art you might want to get paid for doing it, but how much will you make?
We will be answering this question along with a few others including the most important one, is this a hobby or a job?
This video is sponsored by our patrons on Patreon, and by Novaborn: Tale of Inpherna, which is the comic that we make and would be delighted if you would check out. And by reading Novaborn, you’ll be supporting our content. For the purpose of education I will be pulling the numbers from our comic for reference. There are some factors to keep in mind with this. For instance, romance does far better in comics and novels than any other genre. Additionally, for the past few months we have been on hiatus while we reorganized, learned, and tried out some new time saving techniques.
The first thing that you need to realize when you start talking about making money in comics is that you have to become a business person. An entrepreneur as the French say. As an entrepreneur there are three facts you need to become accustomed to. First off you are creating a product for someone else. A customer. Second, you need to get that product to the customer. Third, you need to consistently provide that product to that customer.
Creating a Product that Other People Enjoy
Not Just Yourself
Odds are you have a story you want to tell. That’s why you’re making a comic. You have an experience that you’re creating through time, sweat, and tears that you want to share with the world. Sadly, you might find that there are very few people that care about your story. People like different things and some things are more valuable than others. That’s just the way things are and we can’t force people to like something they don’t.
But that’s okay.
Here in Canada we have a gum called thrills with the catch phrase, “It Still Tastes Like Soap.” And it does. And people still like it. Not everyone, they would never try to be the next 5 gum because only a small number of people like it but enough that they keep making it. It’s called a niche. As the dictionary describes it a niche is, “a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.”
And your unique little comic can find a niche of people who are interested in what you do. Or you might find that your story is super popular with a lot of people. The important thing is to make it in a genre you enjoy because how much you care about the product will be obvious to the customer.
So if you hate romance, don’t make a romance even though that’s where the majority of the market is. Your customers, that is, your readers, will be able to tell your heart is not in it.
Getting the Product to the Customer
I have talked about the two biggest webcomic sites already on our video, Webtoon Vs. Tapas, so I won’t go too much into too much detail on that. But as an update to that video I will say that you can finally schedule comics on Webtoon. Which probably isn’t because of our little video, but you can’t prove it’s not!
So you may have the idea to start your own website for your own comic. Don’t do that. It’s not a good idea to start with. That’d be like making your own website like YouTube to host videos. No one’s going to find them let alone watch them. There are only so many people reading webcomics online and they mostly stick to one or two sites if they can help it. These sites already have customers for you. So just use their services.
But how much do you make from these websites? That is the question you’ve had burning in your mind since you clicked on this video. And I will delay no longer.
On Tapas, there are two ways of making money. Ad revenue and ink support sent through the wonderful readers.
And as you can see here, it’s not much. With 1,218 subscribers and 83 episodes we have made $2.88 on ads since we started in 2017. A much larger number, $15.67 comes from our wonderful contributors who sent us ink. Which means we have a grand total of $13.87 in revenue.
But wait you say. You did that math wrong.
Hmmmm. I don’t know what is happening here. It says at the bottom that our total earnings are 18.55, so I don’t know if the money expired or that’s their cut. Meanwhile we have yet to be able to take the cash out since you need a minimum of $25 to withdraw anything. In other words we have yet to receive any of our earnings from Tapas.
Well that was depressing. Let’s move onto Webtoon.
The situation is much better here with our 85 updates, 22,646 subscribers, On webtoon it says we’ve made $339.91 which was paid out automatically in $100 increments through patreon. Although it can now be paid directly to your paypal account. They had an older system that paid out as well but they didn’t keep numbers on it so I can’t say too much on it. And the older system isn’t active anymore, so It doesn’t matter.
I’m pretty sure we’ve made more than that. Like I said in our Webtoon Vs. Tapas video, Webtoon doesn’t keep stats for very long, which isn’t great.
(Our actual all time Webtoon total is $1,900 and our all time Patreon total is $941.92 since 2017. With over $22,200 spent on both world building and the comic since 2015, we’ve yet to gain a return on our investment.)
On Patreon we make about $55 USD per month. We are also looking into starting a different subscription based platform for those who don’t like Patreon. And because you should always have alternative forms of income because we live in a crazy world.
And that’s it. We have merchandise on Redbubble, but we haven’t sold anything there yet. And we won’t be selling a physical copy until it is complete. Which is something we plan on doing because some people prefer the physical copy and we can get them one.
We don’t make much money with our webcomics. But that’s okay. Our bottom line is that we love telling our story. But if you want more money, you need more subscribers. And you need a quality story and a little luck to grow an audience. And you need to keep making your comic consistently.
Keep Getting the Product to the Customer
Since we have been on Hiatus we have paused our patreon. Our views have dropped drastically on webtoon to the point we no longer qualify for ad Revenue. You need about 10,000 views a month to qualify. When you don’t post on Webtoon the algorithm shuffles you out and focuses on current and updated comics. This is why we are gearing up to start again. Unfortunately, we are met with the realization that every time we take a break we’ll be losing subscribers. Which is why we started looking into ways to make the comic quicker, but that’s a topic for another video.
We also only released a page every 2 weeks. Which isn’t a ton of content and a fairly slow upload rate. If we released it quicker then we could have increased our income, but I don’t know by how much.
In conclusion, comics can make money, but it will take time and a lot of work and it still won’t be that much. I think if we had twice the pages we currently have things would be a lot more profitable. But that is a lot of work to do on a consistent basis. Plus you need to make a lot of content to write that much. Thankfully, I still have a lot of comic to make.
For us, even if our comic isn’t profitable, it’s okay because that wasn’t the point. This comic was actually meant to be a promotion for our game and the Novaborn universe in general. So, if it made money that was a bonus. However, as the world around us became more unstable we put our game on ice and focused on our comic and just surviving. But even if we don’t end up making the game, I think the story will be worth telling.
Hobby or Job
Which is why I close by saying, you don’t need to worry about algorithms and incomes. You don’t need to make comics to make money. You can just write stories that are for you or for a few friends. Making a comic can be a hobby instead of a job. And that’s okay.
I hope you like this video if you have any questions, leave them in the comments down below and I will answer them there or maybe make a video about it. If you enjoyed this video you can help us out by giving us a like and subscribing for more content.
Special thanks to our patrons for supporting us and our work.
We are preparing for a big return with more pages, which is probably already happening by the time you see this video. I’ll be posting the cover onto Webtoon and Tapas and the first three pages of chapter three onto Patreon. So, if you want to get in on the comic, it’s going up right now on Patreon! Soon as the video is up!
Thank you for watching, good luck with your endeavors, and have a wonderful day!