We’re nearly to the end of Nagranowrimo and hopefully you have a few pages of a graphic novel (or a comic series, whatever you worked on) under your belt. So what are your plans for your graphic novel?
One option is to serialize it online. There’s lot of different methods to do this, and they all have their pros and cons.
Webcomic Hosting Sites
Examples: Smack Jeeves, The Duck (drunkduck), Comic Genesis. Here’s a good list of the various sites.
Pros: Free, set up specifically for comics so no need to tinker with the layout or coding much, built-in comic communities with commenting system and web-forums, so easier to build a fan base.
Cons: Usually ad-supported (to keep the site free) so no revenue from own ads, limited layout options (some sites have paid premium accounts), names of the websites are a little silly, occasional forum drama.
Blogging Sites (like Blogger, Wordpress.com, Tumblr)
Pros: Main pro is these sites are free, other pros depend on the platform. Blogger and Tumblr allow user advertising and have highly customizable layouts, Tumblr and Wordpress have good active communities behind them, Blogger and Wordpress have user friendly dashboards for post editing.
Cons: These sites aren’t *really* meant for webcomic hosting, so it’s up to you to set up a navigation system, you’ll have to paste your own “previous, next” links on every post. Blogger and Wordpress have webspace limits (though you’d have to post a lot of pages to reach it). Working with tags and archives on Tumblr is … not great.
Gallery Sites (Like deviantART, Flickr, etc)
Pros: Sites are designed for image viewing and galleries so your art is the focus, active creative communities behind these websites, easier to control your images (you can set the downloadable sizes on dA and Flickr).
Cons: Little chance to modify layout (but that could also be a pro, you don’t have to think about it!), ad-supported, Flickr only displays your 200 most recent photos for free, sites often push you to subscribe to pro/premium accounts.
Self-hosted Comic Sites
Pros: Total control of your content and the layout of your site, no need (or at least little need) to worry about a website going under or being sold or changed.
Cons: Hosting will cost a few buck a month, plus the cost of a domain name. You’ll have to figure out the layout and everything of your site and upload it yourself so HTML, CSS, and FTP knowledge is likely needed. You can use a pre-made comic template with something like Wordpress with ComicPress but there is a learning curve. Unlike the websites above, where you get some traffic from people browsing, it’s up to you to promote your self-hosted website.
Conclusion: It’s all going to depend on what you want for your webcomic.
Webcomic hosting sites are simple to set up, but with all the other webcomics out there you might feel like a small fish in a big pond at first.
You can get a good, navigable comic site going on Tumblr or other blogging platforms, but it will take some modification, and every platform has a limit that you’re probably going to run into.
A gallery site might be good if you purely just want to get your comic on the web for portfolio purposes, but it could be harder to build a readership.
The creator-control of a self-hosted site is great, but it does require money and effort, and you don’t have the instant-community all these other sites come with.
Of course, you’re not limited to one site only, you can have your comic different places, or at least have previews on your tumblr or dA that lead to your Smackjeeves or self-hosted site.