Monday, October 03, 2016

Inexpensive Ways to Help Artists Whose Work You Enjoy


The Internet is a wonderland of ways to kill time without spending a dime.  Webcomics, blogs, YouTube alone has a million ways you can learn or kill brain cells, depending on your whim.  So much entertainment, a creator should be honored that you chose to spend YOUR time on THEM, right?

But what if you regularly consume someone's work- what if their YouTube has brightened your cloudy days, their webcomic has given you a reason to rush home on Thursday evenings?  What if you drift off to dreamland with their ASMR in your ears, or taught yourself how to draw from their tutorials?  What if you want to show your appreciation, but you really can't afford to commission them, donate, or join their Patreon?

There are loads of ways to help the creators whose work you consume without spending additional money, and this support can often mean the difference between a project continuing or getting canned. 

When interviewing friends on Twitter about ways audience can help support their favorite creators, one of the saddest trends I noticed is that many creators have no idea ANYONE enjoys the project until they've been forced to go on hiatus or remove the project from the internet.  This isn't just applicable to webcomics, bloggers, YouTubers- anyone who makes content is susceptible to working in an artificial vacuum.  The number one favor you can do for ANY creator is to signal boost their work generously and regularly.  Praise costs you nothing but time, and you never realize how influential your good word can be for others.  The next biggest favor you can do is to talk to them like they're people.

Having spoken with comics editors over the years, many will admit they DO care about an artist's popularity.  Popularity shows that someone's work is viable, it resonates, and it may work well as a commercial property.  Even a small but vocal grassroots audience can help a lot, so please don't think your voice doesn't matter.

If you own a physical or digital copy of their comic:

  • Write a review on Goodreads (if they have one)
  • If their book has an Amazon page, leave a review there as well!
  • Check out their ComicVine to make sure it's up to date
  • Consider making a Wikipedia entry for them, if one does not already exist
  • Tweet about how much you enjoyed reading their work- if they have a hashtag, use it!
  • Share a friendly review to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest- anywhere you think people might see your review and possibly check out the comic.  Positive word of mouth really helps a lot- don't assume a creator has a supportive audience, BE that supportive audience.
  • Take a moment to shoot them an email about how much you enjoy their book- many print creators (especially indie comic artists) never hear feedback from the audience.
  • Take a photo of the comic as a book, or photos of select favorite pages, post it to your Facebook, along with a quick review and a link to where others can find it
  • Take a photo of the comic, post it to your Instagram, tag the artist, and include a quick review of why you liked the comic, and where people can find it
  • Come visit them at cons and let them know how much you enjoy their work.
  • BRING YOUR FRIENDS to visit the artists you admire at conventions, and explain WHY you enjoy their work.
  • Create fanart and fanfiction for their comic- this is always appreciated and is a fantastic way to introduce new people to this work.
  • Write in to comic news sites to promote the comic on the creator's behalf.  Your glowing reviews often go much further than the creator's attempts at reaching comic press.
  • Nominate their work for an award- Ignatz, Eisner- winning an award can do wonders for a creator's career (and their ego!)
  • Write to their favorite conventions and request that they be invited as a guest.

If you enjoyed their webcomic:


  • Post to their comments on pages you particularly enjoy!  Many artists feel like they are posting to the void when they share pages to a silent audience, so please speak up!
  • Take a moment to share select pages to your Tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook, explaining why you like the comic and where others can find it.  Seeing your work shared and enjoyed is a rewarding experience.
  • Introduce your real world friends to the comic
  • Turn off your adblocker or add their comic as an exception- many comic artists see revenue from ad sales, when you block their ads, you're cutting off a source of income for your favorite artists.
  • Do NOT repost without proper credit- a link back to the original site and the comic's name.  We see so many comic pages floating around unclaimed on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr- that's unfair to the creator.  Citing "Credit to the Artist" does NOT count.
  • Don't consume their comic from reposting sites- consume it directly from where the artist uploads it.
  • Visit them at cons and let them know how much you enjoy their work.
  • BRING YOUR FRIENDS to visit the artists you admire at conventions, and explain WHY you enjoy their work.
  • Promote their work through fanart and fanfic is appreciated from any skill level, and is a great way to connect with a creator.
  • Chat with them on social sites like Twitter about their comic- creators LOVE engagement, it lets them know the story meant something to the reader.
  • Retweet their promotional posts!  Signal boosting a creator can really help them build an audience.
  • Write in to comic news sites to promote the comic on the creator's behalf.  Your glowing reviews often go much further than the creator's attempts at reaching comic press.
  • If a comic you love goes on haitus, it's alright to write the creator and let them know how much you enjoyed their work, and how you look forward to it returning, but please be patient and kind, and do not badger the artist
  • Make sure to vote for your favorite comics regularly on comic voting sites like TopWebComics
  • Write to their favorite conventions and request that they be invited as a guest

If you enjoy their YouTube:

  • Subscribe to their channel- those numbers count!
  • Leave the video on until it's complete- watch time matters a lot when it comes to YouTube recommendations and rankings
  • Leave a Like or a comment!  Even asking questions helps the creator out a lot, as it helps form community.
  • Share your favorite videos to your Facebook, Twitter, or take a screencap and share it to your Instagram, with links to the channel.  Make sure you tag the artist- you may end up with a new friend!
  • Retweet their promotional posts on other social networks!
  • Watch at least 30 seconds of the ad- otherwise the creator doesn't see a dime.


If you enjoy their blog/Tumblr:

  • Reblog it!  Reblogging their work (while crediting them) helps other artists out a lot and it increases the value of your own blog.
  • Share it to your social media, especially if you have friends and family who are interested in that topic.
  • Use their affiliates links when you shop on Amazon.  Even if you aren't purchasing the item linked, the writer sees a bounty fee from every sale made through that link.  The best part?  Amazon pays this fee, not you, so it's a great way to regularly help people you like by doing what you would do anyway.
  • Credit them when you use their resources!  If you're a teacher, consider writing to the creator of the resource to request business cards or promotional media. 
  • Retweet their promotional posts on other social networks!
  • Turn off your ad blocker!  Many of these sites get their ads served via Google AdSense, so you don't need to worry about getting a virus, and many of these creators only see ad money if you not only view the ad, but click on it.  If you enjoy their content, doing even this little bit can go a long way!

If You Love Their Indie Game

If you love their prior work:

  • Spread the word about new releases.  Word of mouth is hugely important to small developers who can't afford big advertising budgets.
  • Signal boost game updates
  • Be patient!  Indie games are developed by small teams sharing a lot of work.
  • SUPPORT their prior efforts though Pay What You Want, Humble Bundles, Patreon, or just talking about how much you love their other games while you wait for the new one.


If you already own the game:
  • Share a review of the game to your favorite social networks, including Reddit!  Your positive word of mouth will encourage others to give it a shot.
  • Request that your favorite LP'ers check the game out- maybe if they like it, they'll promote it
  • Follow and engage the creators on their favorite social media platforms
  • Check to see if LPers who regularly review indie games, like RockLeeSmile, NorthernLion, or SplatterCat have already reviewed it- if not, consider shooting them a comment requesting that they do so.  They may not be able to get to it, but channels like those are how many gamers find out about new indie games.
  • Signal boost when the game goes on sale, and help promote the game as much as possible
  • Introduce new people in your daily life to the game- invite your friends over to check it out
  • Drop your nostalgia goggles and appreciate the game for what it is, not for what you remember games being.
  • Retweet their updates
  • Be honest but kind and fair about bugs.  A pre-Alpha or Alpha game is probably not going to resemble the finished game

General ways to help online creators

  • If they're having a contest- PARTICIPATE!  Even if you don't want the prize or care about the prize, participation shows others that this is worthwhile.  You can always shoot them a message forfeiting the prize.
  • Participate in polls- this helps the creator out in a lot of ways.  It shows that the audience is invested, helps them make important decisions, and allows them to involve their audience in the creation process.
  • Respond to requests for feedback and opinions
  • Show up to Livestreams, other web-events
  • If they're lacking in something, volunteer!  Many of us would love to have readers submit linklists to help with navigation.
  • If you notice something is broken, let them know privately.
  • If they've mentioned being an educator, interested in education, or the focus of their work involves education or outreach, request their presence at your local library/convention/school, and KEEP ASKING.  Many creators are willing to present paid panels and workshops, and the added income is always welcome.
  • Even if you can't afford to pay them for what they create, you can put them in front of others who can.
  • If you have a webfollowing and a platform, write a review!  Heck, even if you don't have a following, but it's relevant to your Twitter or Tumblr, a review can do a lot to help popularize a game.

Huge thanks to

@calientokami
@NeilaK20
@thenoirguy
@lastres0rt
@JayelleAnderson
@terranacliff
@megalashoon
@SamhainNight
@FerretParty
@pixel_prism
@sketchmazoid
@kibou
@Sskessa

for helping me out and suggesting lots of great ways for a webcomic audience to help out their favorite creators!

Oh hey!  I happen to be a web creator in several of these categories!  And you happen to be reading this post on one of those platforms!


My GoodReads
My Comic Vine
My Comic
My YouTube Channel
My Amazon Affiliates Link- Start here when shopping for products, and I'll see a small fee per item!

While you're here, why not test out some of the things we just talked about?  I'm more than happy to be your guinea pig!

And of course, if you're willing to commit a little further, my Patreon is always an excellent way to show your financial support.

Thanks for reading. Check out these products.