Thursday, November 13, 2008

Measuring Ongoing Success

R Crumb confronting success  © R Crumb
Do you ever evaluate your success metrics?
A while ago I ran a post on qualities that seem to be unusually common in successful comics. They are not what I would have guessed, and I am constantly out to refine the list but I haven't made many changes.
A good exercise that no one but the most motivated will do is to make up some sort of scoring system and evaluate your comic on each metric. Keep the data in a safe place and evaluate it again in six or eight months.
Perhaps more useful, because you are more likely to do it, is to evaluate your comic now and see where you are weak. Then, make a plan to strengthen that metric and measure again when the time seems right or you are rolling in money.
Anyone stumped for how to improve a particular metric is invited to post below, where we can work together to see what we can devise.
I did this myself, over the last few weeks. I decided "bells and whistles" was a weak area for one of our strips, Lil Nyet. So I tweaked the web site landing page: I added links to some recent reviews, a navigational aid, and some antique Russian illustration and commentary on how the current story fits and deviates from actual Russian history. Since I did it, it's been mentioned in reader mail, so some people are looking at it.
Whether you test yourself, or just shop for ideas on what to focus on next, the list at the other end of the link is pretty useful. I recently stumbled onto a blog struggling to figure out what makes some comics get read and others not, and I thought, gee, all that research I did this summer paid off, I can save this guy some headaches. My list is not the final answer, and deserves use and study, but it's from research from the real world I did myself, and I use it for my own comics because I think it's not bad.
Measuring your own success across multiple variables is often more revealing than measuring overall progress and success. The odds that even two readers are going to jump right on this are low, but the odds that those with comics will jump on it some time soon are fair, so maybe bookmark the other page, or print it, and as always, let me know if it helps or needs improvement.
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