Sorry, Master Flik. Willow and Gideon have things to do…
Just a quick post to mention our Patreon tiers have been officially updated! In an effort to streamline the process we now have three tiers – bronze, silver and gold (or $1, $5 and $10 for simplicity).
What do you get?
$1 – gets you access to F&W page process videos, early pages (yes, we’re still doing 2 x a week, but patrons are gonna get pages as we finish them, so more story, faster!).
$5 – all the $1 stuff, plus wallpapers, doodles 2x a week and process vids of those doodles. (And you can make requests for those doodles and wallpapers – any fandom is open and available.)
$10 – all the other goodies, plus once a week FANCY full color doodles, process vids of those doodles, Fox & Willow extras like sketches and inked pages. You can also make requests for all doodle and wallpaper types.
Also, since we’re off for a few weeks as we prep the next chapter, we will be posting some design sketches, etc of the new characters at the $1 tier level, so if you’re interested in things like that, come join us!
Future plans? (Timeframe TBD)
Of course! We have a new webcomic coming (one that is much shorter than F&W and will hopefully be completed before we post it all, just partially in the works at the moment) – but we would like to post snippets and pages of that on Patreon as well.
AND – Aimo will be presening her OWN comics – her characters, her story. Though some of the roughs will end up on her social media accounts, finished pages will ONLY be available through the Patreon.
We haven’t determined exactly how we’re going to present those, but they are in the works and we look forward to sharing them with you!
Just a quick FYI to let you know we are on a brief hiatus for a couple of weeks – Aimo has a pretty severe case of tendonitis in her drawing hand and we decided it would be best to let her rest it up and heal properly before digging into the epilogue/next chapter.
Thanks for understanding – we will be back soon!
~~ Allison & Aimo
Hey guys – just a quick note that we have changed up our Patreon tiers. In order to streamline the process we’ve reduced the tiers to three – Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Basically we’re playing around with a number of formats – including the possibility of moving to a pay-for-page option. We haven’t come to a decision on that yet – but between Tapastic’s recent shenanigans involving possible IP grabs (said clause has been removed from the TOS but it still makes us uneasy) and the fact that we *really* want to make more comics, the only way we can justify that is if our income increases. We’re still looking at print copies, but that involves a *lot* of extra time as we need to rescan/redraw a number of the pages so it’s slow going, especially as we are continuing to create new content at the same time.
That being said the new Patreon tiers are as follows:
Bronze: $1/month – gets you access to page process videos and our everlasting thanks. (And if we go to a pay for page, this will keep you covered – you’d get the pages on time on Patreon instead of having to wait until we posted them here at whatever time frame we decide…)
Silver: $5/month – access to the page process videos, wallpapers, simple B&W doodles 2x a week like the one of Gideon in this post – Aimo will be opening the doodles to include any character from any fandom.
Gold: $10/month – everything in the silver/bronze tiers, plus access to raw page sketches and inks, the ability to make character requests for the doodles, process videos of the doodles and a (hopefully) weekly color picture.
Basically, we really want to continue making this comic, but after 5 years and 500 pages we need some additional support. So, we’re simply asking for a little help – if you enjoy this comic and you’d like to see it continue, please consider heading over to Patreon and signing up.
~~ Allison and Aimo
(20% off and free shipping today on Cyber-Monday), so check it out!
As always, thanks for reading! ^_^
We recently reached a Patreon goal, and the upcoming livestream is your reward!
Be thinking of what you’d like to see Aimo draw (preferably Fox & Willow specific) – we are open to suggestions!
Please note, this livestream is only available to our patrons – additional information regarding time and location will be posted on our Patreon page at a later date.
(Go here if you’re interested in contributing – access to the livestream only costs $1!)
Thanks again for your support.
~ Aimo & Allison
First things first – Happy Lunar New Year – here’s hoping for some good fortune for all in the Year of the Monkey!
Now, there isn’t going to be a page update today – Aimo is on travel for the holidays, but we did want to offer all of our readers and supporters a link to our Patreon where you can download free wallpapers of various sizes based on the lovely image above. Yes, I suppose it is possible to outmonkey a fox. Gideon seems rather intrigued, anyway. I love this image – it feels like a tarot card, doesn’t it? Seven of Monkeys?
At any rate, just a quick thanks again to everyone for reading our story over the last few years – we really appreciate it, and thanks for continuing to support us in any way you can – word of mouth, social media shout-outs, donations on Patreon, clicking on ads over at Tapastic – all are great ways to help us out – we couldn’t do it without you!
~~ Allison & Aimo
We’ve had a few emails over the last couple of weeks from curious readers asking what’s involved with creating a webcomic, so rather than write some *very* long emails, we figured we could just answer it all here. Now obviously, this sort of advice is subjective, so what works for us may not work for you, etc. So here goes:
Content. Sort of a big ‘duh’ – since if you don’t have content, you don’t have a comic – but more importantly, you need to decide the format and also how frequently you plan to update. Fox & Willow is a long form/manga thing. It’s also done traditionally – meaning real paper, inks, copics and then scanned and adjusted as needed. (Sometimes the pages are done digitally if Aimo is traveling and we have no other way of getting the pages done.) There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but that’s something you’ll have to determine on your own.
We update two days a week, most of the time. In hindsight, this sort of story is probably really hard to tell this way, since in some cases the pages themselves have very little dialogue.
I know some readers hit us up once a month to get a chunk of pages and I suppose we could update that way as well, but we find the two page a week thing keeps us honest – otherwise it is far too easy to just push them off for the end of the month and then suddenly there are eight pages due and it becomes overwhelming. Whatever you decide to do – STICK with it. Readers can get frustrated very quickly when promised updates don’t happen – if you’re sporadic in your updates, your readership will also become sporadic and can become difficult to sustain. On the other hand, if you need to take a break, let your readers know. Most of the time, they understand just fine, especially if you give them a date you’re coming back. 🙂
Decide who does what. If you’re the writer and the artist, that makes things simple – everything falls on you. In our case, we’re a team, so things can be a bit more tricky. Now, in all fairness, Aimo takes the brunt of the weekly comic creation – and I try to do everything in my power to make things easier on her, so she can focus on the art. Essentially, though – as collaborators, we do create the story together. We have a loose outline for the overall story arc, and one we discuss rather frequently.
We’re at least twelve hours apart around the world, so although we do try to schedule one on-line meeting a week, most of our communication is done via text and shared files in Dropbox. When it comes to the actual writing, I do a chapter at a time, usually about a month before the last chapter is finished. (Or sometimes when we’re doing the epilogue.)
This is usually because so much can change in that year or so that the previous chapter is being made. Sometimes we change things based on reader input, sometimes we have an ‘a-ha’ moment along the way and that gets added to a future chapter, or we make a modification on the spot. (This is the fun thing about webcomics – we can pretty much do whatever we want, whenever we want to.)
What else is there besides the writing/art? All those other things that I do, including website maintenance, weekly updates at Tapastic (where we also host F&W), updates at Patreon, running the social media sites (e.g. Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook) as well as other marketing, convention swag/business cards/bookmarks/whatever. Aimo will do most of the layout, but I do the legwork for the conventions, figure out the requirements, and come up with the written content.
Also, I keep an eye on general deadlines and poke Aimo with a stick (a gentle one) from time to time. This can be tricky because as an artistic team, we have to have a professional confidence in each other that we WILL get our work done and meet our deadlines. (Usually, it’s more of a hey, we need to have this order in by this date, can we get a rough layout done this weekend?) There’s a fine line sometimes between a respectful nudge and being a hovering helicopter and it doesn’t do anyone any good if we fall into that. Nothing dampens the creative side of a project faster then resentment – and at the end of the day, Fox & Willow is a labor of love. We make very little money from it (though hopefully that will change someday!) and both of us have full time and secondary jobs and family that really do need to come first.
Sounds great? What next? Well, once you have your content and schedule figured out, you need a place to host your comic. You can host it yourself, or you can go with a third party like Tapastic. We do both because 1) I know how to create/develop websites okay and 2) I’m paranoid as hell. Though we do get ad revenue through Tapastic, which is nice – and a readership that is at least 8500 subscribers and growing every day – even nicer – third party sites can and do go down. There is something very comforting knowing that even if Tapastic goes belly up, all of our content is still here and available.
If you’re curious as to what we’re using here – it is a WordPress installation, with the Webcomic plug-in and a modified Inkblot theme. Everything else is standard stuff – it’s mostly just getting the RSS feed to auto push to Facebook or Twitter, etc.
Getting the word out. Okay, the webcomic is up…how do you get readers? Well, if you’re on something like Tapastic, there’s a nice advantage there since nearly all the visitors are webcomic readers. On the other hand, you’re also competing with a lot of other webcomics, but at least you’re in the right overall area. If you’re hosting by yourself, you’re a bit of an island, so it’s up to you to start marketing – and that means social media. You can also submit your RSS feed to third party webcomic collecting groups, like Top Web Comics or The Webcomic List. You can take out ads on those sites as well, or via Project Wonderful. (We have not done that, so I can’t give much advice on the ad thing. Hell, we don’t even have ads here, and we probably should…) You can also do link exchanges or affiliate with other webcomics that are similar to yours – it’s a great way to share readership. If you can get your webcomic reviewed by some of the sites out there, that can also give you a boost.
However, I am going to say that you’re probably looking at two to three years before you start building up a decent readership. It is possible to “get lucky” or hit up a timely topic that may get you there faster, but don’t go into a project expecting that. Also? Smut sells. Many of the more popular webcomics that I’ve seen tend to be heavier on the adult content. (Not all of them.) But don’t go there unless you WANT to. See labor of love, above. If your enthusiasm wanes because really, no, you don’t enjoy drawing elf peen*, chances are you aren’t going to keep working on it.
We had a little bit of a starter advantage as I already had a readership following from my urban fantasy books, and Aimo…well, she’s probably got about 60k followers on Deviant Art alone for her fan art. (But you know what? Fans of fan art usually stay that way – you can be a great fanfic writer or fanartist and get tons of hits for them and crickets for original content. Don’t get disheartened – that’s just the way it is until you’ve got a fanbase of your own.)
Is that all? Yeah, I guess it is – at least everything I can think of at the moment, but feel free to post questions below and we’ll be happy to answer.
*Elf peen? Yes. Did I mention that’s how Aimo and I decided we could work together? Well it was. I wrote her smutty fanfic and she texted me dirty illustrations, many of which popped up on my phone during meetings. There may or may not have been elf peen involved. Not that we’re drawing fox peen in F&W, but still. There’s always potential.
We apologize for the delays – vacations and holidays sorta got in the way 😉
(Plus I ended up writing the script, hating it and RE-writing it, so you know. Creative issues.)
Anyway, thanks so much for continuing to stick with us – we appreciate it so much!
(Also, we may need a couple of hard core fans to volunteer a little time in the next month or so for a sekret project, so be on the lookout!)
Hey guys – just a heads up that the pages this week are going to run late. Aimo has come down with a really nasty stomach bug, poor thing. But in the meantime we’re looking for new wallpaper ideas, so if anyone has any thoughts as to what they’d like to see, feel free to list them here.
Thanks for your patience and we’ll be back soon!
~~ Sad Sausage Dogs