Lined Paper Lamppost: Year Two

Last week I spoke about where Lined Paper Lamppost has been—this time I would like to talk about where it’s going.

When I began the planning stages for LPL, I had some trouble. The comic was good, I had no problem with the pages, but the website part of the process proved to be more difficult than I’d expected. What’s the best way to host the webcomic, do I go with a template or build it from scratch and if I do use a template, where do I find a template that doesn’t look like poop? The entire process was a mess; that’s how I landed with the comic where it is.

As much thought as I had put into the idea of publishing a comic on the WEB, I never really gave the website side of things a whole lot of thought. I had trouble getting a banner together, I had trouble with some of the other assets, some items weren’t ready when the comic was launched and a lot of it I wasn’t happy with. I launched the comic knowing in my mind that I’d revisit those items later—reskin the website, throw up a new banner, update the bios for each of the characters, and add a few other things to the mix—but it took so long trying to get all of it together that I decided to wait until now, to launch year two with a fresh coat of paint and a game plan for the future.

That is what I’m doing. Year two begins at the end of this week and some changes are coming.

I’m publishing this post a couple of days early so a lot of what I’m saying won’t be up quite yet, but I wanted to layout some of the tweaks that will be happening come April 13 and what will be coming in the future.

The Minor Stuff First

As far as tweaks go, most of them will be minor, but much needed. The banner will be changing, the color scheme will be changing. The cast section that is currently nested under the “About” link on the navigation bar will be getting its own page, and each of those bios will be getting updated to reflect the current and future looks of the characters that are currently featured and some others I’ve yet to add.  Those are the small changes, things that have needed changing for a while and will be finally given their due. The larger changes I’ve mentioned, however, are less necessary but desired so as to allow the comic to grow. They won’t be live come the one year anniversary date, but I would like to outline them here.

A Shop

Very early on in the comic planning process, I had ideas for a storefront, for prints, for stickers and other items that I could feature on the site. And while I had a lot of ideas of how I might be able to feature the characters you’ve come to know from Lined Paper Lamppost there, I didn’t want to limit it to that property. I wanted to provide a space for Penley and Owen and Bea to be featured alongside other original characters and scenes that had little to no relation to the LPL canon, but while I liked a lot of the ideas I came up with, I didn’t want to pursue them too early and potentially harm the comic in the process.

One year in seems like a good a time as any to start putting the shop plan to work.

I, unfortunately, don’t have any specifics to add, but I’m putting the cogs in motion and hopefully before long I’ll be able to give you an idea of what this shop may look like. Fans, friends, family and visitors, if you have any items you would like to see made available—full sized prints, sketch card prints, sticker sheets, notepads, bookmarks, pins, or anything else—please let me know! Send me an email, comment here or over on the comic. I’ll take anything into consideration.

Next!

A Patreon

Filed again under “ideas that should not be undertaken prematurely,” Patreon was something I was thinking about early on in the planning process. I’d seen the way other creators were able to utilize the platform—some doing it well, some doing it poorly—and I couldn’t help but bat around the idea of it in my mind. Patreon though, as opposed to the shop, is a less fully formed idea, because, if done, I want to make it worth while to the subscribers; I would want to make sure the service is of value.

By that I mean, I would prefer to provide rewards for everyone and those rewards I would want to be worth it. I don’t love the idea of gating off content to some people in favor of others—I would prefer to provide something to be worked toward instead of holding content hostage in an effort to receive more money. If that doesn’t make sense and/or you aren’t familiar with Patreon, here’s what I mean:

When a content creator—be it a writer, be it an artist, or a podcaster, or TV personality—chooses to put themselves on Patreon, it allows for their fans and friends to subscribe to their content, to pay $1, $5, or however much they’d like to give to support that creator in their endeavors. And to make that worth the money the person is giving, many creators opt to provide rewards for every tier of subscription. For a webcomic artist this could look like an exclusive extra page that non-subscribers will never see or doodle streams for Patrons exclusively.

I’ve never loved that idea. Granted, I’ve never run a Patreon before so my opinion may be borne from naiveté, but as an outsider, from my perspective, I feel like there’s a better way.  The Patreons I’ve always been more attracted to have been the ones where the primary focus is on achieving specific goals that, when unlocked, would be accessible by anyone at anytime. Example: if you were a podcast that put out an episode 4 times a month, rather than providing a $20 tier reward of a 5th episode for them alone, the 5th episode is given as a reward for the entire community reaching, say, a $1000/month total. Then the 5th episode is given to everyone, Patron or not. Again, I can’t attest to the success of one model over the other, or the preference for project Patrons, but that approach has always felt a little more fan-focused to me than many of the alternatives.

That being said (and I realize this is getting lengthy, bear with me) you may ask yourself, “What would I get for the tier I subscribe to? What’s the point besides the goal total?”

That’s a tricky thing that’ll require some finagling (and something I would want to hear about from potential Patrons), but my first instinct comes in the forms of extras as opposed to exclusives. Maybe at a $10 reward, among whatever content is featured there, the Patron receives a monthly 10% off code for the shop, something that still provides incentive, still functions as a reward, without taking away from anyone else? I don’t know, but ideas like that are where my head is currently.

Going back to goals for a moment, here are some tentative ideas for what I would like to work toward should a Patreon ever become a thing:

  • A monthly set of streams (one(+) a doodle stream where I hang out with anyone and take requests while I draw and one(+) a game stream where I play video games, chat with anyone watching and play with the community).
  • Bringing back a second weekly update to Lined Paper Lamppost.
  • Creating a regular comic strip (either new or featuring LPL characters) in the style of the one-offs I posted while I was on my honeymoon.

There would be more, of course, but that is the sort of flavor I’ve had bouncing around my brain.

I do think though that covers the definite and potential future ideas coming for Lined Paper Lamppost in year two. I realize some of you reading this may be like, “What am I reading? Why is this so long? We’re friends on FB, but I accidentally clicked this. Why am I still reading 1400 words later?,” but for those of you who have supported and kept up with my comic for this long, know that I am truly grateful for you. LPL began as a project for me alone, but it is truly a blessing when those personal projects spill over for others to enjoy. And I hope you have done that.

I’m excited for year two and I hope you are too. To two! Two too. Two.

I’ll end this here now.

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