Saturday, November 5, 2011

Buffers: The good, the bad, and the....good.

Ah, buffers. If you don't know what they are, then you probably don't have a webcomic. Buffers are the pages or strips we have already completed and ready to go. I think it's safe to say that most of us, if not all, would love to have a large comic buffer at all times. But hey, it's not that easy, is it? Nope. There are those of us that are incredibly prolific when it comes to our page output, whipping them out at nearly freefall speed(Liz of Adrastus, I'm lookin' at you!). And then there are those who work at a snails pace, barely finishing a page a few minutes before it's update time is reached. Right now I'm proud to say that I'm one of the former, churning them out at around a page every day or two, with an entire month's worth of pages ready to be unleashed at a three day a week pace. Let's take a minute to ponder the positives and negatives(ha, rrrrright) to having a comic buffer.

The positives here are many. To say that they outnumber the negatives is stating the obvious. First, you can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that you don't have to rush out a half-hearted attempt at an update just to appease the fans. Stress can be a killer, but with a buffer, you can worry about other things. Second, as I said, you can focus some of your attention on other things, such as promoting your comic, or prettying up your website. Updates aren't the only part of having a webcomic. Investing some of this extra time getting your "product" more in the public eye is just as important, if a goal of yours is to make this comic successful. Other positives....ah, a good one here. We all, at some point, get burnt out to some degree. Having a buffer gives you a chance to take a short break and assess where you're at, and where you're going, if you ever get to that point. I've been there, with no buffer, and it nearly broke me, because I had nothing to put up, so I would just sketch out a bad drawing of my characters holding a sign saying, "sorry, no update". LAME. Fans don't want to see that, and newcomers will most likely not come back. Like I said, buffers are awesome. Negatives? Lemme see...

I suppose there are negatives to everything. Even a delicious plate of bourbon chicken(I love that stuff), if eaten every day for a month, will become a negative.
Where webcomics are concerned, I've been extremely happy with a page here and there, but then I would think, "Oh crap. I can't share this with the readers for another three weeks? AAAGH!!" Yep, people have to wait to see the newest work you've produced for quite a while, depending on the size of your buffer. You might be well into the next story or chapter, but everyone else is still way behind you! Sometimes that can be frustrating(I've been feeling it lately), but it's one of those slight negatives. One other sorta-negative is that if you don't maintain a drawing schedule, that buffer will slip away faster than Jessica Simpson's bikini body. To be honest, those are about the only two negatives that I can think of.

In closing, buffers are, in a word, great. It shows that you are dedicated to maintaining that schedule that you set for yourself, and your fans, and that you enjoy what you do so much, that you just can't NOT create your comic. And hey, if you can think of any positives OR negatives that I missed, cuz I'm sure there are some, comment below. Now, forgive me, but I'm going to go work on some pages now.....


Mr V said...

If you have a long buffer, then you're the only one waiting for the audience to catch up. They're not waiting to see your latest work, they're just waiting to see the next in your line. For them, the wait is the same, whatever your update schedule is. It's we with the big buffers that have to wait for our new favourite strips to go online. :)

Mr V said...

Bah... published that through Blogger by mistake, it seems! Oops. :)

Jack Carter. said...

I see your point, Mr. V. They are seeing new work all the time, so it's perfectly fine with them!

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