Tim Worstall’s Britblog roundup this week mentioned my gadget cartoon:
Dave Walker sells a cartoon (at least I hope it was sold!) to Gizmodo, where the readers entirely manage to miss the point.
The answer is, no, I offered this cartoon to Gizmodo for free. Some might raise their eyebrows, but I believe that, on balance, this is a beneficial approach for me.
When I do cartoon that I know will hit the mark for a popular website I often offer it to them for free. I estimate that there a (say) 75% chance they will use it if I make no charge, whereas if I demand money there would be a (say) 2% chance they will use it.
The advantage for me in doing so is that it gets my work out there, I get lots of traffic (technical name for visitors) and links from other smaller sites which follow the big site, which in turn brings more traffic and so on and so forth. There’s a slight boost in advertising money as a result but not a great deal. I also hope that with more eyes looking at my work there is an increased chance that I can pick up another regular cartooning job which is what I really need to do in order to be able to keep doing what I am doing.
The problem of course is that once you start giving things away people are less likely to pay for those things in the future. I think though that in the case of a website like a gadget blog I’m never going to get regular work, not least because I don’t have the knowledge to be able to produce regular gadget-related material.
Knowing what to gie away and what to sell is continually tricky though. I set up We Blog Cartoons with free cartoons for people’s blogs because I am quite a strong believer in offering worthwhile content for people on the internet for nothing. The thinking behind the ‘honesty box’ approach here on CartoonChurch.com is similar. I’m not particularly happy with the ‘members area’ model, where all the good stuff is only accessible once you have paid your money. It seems to me to make sense to have lots of good material on show so that the site is one that people want to tell their friends about.
In theory it should be possible with good content to make quite a bit more money than I do through advertising. I’m not willing to splash obtrusive banners everywhere, but I think I should be able to make a bit more of my living that way if only I could get the ads to work the way they should. But that is a whole other issue.
So, in summary, I’m all for giving away cartoons and things for free on the internet as I think it is a good thing to do and it makes me happy to do it. Any ideas as to how I can continue to do so whilst making a reasonable living would be hugely appreciated.
Oh – please don’t say improve my admin skills and remember to send my invoices out. I know about that already. If you’re waiting for an invoice or some other sort of communication from me it might well be this week. We can but hope.