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2016 will soon be wrapping up, and the webcomic season definitely slows to a crawl come Holiday time. So now is the time to take stock of Marooned’s first year back.

I’ve spoken before that my goal for my comics work is to make it a viable second career by the time I retire – which gives me roughly 12-14 years to make it happen.

Above is the weekly user report from Google analytics tracking unique users – the top is the main full run of Marooned from 2008 – 2013. The bottom is 2016.

The good:

  • Patreon and reader support. I can’t tell you how much people backing me as an artist means. It’s huge. Thank you so much to my Patreon backers and those of you who have helped through other means. If you’d like to support me as an artist, you can do so for as little as $1 per month on my Patreon. There’s also a PayPal link on my Support page if you prefer to make a one-time donation.
  • The art. I feel like I have improved a fair amount as an artist.
  • The response to the story of those who are reading has been good.

The not-so-good:

  • You can see the big difference in the number at the top, and at the bottom. On the one hand, it doesn’t trouble me so much because I didn’t expect to have the readership of 2013. People have moved on. But the truth is, I only have around 10% of the readers that used to follow the comic – that’s pretty low.
  • The bigger issue is the complete lack of growth. I get that a long form comic with a big archive can be a tough sell to the new reader. But I had hoped to begin bringing in some new readers over the year. But as you can see, things are terribly flat. You can expect lower numbers in the summer, which is easy to see. The spikes are just from pages on Reddit that got a bit more action than normal – they don’t reflect real readers.

What does it mean?

There’s a LOT of story left in Marooned. We are just getting to the main conflict. The question becomes how long do I stick it out in hopes of Marooned growing a new audience vs starting a new project to reach new people.

This is a story I want to tell, but I can only do one serious comic. I think what this means is that I need to find a way to grow the comic in 2017. And if at the end of next year, if things are still not growing (or worse, declining) then it will be time to seriously consider whether or not to continue.

As I have said before, growing the comic is the absolute hardest task. Making it is almost easy in comparison. I’ll have to figure out some new strategies for the coming year.

Thank you so much for reading!