I mentioned at the end of last year that I would be trying some things to promote Marooned and see how things go this year in order to make a decision on whether or not, or how to, continue.

In the first quarter, I tried 3 things.

  • Project Wonderful advertising
  • Facebook targeted advertising
  • Top Webcomics promotion

In addition to doing the “normal” things. Results? Readership continues to decline. It doesn’t seem as though any of those three channels resulted in new readers. (But hey, if you are new from one of the three, please let me know).

In January, I was recording around 315 weekly users. We are currently now at around 250. That’s an alarming drop for so few readers.

A friend of mine and I who both do comics have been having a lot of conversations about this. Some tough questions need to be asked, mainly:

  • If what you are doing has been proven not to work, why continue doing it?
  • If the “standard practices” aren’t working, shouldn’t I do something different?

Ultimately, I think I have to look in the mirror. If the strip fails to grow or pull in a passionate audience, I can only blame the content in the end. It’s simply not good enough, or not appealing enough. If it were, more people would read, but more importantly, more people would tell others. In marketing it’s the Net Promoter Score. And I can tell you that pretty much the only promoter of Marooned is me.

THAT IS NOT TO BLAME YOU, THE READER. I want to be perfectly clear on that. If you are not compelled to share with others, that’s my fault. It also needs to be said that not everyone is comfortable promoting things even if they do like it. Not everyone is a sharer. That’s why it’s important to have a larger following, so the rare ones that do promote make a difference.

At this point, Marooned is a tough sell. There’s a large archive to dig through. It’s a long form story, which frankly the internet does not reward by noticing on social media. It needs organic growth, and we just may be beyond that.

I have other stories to tell (like “The Flower” in production on Patreon) and I have a goal to put together stories for sick children. (“The Flower” is part of that, as is my story “Green” many of you have read.) At some point, I’d like my stories to make a difference, to have a connection that matters.

I’m not quite ready to give in yet. But certainly something has to change. I don’t really know what more I can do, though.

One option is to go completely behind the Patreon paywall and just update when I can for those supporters. I’m aware that choosing that would result in losing almost all of you. It might give me a little boost and earnings and would allow me to only concentrate on a single point of publishing.

I’m not looking to you for answers. I am thankful for each one of you that visits and reads. I’m just being totally transparent so you know what is going on. This really hasn’t been working for some time now. I either need to be okay with dwindling numbers, go behind the paywall, or stop completely. It’s not a decision I make lightly. This story and these characters mean a lot to me.

For the next quarter, I will continue producing and trying to think of solutions. I’ll re-assess again at that time.

As always, thank you so much for reading.