The Door is Open! Again! Still! Open-er!

Jon Maki, President and Publisher
Jon Maki, President and Publisher

After a great deal of searching and some trial-and-error – which will no doubt continue – I’ve managed to enable an automated registration process, allowing Creators to sign up and create their own site all at once.

The solution – a plugin called BuddyPress – allows for the creation of a sort of internal social network, which also enables Collaborators to offer their services directly (if they so choose).

The one major con to the solution is that the Name field is now required, and I can’t change that or the visibility of that field, so anyone will be able to see it.  However, it is still the case that pseudonyms are acceptable.

As mentioned, there will continue to be some trial-and-error, and I’m looking into ways to integrate the registration process with existing social media accounts to simplify the process even further.

The plugin also allows for the creation of a rudimentary site directory, which is available in the navigation menu.  Future development will provide better organization and categorization, though, of course, I still have work out what the categories will be.  For that part, I will be looking to the Creators and the readers to help develop them, and that’s actually a topic for a future post…

The registration form also has a field for members to offer their services as comment moderators.  The moderation rules are something that will also have to be developed, and, again, that will involve input from the community.

Additionally, with my current advertising network (and my limited WordPress skills – which are, fortunately, growing), I will have to manually add the advertising code to new sites.  The good news is that the ads will be relatively unobtrusive, and will not interfere too much with the layout of pages or the readers’ enjoyment of comics.  Eventually, I hope to have a more robust advertising solution, and automate the process of (still unobtrusively) inserting ads into new sites.

If you’re not comfortable with using the form, you can still e-mail me at comics@opendoor-comics.com, and I will be happy to set up your site for you.

An Egg Or A Chicken?

Jon Maki, President and Publisher
Jon Maki, President and Publisher

As I’m sure many of you are at least vaguely aware, the pop culture juggernaut that is San Diego Comic-Con took place this weekend.

You’ve no doubt seen the trending stories about movie trailers, TV pilots, and other big multimedia announcements, and, if you’re actually primarily interested in the “comic” aspect of Comic-Con, you most likely saw a lot of announcements about new creative teams, new books, and exciting new directions and storylines.

If nothing else, you may have browsed through galleries full of pictures of clever and creative cosplayers.

I’ve never managed to make it out to Comic-Con myself – I spent most of my weekend engaged in exciting activities like mowing the lawn – though one day I hope to, both as a fan and, in my role as President and Publisher of OpenDoor Comics, an industry professional.

While I’ve got the fan part down, I’m still a long way from being an industry professional, given the place that ODC currently occupies in the industry, which is to say none.

I continue to work on that part – much of my time over the weekend that didn’t involve cutting grass to an HOA-approved height was devoted to marketing strategies and the development of a media kit – but I can’t help wondering if I’m directing my efforts correctly.

So far my approach has been, to use a weird metaphor, to treat this site like an egg.  Over time, with proper attention, it will go on to become a chicken.  The idea being that I’ve essentially launched a no-frills site (laid the egg), and now I’m focusing on getting the word out that it exists in the hope that creators will begin posting their comics (sit on the egg), which will help to develop the site into something more fully-featured (become a chicken).

I can’t help but wonder, though, if instead of saying, “Hey, here’s an egg!  Come sit on it to help it hatch!” I should focus on developing the features and say, “Hey, here’s a chicken!  Come…do…chicken…things?”  …okay, I should probably start moving away from the metaphor, but I think you get the idea.

But that’s the question, particularly as I think about my Comic-Con ambitions:  Which should come first, the chicken, or the egg?

Do I keep trying to get the word out and hope that pioneering souls will find the vision and mission compelling enough to sign up to help me develop the site into the platform, the community, I want it to become, or do I focus my time, effort, and money* on development and try to build the platform first?

I’m sure there’s probably some sort of approach in the middle that I can take, and really, that’s likely to be how things turn out, but it will never be exactly in the middle, as one approach will require more focus than the other.

Regardless of which way I go, it’s unlikely the path I follow will bring me to San Diego anytime soon, but I will, no doubt, begin establish a presence at conventions that are bit closer to home, but when I go to those cons, will I be cosplaying as a chicken or an egg?

*Developing the features I want will not be cheep.  …I’m so sorry.

Let’s Keep The Momentum

Jon Maki, President and Publisher
Jon Maki, President and Publisher

While the work on getting the site comfortable in its new house continues, and I continue the efforts to develop it further and turn this house into a home, I wanted to share a link to an interesting – and hopeful – article on Comics Alliance.

For Second Year In A Row, Female Readers Are A Growing Market

One quote in particular very neatly encapsulates the reason I decided to launch OpenDoor Comics in the first place.

This is exciting news, and along with the top selling books at retailers, it points to an increasing diversification of the comics industry. A wider variety of books are selling and a wider variety of creators are succeeding at levels that just weren’t possible a few years ago. It becomes a delightful oroboros [sic] of new reader demographics supporting books that appeal to those demographics, which bring in more new readers, who support more books that appeal to them.

That’s it in a nutshell.  Let’s help keep comics growing and gaining new readers.

Sign up today to become a creator on the OpenDoor Comics platform and build your audience.