Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hotspot #14: To Tell or Not to Tell?

I have to admit, I have having a bit of a conundrum about something.

I enjoy writing my reviews, and I know a number people do enjoy reading them, and a good number of creators enjoy getting feedback. Some have even written to me to specifically ask for reviews (I'm still trying to figure out how to respond to that. As you know I daisy chain my comic reviews, so even if I do oblige I might have to figure out how to work in detours)

Speaking as a person who draws comics, I value constructive criticism more than praise. I love it when I do get it. 

I believe it's a sign of a mature creator when they can take feedback without getting offended.

So before I start rambling again and such... I was wondering, most of the people whom I review never get to know I review them unless one of their fans stumbles across the review and let them know. And given my penchant to go for lesser known comics this is highly unlikely unless said webcomic creator does a vanity search for themselves on Google.

Would it be wrong... or right for me to let them know via email or whatever that I have reviewed them? 

While admittedly it would be easy to do so for the positive reviews, I am hesitant about doing so for ones I have not been enthusiastic on. For example the creator of Kristy VS the Zombie Army seemed to be so happy in what they were doing, it does not feel right to burst their bubble. On the other hand, I do think they would benefit from reading review and feedback. 

What a dilemma. 

If you were a webcomic creator which would you prefer? What would you do?


  1. Why not send an email to COMIXtalk's Xavier Xerexes? Your reviews are likely be listed in his overviews. On the one hand you don't approach the creators directly. On the other hand they will most probably know much faster about your review than now. *weaselingout*

  2. As a comic creator, you should absolutely let them know. though honestly, most of us neurotically track our traffic and thus, traffic sources.

  3. Like codered I think a majority would know via their stats (I mean, you know what the folk at Keen, er Comics Genesis are like with their stats and referer logs!). I think it's a hard call and depends a lot on why you are writing the review. Is it for people interested in webcomics or for the webcartoonist? I gather it's for the former more than the latter. If you do tell some of them you might have to run the risk they don't care to know anyway!

  4. I write as an occasional reviewer and full time comics creator.

    When the review is positive and I know the person has rarely been reviewed or is known to be courteous, I might drop them an alert.

    One evening I notified a prominent cartoonist of a favorable review. I watched in my analytics as she visited the site, read the review, and left. The fact that no acknowledgment was given lowered her in my esteem.

    If I don't think they'll acknowledge the review, I don't bother notifying them.

    Reviews are hard work. It is common decency to thank the reviewer unless the review is unfair.

  5. BTW, do you currently have an online comic?

  6. @ Fokko: Hm it wouldn't be a bad idea, I wonder what X would think about it.

    @ Code Red: Well in my experience I like being told, I have to admit.

    @ Xmung: Heya :) Yes were are crazy about stats but now that you mention it maybe I should send notices based on whether I think the creator cares to hear it. I'm not sure how the criteria goes for that though.

    @ Scartoonist: Well it depends on the nature of the review I suppose. If the review was unsolicited I would say that the creator doesn't owe any one anything. After all, we write reviews for the love of it, not for attention or thanks. They are nice, but imho, optional. The creator shouldn't have to be feel beholden to acknowledge anyone in that sense.

    If they actually asked you to review something however, I do agree some response would probably be expected.

    And I had too many comics, The Longest Sojourn is the one I'm currently updating (and aiming to finish) while The Jaded is still in deep freeze hiatus. And I have ideas for two more in my head I'm trying to hold back lol.

  7. If I were doing webcomics, of course I'll like CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM.

    That's like having an editor whom you don't have to pay for.

    And well, criticism helps me in improving my art and storyline. Otherwise I'll be stuck at a certain point, not knowing whether I'm getting any better.

  8. I think "Constructive Criticism = An Editor You don't have to pay For" might just be my quote of the day *chuckle*

    In the end I've decided to send emails to the people I've interviewed if I feel there's any indication they might be interested.

    Incidentally I sent one to KVSZA. I might elaborate on that some other time...