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Creator Tips and Tricks #21: Getting Started in Comics Podcasting on a Budget!

ArtCrumbs Community • Oct 25, 2022

Today's Tips and Tricks is for anyone looking to become a podcaster, or expanding your knowledge on podcasting! Shaun Sunday of Brain Beast Studios and the No Capes! Show has graciously created an article going over everything you need to know about creating and hosting a podcast centered around comics.

From apps to software to equipment and general advice, everything you'll need is here! With that, I'll let Shaun have the floor! Thank you so much Shaun for your time.

So you want to start a Podcast?

Podcasts are fun, entertaining, educational and also a big labor of love.

Comic podcasts especially are great, but can come with their own sets of challenges! I’ve been running my podcast for 3 years, it’s like a book club, but for comics: I considered doing a review show, but ultimately settled on something that allows creators to show their love for the craft, and highlight creator-owned books.

Let’s talk a little about some different aspects of making a comics podcast and the things you’ll need to get started!

Settle on a Theme and Format

Before you pick up the mic, think about what kind of show you want to have. Do you want to do reviews? A round-table discussion, interviews with creators and celebrities?

  • If you want to do reviews, you’re going to need to initially outlay your own funds to buy the books you want to cover, and start networking with creators and publishers to pick up ARCs when they offer them on social media/get on their press lists.
  •  If it’s a round table discussion - you’ll need to consider if you want to have a recurring cast or a rotating set of guests each episode! As well as that, you’ll want to think about your topic - comics news, cape books, creator-owned books? Which suits your interest and style most?
  •  If you want to do interviews with creators and celebrities, decide if it's going to have a standard format with primarily the same questions for each creator, or if you’re going to tailor the interview to each specific guest (or maybe you’ll wing it, with a looser discussion - but I recommend jotting down some basic talking points for the episode). Next - you’ll want to work on a standard opening email for cold-contacts: something friendly, professional and that clearly communicates who you are, what you do and what’s expected of your guests.

There’s a load of variations on these formats, and maybe you’ll come up with something else new entirely! But these are some ideas and frameworks to help you get the ball rolling.

Once you’re ready to publish:

So you’ve recorded your first episode, editing is done, and you’re ready to go live. What next?

You need a place to host your show! If it’s a video show, you can do this on YouTube, Vimeo, your own website, and even Spotify does Video Podcasts now. But to get the most coverage—you’ll want to set up an Anchor FM account, and connect your podcast to all other places it can post to—Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify etc.

There are other places you can upload as well, but these are the main ones I focus on, you can research other options if you want to expand your reach further still! Below are Anchor’s podcasting connectivity options.
 

The Gear You’ll Need to Get Started

You don’t need a lot of expensive or fancy gear to get started in podcasting, but you will need to upgrade over time if you want to improve the quality of your show! That being said, there is some essential gear that you’ll need to start you off.

I use a Blue Yeti Nano, Pop Filter, Logitech C922, with a ring light, overhead panel light and Wondershare Filmora editing suite. Here are some recommendations on various equipment you should consider.

Microphone:  This is the big one, a USB Condenser mic will do the trick: here are a couple of suggestions to look at!

I recommend getting yourself a pop filter too - a lot of the companies above will sell their own, but you can usually find them cheap at your local audio/tech supply store or on Ebay!

Headphones: When it comes time to edit, you’ll want some quality headphones, to help you really hear what’s going on with your audio and edit out any nasty/irrelevant sounds or dialogue. The companies above have quality headphones available, but I recommend looking around and finding something that suits your personal needs.
Webcam: If you’re planning on doing a full-video show, you’ll definitely need a good webcam, also if you get interviewed yourself you’ll need one too!

I can personally recommend the Logitech C922 or Logitech Streamcam, but if they’re outside of your budget, look around at streamer reviews of webcams, and find one with good recommendations that suits your price range.

Lights: If you’re going to do a full video podcast you’re going to want to light yourself well! You’ll need a ring light or panel light, a light overhead (hair light) that is NOT your ceiling light, and a background light (this can be lights in your backdrop, or a light pointed AT your backdrop.

PC: you’re going to want a decent PC that can handle the software you’ll be using, and an HDD big enough to store your data.

Software: You’ll need various software to create your show, it comes down to personal preferences, but here’s some of the basic and some recommended programs.

  • You’ll need to use Video Conferencing software like Zoom, Google Meets etc (I use Google Meets), I also use StreamElements OBS to record my video directly into the overlay, to minimize editing.
  • Audio editing software - Reapr is the recommended one, but there are other free alternatives available, if you look around for one that you’re comfortable with
  • Video editing software - if you’re doing a full video podcast, i recommend Wondershare Filmora, it’s cheap and powerful! Clipchamp is also a newcomer to the market that has free and premium tiers and is fairly user-friendly.


Carlos Luna has a GREAT thread about getting your space set up on a budget for content creators: https://twitter.com/CarlosCrits/status/1298393046942248960?s=19

Holding Space

It’s important that as media we’re lifting folks up, as we grow - everyone grows.

I highly recommend making sure if you’re having guests on your show to hold space every season for marginalized creators - BIPOC, LGBTQI+, disabled creators and other marginalized creators have a harder time getting the press that they deserve, so if we have a platform, it’s truly up to us to create the change we want to see in the industry! If you’re reviewing books, make sure you’re looking for books by marginalized folks, and including them in your lineup, there’s so much important stuff being made that needs and deserves the love.

Marketing Basics, The hardest part of making a podcast is arguably marketing the podcast. Who is your audience What do they respond to? How do you get the message out? Well, let’s talk about a few ways you can do this with the most powerful and versatile option - Social Media, and some of the tools you can use to streamline the process.

Post, and Post often. If you think you’re posting too much, you’re probably not! Social Media algorithms are a strange beast, and timezones even more-so. Not everyone that follows you is going to see a post when you post it, so post a couple of times a day about your show, just make sure the content varies!
 

I post something like this for each episode, and retweet it 1-2 times on the day of announcement.

Pinned Tweet - Make sure you have a pinned tweet that introduces your show and your community values as a creator! This allows people to see what you’re about at a glance, and is easily shareable.

  • Create a range of “Evergreen Content”. These can be general graphics describing the show, short 20-60 second videos with a mix of general promotion, and clips from episodes etc - get these into a scheduled rotation, so you don’t have to be “extremely online”.
  • Design in advance! If you’re recording your content in batches, make all the promo graphics/videos you can before the episode goes out, and get those posts scheduled, it’ll make your life a lot easier.
  • Get Involved! - Learn who is doing similar things to you, who is creating cool books, and join the conversation! Showing you’re involved and a part of the community is hugely important, and also getting your name out there is a great way to get the community familiar with your name, content, and values.
     

Tools:

Canva: A free (with premium option) graphic design tool, that can help you make your post graphics, business cards, tiktok videos, stream overlays - even merch mockups!


Socialbee: This is a great social media scheduling tool - it lets you split content into categories, set up individual schedules for each category, and you can then create a queue of posts in each category! It’ll post one at a time down the queue until it hits the bottom, then start again - this is perfect for the above “Evergreen Content”. You can also schedule individual posts to specific dates for releases and holidays, and set posts in the queue to expire by a certain date as well!


 

Headliner: This is a great tool with free and paid options to create promotional videos for your podcast - I use it to create voicewave clips for social media. It can automatically generate clips based on its algorithm detecting what it thinks are exciting parts of your episode, or you can edit them manually - connect it to your Anchor, and it’ll import each episode as it goes live.

These are probably my three favourite tools for marketing for my show, there’s a tonne of others out there, but I can wholeheartedly recommend these ones!

Bonus Round: - Making Merch for Your Show

Okay, you’re a few episodes in now, and you want to set up a merch store for your podcast? Well, the best way to get started is with Print On Demand services.

Print On Demand sites let you set up a storefront on their site, or connect it to a WooCommerce/Shopify store on your own website. These outlay no initial costs, and take a cut of the sale when someone orders from your store. I currently use Threadless to have a storefront on their store, and Printful to connect to my own storefront on Etsy.

Once you’ve set up an account, you can upload your artwork, and set it up across a range of products to sell right away!


Physical Merch for Conventions: You can usually order merch from the Print on Demand sites you run at a discount, but for other things like keychains, stickers, pins etc - try places like Stickeroo, Stickermule, Stickerapp etc - they often have special deals and you can start building a stock of smaller, cheaper merch to have on your table if you’re going to a convention, or other promotional events!

 

That was a lot of fantastic information! Comics-focused podcasts are becoming more popular, both as a way to spread awareness about comics and comics news, but also as a way to promote your own work and network with other creators. I think this was a great article with lots of valuable information.

If you would like to connect with Shaun on any of his other platforms or watch his show, we've got a list of all his socials and locations here:

 

The High Cost of Living, 62 pages - Published by Brainbeast Studios, (cc/ @Brainbeast-Studios)

Rumours spread fast in Brisbane. The Urbex groups have had warnings about certain tunnels for years, tales of people disappearing, of groups suffering horrific injuries and being chased out of the tunnels by…..something….. Something monstrous is stalking the tunnels under Brisbane, people and pets have been disappearing, partial remains appearing near storm drains and on riverbeds. Team: Writer/Colours: Shaun Sunday https://ko-fi.com/brainbeaststudios Pencils/Inks/Letters: Adam Markiewicz https://ko-fi.com/admancomics

Story and Art by Brainbeast Studios