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Brad Guigar turned Webcomics.com into a pay site in January, and four months later, he is pleased with the results. Membership has exceeded his expectations, he said, and new members continue to come to the site every week. “The neat thing about it is that people come in and they are instantly immersed in what we are doing at the site,” Guigar said. “The members are this really cohesive group of professionals so when somebody pipes up with a concern or question, they say ‘I’ve done that—here’s how it goes.’
“I keep the site going with daily updates, moderate the community, but it has taken on a life of its own. It has turned into this amazing resource for people: they write posts, submit things to me, or do whole posts on the private forum saying ‘I just had this experience doing xyz,’ and all of a sudden you have this whole tutorial on doing something you didn’t even know you wanted to know about until then. So the community has taken over and become this incredible resource.”
In addition, Guigar has begun to negotiate special benefits for subscribers—starting with tables at C2E2, which subscribers got at a $60 discount. “That’s a 200% savings” on the subscription fee of $30, Guigar said.
And he is working on more. “I go to vendors and say ‘I can bring you a core group of professional self-pubising cartoonists, and they re looking for business relationships with printers, promotional marketing, stuff like that, can you give me a discount?'” he said. “The vendor wins because they get access to this whole group of people they can build a business relationship with. Meanwhile, my subscribers get discounts or benefits, so that’s a win for them.”