I’m paperless!

miami-heraldI cancelled my Miami Herald subscription. First time in my life! I don’t think I have ever not had a newspaper delivery even as kids my parents always got a newspaper or two delivered. But I am tired of the lack of service by the delivery person and the constant increase in price.

It bothers me because I want to support the newspaper and I will probably subscribe digitally, as I have done with other newspapers, which I mentioned last week. But I haven’t been reading it. I don’t even pick it up and bring it inside most days and I’ve only used it for the tv listings, which of course, I can easily get online.

When I was a kid, there were so many options, I could easily get seven or so newspapers a day if I wanted. I usually got those to read the comics.  Now I read the comics online.

I do hope newspapers all survive. They are part of our lives, part of daily life. So many of us still do read the newspapers, but we don’t realize it. But when you are reading stories and clicking on things all over the internet and on social media, most likely you are clicking on daily newspapers and reading stories that interest you. I think I must follow 100 newspapers and tv stations from all around the country on Facebook. And I pick and choose what to read as they post the stories.

I will continue my new practice of subscribing to local newspapers from around the country online. It’s not expensive, you get the actual newspapers to flip through as an e-paper and I’m supporting them and seeing what’s up around the country. I believe that the circulation of newspapers this way is up, but they are having a hard time monetizing it. I’m not sure why it’s such a problem to transfer advertisers from the printed page to digital. The audience is online.

I like what Jason says

“Don’t curate your art to what gets likes. Curate it to what you like.”

jason-chatfieldThat’s a quote from cartoonist Jason Chatfield from a recent interview in Medium. Jason is the Ginger Meggs comic strip cartoonist and also a New Yorker caroonist. Ginger Meggs is a 100 year old comic strip from Australia, that Jason took over in 2007.

I like what he says about the art and cartooning being what the creator likes rather than the audience. I do seem to concern myself with the audience. But I do get a bit giddy when a cartoon is completed, so I guess I do like what is being put out there.

About The New Yorker magazine, he says – “be prepared for rejection,” which is what I am up against whenever I send them submissions. But they get so many submissions and they probably just whiz by them.

Another thing that Jason says is that he ignores social media. While he posts on social media, he ignores the comments. It would be nice to do that too in many cases, but I think the whole point of social media is to be social, so reading the comments and interacting with readers is just part of the process. If I don’t like a comment I just ignore it.

I met a syndicated cartoonist a few years back who has the comments blocked on his GoComics site. So he publishes daily, but gets no feedback, which works for him but again, everything has comments these days – Facebook, blogs, news articles – comments are sort of what’s expected.

So anyway, enough about Jason, Jason, Jason. I just thought some of the things he said were quite interesting.

Benilda is quite popular

benlidaThis particular cartoon which was posted Friday, got the most shares on Facebook of any of my recent work. I did have one of my comics shared on Facebook by George Takei once that got almost 100,000 shares. Can you imagine, 100,000 shares! The power of popularity and numbers.

This Benilda comic got about 2400 shares to date. Amazing. 2400 times an average of 400 friends for each person is 960,000 – almost 1 million potential readers! And that’s just Facebook, there are thousands of other readers on my TomFalco.com website and on Instagram, along with people sharing that I don’t know about.

It’s interesting what is popular and what isn’t. I’m not sure why this one struck popularity nerve with people but maybe it’s about driving or not knowing how to drive a stick shift, that is a popular subject I suppose.

A couple of people liked the name Benilda. So do I. I got it from a real person. A real person who I don’t actually know. It’s a customer. She purchases items from me online and has for years, but we’ve only dealt electronically, I’ve never seen or spoken to her, not even on the phone, but I love the name Benilda. I had another comic strip I was working on where the wife was named Benilda, but I never did publish that strip. While I did about 30 of them, I didn’t enjoy drawing the same characters and situations day after day, I much prefer the single panel where I can have different characters and scenes each day.

I have been posting short videos of me working on Instagram stories, I noticed that many of the popular and well read cartoonists do that, and they do even more – they constantly have videos of anything having to do with their life. One popular guy has videos today of him flying a kite with his son. It used to be “go fly a kite,” was a negative thing, but he made it fun positive thing to watch. I guess there are so many comics that it’s about the personality behind the comics, so I’ll post more of that and me, I suppose mostly on Instagram. I layout out my life here on the blog, too, of course.

Shark Week starts today. I’ll be posting a few shark related comics this week.

The World

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I came across these pictures on social media. You know how I love old newspapers and newspaper buildings and these are the best. Above is Park Row and you can see the New York World/Pulitzer Building at right. I’ve never seen it so close up before.

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And here, from atop the old post office building you can see some of the newspapers to the right – The World, The Sun (that tiny building next to the World with the billboards on top), the Tribune and the NY Times. Only the Times building remains today.

Such a great period in time.

The summer house

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Today’s comic seems to be very popular. In less than an hour of being posted, it already has 100 shares on Facebook.

I’m noticing that the silly comics get more play – more likes, more shares, more attention.

I personally like the esoteric ones, you know, the ones that make you think, but it seems that the comic reading public likes these silly ones. It’s something to think about.

When I look at this one, I wonder, where are they? Are they at a lake? Are they in the mountains? I know I drew it, but I didn’t give the location much thought.

I am always making changes, up until the last moment before it’s published and one thing I wish I would have changed now is changing the word “home” to “rental,” so it reads, “I love how you children are taking to our summer rental!” Like here.

new-shoe-COMIC

Sharing is caring

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Not bad – check this out. Today’s comic is doing well after only one hour on Facebook – there are 106 shares already – going viral fast.

I love when people share the posts/comics – it’s really helped with circulation on Facebook, there are about 13,000 fans/followers in just a few weeks!

On Instagram there are about 2500, but it’s going slow because they don’t have a share button. I think there are two things Instagram needs – a share button and a way to add a link in the write up area. I’m wondering why they don’t have that since they are a part of Facebook and it would really help out with more engagement.

As you know, you can follow my Tomversation comics here:

Online at TomFalco.com and at Facebook and Instagram here:
Facebook.com/Tomversation.toons
Instagram.com/tomversation.toons

How did we arrange to meet before cell phones?

bethesda-fountain

Bethesda Fountain, Central Park, NYC (photo by me)

I’m gonna miss New York this summer. But I think I needed a kick in the pants to get out of my rut, or maybe not a rut, let’s call it a habit. I do things twice and that’s it – it’s my habit. I go to the same restaurants all the time. I watch the same tv shows. I told you about my cousin who does a concert on Facebook every few Saturday nights, now that’s a thing for me and I have to text him and ask him if this is the week for the show. The world isn’t right (in my head) until the show goes on.

My habit was going to NYC for a large part of the summer for most of my adult life, or maybe even starting in high school. I would go most summers, but many years I didn’t, but it was a habit. I put off doing other things and going other places for this. But now I am open to do anything. I feel very free this summer by “being released” of my NY summer obligation, which is an obligation only in my own head.

I was thinking of all the times I would arrange to meet Miami friends who were visiting the city at the same time.

What I was finding interesting that years ago, before cell phones and email and all the communication we have now, I would meet friends and I am wondering how we did it and how they even knew I was going to be there. I mean, we didn’t announce things on Facebook back then, so I must have told people separately – “I’m going to NY next week or next month or whatever.” And the amazing thing is that we met up if they were going to be there at the same time.

I remember meeting my friend Albert a few times in the summer when he was up there visiting and my friend Vincent during Thanksgiving week and so on. But how did we know to meet? Did I tell them on November 1st “Let’s meet in front of the Empire State Building on November 23 at noon,” or “Let’s meet at the Bethesda Foundation at 1 pm on July 5,” and that’s how it happened?

They were always there at the place and time. But how did we communicate? We were all out of town, did we call each other at our cousin’s houses or hotels we were at?

I would always show up at such and such time on such and such date and there was the person I was supposed to meet. Talk about reliability. Now with all the communication abilities we have it is worse. “Text me when you are near,” “text me when you are there,” “text me tomorrow.” And still they don’t show up.

My first fan art

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How do you like it? Andrei Limko did fan art of me!

I don’t have regular comic characters which are usually what fan art is drawn from, so he did it of me. I love it. I really do. I’ve always been called a character. And now I am one.

Andrei has a lot of great art at his Instagram page here: instagram.com/andrei.limko

Black Out Tuesday

black-out-tuesdayToday is Black Out Tuesday. Many cartoonists and entertainers are posting a black box on social media instead of the usual posts.

You will see this on my social media pages. There won’t be a comic today out of respect for George Floyd, his family and the protesters. I stand with my black neighbors and friends.

Interestingly enough I learned that using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter on these posts on social media drowns out the story for those following current events. So that is the hashtag to follow if you want up-to-date social media posts on Instagram, Facebook and the others.

You can donate to the Black Lives Matter Fund here.
And the ACLU here.

Do you get the gag?

who

I wrote about the “boomer” comment the other day and that makes me wonder, as I often do, “who is my audience?” I mean when you publish comics you have a demographic, but what is the audience if you publish a general interest cartoon?

I’m a boomer, but I do think younger. So can I combine the two? Will everyone get the gags?

I have often felt that if one or two gags get past a few people, so be it, it then becomes an inside joke, and I like that idea.

There’s a comic site called Comics I Don’t Understand. So I guess not every comic is understood and that’s ok.

My goal is to have readers of all generations. Why not? Today entertainment is segmented from movies to music to tv. There are so many different genres and they all cater to different elements of society. It’s micro-segmented. There was a time when there were a few tv channels and we sort of all watched the same thing, then cable came into being and there were hundreds of channels. I saw an ad recently for some sort of tv service that offered 2000 tv channels, is that possible?

Years ago I used to read the tv ratings in the newspapers. Once a week they listed the top 10 or 20 shows for the week – they had two lists – one for white America and one for people of color. And it always amazed me that they were nowhere similar. Seinfeld was number 1 on the white America list but at the bottom of the list or nowhere on the list for people of color! And vice versa, the shows that they watched, white America didn’t seem to watch.

Of course it’s the same with music, movies and so on.

share

I have more followers on Facebook than Instagram. I know that Facebook is not a favorite with the younger generation and Instagram is, so if I want that younger audience, I need to step up my Instagram game. But also, Facebook has a “share” feature which is used often on my work, Instagram needs a “share” feature. That will help tremendously. Look at this comic above, only posted 10 minutes on Facebook and already 13 shares! By the end of the day I expect over 100 shares. This is the beauty of Facebook.

You can see the Facebook site at facebook.com/Tomversation.toons and Instagram at instagram.com/tomversation.toons. By own cartoon website is at TomFalco.com.

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each time I publish Click here.