We’re so happy you’re thinking of applying to SpiderForest! Because we receive many questions across many platforms, we decided it would be best to centralize as many of the common questions as we could. If you have a question not addressed here, please either stop by the forums to ask, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a prompt response from our admins.
1) What guidelines are used when considering whether to accept or decline an applicant?A: We consider the art, the scripting, and what the creator will bring to our group. Ask yourself, does your art match your script (in tone, style, or ambition)? Is your technical skill sufficient (does your urban comic take place in a city that’s never drawn)? Do you want to be part of a community, or do you simply want access to our banner rotation? SpiderForest is place for comic creators to grow, so we don’t expect or even want perfection coming in, but we do want to see dedication to the work and consistent improvement over time. The comic creator(s) is/are as important as the comic itself. Knowledge of how to create/modify your own website is good to have, but not a requirement so long as you’re willing to pick it up and learn in time.
2) How many comics does SpiderForest accept each round of applications?A: This varies from year to year. A lot will depend on the number of applications we receive, and the amount of members available to help new applicants navigate their new sites (if required). For example, if all potential applicants want to be hosted here, but none have the experience to handle building their own websites, we can only take as many applicants as we have members who volunteer to help. If all the applicants are self-hosted and come to us with the knowledge of how to build/modify websites, we can take more. But we have never accepted more than 15 applicants a season.
3) Why does SF require an application for membership?A: A lot of members here originally came from free comic hosts like Drunk Duck, Comic Genesis, and Smack Jeeves. While those platforms provided a lot of wonderful opportunity to go and learn about making a webcomic AND a webcomic site, users had no control over associations with other comics on the same networks. SpiderForest desires SOME control. We want to spend our resources on people who are going to give something back to our community. We also offer a particular niche that not every comic fits. Bottom line is that it’s nice to have some say in who your neighbor is.
4) I applied previously and my comic was rejected. Should I ever apply again?A: To answer this question, you have to think about why you were rejected. Sometimes the content of a comic doesn’t fit our collective, and if so, we state this in our email to you. It’s nothing personal, it’s just not a good fit. Sometimes an application is rejected because there’s too little content to figure out the direction of the story/work. If that’s the case, we usually ask you to apply again next time (some comics knock a 15 page minimum out of the park, but some need more time to develop). Sometimes, we see applications by artists who are still trying to hit their stride as comic artists or writers, and we know if they keep at it, in a few months or more they’ll definitely be ready to join. We also invite these creators to try again. But, if you were rejected previously and don’t know why, we really encourage you to take us up on some constructive criticism in our forums. We’ll hit on the things we think need work, and you can decide whether to address those concerns, or not. Multiple SpiderForest members were accepted on their second application.
New August 2016:It is now a requirement that any applicant seeking to reapply must solicit constructive criticism on our forums or privately via the admin account: email@example.com. This must be done prior to the following application season. This only affects those who wish to reapply after being declined, not new applicants.
5) How does SF compare to other collectives, such as Hiveworks?/ Why doesn't SF have a business plan?A: SpiderForest and Hiveworks are two VERY different places, with different goals. We are foremost a community, and we are definitely NOT a business. Our goals are to provide a nurturing environment and share our readership with you to help you become the comic creator you want to be. To assist in this, we provide free, ad-free hosting with FTP access for members who want it. We organize events, convention appearances, constructive criticism; provide advice on crowdfunding and merchandise development–all on a volunteer basis. No one is paid for being a member. Members can run ads on their pages, make and design their own merchandise, or use resources such as Patreon and Kickstarter to monetize their comic–and the community can advise and help promote these enterprises–but Spiderforest itself is a not-for-profit collective run by volunteers. We cannot directly handle these matters for you.
6) What makes a good application?/What does SpiderForest want to see in an application?A: Believe it or not, the first thing we want is all questions answered! With some actual thought! Can you imagine going to interview anywhere offline and not answering the questions? When we read incomplete applications, the first thing we think is that person doesn’t care. So what we want to see is care. Most of what we ask for in an application is simply information–who makes your comic, what’s the URL where we can read it (in its entirety), pick some example pages to wow us, and answer the open-ended questions. Those final questions are the most important.
We ask for two major things: a synopsis of your story/work, and why you think your comic (AND you) would be a good addition here. Writing a synopsis can be hard! But here are some tips: we shouldn’t need to read your synopsis to understand your story/work; it should be relatively short (no more than three paragraphs, and shorter is better); should touch on what makes your work original; and should make us want to read it. In case it also wasn’t clear, the synopsis is about the comic, not the comic creator(s). It’s not a biography. Here are some examples of comic synopses across SpiderForest.
As for the second question, “Why this comic would be a good addition to SpiderForest,” think about the following questions: what do you and your comic bring to SpiderForest that we don’t have? What will you complement (i.e., make even better) that we already have? Do you want to be an active community member? Is there any technical expertise you would bring? Do you value community–yes? Give us examples! Do you like going to conventions? Tell us! This is your time to shine.
7) I'm trying to write an application, but I'm not sure how to go about it. Do you have any examples?A: There are many ways to write a good application. Here are three examples provided by members.
1) What it Takes
Submitted by: Karen “Kez” Howard
Referred by: Tumblr Post from Hchano of “Dream*Scar”
Synopsis: What it Takes is a mature, post-apocalyptic survival story presented as a monotone, long-form strip comic. The story revolves around Colbey, a martial artist who survives the end of the world in what would be the north eastern United States. Armed with knowledge of events leading up to the End, experience in self-defense, and a trusty machete, she is searching through what’s left for a man named Peter Wolfe. But she’s not the only one looking for him.
With over 97% of the global population dead, the majority of cities are are empty, and those still occupied are controlled by gangs warring for control of limited resources. The modern world has ceased to exist, and the weak are exploited by the strong. In short, there is no government, no comforts, and no place for compassion in the cruel, new world.
But there is hope. A City in a Place (or rather, A SIT-E in APPLEYS) is said to have an elected government, working technology, and the ability to protect its resources. The City is also looking for new recruits…so long as they meet certain qualifications. Too bad everyone wants what they’ve got!
Updates: (Monday) Wednesday Friday
5 Page Sample:
Why would you make a good addition to SF?
First, I consider my comic fairly successful in terms of craft and comic-making skill. My pages are technically sound; I update to a rigorous, patreon-funded schedule; and endeavor to create professional-level pages. Though What it Takes isn’t in color, or even a “graphic novel,” it’s one of the few examples out there of a long-form, adventure strip. I’ve also been making webcomics for over ten years, and know exactly what’s expected–personally, professionally, and technically–to finish a long-form work. Therefore I’d bring both technical know-how, a professional attitude, and a unique flavor to the SpiderForest line up. What it Takes also has loyal, active readership, which means I must be doing something right! I think it’s fair to say I’d bring some new readers in to see what else SpiderForest has to offer. My comic would not only fit in well at SpiderForest, but also bring something new.
And then there’s me! I really want to be a member of a community that takes comics seriously, but still has a lot of fun! I don’t manage to get out to conventions much anymore, but I’m really good at helping to organize and plan; I’m fluent in HTML and CSS so I can wrangle my own site and help other members; and I’m more than willing to help, start, or participate in any group projects SpiderForest might have going.
Thank you for your consideration!
2. (Actual application from 2009, slightly different format but same information)
Webcomic Title: Sunset Grill
Creator Name: Kat Feete
Website URL: http://www.sunsetgrillcomic.com
Synopsis: The year is 2426. Earth is a patchwork quilt of squabbling Domains, loosely joined under the mantle of the Empire, which fights to present a united front to the dozens of technologically advanced, land-hungry alien races. None of which matters particularly to the patrons of the Sunset Grill, a bar on the shady side of town in the corrupt city of Kieselburg. The comic follows the day-to-day life of the bar’s staff and patrons as they meet the challenges of their imperfect world with humor, determination, and the occasional moment of grace.Sunset Grill is a 3D comic which has updated regularly three times a week since its debut in August 2008.
Referral: I saw the post on KEZ’s journal and on the TWCL forums. Kez and Metruis (both of whom I follow via Twitter/journals) have both spoken highly of SF membership in the past, so I was interested.
Why this comic would make a good addition to SF: I have a modestly-sized but enthusiastic audience (ComicRank estimates me at about 400 readers), most of which are fans of funny story-driven comics with solid worldbuilding. I believe they’d take to the SF lineup well. The comic itself is a work in progress, especially on the art end, but I am committed to making it the best story it can be, to continually improving my comic skills, and to maintaining a professional level of updates and communications.Skill-wise, I’ve written two novels and several nonfiction articles (you can see a list of my publications here: http://www.katfeete.net/writing ), and regularly edit/critique other people’s work as part of my day job. I have an acceptable working knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP, which I’ve used to design three websites (I’m not claiming any great mastery here, mind, but I can do a workmanlike job on basic site design.) I’d be happy to use those skills in any way that helped the SF community.
Thanks for your consideration, and for running such a great collective. I look forward to hearing from you.
3. (Actual application from 2013, slightly different format but same information)
Webcomic Title: Lapse
Creator(s) Name(s): Alyssa Alecci
Website URL: http://lapsecomic.com/
Synopsis: Bianca Fortune knew her house was haunted, but she never thought she would end up among its ghosts.
Ripped from her listless life in a freak accident, Bianca finds herself stranded in the company of souls more lost and confused than her own, and a malevolent entity is looming closely behind her…
Referral: [NAME] recommended I keep an eye on SpiderForest and submit once the collective was open for applications.
Hosting: I would like to be hosted by SF. I must confess that I know little about the process of getting/making a website and I could definitely use support in this area, though I know a bit of html and maintaining won’t be an issue.
Why would you make a good addition to SF:
My love of this story and the characters has made the completion of this comic a personal cause. I am well-studied in art and storytelling and devoted to delivering the highest quality of these possible. ‘Lapse’ is fully scripted from beginning to end and is likely to end at somewhere around 260 pages.
As for myself, I am knowledgeable about art and storytelling, and I love to share what I know and help other creators with brainstorming and critique. I also moderated an online group 5000+ members strong, where my primary role was writing up news, rules, and organizing long-running events.
8) A member referred me to apply--how does this affect my chances of being accepted?A: a member referred you, that’s great! They must think highly of you! A personal referral to apply is an opportunity, yes, however, we have strict rules about how much the referrer (or even someone who is a friend) can say in our discussion of your application. Members who refer or know you well enough to consider you a friend may post ONCE in the appropriate discussion thread, about why they recommend you. Then they must abstain from further discussion unless specifically asked a question, or if anything needs clarification. They must also abstain from the vote. The rest of the collective will decide in an impartial manner. A referral doesn’t guarantee anything, but it DOES count in your favor.
9) Why does SF require exclusivity and/or a self-hosted site?A: Members here are for the most part, indie creators. We own our own domains, we sell our own merchandise, we make our own comics solo or in a small team. Our strongest affiliations are with each other. In this way, SpiderForest has become a bit of a brand, and we are proud of that brand. This network isn’t a glorified link exchange, and a lot of work went into building this community. We require exclusivity because of these reasons. You are either a SpiderForest comic (with unlimited mirror sites, yes, and hopefully a good handle on the social media aspect of things), or you are not.
For those without their own web hosting, we require one of two hosting solutions: a site hosted on spiderforest.com, or for you to acquire hosting that is not affiliated with another brand. Hosts we consider affiliated with another brand include, but are not limited to, Comic Genesis, DrunkDuck, SmackJeeves, Tapastic, and Comic Fury.
10) I make multiple comics. Do I submit an application for each comic, or put them on the same one?A: If the comics are all part of the same universe, you may submit one application OR pick the best/most representative comic and use that. If you have multiple comics that are not in the same universe, you may submit multiple applications OR also pick the best/most representative comic as well.
11) Can you describe the voting procedure?A: When you send in an application via our form on the apply page, this application is posted in its entirety in our private, member-only forums. All members are invited to read/review the application, and this is one of the most important responsibilities members have. We talk about the art (is it sufficient to the script), the scripting (is it enjoyable with an appropriate pace), the website (is it navigable), the creator (would they be a good fit), the lettering (is it legible), the content (does it match what we have, or alternatively, fill a void) if anyone knows of the comic creator(s) and how they are perceived in the community, etc. After a few days of deliberating, we open it to a vote. A comic must obtain at least at 60/40 majority to join. It’s very time consuming, and usually means upwards of 20 people are reading through your archives.
12) Will I be able to see what SpiderForest members thought of my work if I am accepted/declined?A: The short answer to this is “no.” Our private discussion of your work remains confidential regardless of the outcome of the vote. Even current members do not ever have access to their application thread. This confidentiality assures that we have a safe place to discuss applications in a polite, but professional, manner. If you want to know what members thought of your work, you are encouraged to seek out constructive criticism in our forums.
13) I'm making a comic that has material that may be offensive to certain groups of people. Is it okay if I apply?A: We strive to make SpiderForest a safe place for comic creators of all races, genders, and sexual orientations, and while all our creators come from different backgrounds, we have zero tolerance for comics that endorse sexist, homophobic, or racist views. We DO have many comics with us that are rated Adult or Mature, that feature characters who act or speak in ways that may be offensive (usually seeking to make the audience disgusted, not have them nodding their heads in agreement), but this is different than an endorsement. If your script seeks to convince your readers that racist, sexist, or homophobic views are appropriate, SpiderForest is not the place for you.
14) Can I be a member at SF and still post my pages early to Patreon, Tapastic's Support Program, or other crowdfunding support platforms?A: Yes, definitely. We want you to be able to support yourself with your comic, if that is also your goal for yourself! The SF policy of “SF-affiliated site must be a minimum of 1 update ahead” is for the public site/archives, where anyone on the internet can go and read your comic for free. If there is a select group of people on any crowdfunding platform that you choose to use, who can view pages earlier than the rest of the internet because they pay to support you, that’s fine and does not in any way conflict with the SpiderForest exclusivity rule.
15) Why are applications only accepted twice a year?A: Because SpiderForest is run by the collective as a whole (not one person or simply a small group or committee), it is the responsibility of all available members to vote on applications. However, the process of voting can be quite a time commitment (see #11), and to expect members to be able to do that year round is too much! To respect our independent creators’ prior obligations to their projects, their families, their education, and/or their careers, we ask members to carve out time only twice a year.
16) When are exceptions made for minimum comic update requirement of once a week?A: Webcomics are, by nature, different than print comics in that the average webcomic updates with a set number of pages during a given period of time, i.e., at a certain frequency, to maintain and grow an audience. This is in contrast to print comics, where a person may buy an entire issue or book, and wait weeks, months, or years, for the next installment.
The minimum update frequency to apply at SpiderForest is an average of one installment per week. However, we do make exceptions for the following on a case-by-case basis:
– Update schedules with multiple pages per update. This could mean 2 pages once every 2 weeks, 4 pages once a month, etc.
– Installments that require a hefty amount of effort (larger than usual “graphic novel” pages, or pages that include great artistic detail)
– Comics that would usually meet this requirement, but that are on a planned hiatus and are scheduled to return to regular updates in the near future (within one month, independent from acceptance at SpiderForest)