The state of comiXology Part 1: Rapid sales growth shows prominence in comics market

This post is the first in a two-part series on comiXology’s impact on the comics industry in light of its 200 millionth digital comic download.

By now, it’s safe to say comiXology is a big deal in the comics industry.

The digital comics retailer had its 200 millionth comic download in late September—only a year after it hit the 100 million-download mark. The site has had its digital reader since 2009.

"The Walking Dead" comic book series released its 10th anniversary issue, #115, just in time for the season 4 premiere of the popular TV adaptation. Art by Charlie Adlard. Image from IGN.
“The Walking Dead” comic book series released its 10th anniversary issue, #115, just in time for the season 4 premiere of the popular TV adaptation. Art by Charlie Adlard. Image from IGN.

ComiXology benefits from a strong market for new readers, as the wild popularity of DC and (especially) Marvel movies and The Walking Dead TV series has played a role in putting the comics industry on pace for its best year since 2000, according to Comics Alliance.

The site is not just capitalizing on trends, though. It has helped expand the comics audience in its own right.

The rise of digital media has created a larger comics market than was available when print was the only medium for comics.

“It was already a fractured, poorly distributed market,” said comiXology CEO David Steinberger.

While comics may not have been poorly distributed, as single issues and collected editions were available in bookstores and online, digital downloads have made it easier for readers who do not live near comic stores to buy new issues as soon as they are released.

Buying comics, especially in issue format, online is not always cost effective (when factoring in shipping costs) or timely (I used to have subscriptions through Marvel and usually received my issues a week after they came out). Although many sites offer free or discounted shipping for certain amounts spent, those offers might not be inviting for new readers

Someone who is interested in giving comics a try might not want to spend $25 to get free shipping on Amazon, for example.

Spending $9 on a quick download of The Walking Dead Volume 1 could be more appealing for a fan of the show who wants to give the comics a shot.

Digital sales have benefits for longtime readers as well.

Because cloud storage space does not have the same limitations as print, books never go out of print, and books that have gone out of print are easier to publish again.

"Green Arrow" #11 is one of many out-of-print comics published via comiXology. Art by Matt Wagner. Image from iFanboy.
“Green Arrow” #11 is one of many out-of-print comics published via comiXology. Art by Matt Wagner. Image from iFanboy.

For example, DC published filmmaker Kevin Smith’s Green Arrow series, originally published in 2001-2002, on comiXology in 2010 after the collected editions of the series had been out of print for several years.

ComiXology is not the only company to promote digital comics, but it is the market leader. The company had $19 million in sales in 2011 out of the overall sales numbers for digital comics, which totaled $25 million.

Digital comics sales increased to $70 million in 2012.

Digital has some questionable aspects, but it has proved to be a viable market and has made an impact on the comics industry.

“Digital has replaced the spin rack in the convenience store,” said Thor Parker, social marketing director of Midtown Comics, one of America’s biggest comic book retailers.

Parker is right. For the first time ever, comics are available to anyone with an Internet connection. Physical location no longer matters, and the potential for further audience expansion is tremendous.

New Developments: Ouya revises fund-matching rules, solving some issues but raising others

After being at the center of Ouya's Free the Games Fund controversy, "Gridiron Thunder" developer MogoTXT declined to accept matching funds from Ouya. The game will be released on October 30. Image from the "Gridiron Thunder" Kickstarter page.
After being at the center of Ouya’s Free the Games Fund controversy, “Gridiron Thunder” developer MogoTXT declined to accept matching funds from Ouya. The game will be released on October 30. Image from the “Gridiron Thunder” Kickstarter page.

After coming under fire for the questionable funding of some projects, Ouya has revised the rules of its Free the Games Fund.

Under the fund’s original rules, Ouya would match the pledges raised by any developer who raised at least $50,000 for its game project through Kickstarter, as long as the game was sold exclusively on the Ouya console for six months following its release.

Two games, Gridiron Thunder and Elementary, My Dear Holmes!, caused controversy after facing allegations that the creators “pledged” money to themselves to gain funds Ouya would match.

Kickstarter investigated Gridiron Thunder and found its funding legitimate, but suspended the campaign for Elementary.

Ouya decided to go through with funding Gridiron Thunder, but developer MogoTXT declined to accept the matching contribution, saying it had the money it needed to release the game without Ouya matching the funds.

In a video statement, Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman said MogoTXT wanted other developers to have the money since it was able to fund its game on its own.

Lessening the impact of controversy certainly doesn’t hurt either. I don’t want to insinuate that MogoTXT was just trying to save face, but the good public relations aspect of this move is hard to ignore, especially with the game’s release on October 30.

The revised rules contain a few important changes.

First, Ouya will only match the amount of the Kickstarter goal, not any funds raised beyond the goal. This rule helps money go to a greater number of developers.

In the interest of lowering barriers of entry, Ouya has lowered the minimum campaign goal from $50,000 to $10,000.

Ouya also requires campaigns to have at least 100 backers for every $10,000 raised. The purpose of this change is to ensure there is support from a substantial fanbase and not just a handful of people close to the creators.

Finally, developers will be allowed to release their games on Ouya and PC at the same time. In her video statement, Uhrman said this move was made at the request of participating developers, who said PC is where most of their market is.

Under the revisions, Ouya removed one projectDungeons: The Eye of Draconus by developer SuckerFree Games, from the fund.
"Dungeons: The Eye of Draconus" was disqualified from the Free the Games Fund after the rules were revised. Image from Joystiq.
“Dungeons: The Eye of Draconus” was disqualified from the Free the Games Fund after the rules were revised. Image from Joystiq.

Project creator William McDonald disclosed that his father spent a large retirement check to help bring the game above the $50,000 level needed to receive matching funds from Ouya.

In light of its disqualification, SuckerFree Games canceled its Kickstarter campaign one day before it was scheduled to end.

In a statement on the game’s Kickstarter page, McDonald criticized Ouya for deciding to “change the rules on us.”

“OUYA gets their fall guy and Grid Iron keeps their money,” McDonald said. “So while a bunch of ex-EA employees with rich friends can apparently receive $171,000 in match funds for a game they, allegedly, already finished, a person whose father was willing to make a large sacrifice so his son’s team could qualify for the fund and actually develop their game properly is disallowed.”

McDonald explained that without the matching funds from Ouya, the project would have experienced a net loss of $11,000.

McDonald’s argument raises some interesting points. The image of questionably funded games is usually one of crafty developers trying to game the system, but SuckerFree Games appears to be more earnest.

Was it wrong for one person, especially a developer’s immediate family member, to make a large contribution to a loved one’s project? Since Ouya did not say up front that this practice was against the rules, was it unfair for the developer to get a substantial portion of its funds from one backer?

Ultimately, Ouya had to follow the demands of its supporters, most of whom “voted” for changes to the contest rules with criticisms on blogs and social media platforms.

The threat of developers leaving the platform in the wake of the controversy could have easily become a reality, and developers are going to drive the progress of the console, so it was in Ouya’s best interest to go with the majority rule.

Many developers will benefit from the Free the Games Fund. Ouya should remember, though, that those who are negatively affected by the rule changes might not be unethical. After all, some were playing by the rules Ouya set out, but the rules were destined to fail.

RoboCop statue, other pop culture-based art finds patrons on Kickstarter

The completely assembled version of the Kickstarter-funded RoboCop statue. Image from the Onion A.V. Club.
The completely assembled model of the Kickstarter-funded RoboCop statue. Image from  The A.V. Club.

A 10-foot model of the Kickstarter-funded RoboCop statue has been assembled in its future home of Detroit.

The statue was funded through a Kickstarter campaign in 2011 that made over $67,000 on a $50,000 goal. Campaign creator Imagination Station Detroit wanted to erect a life-size statue of the character after fans expressed interest through social media posts.

Released in 1987, RoboCop tells the story of dead-police-officer-turned-cyborg-justice-machine Alex Murphy, as he battles a crime boss in a dystopian Detroit virtually ruled by a corporation. The film was both a critical and commercial success and maintains a large fanbase today.

Were I not trying to keep this blog “SFW,” I would definitely post a clip or two from the movie so others could revel in its awesomeness.

Imagination Station constructed the model out of foam and plaster. The final statue will be bronze.

Though most Kickstarter campaigns involve pledges in exchange for copies of the final product (especially on high-dollar campaigns), the RoboCop statue demonstrates how like-minded individuals can get behind a project together without any quid pro quo returns.

“This isn’t ours. This was created by over 2,700 people around the world,” said project manager Brandon Walley.

Backers were willing to support this campaign even if they received nothing in return. They simply liked the fact that someone was going to build a RoboCop statue in Detroit.

RoboCop is the most famous example, but other pop culture figures have been commemorated in sculpture because of Kickstarter.

The following map shows the locations of the RoboCop campaign and four other examples.

New York City sculptor Derrick Cruz used Kickstarter to fund a porcelain cast of the late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis.

In Salem, Mass., figure artist Chad O’Connell funded life-size wax models of characters from the 1992 dark comedy film Death Becomes Her.

Using a more unusual medium, Las Vegas-based artist Michael Davis funded his goal of building a wall-sized reproduction of the title screen of the cult favorite PC game The Secret of Monkey Island out of Lego bricks.

Clockwork Couture, a steampunk-themed clothing retailer based in Burbank, Calif., used Kickstarter to fund expansions of its brick-and-mortar location. The additions were to include sculptures of a zeppelin and a Tardis (of Doctor Who fame), as well as a rotating art gallery, a classroom for teaching unemployed people how to start their own businesses, a public gaming room and a pet adoption area.

All these projects show Kickstarter’s potential for old-fashioned art patronage. Only the Ian Curtis campaign sold reproductions of the artwork, and they were limited.

By and large, people funded these projects because they cared about the works and wanted to see them be made.

The title screen of "The Secret of Monkey Island." Image from the Lego campaign Kickstarter page.
The title screen of “The Secret of Monkey Island.” Image from the Lego campaign Kickstarter page.

The projects also show Kickstarter’s ability to find the niche audiences needed to fund them. In any given person’s personal social network or geographic area, there are probably not a great number of The Secret of Monkey Island enthusiasts. Online, however, Davis could more successfully find people who loved the game and were interested in the project.

The RoboCop statue experienced the same effect on a larger scale. Imagination Station might have had trouble raising funds for the statue if it limited its reach to a city that was two years away from economic disaster.

However, by reaching out to fans all over the world, it achieved its funding goal and increased interest in its campaign.

I have never been to Detroit. It’s possible I may never go there. But I’m still excited about the fact that the city will have a cool movie character statue in it.

That sentiment is what got the campaign funded. Despite Kickstarter’s store-like tendencies, it can still be used to gather a crowd of avid fans more interested in seeing their favorite things in a new medium than with receiving a new product and some pre-order goods.

The final RoboCop statue is expected to be unveiled in summer 2014.

New Developments: NYC Opera Kickstarter fails, company folds

In September, the New York City Opera held a Kickstarter campaign in attempt to partially fund its 2013-14 season with a funding goal of $1 million. The opera is filing for bankruptcy after not meeting is Kickstarter goal or securing the rest of the funding it needed.

The Kickstarter campaign made more than $300,000—a considerable amount for a place-specific campaign, but not enough to gain adequate funding.

City Opera’s performance of Anna Nicole, a recent opera based on the life of Anna Nicole Smith, ended its run on September 28, and it will likely be the opera’s final show.

Sarah Joy Miller portrayed the title character in "Anna Nicole." Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich of The New York Times.
Sarah Joy Miller portrayed the title character in “Anna Nicole.” Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich of The New York Times.

In addition to the difficulty of promoting a campaign for one particular geographic area on a website with international reach, the campaign likely faced other problems inherent in using Kickstarter to fund an organization.

As Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic discusses, Kickstarter has tended to prove more successful for company’s selling tangible products than organizations seeking funding for their operation.

The 50 most successful Kickstarter campaigns (all of which have raised more than $1 million) have all been product-oriented. In these campaigns, backers were given products that could be shipped around the world, rather than admission to an event (some backer levels for the City Opera campaign included admission to performances) or general support for the campaign creators.

The "Veronica Mars" movie project is the overall third-largest Kickstarter campaign and largest outside of the technology, product design and video game categories, raising $5.7 million. Image from The "Veronica Mars" movie project Kickstarter page.
The “Veronica Mars” movie project is the largest campaign outside of the technology, product design and video game categories, and the third-largest overall, raising $5.7 million. Image from The “Veronica Mars” movie project Kickstarter page.

Although Kickstarter has reiterated that it is not a store, the funds-in-return-for-an-eventual-copy nature of its most successful campaigns suggests users are looking at it that way, at least to some extent.

For Kickstarter users outside of New York City, the things offered in return for contributions simply did not have enough appeal to get people to pledge their money to the opera campaign instead of something else.

Desktop wallpapers and downloads of recordings from City Opera ($5 and $15 rewards, respectively) are fine rewards, but they could not bring in donations on their own, the way a final product could.

Another important piece of information is most of the million-dollar campaigns were in the technology, product design or video games categories.

This information suggests the audience for high-dollar Kickstarter campaigns skews toward the crowd of technology enthusiasts.

The problem for an opera company (or other fine arts association) is not that people who like technology do not also like the arts, but that the people most interested in using Kickstarter are not the people who love opera enough to back a campaign for it.

Meyer mentions that Kickstarter might bring a certain hip appeal to a demographic affluent young people—an audience City Opera has had trouble reaching. If an organization could not reach the audience most interested in using Kickstarter, then it would be faced with the difficult task of promoting a crowdfunding campaign to an audience unfamiliar with the concept.

A final important note is that Kickstarter might not be a viable platform for organizations needing improvements. Several commenters on the The Atlantic article said nonprofit campaigns had a harder time promoting a message of needing support or stability than a message of wanting to carry out a program.

More bluntly, people are coming to Kickstarter to fund the development of an upstart and buy what it is selling, not to make pledges that will sustain an organization.

Kickstarter is not a store, but it’s not a charity drive either.

“Dollars to donuts” a real concern for “The Simpsons: Tapped Out”

Players can construct and customize their own version of Homer's hometown in "The Simpsons: Tapped Out." Image from Touch Arcade.
Players can customize their own version of Homer’s hometown in “The Simpsons: Tapped Out.” Image from Touch Arcade.

Freemium games have proved popular (at least for certain bubbles of time), but an Australian watchdog organization is calling their fairness into question.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recently announced its plans to examine the 300 most popular free mobile apps among Australian children to see if children and their parents are being misled about in-game purchases.

One game the ACCC is looking at is The Simpsons: Tapped Out, a city-building game with a freemium business model. Tapped Out was released for iOS in February 2012, and the Android version was released a year later. As of May 2013, Tapped Out has earned $50 million net revenue for EA Mobile, a division of Electronic Arts.

In Tapped Out, players build their own towns in which the Simpsons and their fellow Springfield residents go about their daily lives. Players need donuts—the in-game currency—to buy premium upgrades, such as certain buildings and new characters.

Players can earn donuts by completing tasks, like building new areas or playing the game for several days in a row. Alternatively, players can buy donuts with real money.

The prices for bundles of donuts range from $1.99 to $99.99. Screenshot uploaded from my iPhone.
The prices for bundles of donuts range from $1.99 to $99.99. Image uploaded from my iPhone.

Undoubtedly, the game owes its success to real-world branding. Despite frequent criticisms of the show’s post-heyday seasons, The Simpsons has a massive fan following with many die-hards.

As such, EA Mobile has gotten away with steep prices for the game’s premium content. A recent addition to the world of Tapped Out was popular ancillary character Disco Stu, who costs 180 donuts, which is equal to $15.

For a single character in a mobile game, that price point strikes me as awfully expensive. After all, four Disco Stus cost the same as a new game for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 or WiiU.

The ACCC’s point of contention is that children may be spending a non-trivial amount of money on in-app purchases without realizing they are playing with real, not in-game currency.

Earlier this year, Apple agreed to give more than $100 million in iTunes store credits to settle a lawsuit filed by five parents claiming Apple did not set parental controls to keep children from buying extra content for third-party video game apps.

As some of these apps are designed for young children, the ACCC’s concern is warranted.

Another concern is the fairness of premium content cost compared to players’ ability to earn the content by playing the game.

A spokesman for the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network informed the ACCC of one scenario in Tapped Out in which players must wait 90 days for a crop of corn to grow or spend 1,060 donuts ($48.58) to complete the task instantly.

I used my real age when starting "The Simpsons: Tapped Out," but nothing would have stopped me from doing otherwise. Image uploaded from my iPhone.
I used my real age when starting “The Simpsons: Tapped Out,” but nothing would have stopped me from doing otherwise. Image uploaded from my iPhone.

In my limited experience playing Tapped Out (I love The Simpsons but don’t care for city-building games), I found the distinction between spending donuts and spending real money to buy donuts clear, but I can see why kids might have a problem telling the difference. And when the waits are long for completing objectives, the option to get them done more quickly will be particularly enticing.

The argument of whether the gameplay is fair is up to the market. Like other freemium games, Tapped Out does not require players to purchase extra items to advance through the game, but progress will be slower if they do not.

Some will pay. Others will play the game without premium content or paid advancement. If enough people do not like the game, its popularity will decline.

However, the issue of whether freemium games are marketed fairly warrants legal discussion.

Tapped Out requires players to input their age, but there is nothing keeping children from typing whatever they want.

Of course, parents need to monitor their kids’ Internet use, but Apple, Android and makers of apps for these platforms should not be free from accountability for allowing potentially misleading apps.

The ACCC investigation is part of the development of the platform. There was a time when newspaper and TV advertisements could say whatever they wanted, but as those media evolved, restrictions became tighter, especially in ads geared toward children.

Mobile apps are still fairly new, so the rules of fair marketing need to be further worked out.

YouTube connection won’t make people use Google+

YouTube announced Tuesday that it will soon require users to log in through Google+ to make comments on videos.

The purposes of this move, according to YouTube, are to increase the quality of comments on the site and to give users the comments they care about by connecting to users’ Google+ Circles. YouTube wants users to be able to see the most relevant comments, rather than the most recent. The changes will be fully implemented later this year.

Comments listed near the top of a video for each user will be from people in that user’s Google+ Circle, popular posters, people participating in discussions about the video, and of course, the video’s creator. Users can set their comments to visible to everyone or just to certain people in their Circles.

A video from Soul Pancake shows what the new comments sections will look like. Image from YouTube Official Blog.
A video from SoulPancake shows what the new comments sections will look like. Image from YouTube Official Blog.

YouTube also promises new tools to help video creators moderate comments.

These features will likely lead YouTube to success in increasing the quality of notoriously poor comments sections. The site’s less savory commenters will not likely be committed enough to register for Google+ for purposes of comparing things to Hitler or spamming their website links.

Furthermore, the new features allow people who are interested in having conversations on YouTube to do so; under the old comments system, it was very hard for people to keep track of one another, as most comments were displayed with the newest first from the top.

As Selena Larson of ReadWrite points out, it is clear that Google also intends to use its new YouTube functions as a means of getting more people to use Google+.

Because Google accounts allow access to all Google tools and websites, Google+ has a very high number of users. In other words, anyone who has a Gmail account automatically has an account for Google+.

For people who already have Google accounts, leaving YouTube comments will be as simple as logging in, even if they are using a different account than before. Some will even create Google+ accounts for commenting on YouTube.

But will these new rules and tools really get more people to use Google+?

Not likely.

Nielsen reported earlier this year that in March, the average visitor to Google+ spent a mere 7 minutes per month on the site. In the same month, the average visitor to Facebook spent 6 hours and 44 minutes.

While these figures do not include activity from mobile apps, the difference is still vast enough to indicate that people do not have much interest in Google+.

Google+ may have a large number of users, but on average, they are not spending much time on the site. Image from The Independent Blogs.
Google+ may have a large number of users, but on average, they are not spending much time on the site. Image from The Independent Blogs.

In a post for ReadWrite earlier this year, Matt Asay said Google had demonstrated only why Google+ is beneficial for Google; not why it is beneficial for users.

“There happens to be a product at plus.google.com and an app. But really it’s a way for Google to get to know our users,” said David Glazer, director of engineering for Google+. “Who they have relationships with. We give them the ability to share. That layer, that spine, that backbone, is intended to help us make search, Maps, YouTube, Gmail, etc. better. That’s the real point of Google+.”

When I read that explanation, I don’t see any reasons users would want Google+.

A further problem with Google+, Forbes contributor Robert Hof points out, is that Google+ has done little to distinguish itself from Facebook. Why, then, would anyone want to use Google+ when they are already involved in Facebook?

The most compelling argument comes from Linda Sherman, consultant and former CEO of Club Med Japan. Sherman told Forbes that people can effectively use Google+ to market themselves and their businesses because the site’s small number of users allows people seeking professional connections to be more visible to influencers than even LinkedIn.

Sherman also noted that early adopters can garner large audiences on a new media platform before the platform becomes huge.

While both of these aspects of Google+ are useful for jobseekers, entrepreneurs and social media enthusiasts, I wonder how applicable they are to wider audiences.

There is definitely a strong interest in using social media, but the tiny amount of time people spend on Google+ compared to Facebook makes me think the demand for multiple Facebook-like platforms is not what Google thinks.

Tumblr, Pinterest and Twitter have their own distinct functions that differentiate them from Facebook. Google+ has some differences, but unlike the aforementioned sites, the fundamental purpose of Google+ is the same as Facebook.

Did Google supply a product without a demand?

5 tips for blogging challenges: A look back at Blog-a-Day Week

Last week was the annual Blog-a-Day Week at WVU Interactive Journalism. The rules are fundamentally simple: students must post on their blogs every day for one week. Beyond the simplicity, however, is quite a difficult task.

Blogging is not easy. It is often thought of something anyone with a computer can do, but it requires a great deal of commitment to write 4,000-5,000 words with proper links and images in a week.

Professional bloggers have this kind of workload (if not more) every week. Based on the 5,000-words-a-week estimate, a professional blogger writes the equivalent of an average-length novel (64,000 words) in 12.8 weeks. Thus, a blogger writing every day writes a little more than four novels in a year.

These books are a visual representation of how much content professional bloggers write in a year. Image uploaded from my iPhone.
The four books at the top of this stack are a visual representation of how much content professional bloggers write in a year. Image uploaded from my iPhone.

Despite the intense workload, I enjoyed Blog-a-Day week and learned some valuable information about blogging. Based on what I learned this week, I would offer five pieces of advice for anyone who wants to participate in a blogging challenge.

1. Work in advance. The hardest part of this week for me (and for many, I suspect) was thinking of a week’s worth of topics to cover. Take some time at the beginning to make a list of things to write about, and use it to write your first few posts. I wrote four of the seven posts the weekend before the challenge started, which helped take the heat off for the rest of the week. It allowed me to always be working on my posts ahead of when they needed to be posted, giving me sufficient time to edit and revise for publication.

2. Google it. And use Twitter. Search engines and Twitter are the best ways to find things to write about. Of my seven posts this week, I found two by Googling phrases related to my blog focus (the NYC Opera and Humble Bundle posts) and three through Twitter accounts I follow (the two Candy Crush Saga posts and the Dredd sequel one). Brainstorming alone only gave me two topics, so Google and Twitter were essential to my blogging challenge.

3. Write about things you’re familiar with as often as you can. I thought writing the posts might get easier as the week progressed, but what I found instead was that the topics that were easiest to write about were those on which I was already knowledgeable. The Soundsupply and Key & Peele posts did not take me too much time to write because, for the most part, I knew what I was going to write about before I started them. The NYC Opera and Humble Bundle posts took the longest because I was not familiar with the histories of those organizations.

4. Keep track of your data. It’s easy to ignore the data your blogging platform provides, especially during a hectic blogging challenge week, but data provides insight into which topics are attracting the most views. The posts on Key & Peele, Candy Crush Saga and real-world branding and Humble Bundle drew the most individual viewers and highest numbers of views, so those would likely be subjects I should revisit in the future. The Humble Bundle is especially noteworthy, as it got those views on a Sunday, and weekends are usually less popular for reading blogs and other online posts. It appears, then, that readers are particularly interested in that topic.

WordPress provides free data for your blog, such as the number of views per day, as seen on this calendar for my Blog-a-Day Week. Image from my WordPress page.
WordPress provides free data for your blog, such as the number of views per day, as seen on this calendar for my Blog-a-Day Week. Image from my WordPress page.

5. Turn one idea into multiple posts. This point means two things to me. First, it means you can get two or more posts out of one subject. In reading about Candy Crush Saga, I found articles talking about branding and Facebook connection, so I could tell there was more than one post in that amount of material. Posts that form a series are helpful because they allow you to delve deeply into a subject without having to overload your blogging process with research.

Second, the idea means you can get multiple posts out of one theme. Think about your previous posts when searching for new topics, and you’ll notice overarching themes between seemingly unrelated topics. I’ve written about DRM-free platforms four times, and two of them were during Blog-a-Day Week. When I wrote about that topic once, it gave me the idea to search for other platforms using similar business models and the issues surrounding these models. Letting your previous posts inform your new ones will help you think of new ideas and create a rich web of connections throughout your blog.

These are just some tips for people doing blogging challenges. What bits of advice would you add to the list?