I started a new side webcomic called FANS N’at, which centers around Steelers Football from a fan’s perspective.

Even though I’m pretty busy with other projects, I decided to practice what I preach to other cartoonists about “niche comics”. I consider this a “micro-niche”- I haven’t done a whole lot of promoting of this and wanted to see how viral it could go during the two week Super Bowl excitement and give Steelers fans something to laugh at in the off season. Then during the season I will do pre-game and post game strips full of inside jokes Steeler fans love. You can take a look at http://fansnat.com or http://steelercomics.com

If you’re a cartoonist and want to learn about experimenting with niche comics of your own read on…

Early Results & Reception

The first week of Fans N’at I did 3 comics. The traffic hasn’t been HUGE, but it has been receptive and passionate. Our page on facebook racked up 173 “likes” and the strips being passed around on people’s walls brought in over 4000 Pageviews this week from Facebook alone. That probably means a passionate fan linked it on their wall, and then friends of theirs checked out the links.I’m not technically allowed to say how much I made from Google ads there, but let’s just say it was enough to buy a Golds Gym workout bench at walmart. 🙂 – Now, I’m not really doing this comic to make money, I’m first and foremost doing it because I’m overly excited that my team is going to the super bowl and may walk away with its 7th ring! But I can totally see how a strip like this could work in the regular season and gain sponsorship dollars from medium to large local Pittsburgh brands who can’t afford to advertise through the NFL but still want to reach passionate Steelers fans. –

So in the case of a micro-niche comic, it’s not about the big traffic numbers, but the PASSION the readers who do come have for the subject on the site.

If you’re a cartoonist here’s the formula for figuring out a niche of your own to conquer.

#1 FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE OR ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT. – In this case, I’m a lifelong Steelers Fan. For you, it might be that you like or know a lot about Geocaching or knitting…

#2 IS THERE AN AUDIENCE FOR THIS NICHE? – In Fan N’at case, YES. Steelers fans will buy and collect anything and are very loyal. For something like Geocaching, I think YES, there are MILLIONS of active geocachers worldwide. For knitting, even YES there are really passionate craft makers out there with knitting clubs. (knitting is a really awful example for me)

#3 KNOW YOUR NICHE: You have to know as much or even MORE about the niche and culture around the niche you’ve chosen. IN Fans N’at case, I really know, love and follow Steelers Football heavily, but I don’t really follow ALL of football, just what’s going on with or effects our team. For something like Geocaching? I like Geocaching and know enough about it to pull off a cool comic that cachers would pass around… but my passion meter isn’t as high. Knitting? I know absolutely NOTHING about that niche, so it’s dead to me.


One mistake I see some people make is that their “niche” isn’t actually a niche at all. You’ll see this in a lot of  “video game” comics that are trying to mimic others in style or structure. “Video Games” is a subject, not a “niche”- A niche for VIDEO GAMES would be something directed at platforms like “XBOX gamers” – or individual games like the hugely  popular “World of Warcraft”

In my case, my niche was not “FOOTBALL FANS”, that’s too broad. My niche is STEELERS FOOTBALL. My micro-niche is “STEELERS FANS” – You can keep breaking it down and down… like “FEMALE STEELERS FANS” – Take a look at what the “Black n Gold Girls” have done, they’ve made that into an entire business worldwide.

Another quick example: A comic about CATS for CAT LOVERS is not a niche, it’s a subject. A niche in the subject of cats might be something like : “CAT GROOMERS” “Cat ladies” – (you can replace “cat” with “dog” as well :)) –

What about MUSIC? Music is the subject… Hip-Hop or Rock would be the categories… now where’s the niche??? In “Hip-Hop” it could be a comic just about “rap battle competitors” or in ROCK the niche might be “struggling rock bands” (or bands dealing with crappy labels 😉 ) What about band management?

Are you catching on to the formula yet? I’m not so sure if some of those examples fit the formula test of having a community around it that would give a damn…. but search your interests and write down the things you are passionate about and you might be surprised to find yourself drawing a very successful comic about something that’s near and dear to you!

What’s your niche?

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