I’m thinking along the same lines, a big problem with the webcomics community is that there are a lot of people creating things, but not enough resources to help readers find the comics that are worth reading.
I have some ideas on how to overcome this.
Suggestion 1: Anthologies
One way that I’ve found a lot of the comics that I enjoy reading is by finding the creator's work in either a grab-bag or an anthology. However most anthologies are physical printed things for sale, and most readers don’t want to spend money on that sort of thing.
What would be great if there was a web-equivalent to an anthology publication, things like Make Mine Indie are a step in the right direction, but I think we can still do better.
One way to do this would be to start something up like Penny Arcade’s; “Stip Search”, but probably without the gameshow (as cool as it would be to have that happen again.) A place to showcase the work of exceptional new creators. When Strip search was going on I went out and at least checked out the comics made by the contestants on the show, and I actually became a pretty big fan of Abby Howards work and read both of her comics for quite awhile.
Another way to do this would be to create a sort of “humble bundle” for webcomics, where artists could create a handful of minicomics to show off their work, that could then be sold with a pay-what-you-want system that would support the creators and charity. Ideally these minicomics would be standalone projects, or spin-offs of the creators main series.
Suggestion 2: Critics
Why are there not any big-name critics for web/indie comics??? By big-name I don’t even mean people like Roger Ebert, but like, just someone to point to and say “This guy knows his stuff, you should listen to him and check out the things he recommends.”
I have one theory, and it’s because webcomics are typically incomplete ongoing products, and it’s hard to review something that isn’t complete, and more importantly it’s hard to recommend something that may never be completed.
Suggestion 3: Finish your webcomic.
This is a huge problem. One of the biggest things that keeps me from wanting to start reading a webcomic is the fact that most webcomics never get finished. I’m guilty of not finishing a webcomic as well, it’s a huge embarrassment TBH.
But a lot of people are treating abandoned projects like they’re no big deal for some reason??? This couldn’t be further from the truth. Everytime theres a unfinished webcomic there's a chance that new readers will give up on the format altogether, and start reading things that are guaranteed to pay-off, or turn to reading gag-a-days. It’s a barrier to entry for the entire medium, not finishing your comic hurts the entire medium, not just you. I think Welcome to Webcomics made some VERY IMPORTANT points about this.
On top of this we don’t do enough to reward the creators that DO complete their webcomics. A lot of creators will try and publish a book once the project is done, but like, how many of your readers will be willing to buy a book that they’ve already read for free?
IMHO, One major problem with tapastic is related to this. Go to the browse all section, look at Fisheye Placebo. That comic is abandoned, but it’s still featured front and center. Also, why is there a feature to mark your comic as completed if there’s no place on the website to browse completed comics? Seriously, finishing your webcomic is a HUGE accomplishment, we should do more to reward the people that have managed to do that sort of thing, and this might be an unpopular opinion, but I think we should bury abandoned projects, even if they’re as amazing as Fisheye Placebo.
On the creator-side of things, we all need to make a conscious effort to plan out stories that we can actually finish. No more of this 10,000 page long Magnum-Opus-First-Time-Project bullshit. IMHO your first comic project should be something that you can get done in a month or two at most. And as a reader, I would rather have a okay 15 page comic than a disappointing 5000 page comic any day of the year. Quality over Quantity and whatnot.
Suggestion 4: Rethink how release schedules work.
As creators I think we need to plan our release schedules around phenomenon like the 7-month-slump, the drop-off of readership in the back-to-school season, and the barrier to entry that having a huge amount of episodes, rather than working against it. We need to accept that these are the limitations of our medium.
What if we started planning our comics, or at least chapters/seasons/arcs, so that they fit inside the 7-month slump, and make sure the most exciting parts of our stories happen during the summer time when we’ll have the most traffic?
Oh god sorry this was so long. Hopefully I didn’t come off as too much of a prick when I was talking about finishing comics.
TLDR: Finish your comic because it hurts everyone if you dont.