Featured Blogger: Heather Cushman-Dowdee of Mama Is…Comic
Blogger Heather Cushman-Dowdee balances being a mother of four and sharing parenting insights through her cartooning on MamaIsComic.com, which addresses topics like breastfeeding, home-birthing and attachment parenting. In addition to visiting her site, check out her Facebook and Twitter pages!
Q: When and why did you start blogging?
A: I’m pretty old school; I was posting comics to a static Web site once or twice a week starting in 2001 before I had even heard about blogging. My first official blog was probably started around 2003.
Q: How do you think your blog stands out amongst other similarly-themed blogs?
A: I’m first and foremost a cartoonist, I post a newly created comic two or three times a week and then the ‘classic’ comics are posted daily, along with a few of my written thoughts. I think the whole process of posting takes about three times longer than it would if I was just writing. I have been creating the comics since 2001 and so I’ve built up a stockpile of 500+ comics, and a large fan base that can’t wait to see the next comic. My fans are global, which I believe is because I’m posting ‘art’ instead of just words. I have a lot of visitors from England, Australia and the first customer of any product I put up for sale is always from Croatia. Go figure!
Q: What does your family think of your blogging?
A: They are incredibly supportive, and they enjoy the comics even though it takes a lot of time.
Q: What blogs do you read?
A: Stephanie Morales who runs my Facebook fan page does a really good job of aggregating blog posts, so I usually visit my page to see what I want to read:
Q: How much time daily do you spend blogging?
A: About three hours- I have four kids, and we homeschool. I make them my first priority, and posting a comic is my second priority. If I can get to the rest of the business of blogging, it’s last on the list…
Q: How many times have you redesigned your blog since it started?
A: About 6 times. At the beginning of 2011 I had two different blogs with two different comics posting. I recently redesigned the whole site and moved the two into one. It’s now called Mamaiscomic.com, and I post the new comics in a members only portion of the site. I post daily Hathor the Cowgoddess comics for everyone to see.
Q: How much do you correspond one-on-one with readers?
A: Any time they write to me, I will also leave comments in reply to them on my blog and will check in on the fan-run Facebook page and post there, too. I think of many of my fans as friends now. A few have been fans since the beginning (Hi Heather, Hi Lara!)
Q: What joys did you not expect when you started blogging?
A: I didn’t realize how much I would like growing a fan base and how personal it feels to post a comic and have an immediate friendly response.
Q: What pains?
A: It’s been more work to monetize the blog that I thought it would be (my blog grew up as Internet surfers began to believe that everything should be free). My goal in the beginning was to be published, but in the years I was blogging print production started to recede, so now I self-publish. I’ve had to readjust quite a bit to the changing times, and sometimes the adjustment is painful. A while back, I realized that my comics weren’t ‘searchable’ by Google, and that essentially my blog was full of un-search-engine-optimized posts. I had to quickly come up with a plan to make my images searchable. The plan is work intensive. It’s a strange new world, that I have to constantly adapt to.
Q: What’s something your readers don’t know about you?
A: That back in the day I was a mohawk flying punk rocker girl. Most of them think I’m a crunchy granola hippy.
Q: What’s your personal favorite blog post?
A: My favorite and my fans’ favorite luckily coincide:
http://www.mama-is.com/very-crafty/ the comic is Very Crafty, the ‘likes’ reached 5,715 people.
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