Nicole Hollander Sounds Excited Again – Chicago Reader [PRESS]

Sylvia by Nicole Hollander

Sylvia by Nicole Hollander

Alicia and Sylvia are two good friends of cartoonist Nicole Hollander, and together they have her back in the game.

Sylvia is someone Hollander’s known and drawn for 35 years, and they’ve been through plenty together. In 1990 the Sun-Times dropped Sylvia. But Hollander and Sylvia are hometown gals with a lot of friends, and the Tribunequickly picked it up. But in February the Tribune droppedSylvia, and the hue and cry raised by those friends cut no ice.

Alicia Eler is but 26 but she and Sylvia are not breeds apart. Eler’s website identifies her as a “Social Media Consultant and Writer, specializing in the arts,” and my guess is that Sylvia would say, “All that means is you know how to stick your nose in and you tell other people to stick theirs in too — just like I do.” That’s not all the two of them have in common. A couple of weeks after the Tribune laid off Sylvia it laid off Alicia Eler too. For the previous year she’d been “arts and culture community manager” for the Tribune‘s Chicago Now blog network, overseeing about 50 bloggers. A reorganization and a budget cut cost her her job. Times are tough.

Eler and Hollander were introduced in April. Syndicated by Tribune Media Services, Sylvia continued to appear in a few papers, and you could find it online, but Hollander was feeling pretty obscure — and she says she’d lost half her income. For a fee the cartoonist could afford, Eler took her in hand. Hollander was already on Facebook but not much was happening there. Says Eler, “People get on Facebook and are excited about it but aren’t sure what’s most effective and they don’t want to spend all day on it. She had these two fan pages [here and here] and she had apersonal profile, but we got together a strategy for it.”

More importantly, Eler created a new blog for Hollander, [The s is crucial.] It just went up. Hollander chats away. Sylvia chats away. Hollander posts new Sylvia strips there and she posts old strips — whatever comes along, at some time in the past 35 years Sylvia said some wise ass thing that’s right on the button. And what’s great is that Sylvia is drawn four weeks ahead of publication, but on Hollander’s blog she and Sylvia can weigh in on any topical issue that gets their blood up and post immediately!

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