Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Monkey Pipe, Now, Then, When...

Work continues on issue 4 of Hero Code (issue 3 is still being coloured) and issue 3 of Hero Code Theatre of War.

Department O issue 3 has a finished script, and I'm now just waiting for a) the chance to save up some money and b) a window in Andrew's schedule for us to get together and finish that up.

The Black Wraith one shot is about half way done. I need to finish the script for the fourth chapter, and then the art for chapter's 3 and 4 will need to be done.

I still have plans for Samurai Billy.

I'm folding the Intranauts storyline into a later Hero Code story, so may revisit that down the line.

I have plans for a few more Kickstarters in the future, 3 bigger ones, and perhaps 2 micro campaigns. The schedule for these looks something like this;

Mid 2015 - The Hero Code Menace of the Mannequin campaign - this will help make a soft cover print run which will collect the first 6 issues of The Hero Code in one volume.

Early 2016 - The Hero Code Theatre of War campaign - this will help make a soft cover print run which will collect the prologue issue and the three issues of the WWII set story in one volume.

Mid/Late 2016 - Department O Body Politic campaign - this will help make a 6x9 hard cover print run collecting all three issues of Department O.

These three will all be bigger campaigns than I've run before, but maintaining the simplicity of the Black Wraith campaign.

I'm also thinking of doing a micro campaign for The Black Wraith one shot (perhaps a treasury edition sized book), and perhaps one for a future Samurai Billy book.

My idea is to produce runs either at 1,000 or 2,000 copies, and then only reprinting when a book sells out. I'll be looking to do a few more shows out of LA during this time, shrinking down what I'll be taking with me to have more focus on these collected editions.

That's pretty much where I'm at. I'll be finishing up a few books over the next year, and then taking stock of what I want to do, shifting focus onto just the Hero Code.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Writer Sketch Card Raffle - week 1

I'm going to be doing something - a weekly sketch card raffle.

I'll be looking for suggestions as to what to draw during the week over on twitter (you can @ me or use the hashtags #writersketchcard or #writersketchcardraffle), then selecting one at random to draw over the weekend - that winner will get the finished sketch card.

Here's one I did this week, for winner Gary Lister;

I always enjoy doing sketch cards, and thought this would be a good way to a) keep my art muscles active, and b) motivate me to actually do them.

Let's see if I can do one years worth!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Long Beach table 1603

It's nearly time for the Long Beach Comic Con!

I think this is the sixth, and I'll be there - sharing table 1603 with Jesse Toves.

I'll have the following books on hand -

Department O issues 1 and 2 ($5 each)

Hero Code issues 1, 2 and 6 ($5 each)

Hero Code Theatre of War prologue sketch card editions ($5 each)

Black Wraith volume one ($10 each)

Samurai volume one ($10 each)

Jesse will have copies of his book, Pages of 8 (he may also have some copies of Trouble, Guts and Noir).

He'll also have some 3d printed Black Wraith busts for sale - unique collectables!

Plus, he'll be doing sketches.

See you there!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Black Wraith volume 1

For those that missed the initial Kickstarter, volume 1 of The Black Wraith is now available at my store.

I've also added the single issues (2-4) to the Submit queue on Comixology, where you can currently buy issue one.

Issue 2 cover - featuring art by Harris, colors by Breckel

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Black Wraith Kickstarter in numbers

Total amount raised - $1742

Total amount received (less Amazon/KS charges) - $1555.35

Total number of backers - 120

Total number of failed pledges - 2

Total number of backers who didn't respond to surveys - 5


Print costs (for x500 copies from Printninja) - $1515.94

Art for pledges - $560

Add ons and supplies - $183

Shipping (at present) - $295.77

The Book:

Number shipped as part of KS - 86

Number of comp copies sent - 41


Final balance (amount raised less amount spent) - $-999.36

Remaining books (for sale) - 372


I wanted to do a micro campaign to test if I could raise a small amount in a short time to help print. 

Originally my plan was to work out the cost of printing double the required number of books. 

I was using various printing services to determine this amount, and then roughly estimating shipping costs.

I tried to encourage overseas backers to use the digital reward option, but didn't want to totally dissuade them from getting a physical copy. It did mean that the overseas pledge level was high, but it was necessary to cover those shipping costs.

I originally started with just the book being offered, but began to introduce sketches and other stretch rewards as the campaign went on - this added costs, but also brought in some very high backers.

I shifted from my original planned printers to Printninja as the Kickstarter raised more money, and as I opened talks with Printninja (who were excellent, if anyone is interested!).

It meant that I would be out of pocket for some of the campaign, but I decided to risk that for the sake of having more inventory to sell after the campaign.

As it stands I will be selling the books at $10.95 on my online store (plus shipping) and at shows.

With 371 books left to sell (rounding down to $10) I will recover costs if I sell 100 books.

Would I do more micro Kickstarters? I think so. I like the idea of using this model to help cover costs of printing collected editions of books. I'd also use Printninja again in a heartbeat - they really are fantastic for what I needed them for.

The campaign may be a higher amount in future, to help with color costs, bigger book costs etc, but I think the low amount, short time model worked well.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

There's no gold in them dar hills!

Don't make a super hero comic.

Especially a long form or ongoing one.

Seriously. Just don't.

Ask anyone advice about making independent comics, and most times the above sentences will come out of their mouths. And they are totally right if your aim is to make money in comics.

It's also pretty true for any form of comics, to be honest.

Comics, as a money making venture is pretty much a closed door. I think you can make a decent living off of comics (at least some people can), and some people can break even or self-fund doing comics, but I don't think many people make money from comics.

The golden idea - or the "Walking Dead" dream - for most is to create something, sell the idea to another medium, sit in piles of cash. But of the thousands of comic ideas created every month, how many make it to the big or small screen?

Super hero movies don't make money.

Wait a minute, you may say, what about all those super hero movies that make billions every year?

Those aren't super hero movies. They are brand movies. They are movies with 50-80 years of built in brand marketing.

How many super hero movies are made from new ideas about new characters created by an unknown creator or creators?

Not many.

Not when you can just reboot Spider-Man and have the built in brand.

I don't make Hero Code for the money - and if I did, I'm doing a terrible job doing it. I make it because I enjoy it. I hope you do too. There may be times when I can't afford to do it as regularly as I would like, but I hope to keep doing it for a long time. Ongoing, in fact.

I have stories plotted way beyond the ones I've written, and I've written way beyond the ones that have been printed. Lots more.

Stick around.

The Hero Code issue one is now available on Comixology.

Monday, 16 June 2014

100 Days of Comics

I've been inspired by Kevin Cross, who is currently on day 43 of his 100 days of comics quest.

The idea is to make time to work on one's own comic projects every day for 100 days. Just 30 minutes (at least) to focus on your own stuff.

As all I do is my own stuff, I am not distracted by client work. However, I do have a full time job, and two kids, so there are other things!

I plan to use 30 minutes to either plot, plan, outline, or script my comics every day for the next 100 days.

The majority of this will be for my series, The Hero Code, but there are two other side projects I am currently working on which will also get some attention.

I won't be starting until Wednesday - the day I return to the day job after a short break for the summer.

I'll try to post little updates and video blogs on YouTube as part of the process.