Hi there! Long time no see. Things have been hectic here at the homestead. Some things we will get into today, and some we will get into later (next week).
The big thing is that I have launched a Kickstarter for illustrating a novel that I wrote and am currently in the process of getting edited/editing. So… today’s 20 Questions are all going to be about the Kickstarter. Seriously, people… go back my Kickstarter.
Question 1: So what is the actual book about?
Easy. I wrote a novel about a street level hero who bashes evil and crime with flashlights… Mag-Lite flashlights to be specific. Anyway… he usually just deals with purse snatchers and his own pitiful rogues gallery, but he has to deal with an issue that is more than he usually has to and hijinks ensue.
Question 2: So, what is the Kickstarter for if the book is already written?
This is a story about heroes and villains, but heroes and villains are best shown in art. So the Kickstarter is to add art to the novel and cover the production costs. I want to have a different artist illustrate a scene in each chapter. There are 21 chapters so that means 21 different sequential artists. Now, those artists cannot draw their pages without having solid character designs, so (to start with) I will have 15 other artists do the character designs for 15 of the main characters. That’s a boat load of artists.
Question 3: So what is the breakdown for the $30,000 goal.
Well, without getting into the nitty gritty, for this many artists and with an already 220+ page book. So it roughly breaks down to 1/3 printing costs, a little over 1/2 artist fees, and a little under 1/6 pre-production (editors, document prep etc… ). Had to figure out some lowest common denominator stuff there.
Question 4: Do you have stretch goals planned?
Yes, but let’s not get the cart before the horse. I have a couple that could come into place, but I want to get close to the funding goal first. I will let you know the first one though. That is to change the amount of comic book pages from one per chapter to 2 page spreads for each chapter.
Question 5: What is the hardest part of this project?
Getting it funded. That is the biggest issue that is in front of me. If I can get it funded, the next biggest thing is the logistics and schedule. Coordinating over 30 artists to produce designs and pages in a timely fashion is a big ask.
Question 6: So when did you write the book.
I wrote it for NaNoWriMo 2016. I was super unhappy with the ending and had to completely rework that. And then some other things. Editing it has been difficult.
Question 7: So, do you know all the artists you are going to have in the book?
No I don’t. I started with artists that I do know… but that seemed to be mostly white dudes. So I needed to find other artists… Other artists who happen to not be white dudes. So, those are mostly the artists that I do not know on any personal level (in real life or digitally).
Question 8: So you went out of your way to get non-white male artists for this project?
It was a conscious decision. There are 2 reasons for that. 1, if I am going to pay 30+ artists for their work and I only give money to white dudes… that is an issue. 2. White dudes really have a very specific point of view. Artists of different gender and ethnicity bring different points of view to the table and I wanted the art to have radically different styles and breakdowns. If I wanted a single point of view I would do the character designs and then pay an artist to do the pages… boring.
Question 9: Is the book going to be diverse? Or just the artists?
Well… that is an interesting question. One of my editors said to me in no uncertain terms, “Hey, this thing is quite the sausage fest.” (I paraphrase for comedic effect… but only a little. The “sausage-fest” is a quote.) So, I went through the book looking at all the major characters and figured out which ones I could gender swap and which ones did not have to be caucasian. I had to switch up some characters that I had really strong points of view about and needed to rethink how they fit in the story.
Question 10: Are you happy with those changes?
It was hard at first because I thought I was woke-enough and stuff, but I clearly needed to make a concentrated effort at being more diverse. I am very happy where things have landed after the gender swap and racial diversity pass.
Question 11: So, I have heard that the editing process often requires the author to “kill their darlings” meaning that you have to take out parts of the book that you might love as the author?
Of course. There was scene where the group of good guys had to go up against a team of badguys that I made. There were six bad-guys who I really loved the descriptions and designs. It was a fun scene and was nice and action packed. It was too big for the story so I had to cut it. Cutting it hurt.
Question 12: So… you said that you launched this a bit earlier than expected. How did that happen?
Well… there are a couple of steps in the publishing a Kickstarter campaign. One of the last ones is to get the project reviewed for compliance. This is a quick check by Kickstarter to make sure the bank account I have provided and all the boxes are ticked, “i’s” are dotted, and “t’s” are crossed. I got the message that the project had been successfully reviewed and there was an “OK” button to press. The only button to press. I wanted to get the project reviewed so I could publish it on my schedule. Turns out the “OK” meant to publish and start up the Kickstarter. Sooo… I launched 6 days before I was ready. I had a pretty good first day but shit days 2 and 3.
Question 13: So how much do you need to hit every day to make your goal?
I need to average just under $800 a day for the life of the 38 day campaign to meet the goal. I am confident it can be done… I just need the peeps to find the campaign interesting and back the project.
Question 14: So, who did the art for the image of your hero on the Kickstarter page? It does not look like yours.
That is mine, it is just a photo-manipulation and digital art instead of a drawing. I haven’t done one of those in a while and it felt like a good time to break out those skills again.
After I made the compilation I threw it through some filters to unify the look of the images.
Question 15: So what are you most nervous about?
That is an easy one. There are 2 things that I am equally nervous about.
1. I am nervous about the Kickstarter not funding. I have worked terribly hard on the book and I think that adding art to it will make it an amazing book. I really want to make this thing and make it awesome. If it does not fund, I will figure out a way to publish, it just won’t be such an amazing art collection with a narrative running through it.
2. I am nervous about the Kickstarter funding. When this thing funds, I have sooooo much logistics and coordination to do. The funding is really just a beginning to the rest of the work that needs to be done. I will have scripting to do for the pages (I might outsource some of that), then I need descriptions to the character design artists. Once I have designs done, I need to potentially get them colored and then to the people doing the sequential pages. So many moving parts. I can only imagine that getting the 30+ artists coordinated will be like herding cats.
Question 16: Which artist do you know most personally and how do you know them?
That’s Bill (I also go by Will and William) Grapes. He and I met through an online comic book artist community and then met in meatspace. I have stayed at his house a few times to go to comic book conventions in Cincinnati.
Question 17: Which artist is a total fluke for you to get and how did that happen?
There are 2 artists for that. Chris Burnham is insanely busy and has more than a few irons in the fire. I know him from the online artist community as well. But he has gone on to very big and bright things since being a part of that community. Jason Masters is the second. He is based out of South Africa and he is in the middle of doing a webcomic featuring Common on the WebToons app. He is crazy busy as well.
Question 18: Why aren’t you doing your own art, you bozo?
Well… there is definitely some judgement in that question. But I really wanted to get more than my point of view and visualization of these characters. I know what my version of looks like in y head, but one of the things I love about comic books is that every artist has a different vision. I want to see other people’s versions. Plus, I feel very confident in my ability to draw characters well once. I cannot draw them the same from panel to panel.
Question 19: Is this the only book of these characters that people will ever see?
Well… There is room for a follow-up. I think If I did a follow up I would change the point of view to one of the supporting characters from this book.
Question 20: Can you share an excerpt?
As always, I am carrying my two 6 D-Cell MagLites, Truth and Justice. These 2 Maglites are specially engraved along their aluminum bodies with their respective names. The trophy store was weirded out by the engraving request, and the aircraft aluminum wasn’t the easiest of materials to engrave, but they are my signature weapons. I don’t put them in my back holsters yet because I can’t sit in the driver’s seat while wearing them. I set them next to my helmet and face shield on the passenger seat and drive to a municipal lot that is pay to enter. I park the car and put on my custom face shield, plug in my police scanner earpiece, and put on my helmet. MagLite is ready. I jog off to the street where the Falcon stole my bad guy and look around…
There are 225 more pages of that if you want to read it.
In fact, the needle has barely moved over the last few days
I need all of you to back it as soon as possible
The book is at least 225 pages of story
Come one you know you want to support my independent art.
Next week’s 20 Questions is going to be a doozy
I want to really make something super interesting here
And I truly do need everyone’s help on this
Please, I’m begging you
Have a great week