Monday, January 31, 2011

Buy a Book To Begin the Week: I KILL GIANTS

I KILL GIANTS written by Joe Kelly and illustrated by J.M. Ken Nimura is one of my favorite books of the last few years. Before I say too much, I'll post the books description from Joe.

It's a story about a girl who’s a bit of an outsider – she's smart-assed and funny, but totally in our geekland: she's obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons, she doesn't have a lot of friends, she’s a bit of a social misfit. She's taken her fantasy life a little far, and really only talks about giants to people. She's convinced that giants are real and giants are coming, and it's her responsibility to stop them when they show up. This weird little fantasy life that she's going has started seeping into her real life, and as we see things from her point of view, we see that she sees pixies and she sees signs in the clouds and other things that might be telling her that bad things might be coming.

This book moved me emotionally in a big way. Joe weaves together a personal story with the fantasies of a child and Nimura's quick, raw lines carry thru the story swiftly so as not to lose momentum.  The art is Black and white with a gray tones and I couldn't imagine it any other way. It fits the tone of the story so well and his design choices are just perfect.

I've encountered books that attempt to tell me a personal tale before, but most times they're too personal and build a wall around themselves to the point where I can get in. IKG doesn't suffer from this at all. It grabs you right away and drops you off again when it's done.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spread the Word of the Comics You Love

My twitter feed has been over flowing with a full range of "this is what's wrong with comics" and "people don't buy enough creator owned comics" and "creators should quit the big 2 and make creator owned comics: rants lately. Some are angry, some are funny, some are bitter, and some are just anxious to sell books. It's not my place to say if any of these are right or wrong. Oddly enough, while I hear a lot of these manifestos, I don't actually hear many actual suggestions on what I,  or anyone should do.

I don't have the desire to address every point so we'll just focus on the "reading creator owned comics" side of things. There seems to be an anger that superheroes dominate the comics landscape and that there is a wider variety out there to be read. That's a more than fair statement. But instead of doing a weekly soap box session telling me about this problem over and over, be pro active. I'm a fly, you can catch me with honey. If you complain that they're doing it wrong, all I have the power to do is agree or disagree. If I disagree then I walk away. If I agree, I also walk away... but I just do it while saying "F YEAH, YOU TELL 'EM!"

If I think my dog needs water, I don't just tell her how thirsty she looks. I fill up her bowl up and show her where it is.

Stop telling me what's WRONG and point to me to what's RIGHT and you'll start to get somewhere.  Don't make fun of what I do read, tell me what you read and why I should be reading it. I'm not talking about telling me to read creator owned books. I mean act like a real marketer and act as if I don't know the difference between creator owned and corporate and sell me on a book. Tell me why I would love the main character, or how the plot will blow my mind, or or or. You get the point. Sell me. It's that easy. Blog about it, tweet about it. Spread the word of the actual books we love not just the general "problem" that you may see.

I'm not taking a stab at anyone or their views. I agree with almost everything that's been said lately.  At the core, I think everyone wants the same thing. We want the world of comics to be loved and thrive so that we can enjoy it and give it others for years and years to come.  I'm all for that.

As comic creators, we're lucky to have our fans, and in the day of instant social networking we have their ears on stand-by. So I'll put out the call for everyone who has a blog or twitter account. Spread the word on the books you read and enjoy that may not get the attention you think they deserve. It's not about dissing the books that get attention, its about propping up the ones that need more. Give links to Amazon, or your local shop that has it in stock.

Starting this Monday and every Monday after that, I'll give a full rundown on a book I love and think you might as well. I'll then start an Amazon Listamania with the books I post about so you can buy them if you choose. I'm not going to change the world, but hopefully you'll buy a few books you may not have otherwise.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Digital Update

Tomorrow makes 2 weeks of me selling THE ADVENTURES OF BERNARD as a digital book in PDF form. I thought you all might be interested in keeping up with the progress along with me and we'll take this ride together.

Last Friday I was had 391 downloads. As of tonight (Thursday) I'm at 531 downloads. Now keep in mind that the most orders were placed on the first 2 days it was available, 108 on Friday and 88 on Sat. Since then it ranges from 20 and above each day. The only promo this week was a daily reminder on twitter and a few news sites mentioned it.

These may not seem like ground breaking numbers to you. I mean, you usually see an indy issue around 3000 or more. But at $2 a pop with no one taking a cut, I've cleared more than I would have selling around 3000 print copies at $2.99. So I'm very hype about these numbers even if they seem to be "worse".

Again, I'm not preaching on the death of print and retailers nor am I saying that I'm not going to be apart of that world. You'll be seeing OZ books from us for years to come and I have no idea what my plans will be with my OGN once it's done. But I also know that Bernard or other indy books like it are a tough sell for retailer to take a risk on. Hell, they're tough for a creator to take a risk on. But that's what makes this method even better. You get to put your material out in the world only risking the time you took to create it.

I will be holding on to my digital rights on all creator owned works in the future though as I can see where I think things will be going and I'd like to benefit from it fully.  But I will always offer a print book even if it's self published. And I'll always offer those to retailers and fans alike.

One of the most interesting things about this thing is the number of people who either started selling books themselves or contacted me to get info on doing so. Most of them are heavy hitters as well so I'm excited about whats to come.

There you go. A little peek behind the curtain of week two in the Digital Experiment. I'm not buying mansions...  yet. Things could go dry by next Friday, or they could double. Best part is, it'll be available either way. I can promise that there will be more digital material from me in the future. Thanks to everyone for their support!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bernard Reviews and Support

The orders and still rolling in on The Adventures of Bernard and I couldn't be happier with all the support. I'll be posting an update on the progress of the digital experiment again on Friday.  For now, check out a few great reviews and pieces people have done on the book and the experiment.

Weekly Crisis

Geek Girls Network

CBR's Pipeline

If you have any links or reviews you've done, please share and I'll highlight them in future posts. Thanks again for all the support.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Behind the Digital Experiment

It thought you all might like to follow long with this little experiment I've been trying.  As you know, I'm working on my graphic novel and I began my research on publishing.  What companies have what contracts, what book stores are doing well and which aren't, what's the best option for digital distribution.  Honestly, the numbers are enough to give you a few panic attacks.

I read an article about selling digital content with out going thru Apple. The concept was sound but the duct tape method of doing so didn't make much sense to me.  There seemed to be too many ways to mess up and leave your customers wondering where their product was. But the idea of selling product directly to my fan base was intriguing.  After a 5 minute talk with Ryan Stegman, he suggested I give it try.  We hit up google and found many options for selling your digital content and I picked the one that was already teamed with BigCartel (my online store).  After adjusting my pdf, I started selling a digital copy of The Adventures of Bernard for only $2.

Here's where it gets interesting. In 7 days, I've sold 391 digital copies.  The only promotion I've done is on this blog, twitter, facebook, and deviantart. Since I started selling, a few news sites like CBR and iFanboy have done pieces on it.  But that's it. No real push, no real plan. Woke up last friday, no plan to sell anything digital and by noon the same day I was in the middle of this experiment.

I've been self publishing in one way or another since 2004.  Mostly sketchbooks, art books and prints. I've learned long ago that while it may take a little money up front, I can make more money selling a fraction of the numbers because I'm cutting out all the middle men. No distributor, no store, no publisher.  It's just me and you. (and paypal)  The same is holding true so far on this digital experiment.  I'm charging $2 and the only cut is the Paypal percentage.

Now, the sales could dry up in a week... or they could double. The point is, the book isn't going anywhere. It will never go out of print and I can sell it to you forever with out the overhead that comes along with keeping an indy book in print.

And before I get anyone saying but this, and what about that... I don't know. I'm not doing this to change an industry or say f you to the print world. I still do great in the print world and will always offer print versions of my books. I'm simply trying to use the internet to sell my stuff.  That's it. I'm not fighting any power and I'm not on a soapbox telling you to follow me into the fray. I'm not screaming that comics are broken and why don't they just do this or that.  I'm just selling a book and seeing what happens.

Basically, I'm at the baby stages of this experiment but so far it's going great.  I'll try to keep you in the loop over the next few weeks and we'll see if this is the new model for indy creators or if I just stumbled onto a fluke.  Either way, it's great to be able to connect directly with you all digitally on the same level I've been doing with the art books all these years. You all are the best!

For those interested.  I use BigCartel for my shopping cart and they are teamed with PulleyApp for digital content.  All you need is a Paypal account and some product.

Monday, January 17, 2011


This weekend proved something to me... You all are some of the best supporters an artist could ask for. The downloads are still rolling in and I have you all to thank. Being able to bring a creator owned property straight to the fans in a way that they can keeps is very exciting.  And hopefully, just the beginning.

I thought I would share a review from Ryan Lindsay over at the Weekly Crisis.  Thanks for the love and kind words Ryan.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Bernard Collection goes Digital and gets Cheaper

For those of you who dig reading books and comics on your iPad, iPhone, Laptop, etc. then you'll be happy to know I'm testing out the digital waters by releasing THE ADVENTURES OF BERNARD THE WORLD DESTROYER via digital download.  And the great thing... IT'S ONLY 2 FREAKING DOLLARS!!!! Go up to the store page or click below.


If you missed it online a year ago, or haven't jumped in and bought the printed collection, well now is your chance to grab little alien by the bulbous flying thingy and read away for only $2.  

And for those of you still interested in picking up the print version, good news... I've dropped the price from $15 to $10.  Do that math, my friend. That's 5 bones you're saving. 

I'm testing out how digital books sell and if they do well, you will see many more in the future.  For now, you can also look forward to my new sketchbook STUFF v.1 coming next month. More info soon.