That panel about sums up my entire career right now.
I’m kind of joking, but kind of not, but either way I think it’s time for an update on my graphic novel, at the very least. So, here it is.
In December of 2010 I finished illustrating and editing my very first graphic novel, Picket Line. This was a huge accomplishment and source of pride for me, and I’m still pretty tickled by it. Of course, finishing a book is still just one step in many on the way to being a published author, and that’s where I currently find myself. I have a book, it’s definitely ready for the general public to read, but it’s still in process.
I used to consider self-publishing a plan B, and I think maybe by some standards, to some people, or in a certain age, it was and is. But I made the decision shortly after finishing my book that I actually wanted to self-publish, as a plan A. My reasons for this were two-fold. First, self-publishing would give me near-complete control over the process, particularly aspects like a release date, the printing specifications, and the promotional tactics. I’ve taken my book this far, and part of me is now feeling somewhat protective to take it the rest of the way. My second reason for self-publishing was simply to learn the business side of publishing, which is definitely not my strong suit, not my natural gifting, and not (so far) the least bit enjoyable to me. The fact that I wanted nothing less made me feel I needed this education even more.
Plus, in this day and age self-publishing is a much more viable option. Thanks to the internet, I can fund-raise, market, promote, sell, and distribute my book without requiring the same resources as in days past. We live in very empowering times, particularly as creatives. So anyway, upon making the decision to self-publish I was still faced with a mountain of decisions, and work, and more decisions, and more work. And in the middle of that, friends, is where you find me right now. And why, despite my book being completed for three months now, you have yet to read it. Trust me, please, it is coming, and not too long from now.
Let me walk you through it. (Cue another panel placement opportunity…_
Okay, so, one of the major factors in my decision to pursue self-publishing was the existence of the Xeric grant. This grant is set up to help people self-publish their comics. In short, it’s pretty specific to what I need. And it carries a certain amount of prestige, at least in the indie comics world, and more than a few Xeric winners have gone on to lead prolific comics careers. I don’t see any harm in telling you that I’m applying for this grant. Yes, you’ll know now if my book is not selected for this grant, but you would know anyway, because my second plan involves a Kickstarter campaign, pre-orders with bonus perks, and you. Basically, if I don’t get this grant (I’ll know by early June) I’ll be launching a fund-raising campaign and putting the book out less than a month later. Either way, I’m really hoping to release the first pressing of Picket Line this summer. More details to come, of course. If neither the Xeric grant nor Kickstarter fall my way, we’ll launch a third plan, and then a fourth, and at the very least I’ll eventually throw the whole book up online, but one way or another you will have a chance to read it, to own it, to make it yours.
Listen, I’m not going to pretend all of this is easy, or even exciting. It’s exhausting, and I just want to fast forward to the part where everyone who wants copies of the book has copies of the book. But this is all a part of the process, and I’m moving through it, sometimes like a lion, sometimes like a lamb (and sometimes, today for example, like a sloth). I still believe in the book, and I still love comics, and I want to keep drawing them and pushing myself to be the best that I can. I’ve completed the script for my second graphic novel and begun storyboards, but I’ll admit it’s not easy to switch back and forth between the business stuff and the creative stuff, so the creative stuff has suffered (have you noticed I haven’t posted new comics here in a week?) I recognize, though, that this is the nature of the career I’ve chosen, and I have to learn how to balance the two things, because both will be necessary from here on out.
Exciting things are coming. Expect a newly renovated website here in the next few months. Expect advance glimpses of the book – preview chapters, videos, more of these wonderfully tedious articles. Expect other wonderful dimensions that you simply can’t expect right now because I can’t give you any more clues except that there is more than just a graphic novel coming your way – there is an experience. And let me be quick to say, it’s an experience I could not have brought you on my own. There are many hands and heads helping with things behind the scene right now, and you’ll see who they are soon enough.
Meanwhile, I thank you for being patient. Even if I’d signed a book deal with a major publisher there would be this waiting period, in fact, it would probably be much longer. So, let’s keep waiting just a bit longer. If you are the praying type, I would really appreciate any prayer over the continuing challenges with this project. At this very moment I’m working with printers and completing my Xeric application, and there are many factors at play. I often feel overwhelmed, but all of your encouragement and prayers definitely help. I’m still very excited about this project, and I can’t wait to share it with you. Thanks for sticking with me!