Man, I can’t believe I’d been away for so long. You look up and suddenly, months have gone by.
2015 was a year of firsts. Finishing up my first book under a publisher, working my first convention, my first time driving cross state (solo), and my first Kickstarter. Things had their ups and downs, but I feel like all of the experiences helped me grow as a person and as a creator. I had to learn how to do things I didn’t know how to do and adapt when things didn’t work out. I made mistakes, but I did my best to learn from them and take notes so they wouldn’t happen again.
Seeing as I’m about to hit the big 3-0 on Thursday, a part of me feels like I could have done more. Of course, if I could have done more then I would have and it’s already in the past so I can’t change it. The lesson is to move forward and to grow. I thought I’d just share my thoughts on some of the things I did this year.
First Publisher (Alterna): Having Clusterf@#k under the Alterna banner has been a learning experience with it’s ups and downs. There are marked differences between doing it yourself and doing it under someone else’s company. It helped me realize there are a lot of things I need to improve on marketing wise and just how much I didn’t understand in terms of the business aspect of things. Because of this, I was able to reach a larger audience and got the opportunity to share Clusterf@#k on a larger scale than I probably would have. There are still some growing pains that come with working with a company, but a lot of it only serves to make me a well-rounded creator and perhaps one day build my own.
Tri-City Comic Con: Going on my first road trip for a comic convention was pretty daunting at first. I can’t pretend like I wasn’t freaking out. It didn’t help that there was a police shooting right before I left and I suddenly was worried about driving six hours alone through several Southern states. But once I made it out of the Midwest, the trip was great. The mountains and roads of Kentucky/Tennessee reminded me of my drives through Japan.
The convention was a fun smaller show that was a great way to ease myself into things. It was a one day show which I would recommend when starting out. Most shows are a weekend and if you aren’t really prepared, I can see how it would overwhelm people. It was great to be able to get Secrets & Shadows in front of people and find ways to pique their interests. I didn’t make nearly enough to justify the trip, but it was a good learning experience and helped me figure out the finer points of salesmanship.
I hope to go next year if possible.
Kickstarter: This was probably one of the most tasking things I worked on this year. Anyone who tells you a Kickstarter is easy is either a liar, an asshole, or a masochist. I started putting things together months in advance and there were still issues and frustrations that happened when it was time to launch. I made a costly mistake early on and it potentially hurt the campaign, but I was able to let people know straight away and fix the issue the best I could.
For the most part, I’d say being transparent goes a long way when running a campaign. Trying to answer questions and keep people informed as things went on worked in my favor. If I fucked up and immediately let people know I fucked up, the backers seemed much more forgiving than if I had tried to hide it. This should seem like common sense, but I saw a lot of KS campaigns where the person would mess up, go dark, and come back way later to admit to their mistake at the cost of peoples’ trust. That’s not how I want to go out.
Someone once said that once you start a KS campaign, promoting it and working on it becomes a full-time job. I’d have to agree. You have to really share it and get it in front of as many people as possible. It can be draining or frustrating when people don’t respond, but it’s a part of the game. In the end, I managed to reach out to a decent number of people who were interested in the book and got to share my experience on the ComixLaunch podcast (which you should be listening to if you’re planning a running a KS in the near future).
All in all, it was a good experience and I’m glad I did it. Like my other experiences, I have notes of things I learned from the experience that I can implement when it comes time to do a second Kickstarter.
2016 looks to be another year of firsts with my first Diamond distributed book coming out early next year. I’ll also be fulfilling the second half of my Kickstarter orders and mailing the book out to all of the backers. I hope to do a few conventions as well as unleash an onslaught of small stories onto the website. And, if I can get things together, put out the second volume of Clusterf@#k. I have the story in my head but I can’t definitely say that it will come out next year. We shall see. If things work out, just know that it’s going to be somewhat different from the first book.
However, I will have one short story going up on the page early next year. It was one that I really enjoyed writing and I hope that you enjoy reading.
I don’t really know if anyone is checking the site since I’ve been off working on stuff, but if you are thanks for sticking with it and I hope that you have a happy new year.