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Hodgepodge: SCAM Sells Out, Creative Differences, Procrastination, and More

| January 23, 2012 | 0 Comments

Happy Monday everyone!  Rather than one focused topic, I’m going to do a number of quick hits today of things that are on my mind.  Give it a read, and weigh in on the comments below.

1) SCAM #1 Sells Out

Apparently getting featured on Bleeding Cool makes some people in the comics world take notice.

Within hours of the announcement of Joe Mulvey’s SCAM #1, the latest book coming out from ComixTribe, selling out a distributor level being featured on Rich Johnston’s apparently well-read comics news and gossip site, my email blew up.  Retailers carrying SCAM congratulated me with notes like “You have officially made it! Covered on Bleeding Cool.  Congrats, Man!”  Shop.ComixTribe.Com blew up with readers snatching up the remaining twenty copies of the first printing of SCAM #1 we reserved for our online store. (2nd Printing Pre-Order Now Available.)  And finally, I received a number of emails from other indie publishers and creators wanting to know more about our business plan for SCAM, basically wanting to know how we did it.

One of my tenets has always been transparency- with readers of ComixTribe.com and readers of the books we publish.  In truth, I’ve snarked about other publishers announcing sell-outs for books as an excuse for PR coverage, when it’s clear the only reason they sold out was that they didn’t print very many books.  (Always omitted from those announcement is what size print run constituted the “sell out.”)

I think what we did was a little different.  We announced two weeks ago that the first printing of SCAM #1 was going to be a print run of just 777 copies, a number chosen because it was ambitious, and fit into the Vegas branding of the book.  Joe and I honestly thought we’d move half that, and sell the rest at cons throughout the year.  So the fact that, after a weekend of absolute hustle, calling, emailing, and courting shops through social media, we hit 777, you better believe we were going to announce that proudly.

I received a ton of questions about what exactly our business/distribution model is from other creators.  They were interested in things like price points, incentives, retailer contact strategies, etc. Enough that this really warrants its own post.  I promise I WILL do that post for you.  However, I’m going to need some time before I do.

Because honestly, I don’t know if this model works yet.

SCAM is NOT a success because we got a few dozen retailers to stock it.  It won’t be a success until those retailers move those books and want to come back to us for more.  Our work has only just begun.

So, you can wait for my article if you like, but I’d suggest you watch @JoeMulv on Twitter over the next few weeks.  Because whatever this model of distribution is that ComixTribe is experimenting with, it only works when a key ingredient is added:

Hustle. 

2) Creative Differences

Earlier this week, there was a well covered story about a big falling out between two creators who had successfully raised 32K for a graphic novel through Kickstarter last year.  “Creative differences” was cited as the reason for the artist being fired off the book, and what followed was a rather public airing of grievances, through Facebook, comics blogs, and message boards.

Then, last night, Rob Liefeld tweeted this:

Other Tweets seemed to suggest that disagreement over who was to ink Rob on new issues of  THE INFINITE, Liefeld’s creator owned series with superstar writer Robert Kirkman, was the cause of these differences.

While I will admit that watching the he said/she said of these breakdowns unfold over the internet is a guilty pleasure, I’m going to avoid speculating on who’s at fault in either case.

Brain Bendis said on the most recent Word Balloon Podcast episode that doing creator owned books with an artist is like entering into a marriage, or if not quite that serious a commitment, it’s like entering into a business with someone.  And it’s not something to be done lightly.

I’ve been blessed to have worked with some incredible creators in the past and presently.  Creative differences have yet to sink any of the projects I’ve worked on.  But I do wonder if working in relative obscurity in the indie world shields us from some of that.

What happens when your project is thrust in the limelight?  What happens when there’s real money (and not just beer money) being made on it?  What happens if mine or my collaborator’s ego starts growing, and a true disagreement rears it’s ugly head.

Truth is, I don’t have the answers to these questions.  But I’m going to be thinking about them.  I’m going to be thinking about ways to keep projects moving forward, communication lines open, and resolve conflicts with my co-creators before they spill over to Twitter and Bleeding Cool.

And you should, too.

3) The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Procrastination is NOT your friend.

Putting off ’til tomorrow what you could do today is the surest way to delay hitting your goals…sometimes indefinitely.

I woke up at 5am this morning but stayed in bed until 8.  This article could have been written and scheduled an hour ago, and I could be on to scripting THE RED TEN #4 or one of the other scripts I’ve got floating around in my brain.  But I stayed in bed, even though I didn’t need the sleep.

The good news is, we get a new opportunity to get back on track nearly every minute of every day.  So, don’t procrastinate.

ACTION POINT: Thinking of going to conventions this year?  Guess what?  The spring shows are filling up fast.  The Boston Comic Con at the end of April’s artist alley is already some 60 names deep, and the Maine Comic Arts Festival in May is more than half sold-out after only two days of open registration.

Don’t wait, act!

Hit up ConventionScene.com, find the upcoming shows near you, and book ’em.

4) The Best Making Comics Advice You’ll Get Today

I try to be organized. I try to have systems. But when it comes to my writing, I usually just jot things down on whatever scrap of paper or digital tool that’s handy. I’ve got a few moleskin notebooks kicking around the house that I’ve started and stopped writing or taking notes in at various points over the past few years. The one benefit of being disorganized in this way is the fun of  cracking these things back open from time to time and rediscovering what’s in there. More often than not, you write things down for a reason.

Here’s something I’ll leave you with that I re-read, and feel even more so now than ever, is great advice to follow. From best selling author Seth Godin’s Small is the New Big:

Rules in the New World (All of which are applicable to success in comics)

  • Make something worth talking about.
  • SELL something worth talking about.
  • Believe in what you do because you have to do it for a LONG time before it catches on.
  • Don’t listen to the first people who give you feedback.
  • Don’t give up.  Not for a while, anyway.

***

Tyler James is a comics creator, game designer, and educator residing in Newburyport, MA. He is the writer and co-creator of superhero murder mystery maxi-series THE RED TEN EPIC, a superteen action comedy, and Tears of the Dragon, a swords and sorcery fantasy. His past work includes OVER, a romantic comedy graphic novel, and Super Seed, the story of the world’s first super powered fertility clinic. His work has been published by DC and Arcana comics.

Tyler is the publisher and co-creator of ComixTribe, a new website empowering creators to help each other make better comics.

Contact Tyler via email (tylerjamescomics@gmail.com), visit his website TylerJamesComics.com, follow him on Twitter, or check him out on Facebook

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About the Author ()

Tyler James is a comics creator, game designer, educator, and publisher residing in Newburyport, MA. He is the writer and co-creator of THE RED TEN, a superhero murder mystery, EPIC, a superteen action comedy, and TEARS of the DRAGON, a swords and sorcery fantasy. Tyler is the publisher and co-creator of ComixTribe, which is both a new imprint of quality creator owned titles, and an online community where creators help creators make better comics. Follow him on Twitter @tylerjamescomics, or send him an email at tyler.james@comixtribe.com.

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