3 Days Left To Fund Adamsville 2 On Kickstarter

We have just over 3 days left to fund the printing of Adamsville 2.  If you haven’t backed the campaign yet, PLEASE DO!  I need your support to make this book happen, and it won’t without your pre-orders.  There’s lots of options in the reward tiers for you all to get original art, sketches in your books, you can even be in the final book of the series running from monsters!

Please hop on over and give the campaign a look.  Thank you all so much and let’s do this!

 

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Crafting A Great Sequel And Skyheart!

Hey everyone! Back again with hopefully a cool production journal/behind the scenes look at the making of book 2 of Adamsville.

Remember if you haven’t seen the Kickstarter for Adamsville Book 2, please consider consider backing the campaign and getting this book to print.

When book 1 was finished, I was on the hunt for a publisher back in 2013. The book received a lot of great feedback from the publishers I had spoken to and honestly I left it all feeling more encouraged than discouraged about the books. When the Kickstarter succeeded for book 1 and the feedback and response following all of that was so strong, I started getting really anxious that the second book would be a big failure.

So with that I wanted to talk about 3 things I applied in crafting (what I hope will be) an amazing sequel:

Bigger Isn’t Better Without Character

I knew going into this book that the ideas and concepts were always going to be bigger than the first book, and this scared me. I mean, we’ve all seen this happen with franchises in the past. They just lose… something. They either try to pack too much in, or the whole story feels like a setup for a future story (with apologies… Age of Ultron). The danger is real, because there is a tremendous pressure on you as a creator to deliver. It took me a solid year of writing book 2 before I ever felt like the story was ready to move forward, and mostly because the story was too big and overstuffed. It lacked focus and themes that drove the characters through the conflict.

The simplest way to combat this is to remember to focus on the theme of the story and the characters in that theme. A sequel, even if it is a bridge to another story, should feel pretty self contained and, overall, not ask too much for the readers to retain in the story following the one they’re in. So originally the conflict in book 2 was bigger than the first, but there were all these trailing sequences that just didn’t need to be there. When all was said and done, I maybe threw out about 70 pages of content before arriving at the book I made. It may not be the book I thought it would be when I started, but it is a much better book than the one that started out of the fear I had in the beginning. In the end you need to care about the characters and their journey in that SPECIFIC conflict.

It Should Feel The Same But Different

This feels like it has more to do with tone than anything. We’ve all seen sequels that just don’t even feel like they exist in the same universe as the original or are just WAY too similar. How do you avoid this? Well, I personally think Jurassic World is a great example of how to do this right! Jurassic World has a lot of crazy stuff in it, but for this fan, it all felt right… They gave us things that I always felt like I wanted, but didn’t know that I did… Seeing the park fully operational, dinosaurs that respond and work with humans, A GIANT MONSTER DINOSAUR HYBRID! They gave us something that was the same but different.

The same could be said of Alien and Aliens. Very different tonally, but still they feel like they exist in the same space, while escalating the plot and scope of the conflict. I’ve often said that if book 1 of Adamsville is Alien, book 2 is Aliens. That’s my hope anyways… A bigger, funnier, scarier and more action packed book than the first that still retains the feeling of the original… A tall order, lol.

Deliver On The Promise Of The Premise

This is like the cardinal sin of a story for me. I have made it a point in my writing to ALWAYS deliver on my endings. If the ending isn’t everything the premise of the story promised, then I have dropped the ball. So when I tell you “monsters are going to invade a school dance,” well I better give you everything you expect from that. It makes the endings a very difficult process to work through because I always feel like this is where I do need to add things and up the tension of the story. Book 2 was no exception. The ending took a LONG time to get right, but I arrived at a place where I feel like I have given you the readers what you expected in the beginning.  It just took adding 10 more pages. 🙂

I think of Jurassic World again here (which isn’t a movie without its flaws). That ending left me cheering because it escalated exactly as I felt it should have. Everything the story had been teasing at finally came together into something really special.

So those are my three points of emphasis in creating this sequel. I really hope I succeeded! Lol. I’ll let you all decide.

One more thing I wanted to talk about is a Kickstarter project I am really excited about.

SKYHEART by Jake Parker

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jakeparker/skyheart-book-i-the-star-seed

Jake Parker has long been one of my favorite artists.  I love his books, art, rock his Harry Potter t-shirt all the time and watch his videos as soon as they’re updated.  Beyond just loving Jake’s work, I love his approach and general manifesto towards the work he creates.    He’s positive, encouraging, and ambitious. I’ve been no more excited than when he launched this campaign.

Besides being excited for what the book is itself, I’m excited about what he’s trying to accomplish that I’ve never really seen done on Kickstarter for a comic…  Essentially he’s creating a self publishing campaign that allows him to actually produce the book and develop it…  and it’s succeeding! Normally most Kickstarter’s in comics focus on getting a book printed that is finished (which is how I approach mine), but this campaign is designed so Jake can focus exclusively on making Skyheart and put aside other freelance work.  As an independent creator this is really exciting…  There are a lot of great books out there that creators can’t get published for any number of justifiable reasons on the part of the publisher.  But making those books, absent the funds to do so from a publisher is very hard if you have other work obligations.  If we can arrive at a place where talented creators like Jake are able to not just print the finished product, but also be supported by a community of supporters and patrons to make the books they envision… Well we all benefit.

He’s off to an amazing start and the book looks fantastic.  If you haven’t had a chance to visit his campaign, check it out!  It’s going to be an exciting project to watch come together and I can’t wait to see the story he’s creating: SKYHEARTCOMIC.COM

Adamsville Book 2 Kickstarter Launched!

Hey everyone!  Just a quick note that Adamsville book 2 is up on Kickstarter!  Please consider backing the campaign and helping me get this thing into print!   You can get to the campaign by going to WWW.GETTHISCOMIC.COM!

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Also, book 2 starts serializing on Webtoons next Saturday, November 7th!  I’ll be sure to post an update here, but Webtoons also has RSS built in now as well as a way to subscribe to the book through their system.  It updates every Saturday morning at 12AM EST.  Thank you all for reading my book and your support!  See ya soon!

The Big News- Adamsville To Become A Featured Digital Exclusive of WEBTOONS.COM

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Well it’s finally time to announce the big news!  Adamsville, beginning the month of July, will become a digitally exclusive Featured Comic for LINE Webtoon!  I was contacted a couple months ago about this opportunity and am so excited for it to finally be on our doorstep and to be able to share this awesome news with everyone.

So what does this mean?

Well for the comic, it means GREAT things.  Webtoons.com has a great audience and they have done a fantastic job of cultivating some great comics to go with that!  Some of you may remember when my friend Stephen McCranie won their contest earlier this year, with his comic Spaceboy.  In addition to that, my friend Josh Ulrich has become a Featured Artist on the site with his awesome comic, Newman.  The scope of the audience reading the book is going to greatly increase.  Now what it does mean however is that to read the comic in the coming months you will have to do so through Webtoons.  For those of you who have read volume 1, which will run on their site until October 2015(ish), it’s important to know that the only place to read book 2 online will be through Webtoon this fall when it picks up.

What does this mean for me?  Wow, this one is a big one.  With Adamsville becoming a featured title of Webtoons, it means that financially comics are going to be a bigger role than they ever have.  The Featured Artist spots with Webtoons is a fantastic opportunity and the people there have been great so far.

It’s an exciting moment for the books and for me personally.  I have real deadlines now, lol, and it’s pretty amazing to be see this comic together because I stuck with it and did my best to make a book I was proud of.

So you’ll notice you can’t read the comic here anymore.  This site will now become a place to blog about news related items and I’ll share when new updates come out in July. But rest assured!  The amazing thing about Webtoons is you guys are going to get A LOT of comics from me, much faster and in greater awesomeness!

STICK AROUND…. Things are about to get fun!

Book 2 On Hiatus Online – Details To Come Soon

Hi Everyone.  I wanted to post a quick update letting you all know that Adamsville is going to be on hiatus until further notice.  I am very much working on new pages and production is moving along well.  So this hiatus doesn’t have anything to do with the content.  I can’t say too much about things yet, but once I am able to share everything I will fill all of you in on where things are at with the series.

I continue to appreciate all of your support and can’t wait for you all to see the rest of this book.

Book Care Package Givaway!

Hello everyone!  If you watched the video above you’ve learned about this special book giveaway I am doing.  I want to send out 5 special book “care packages” to some kids out there who might just need a pick me up.  One of the biggest reasons I got into making all ages comics was because I love what stories mean to all people, especially kids, in learning about life and how they encourage us even in the hardest of times.  These care packages are just a way for me to share my book and some other fun stuff with some awesome readers out there, and hopefully lift their spirits.    Here’s the basic breakdown on things:

– I am wanting to give these care packages to kids (preferably between the ages of 6-12 as they’re in a great age range for the books I’d be sending) who are going through a tough time (i.e. they’re sick, had a recent loss etc.)

What’s in the packages?
An Artist Edition of Adamsville book 1 (signed, sketched in and personalized), an original drawing of their favorite character(s), an additional graphic novel of my choosing that I think they would enjoy and a personalized letter from me letting them know I am thinking about them.

-When do submissions need to be in by?
Friday, February 6th.

-How will I choose the kids?
This is really just left to my discretion. It isn’t intended to be a competition, or contest.  Just merely an opportunity to spread some love for others through books.  I wish I could give books away to everyone, but in absence of being able to do that, I want to do what I can.

4 Things I’ve Learned In A Year Of Self-Publishing

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For as long as I have wanted to make comics, I have wanted to work with a publisher.  I’ve always liked the idea of working with a company that believes in my work and wants to help it find it’s fullest audience.  So I was a bit bummed when I had to self-publish Adamsville to see it become a reality in printed form.  I had put so much effort and time into making what I thought would be a strong case for it to publishers.  However, given the amazing time we live in, self-publishing book 1 was also a very exciting prospect and a year ago this past Wednesday I received the pallet of books from the printer and my journey into self-publishing began.

So I thought it would be a nice time to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned and my hopes going forward as I continue to self-publish this title.  Hopefully it will encourage and help you as well.

1.) Self-Publishing Is Still A Dream Come True

When I cracked open the first envelope that had my preview copy of book 1, I was that little kid all over again who dreamed of this day.  For as long as I have known that comics are a career field you could pursue, I’ve longed to tell my own stories and make comics of them.  I carried that book everywhere with me and it still sits right next to my bed where I constantly remind myself that the hard work was worth it.  The truth is, whether I have a publisher or not, I have gotten to live out everything I have wanted to this past year with my book.  I’ve gone to conventions, done school visits, signed books for kids and just in general enjoyed the experience of readers discovering my book and LIKING IT!  Lol.  It’s been an amazing year.  My wife has even remarked that seeing me at conventions is seeing me in my truest place.  I love what I’m doing, and the experience of doing this.  You can still live out all of the dreams you had for your book even if it’s self-published and that has been so rewarding.

2.) The Business Side Is Overwhelming At Times

I used to hear from other artists to relish the hard quiet moments at the beginning of your career, because it’ll never be that way again.  And it’s true!  Life was much simpler when I just sat there in my office by myself  late at night making a book.  I intentionally had cut almost everyone out of the process of my creation because I wanted to enjoy it in private without any outside pressure, even from building a web audience.  Those days are gone.

I spend a good chunk of my time each week responding to emails, thinking of my next event, learning the business side pf publishing, going to conventions….  It’s a lot.  Additionally once the first book got out there, people naturally want the second!  So that adds a whole new dynamic to the picture.  Now, I’m not complaining as much as I’m saying it’s different and more complicated.  But whether you have a publisher or not, this is part of it!  While it’s challenging, I have enjoyed learning the business side and look forward to how that experience builds for the future.

3.) You Can Make Money From Self-Publishing And Build An Audience

This was something that really surprised me this past year and something I am excited to explore more in the future, but people WANT to buy the book!  It’s just a matter of getting it in front of them .   If you use some brains and discernment you can travel and attend book shows, while turning a profit for your efforts. I have turned a profit at every show I’ve attended this year and the business has been doing well enough that I have stopped actively taking on other freelance assignments to focus on building this up.

The truth is I wouldn’t have to sell that many copies of my book as a self-published author and eclipse the advance I would make from working with a larger publisher.  It would take a lot of work, but this past year has shown me, it’s possible and it’s not as difficult as I thought if you can discover your audience and how to speak to them.

Towards the end of the year, I began to really learn a lesson about the audience that is right for my book and how I reach out to them.  Guys, I don’t know how to make the internet work.  It just doesn’t catch hold for me the way it does other creators.  Never has and not sure if it will based on my interests as a creator.  That’s OK though,  I’m beginning to learn that Adamsville is just not a book that is built well for building a strong web presence.  Its audience is young primarily, and most of that group isn’t looking for new comics online.  But school visits, and book shows that are not comics specific, meet my audience so much better.  So I have been learning that my efforts and energies are best spent exposing more of my target readers to the books and expanding my audience that way.  That is where my focus will land in 2015 as I continue to work on this book and publish the 2nd.

4.) I Still Want To Work With A Publisher In The Future

Regardless the desire to find a publishing partner is still something I still really would like to have.  As much as I am grateful for the self-publishing revolution, I love the idea of working with someone to help a book become successful.  Publishers provide amazing resources in their editors, marketing teams, distribution channels and overall resources that I think it’s silly to want to abandon them as some are ready to do.

I’m still actively creating pitches and hoping to work with a publisher in the near future.  All I can do though is do my best work, enjoy it and keep creating.  The greatest lesson has been that whether I find one or not, I’m living my dreams with every book sold, every page finished and every reader who tells me that they loved my story.  And if you have that same dream, you can too.

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If you’ve enjoyed Adamsville please consider becoming a supporter on Patreon.  You help me get this book finished that much faster  while getting early access to pages and other behind the scenes exclusives.