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A Written View – Starting Your Own Publishing Company

A Written View – Starting Your Own Publishing Company

By Douglas Owen

Like most self-published writers, I opened a publishing company so each book would have an identifiable imprint. If you are a self-published author, I would suggest doing this as well. There are a number of tax benefits that make this something to really look into if you have not already done so yourself.
I went for a two-tiered approach, meaning a parent publishing company and then a secondary imprint. It allowed for failure, for we, as writers, know this can happen. But after two years, the success brought on by sales tells me I did the right thing. So the next phase started just at the end of 2014.
My small imprint flung open the doors and then, we were ready to go.
Yes, I put out a call for submissions.
The first couple of days brought head-scratching and wonder with regard to who was actually visiting the site. Not knowing why authors were not pounding down my door I posted my thoughts to my writers support group. I was not prepared for the response.
Let me explain. Writers, especially new writers, seem to misunderstand the changes that have taken place in the publishing industry. Let’s talk about these misconceptions so everyone understands what they are and how to avoid them.
The Advance

I was asked by a few of the writers what type of advance they could expect. The answer surprised them. I asked what they have written or had published in the past, and said the company does not supply advances.
It started there. Then they understood. Why would a publishing company give money to a writer who had never worked with them before? Or a writer who had never been published traditionally? It would be akin to asking a company to pay you a salary before you come to work for them.
Even though this helped people understand why there would be no advance, several jumped off the topic feeling they deserved such, though they have never finished a manuscript.

Royalties

Yes, I was asked how much they would make on royalties. I explained that the royalties were based on sales. They wanted to know how much money they would make in the first year. Hard to say, for no one has a working crystal ball, to my knowledge.
Heck, if I could tell how much something would make in twelve months, I would be a great futures trader, and not a writer.

Benefits I would provide

This was a big question. They wanted to know what my publishing company brought to the table. A valid question, and a very complicated one. Yes, editing of the manuscript, but that would affect the royalties. Artwork professionally created specifically for the novel. Market tests to make sure the cover would have the right effect.
Then I told them something most did not know. If they had an agent, the book would be fully edited before it was submitted to the publishing company. That is a big change in the publishing industry. Now, everything should be all but perfect before it comes to the editor.

Electronic or print rights

When it was explained that both rights needed to be transferred, some left the conversation. What did they expect? No publisher will give up digital rights for only print, and vice versa. It is an all-or-nothing option.
More questions showed up, but those were the main ones. Yes, it was a heated conversation.
One of the more interesting things was how each writer who asked about advances failed to show they were published in the past. It appears this is their stumbling block. They expected a big pay check before they even proved themselves. Remember what I said above?
I actually had a private conversation with one of them and he admitted to never finishing a manuscript, be it a book or short story. When he heard that, his questions of an advance disappeared. Realization set in and he promised to complete something soon. Maybe he’ll submit it to me, maybe he won’t.
I then had an agent contact me. He represents three authors, but only one has anything completed. The questions came non-stop. About halfway through our exchange, I wanted to ask him if he was real. Most agents would know the answers to the questions asked, or realize a small print shop would not have the finances he wanted it to have. After the reminder that it was just a start up at this time, he quieted down and the questions became more advanced. I then asked if he wanted to send the first three chapters of the manuscript. I have not heard from him since. Could be they are non-existent; hopefully, they are real.
One author kept saying to respect the author, and when asked about it she would not respond. Did I turn her novel away? No idea, but maybe if she had published in the past, her thoughts would be different, and she would respect the publisher as well.
I guess the theme here is to remember that a publisher is being hammered from all sides. They deal with the author or agent, as well as the distributers and retailers. This is something that makes the world a very difficult place for them.
So why did I do it? There was a need. I have read so many brilliant works over the last few years where the author could not get published because they had never published before. It became so upsetting to me that I decided my focus on publishing would be the underdog, the underrepresented author who writes brilliantly, but does not know where to turn.
Do you know an author who has a book that needs publishing? Point them my way. But remember, SF and Fantasy only at this time.

Doug’s Website: http://daowen.ca/

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Presenting Headshrinker’s Press

Presenting: Headshrinkers Press
An Interview with Nichi Scribbles
by Ellen Fleischer

Nichi Scribbles has been hooked on comics since his youth. He can barely remember a time when he hasn’t been reading, writing, or drawing them. In 2013, Nichi conceived Headshrinker’s Press and, in the nearly two years since, he has released the Headshrinker’s Press Presents anthology, in which readers got their first introduction to titles such as Sons of Yellowstone, Landslide, and Plague. Nichi was happy to take time out of his busy schedule to talk to Indyfest Magazine about what he—and Headshrinker’s Press—have been up to.HPpromo_FIN

IM: How did you first get into reading comics?
NS: Believe It or not, I was just a wee lad with my grandmother at an antique flea market when I received my first batch of comics. I am sure it was one of those incidents where she was just giving me something to keep me occupied, but I have never put them down since that day. And I am glad it happened that way; I have great respect for older comics, as well as the new stuff. How many people can say that their granny turned them onto comics!?

IM: And creating them? How did you learn your craft?
NS: Like most people who love comics, I have been writing and drawing my own ideas since childhood. This is something that has followed me into adulthood. I spend most of my time now just writing to get the ideas out of my head. Once artists with actual talent started working on my stories, I focused less on drawing and more on writing. I am able to draw coherent layouts, but that’s the extent of it. I have taken a few classes (nothing to write home about) at the local university, but I would say this is a craft you never stop learning or developing. I am still learning new tips and tricks, and my style is evolving every day. We are all at different levels in our storytelling.

IM: Tell us a bit about Headshrinker’s Press. How did it come about? What brought all of you together?
NS: That’s a loaded question! Sometimes I look around at the people I am collaborating with and wonder where they all came from. I am amazed at how everything kind of just happened. There is me, my business partner Landon Faulkner, and my editor-in-chief Jeff Nelson. In addition, there are great artists and writers like Johnny Hinkle, Marcus Odoms, J Primus Dickerson, Ac Rillo, Matt James, Peter Cacho, and Bolaji Olaloye. I could go on and on. I met a lot of the people I work with today just doing what I love in small art communities, trying to get our ideas out there. That’s thing about comics: it’s a beautiful collaborative storytelling platform—very primal and very tribal. We all stuck together—agreeing to release our tales under one collaborative flag. We are always meeting new and interesting people. The same can be said with talent. We have been fortunate enough to employ the skills of amazing artists, writers, letters, and colorists from around the world.

PlagueIM: Can you share some of the breaks and bumps you’ve encountered along the way? Lessons learned?
NS: It happens every day. I am always trying to overcome a roadblock or something new I have to think my way out of. But that’s why I started my own label. I want to know everything there is to know about writing and producing quality comics. And let me tell you, there is a lot to learn. It can really be a fulltime job, but it is definitely a labor of love. A valuable lesson I have learned is to accept criticism. It stings sometimes, and anyone out there getting ready to travel this road will receive it at some point in time. But without the occasional disappointing review, you don’t know where you need to improve. It’s hard to do, but if you learn to be thankful for criticism, you could go a long way in this field.

IM: On your website, you’ve described Headshrinker’s Press Presents as your centerpiece or gateway to your other works. Can you elaborate?
NS: We wanted to provide a way for people to view our projects and there are many of them. Headshrinker’s Press Presents #1 was our first stab at this, as well as our first ever production. And even though we just released it middle of last year, we have come a long way and learned quite a bit about what we need to do better going forward. The second issue (which should be released by the end of January) is a far cry from our first issue, and I hope we improve with each subsequent issue. Before we introduce a new series or concept, we will always try to explore it first within the pages of Headshrinker’s Press Presents.
IM: Today, many book publishers release samplers, that is, they make available the opening chapters of their titles, hoping to hook new readers. Just to clarify, are the stories in HPP self-contained adventures, or are they more cliff-hangers to be continued in their own books?
NS: They are both their own self-contained series as well as possible cliff-hangers. It is really up to the author of that series. It’s a sampler for those who have never read the series in question and a great background for those who already have.

IM: Say a new reader picks up a title that debuted as a mini in HPP, but has not actually read the anthology. How accessible are your other titles for readers who missed the introductory minis?
NS: That’s the great thing—you don’t need to read one to enjoy the other.

IM: Let’s talk about Landslide. How did you come up with the concept?
NS: The concept of a dormant earth elemental has always sparked my imagination. My biggest love, next to art, is nature. I have always loved its embrace and marveled at its fury. There is magic in a thunderstorm or an avalanche. I wanted to capture that and turn it into a great story. The Landslide monster is rooted in myth—most commonly an earth elemental or golem. More than anything though, I think this is a story about respecting the earth and the four elements.

IM: What can you tell us about the plot, characters, etc.?Landslide Roots_POP_pg6_finished
NS: The fact I am self-publishing and self-funding this project has really let me open up and have free rein over this world. The full-length series coming in 2015 will be a tale of the Panama Canal Company, their efforts to dig the Panama Canal, and the young earth elemental monster bent on eating them all. The main character in this series is an Obeah man named Cecil. In the world of Landslide, there always needs to be some sort of magic or faith to control one of these monsters, and this is the man who starts it all.
The Landslide: Roots mini-series currently on going in the “Headshrinkers Press Presents” series is a historical account of the Landslide monsters throughout time. It will lead up to the first full-length issue.

IM: And you’ve just released Sons of Yellowstone, now. What’s the pitch on this series?
NS: Sons of Yellowstone is a post-apocalyptic tale about the world after the Yellowstone Caldera erupts. There are a lot of stories about surviving the apocalypse, so Jeff decided to write one set several decades after a catastrophic event. Yellow Mercury is a previously undiscovered substance that was in the lava of Yellowstone. When the Caldera erupted, it spewed Yellow Mercury across the globe. It entered the bodies of several unsuspecting people giving them superpowers. These people are the Sons of Yellowstone. Some of them have what is called an empathetic voice. Whenever they kill, a grating sound rings in their ears. It could drive them insane if it happens too often.LANDSLIDE COVER ISSUE 2

IM: Tell us more about the characters. Who are they? What makes them tick?
NS: Cedric is the main protagonist. He is a drifter who was five when the Yellowstone Caldera erupted. Unlike most protagonists in post-apocalyptic tales, he is content with the current state of the world. His Son of Yellowstone powers keep him alive and he can live in a self-sufficient manner that is impossible in a developed society. His empathetic voice rings every time he kills, but his bravado won’t allow him to acknowledge it as a problem.
Odenki is the sage of the series. His name was Ryne Mesman before the eruption—an eccentric man from Holland who was living in America when Yellowstone erupted. He was the second-closest person to the Yellowstone Caldera when it erupted, and he has the second highest concentration of Yellow Mercury in his blood. He journeyed throughout the northern part of the United States after the eruption, saving people in the rubble of ruined cities. The people he rescued became his followers, and they named their group the Northern Riders. He is the only Son of Yellowstone to overcome the empathetic voice. He tried to teach Cedric how to silence it, but he wouldn’t listen.
Jake is the owner of a small tavern in Nuevo San Diego—an oddly futuristic metropolis near the ruins of Area 51. He is terrified when he meets Cedric, as Sons of Yellowstone aren’t allowed in public in Nuevo San Diego. The two develop a tenuous alliance.
Katherine is Odenki’s right hand. Her identical twin sister absorbed the Yellow Mercury when Yellowstone erupted. Katherine, however, did not. This makes her eager to prove her worth to everyone. She is quick to rush into conflict in order to display her fighting prowess. Odenki, however, is over-protective of her.
There are more characters that will be introduced, but these are the four main characters who appear in the first issue. If you want, you can read each character’s full back-story on the official Sons of Yellowstone Facebook page.

IM: What kind of world do they inhabit?
NS: The world of Sons of Yellowstone is one that changes depending on the location. Nuevo San Diego has a steampunk western vibe. In contrast, the Northern Riders have a fantasy-based appearance; they use swords, daggers, and spears, and they ride on horses. Another city that will appear later in the series is Neo- Lincoln, and that will look like a relic from America’s colonial age. After the Caldera erupted, the different regions of the world lost contact with each other and that shows in how different each culture is.

IM: On your website, you also mention another title: Plague. What can you share about this one?Issue2_Cover
NS: Plague is one I am really excited for! Writer/Artist Johnny Hinkle went all out on this one. With Marcus Odoms’ coloring, it has turned out great. The series is going to be a visually stunning, mind bending romp through time and space. Ultimately, the conqueror Thuuluu has set his sights on the people of earth. Dr. Riddance was one of the lucky ones who lived to tell the tale. But he is now trapped in a struggle with Thuuluu. A preview story titled Plague Beginnings is going to be featured in the next Headshrinker’s Press Presents. Definitely check that out.

IM: Can you tell us what you’re planning for 2015 and beyond?
NS: I’ve already been pretty busy this year. We are attempting an east coast con tour with Headshrinkers Press Presents, Issues 1 and 2, as well as Sons of Yellowstone. We also plan on releasing the official first issues of Plague and Landslide this year. We will have Headshrinker Press Presents, Issue 3 dropping in autumn. We are also planning on releasing our first free-to-read webcomic, Ratched City by late spring.

IM: Is there anything else you’d like to mention that we haven’t covered?
NS: It is worth an honorable mention to say I have been working pretty closely with the creator of Crazy Monkey Ink, Gabriel “Ol Raz” Ramirez, on a two-issue run of Deathsquad Zero. This is one of the most creative individuals I have ever had the joy of working with and you should definitely check out www.crazymonkeyink.com. He just so happens to also be the featured artist on Headshrinker’s Press’s Ratched City.

Headshrinkers Website: http://headshrinkerspress.com/

Social Media: www.facebook.com/headshrinkerspress https://twitter.com/HeadshrnkrPress

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We Love Monsters

We Love Monsters
A chat with Jim Ordolis and Joe Kilmartin
By Steven Pennella

In November of 2011, Jim Ordolis and Joe Kilmartin were talking about how much they missed the classic old monster magazines they loved as kids. Yes, there still were plenty of monster magazines around – and some of them were highly regarded (magazines like RUE MORGUE, FANGORIA, and FREAKY MONSTERS to name only three of a great many) by these Masters of the Monstrous. These professional magazines all had their own niches and fans. They served their own markets very well. Still, however, there was something missing. Jim and Joe missed the hands-on, fan-directed, community that people like Forrest J. Ackerman created for monster buffs and wanted to see something like that again. Jim quickly set up plans to create an original monster fan magazine. In the spring of 2012 they began recruiting contributors.

IM: Give me the We Love Monsters elevator pitch and convince me to buy this magazine.
WLM: We Love Monsters is a modern day, full-blown professional, print/digital magazine. As well, we deliver high-quality nostalgia-related merchandise and web content on a theme that many people have a personal investment and love for: Monsters. Our content providers are lifelong experts in this aspect of popular culture, who hold old content to a fresh set of standards, and hold new content to an old-school application of values and standards. The common belief is that “things used to be better”. We agree with this standard, but we show people how new things can be just as good, if they’re looked at a certain way.

IM: Forrest J. Ackerman is obviously an inspiration to you. Can you tell us what you learned from reading his Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines and how that helps you to produce We Love Monsters?
WLM: The sense of fun that Forrest infused and that feeling of knowing that you are among your people when you’re reading the magazine. Unlike other mainstream magazines that are bound by corporate limitations, we can highlight the high-end and the low-end of a corner of popular culture that is often ignored by a culture that is obsessed with what is new and ignores what already exists and is still fresh in people’s minds. We link that which is familiar to product and content that are new, and do it in an innovative way, allowing it to blossom into its own sub-culture, while still making it accessible to everyone. This is what I learned from Forrest.

IM: Plainly, this publication is for monster lovers. If someone were to data mine your audience, what kind of demographics would we find? What are the commonalities of your readers?
WLM: We try to cultivate an audience who is interested in all aspects of the monster subculture and, because of this, we are anti-exclusive in our material, in who reads it and in who we are interested in working with.

IM: You started this in 2011. Your first blog post appeared on June 19, 2014 and the first came out in later that year. The Creator’s Spotlight located at http://www.we-love-monsters.com/creators-spotlight is pretty impressive. Everyone is pretty established in their profession and the magazine is obviously going to benefit from that in both the short and long term. How did you gather everyone together? Where did you meet?
WLM: A lot of the creators are people that we know and fellow peers who have a mutual interest in monsters. They come from both the online community and people I know personally.zombies copy

IM: There are almost as many contributors as pages in the first issue; it must have been a herculean effort to coordinate all of this. Can you tell us a bit about how this all got put together and how long it took?
WLM: A lot of the communicating back and forth was done via email and on Facebook. Once all the material was in place, it was not that difficult to put it all together. I have 20 years’ experience in layout and design, so designing a magazine was pretty simple, but time consuming. When you have such great material to work with, it becomes a joy.

IM: The first issue has a variety of stories and art for all audiences. How do you reconcile an article about Cookie Monster appearing in the same issue as a more adult-themed Monster Art Gallery?
WLM: We Love Monsters is really not geared toward a young audience in the first place, so I did not have a problem. We wanted to explore people’s experiences with monsters in pop culture and examine why they love monsters. The article in question is called “Monsters in Fur” and it talks about growing up exposed to kids’ monsters from a young age. The artist was given free rein to pick any example to illustrate they wanted and they chose Sesame Street characters.

IM: Are you worried it might rub some kid’s parents the wrong way?
WLM: No, not at all. We have not gotten any negative feedback on that whatsoever.

IM: What are some of the plans for the future of We Love Monsters? What can we expect to see in future issues?
WLM: We are planning on featuring some more comics in the second issue—quite bit more, in fact. In the future, we would like to feature more variety in every issue with an even selection of articles, fiction, art, etc.

IM: Many of our readers are talented artists and writers in their own right. What do you look for in an artist or writer?
WLM: We look mostly for interesting and/or unique styles that are not necessarily mainstream, but we’re open to all possibilities. Most importantly, a love for monster art in general is keen.monster1 copy

IM: Do you want narrative samples or finished comic-book stories?
WLM: We are all full now for comics in the second issue, but normally, we prefer finished comic-book stories, as we don’t have the resources to put teams together and project manage.

IM: Do you have writers with completed scripts in need of artists, letterers, colorists, etc.?
WLM: Actually I do have someone who is in need of an artist right now. If someone wants to submit, I can pass on their samples to the writer. Again, we’re not able to supervise the process; that is up to the creators. We are always in need of letterers and colorists for various things. If anyone is interested, they can send me their samples at [email protected]

IM: What can you offer to artists and writers who submit material to you? Is there a possibility of accepting submissions for the website as well?
WLM: Yes, absolutely, we are always looking for good submissions to our website. Again, if anyone is interested, please contact me directly and we can discuss any terms at [email protected]

IM: Are there plans to interview people involved in making monster movies for film and television?
WLM: We would love to do that and we are very open to it, but there is no plan to do so in the immediate future.

IM: How will you get the word out for We Love Monsters? Could you describe the challenges involved in getting a self-published, independent magazine noticed?
WLM: Distribution is the biggest challenge in getting your magazine noticed. We rely a lot on word of mouth, our website, and social media to get people to notice us.monster2 copy

IM: Can you list all of the places we can find you on social media?
WLM: Sure! Best place is our website. You can order the magazine there and check out our Blog which is updated twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with new articles, reviews, and comics. Really good value from some very talented writers.

IM: We thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us, and wish you all the success you deserve.

We Love Monsters Website: www.we-love-monsters.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeMonsterLovers
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wemonsterlovers

SPECIAL OFFER! Readers of Indyfest can order We Love Monsters directly from us the publisher for $9.99 (plus shipping). Just send an inquiry to [email protected]. Mention this article and you will receive an additional 20 percent off the cover price.

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Writing for Your Passion or Market?

Writing for your Passion or for your Market?

How to Get Ahead of the Game in a Highly Competitive Indy Publishing Market

By Alex Newton

What is the biggest challenge that authors face today? The team from K-lytics.com, a research service for the e-book market, just conducted more than a hundred in-depth interviews with authors from all kinds of backgrounds. Their very first answer was almost unanimous: Visibility! How do you get your book found among millions of competing titles? How do you get your book in front of potential readers? How do you stand out from the crowd once you do? How do you get noticed at all? How do you develop a brand as an author? How do you keep your book up there on the best seller list, once you had a lucky shot? How do you prevent the book from dropping back into oblivion? Authors may use different words, but in essence, they all describe the same issue: how to use marketing, promotion and sales to gain visibility, both for one’s books and as an author.

What e-book publishing and rock concerts have in common

Most authors write because they want to write. It is that simple. Writing is their passion, not business administration, economics, or the laws of supply and demand. But it is exactly the latter to which authors fall victim to these days. As much as the Indy publishing and the e-book trend have lowered the barriers to entry for authors (and want-to-be authors), they have increased the level of competition in the book market. Simply put, the Indy book market is getting crowded, very crowded.

Have you ever attended a big open-air concert? No, not in the seated area, but down there in the arena, in the middle of the crowd. AC/DC, Madonna, U2, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, you name it. The place is cramped. It feels tight. You wave and cheer at your idol on the stage but go unnoticed. You are a tiny particle in a sea of bodies. You get shoved around. You feel the elbows and sweaty bodies of the people around you. This is what it must feel like to be a book in the Amazon Kindle Store.

The situation of the e-book market

Let us take the Amazon Kindle platform as an example. Amazon controls more than 60 percent of the U.S. e-book market and is clearly a leading indicator of the market situation. At the time I write these lines, the total number of e-books available on Amazon.com is 3,159,243. The number of English-language e-books exceeds 2.6 million. And this represents just a snapshot in time. Every month, more than 70,000 titles are added to the platform, translating into approximately 25 percent annual growth in the Kindle e-book supply.

The implications of this are clear: the indy author’s biggest challenge for the time to come is visibility, precisely as reflected in the author interviews quoted above. How do you stand out from the crowd? How do you get noticed at all? No, Kindle readers are not going to browse through hundreds of thousands of titles to make up their mind what to read next. Most users will click on the book that is shown to them or highlighted. When you browse the front page of the Amazon Kindle store, approximately one hundred book titles will be shown to you (provided you care to scroll down). Mathematically, the chance of your book showing up on that front page is 0.003 percent; that is one in more than thirty thousand books.

Let us see how this situation unfolds when looking at the 28 main book genres featured on Amazon Kindle. As you can see from Exhibit 1, the situation is quite diverse across the genres.K-lytics Indie Article -  Exhibit A

Know your competition

The degree of competition in non-fiction is about 70 percent higher than in literature and fiction. No big surprise. But who would have thought that religion and spirituality was the largest main category on Kindle with almost 300,000 English titles?

On the other end of the spectrum, you find genres such as travel, or comics and graphic novels. There, the number of English titles is around 40,000, or maybe less.

Now, this is still a lot, and to make sense of this in practice, one must do two things.

Two essential strategies for your book market niche

First, you must relate the number of titles (competition) to the level of sales in the respective book genre. The objective is to identify those markets that show the highest book sales, but contain the fewest books in the category. To understand this concept, let us look at the 28 main book genres once more. You can already see that the level of sales (demand) and the competition as measured by the number of available titles (supply) differ significantly from one book genre to the next.

Second, you have to “niche it down”. In other words, you have to take the approach to the next level of detail. One level down, you will find more than 345 book sub-categories (and corresponding Top 100 Best Seller lists on Amazon). And many of them break down into third-level sub-sub-categories (of which there are more than 2,000) and even fourth-level book genres (i.e. sub-sub-sub-categories).K-lytics Indie Article -  Exhibit B

Niche strategy case example: Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Science Fiction and Fantasy category has shown a continuous positive trend in the second half of 2014. It currently represents the third highest-selling genre on Kindle, behind Romance and Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense (measured by the sales ranks of the Top 100 Best Sellers in each category).

Now, Science Fiction and Fantasy in the Kindle Store contains about 35 sub- and sub-sub-categories. Their range of sales performance and degree of competition is extremely broad. You can find niches such as Science Fiction and Fantasy Classics, where the average sales volume for a Top 20 title is around 30 to 35 books per day. At the same time, the level of competition is at and below 400 titles. On the other end of the spectrum, you will find sub-sub-categories such as Science Fiction Anthologies and Short Stories. Here, a Top 20 title averages around eight copies per day but competes with more than 6,800 other titles on Kindle. Do you get the idea? The performance of each of the 30 Science Fiction and Fantasy sub-genres is fundamentally different; some are hot, while others are total non-sellers.

Why waste your writing talent, creativity, and resources on the wrong ones? The same applies to all other main books genres.

Remember the analogy of standing out from the crowd at the big rock concert? It is hardly possible. As an author or publisher, you can spend a vast amount of marketing dollars. If your target market is too broad, this spend will be like a drop in the ocean and provide zero returns.

Instead, you should narrow down and know your target market and readers. It is like attending a concert in a small jazz club; if you cheer and clap, the performer will notice. Likewise, if you focus your marketing efforts on a small, but high-performing book market niche, the odds that the readers will notice (and pay) you are much higher.

Becoming commercial as an author: Know your market

Hence, know your market. Book publishing and marketing only works if you know what market you target, what commercial potential it represents, and what level of competition you face.

Writing for your passion is one thing. Doing so while taking a professional commercial approach is a different ballgame. Remember, as an indy author you are more than just a writer. You are an entrepreneur, one who has to perform the many functions that, in a publishing company, are covered by whole departments of specialists. Marketing is one of them. Get ahead of the game and become a great marketer yourself. That starts with proper market intelligence.

Alex Newton is the CEO and founder of K-lytic.com, e-book market intelligence for success. About K-lytics.com E-book publishing has become like drilling for oil. Highly profitable for those who know where to dig and hit a well; incredibly frustrating for those whose exploration efforts take place in the wrong fields or who lack the proper technology. This is where K-lytics comes into play. K-lytics provides market data on hundreds of book market niches, enabling authors and publishers to take better and faster publishing decisions.

Follow Alex Newton: http://k-lytics.com/blog/

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The Comics Empower Project

The Comics Empower Project

Delivering the Untold Fan Stories

By Guy Hasson with Ellen Fleischer

What is your first comic book memory? Do you remember why you liked comic books in the first place? Guy Hasson, CEO and head writer of New Worlds Comics, bets you do! Each and every one of us has a story, a personal story about how we got into comics. But more than that, we each have a story about how comics helped us through our teenage years or childhood, how comics inspired us, how comics empowered us.
Hasson understands this. It’s the reason why he’s started the Comics Empower Project.Bill

The project is very simple. Real people tell their real stories about how comics empowered, inspired, helped them, or changed them. Every post is a single person’s real story. A new story is posted almost daily. Together these stories create a magnificent tapestry of the comic book experience!

Here’s a Taste:
 • Bill grew up black in a non-black neighborhood. He tells how “Comics were an exit from the Land of Can’t.” Today he runs his own publishing house.
 • Kristin, an artist working on her first graphic novel, tells how “Creating comic books is an act of magic.”
 • Tara didn’t feel as represented until the female Thor came along. She tells how “A female Thor felt very validating.”
 • Mattie had a trauma in her past and tells how “Comic books pulled me out of the darkness.”
 • Berny tells how “Comics taught me to be the best I can be and not ever give up!”
 • Pascus was even inspired by supervillains, saying “Even supervillains inspired me. Because they had such focus!”Daniell

There are so many more stories at the Comics Empower Project. It’s fun to take a few minutes and read each story like a snack. Every day more and more stories come in. Hasson invites us all to come read them. And, just as importantly, he invites you to submit your own, so everybody else can know your story, too! Help tell the fans’ history of comic books!

Comics Empower URL: http://bit.ly/ComicsEmpower

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The Voice of Larime Taylor

The Voice of Larime Taylorforheader

From Disability to Top Cow

By Jay Savage

Larime Taylor is the creator of A Voice In The Dark (Top Cow/Image), a series that Mathew Meylikhov of Multiversity comics said could be “one of the most interesting comics published in 2013.” Born with arthrogryposis, Larime is a mouth artist; he writes, draws, tones, and letters his books with his mouth. This month, Larime sat down with Jay Savage to talk about his life and work.

IM: When did you first decide that you wanted to make a career out of creating your own comics?
LT: Being disabled, all I really have as far as useful skills are my art and my storytelling, so I may as well use them to make a living. It was a pragmatic decision.

IM: Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry and how did they affect your life?a-voice-in-the-dark-04
LT: Family and friends. My wife. The people who are there for me every day and encourage me to keep going.

IM: Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career and how has that person changed your work?
LT: Terry Moore and Gail Simone have both been big supporters, helping to promote the book and spread the word. Terry wrote the introduction to the first trade.
IM: What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
LT: I work whether I’m feeling ‘inspired’ or not. It’s a job. Professionals meet deadlines.

IM: Describe your typical work routine.
LT: I plot out story arcs in outlines, then write the scripts. Being my own artist, my panel descriptions are very simple. I get more specific with things when I do my reference shoots. That’s where I decide exactly what I want for each panel and I shoot the photos the way I want the comic to be. Then I do page layouts with all the photos. I actually have an entire issue shot and laid out as photos before I start drawing.
Sometimes, I’ll even letter the pages off of the photo versions, then drop the art in after it’s drawn.
What I do to start is (obviously) write the script, get the edits, work that all out. Because, all of my life, I’ve not been able to model myself, you know; I can’t use my own hands to see how a hand would look doing this, or what your arm does when you bend it this way. I draw with a pen in my mouth, so I can’t look up at something, then down at the paper as I’m drawing at the same time. Now that I have a digital tablet screen that I draw directly on, I’m able to photo-reference.

IM: What tools do you use to create comics and what makes them the “right tools” for you?
LT: I draw on a tablet screen with the stylus in my mouth. I’ve been drawing with my mouth since I was four years old, but drawing digitally has really freed me. Because I can zoom in and out, rotate images, and move them around, I’m no longer restricted by the limited reach and range of my neck, or by the fact that I draw smoother lines horizontally than I do vertically. I’m not having to deal with the fact that, with my nose a few inches from the art, I lose perspective and proportion. I can zoom out and keep things balanced. I can lasso something and move it, shrink it, or make it bigger.

IM: What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?
LT: Meeting fans at signings and conventions. Hearing that my work is reaching people, that it’s made an impact. That’s the best part.

IM: We’ve all met very talented newcomers who are trying to get their first professional projects. What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator?
LT: Treat your art like it’s your day job, even if you already have one. Make it the most important thing.

IM: Time to get philosophical. What’s the most important “big idea” that you’ve learned in life—in or out of comics— and why is it important?
LT: Don’t take no for an answer. Get back up and try again.VitD3

IM: Tell us more about A Voice In The Dark.
LT: It initially started as a horror spoof, where I planned on taking various tropes and flipping them upside down. Along the way, I realized that I had an actual story and compelling characters and so, things went in a more serious direction. I still have some of the camp on the surface, but it’s there as a contrast to the more gritty, serious nature of things.
It’s essentially a coming-of-age story with a twist: she’s a serial killer. Zoey’s relatable, I think, because she’s going through things that all of us have: growing up, moving away from home, trying to figure out who she is and what she wants to do with her life. Beneath that, though, she has these urges she’s struggling to control. She’s afraid that she’s a monster. It adds new levels to it all. That’s the core of the story: figuring out who and what she is and how to live with it.

IM: A Voice In The Dark is published by Image Comics and, more specifically, Top Cow Productions. How did this come to be?
LT: By using the Kickstarter trade I made as my submission. I pitched in person to Matt Hawkins at WonderCon, and he told me up front that they don’t take creator-owned books, but let me give my pitch, anyway, since I was there—and he was intrigued. As we talked, he kept finding reasons to make an exception and take it anyway. I could see him talking himself into it despite what he said up front.

IM: Thank you, Larime, for taking the time to talk with us!

Larime Taylor’s Website: http://larimetaylor.com

Get it Online: http://www.thetopcowstore.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=80

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