Con Season

posted in: Conventions, Stuff I Like | 0

I’ve been quietly working on comics over here, mostly Era of Great Wonders. John really wants to get a full graphic novel out this year for it (although, honestly, I’m only 1/3 of a way through the script he’s given me, and it’s taken me two years to get this far!).

I’ve also remembered that I need to be producing posters, because sadly, original characters don’t really help you make your table money back. So to that end, I’ve been drawing more Borderlands characters, and hope to have a few more before we are well, and truly, into convention season. Here’s one I started last year, and finally dusted off, inked, and colored:

salvador

Before Krieg came around, I was half in love with Salvador. Maybe a little more than half.

Also, wow, these colors look way different on my monitor. I may need to tinker around with them to get them as rich as they look on my cintiq. Mind you, the printer always prints it up another way, so… at a certain point you just have to let go.

Right now I have a RakkMan I started, that I hate, and need to redo, and I also promised my husband I’d draw him some Claptrap images, one of which has to be the Disco Claptrap, because our play-through when he discovered that skill was one of the happiest I’ve seen him in a long while!

Mostly Marketing vs Money

posted in: comics, Conventions | 0

(I wanted the trifecta of alliteration in the title)

The other day at the dojo, one of the ladies asked me, “What is the best way to buy your comic and help support you?”

I froze, because I did not (and still do not) have a good answer to that.

There are three ways you can buy comics from us:

  • Directly from us:
    • Pro: We make the most money, because we have no processing fees
    • Con: We’re homebodies, and rarely leave Albuquerque.
    • Con: What are the chances you’ll run into us and want to buy a comic right then and there?
  • From a local store:
    • Pro: it reminds local shop keepers that local comics do sell!
    • Pro: it legitimizes us in a way, and makes it easier for people to find our work if they can’t buy it directly from us.
    • Con: Because of the printing costs of our issues, the only things you’ll find in stores are our books, not our floppy issues, which until we get an Era book, means only AtGT and Vagus.
    • Con: Very few stores will do anything other than “consignment” which is a fancy way of saying we donate our stock to them, and never get paid. Once in a while, a store will offer a consignment rate that is irresistible, but that’s so rare as to not even mention it. (Also, speaking of “rarity,” occasionally a store will flat out buy our stock, which then erases this con. These stores are the best, and I love them!)
    • Con: The only stores we’ve contacted/been contacted by, are local to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. If you’re anywhere else, you’re going to have a hard time finding our books.
  • Digitally
    • Pro: if you buy it digitally, you get it right away and I don’t have to do anything! Yay!
    • Con: if you buy a physical book from Amazon, then they take a little bit of a cut (but only a little one so far)
    • Con: If you buy a physical book from Amazon, then I have to go the post office, and I am terrified of the post office. (But I’ll do it if I have to!)
    • Con: Because of their processing fees (even though it’s only a little one) I can only sell the books (not the issues) physically through Amazon, which again, means only AtGT and Vagus.

Mostly what I take from all of this is that I have no idea what I’m doing.

Okay, so that’s the… er.. “money” part of the post, so you know how I’m not making money. Marketing is… related? Unrelated? I feel so terrible: I went to school for graphic design and they forced us to do marketing research course, and it was the worst thing ever! I hated it so much that my grades dropped (I think I got a “B” for the course, or something awful like that!)

My entire comic book marketing plan has been (and continues to be) MAKE MOAR COMICS!

I suspect that’s not the path to success I want it to be.

I read a lot of articles/blog posts by indie writers and listen to a lot of podcasts about how to market ebooks. I keep thinking maybe “ebooks” are similar to “comic books” but I’m not sure if that’s true or not. (Seriously, if you know about this stuff, help an idiot out and tell me!)

Basically, I think the advice boils down to:

  • Write a series (check)
  • Publish them digitally (check – I’ve been doing these as webcomics for ages, and am now putting them on Amazon)
  • Drop the intro book price to permafree* (Sorta-check: I can’t figure out how to do this  yet, but I DID get dumblucky with the price matching dropping Era #1 to 99 cents)
  • Have a call to action (CTA) at the back, urging readers to review it. (Sorta-check: I did that, but I couldn’t get html coding to work, so… it may not work as well as I hope.)
  • Write more, and write like the wind (I suck at this. It takes me so long to draw stuff.)
  • Also there seems to be stuff about getting a newsletter together (check) and building a platform (I think that’s a website? If so… check? Although it could be a social media platform, which then… uncheck because the only thing I do is twitter.)

I’ve been trying to adapt as much of this to selling comicbooks as I can, but I’m, well, I’m not all that social media stuff. I mean, I sort of chat to myself on twitter, or if I can think of something short to say to someone in my feed, but other than that, I’m pretty much isolated in my studio.

Another thing I’ve been wondering about is, why should anyone bother buying any of our comics?

The few times I’ve told people they can read the comics (in their entirety) they almost always ask me, “How do you make money from that?”

Short answer: I don’t.

Long answer: Well, I mean, I guess I could put ads or something on my website, but that seems so tacky. And honestly, I don’t think people really read comics at my site (my jetpack stats are, well, kinda low. I couldn’t in good faith sell ad-space on my site. Like, six people looked at my site the other day.)

So what’s the point of having free webcomics on your site?

Having the free webcomics on our site allows John and I to tell people that if they want to check the book out online first and see if they like it, that’s cool with us. There’s a confidence that I feel, knowing that our comics are good enough that you’ll want them after you read them. (And it has worked a few times: we’ve had a few people see us at the start of a convention, take a card, read our comics, and then come back on the last day of a convention and buy our stuff! It’s super encouraging!)

On the other hand, now that we’re trying to sell our comics digitally on Amazon, I’m left wondering if maybe we should pull everything but the content for each “first issue,” that way people don’t get mad that they’re paying money for something that is (in a way, if you don’t mind staring at my website) “free.”

The way I tried to compensate for that was to put a heads up in the back of the digital comic issue saying, “While we know you can read this for free, we really appreciate you dropping us a dollar or two!”

And it’s true, we really do appreciate it. We don’t make much money from Amazon, but knowing that our work is at least worth a dollar has been incredibly flattering (and encouraging, which, we all need more of.)

Sorry this post is too long. I ramble a lot.

Era branding

I’m still not done with it, and it’s kind of hard to read, but I’ve been working on the Era website.  I split the cover of the second book and added a top background image and a bottom background image. I’m going to mess around with it and later draw two monsters facing off over a city scape, but for now, this is where I’m at with placeholders.

Also! I got back from the printer, and we have TONS of comics ready for A.C.E. and other comic conventions!

Including TWO issues of Era of Great Wonders for people that like reading print!

(I really wanted to take a photo, but I keep shaking too much and need to have better light and a camera stand to do that. Until tomorrow when I edit this post, just use your imagination and think up a REALLY awesome couple of books. Then it’ll be just like being here!)

[edited 6/27 to add photo:]
Fresh Off the Press!
Fresh Off the Press!

I’m both crazy nervous for this weekend, and excited. I’m going to try to go to bed now, but if tonight is going to be anything like the past week, it just means I’m going to stare at the ceiling fan for the next four hours while trying to use the power of my mind to force myself asleep.

(Spoilers: it never works.)

Save Me From Myself

posted in: Conventions, Stuff I Like, writing | 0

At some point on Monday I figured out how to sync my kindle up so that I can borrow ebooks from my local library. I came at it in a round about way, and long story short, I discovered insomnia can NOT be cured by binge reading Regency romances.

I also learned some new words, because I am not normally a regency reader, and I had no idea that panniers existed, much less were collapsible. I sort of figured women just sort of wore… hoops-or something!-back then.

I’ve spent most of my life just dismissing the whole concept of regency dress as confusing and overtly complicated, without ever thinking much else about it. I also, apparently, didn’t realize that Regency romances take place a full century before the steampunk Victorian period.

I am thankful, however, that only a few ebooks of the series I was binge reading are available, because I’ve read an embarrassing amount of them in the past 48 hours, and I need to do something with my life other than try to figure out if a duke is “higher up” than a “marquis” and what happens if an exduchess marries a marquis. Does she become a marquis, or does she stay a duchess?

How do proper nouns work? Why does everyone go by their title, and not their first name?

Who knows?

A few other people in the greater Albuquerque area are also puzzling through this series however, so I’m on hold until I can answer these absolutely nonvital yet absolutely engrossing questions by reading any further. At least until they return their ebook copies.

I’m hoping they’re slow readers, because the amount of work that has piled up due to insomnia-fogged brain and distracted regency thoughts is a bit daunting.

(See? “Daunting.” My vocabulary is changing the more I read! Exquisite! …although if I were true to the Regency feel, I’d say it in French and in a confusing manner.)

I did accomplish two things of note since last I blogged, however: I finished my Dashiell Hammett/Lovecraft/Spelljammer short story mashup. It’s pretty terse, and I’m not sure that anyone who likes (or tolerates) my normal prose writing is going to like it, but I’m still pretty proud of it anyways.

I also managed to head off to the printers today and pick up a mass of poster printings. They still need to print the books (and to say I’m getting nervous on the turn-around time is an understatement.) At the end of the month we’ll be at the ACE convention, and I’m a more than a bit terrified I won’t have much to show for myself since last year’s convention. Except, well, some posters.

And everyone likes posters, right? *She says with a desperate grin*

*whispers* I’m so tired.

100th Post

posted in: Art Making, comics, Conventions | 2

…which was a bit surprising to see when I logged on today.

I’ve been silent, but it’s not because I’ve not been around. More that I’ve been frantically working, and am sort of in a peculiar mode of panic that boils down to me doing about twelve different projects, but finishing none of them. Or at least, it feels as if I’m not finishing anything.

I’ve been crazy busy trying to get Era of Great Wonders compiled into issues so that we can have something to show for ourselves at the upcoming comic conventions that are (surprisingly!) right around the corner! I’ve also been scrambling to get the next installment of pages ready for All the Growing Things so that I can have an issue of that as well.

I’ve also been helping color some of Josh’s Rhinestone Ronin pages, and it turns out that Josh draws really incredibly detailed pages, with lots of fiddly little details. Also, his ability to draw hands is crazy good! I’m sort of really jealous!

Beautiful hand by Josh McCoy
Beautiful hands by Josh McCoy

(Some above samples of my half-finished coloring… but instead, look at the beautiful, beautiful, beautiful hands!)

I’ve also been working on turning art into banners, so that when we’re at the conventions people will be able to find us. Usually I use a ragged little canvas banner (which I find charming) but I am thinking it’s time to upgrade towards something a little more professional.

I’ve also been working on a couple of commission pieces, but they’re not really comic related, so I’m not sure anyone would be interested in that, but they are things that’ve been taking up a bit of time.

I’ve also been working on making videos for podcasts, but I’m really bad at it. I’ve managed to figure out how to use screen captures (for a given value of “use” because they tend to crash my computer if I leave it on too long.. but still, I’m trying!) and I’m slowly making progress to where I can have something (maybe?) to show for myself.

As it is, this is now reading a bit boring for a 100th post. It should have more fireworks and explosions in it.

Dang it.

Sorry.

 

Sort of Broken, Sort of Fixed

posted in: comics, Conventions | 0

I sort of completely broke the entire Typodmary website the other week. Most of it has been put back together (I think Namio Tristique is the only thing still broken).

I’m behind on drawing comics (as maybe you’ve noticed, but if I’m lucky, maybe you haven’t noticed!) and am not sure I’ll have anything new before we leave for the Tuscon Comic Con this upcoming weekend!

I’m pretty excited about this comic con, because it’s the first one we’re going to that isn’t in our town. Normally we do the two in Albuquerque, and I’m starting to worry that we’ve saturated ABQ a little too much. (Is it ever “too” much?)

I think we’re planning on heading out to Staples in Austin in March, but we’re still trying to plan the logistics out on that one.

Okay, back to work!

Southwest Book Fiesta (Friday)

posted in: Conventions | 0

So far I’ve met lots of neat people, including Sam B.  (who does not have a zombie army) but who does write historical thrillers set in a Post World War 2 environment. He and his wife are super nice, which is always nice when you’re at a convention where your husband basically just slowed the car down before shoving you out of the car and into the convention center.* Sam B. and Linda also seem to know everyone at the convention, which is pretty neat, sort of like getting to sit next to the popular (and nice) kids in class!

We’re also sitting a few booths down from Nightstalker Press, which is funny because I kept looking at them, thinking, “Where do I know them from?!” until finally they took mercy on me and said, “We were in the steampunk cowboy outfits last con,” and it all clicked for me.

Mild prosopagnosia means that I tend to greet everyone as if I’ve never met them before, with the absolute conviction that I should know exactly who they are. Sure it’s awkward at first, but after a while it’s sort of funny.**

And on that note, it is now time for a list!

Things I Have Learned About Conventions***

  1. Authors (and literary types) get the “Typo’d Mary” joke.
  2. Always smuggle a snack and/or a pack lunch in.
  3. Make friends with someone near you (a booth buddy) so you can have bathroom breaks
    1. The Albuquerque Convention Center is a large building, with a slightly smaller building that they call the “bathrooms.” I recommend taking twine or dropping breadcrumbs – you may not find your way back out of there again, and I can’t guarantee that there are neither witches nor Minotaurs in there. It’s a big complex of bathroom stalls.
  4. Don’t expect (if you’re me, anyways) to make any of your booth money back. This is a chance to put your face with your book’s name. Be prepared to hand out lots of little freebies and cards.
  5. There is a cash bar at this convention. At a convention of authors. I don’t know if this is stereotyping, or if it’s marketing genius. I imagine if any of us had any sales they would go directly to paying for our tabs.  Mind you, if any of us had sales, we wouldn’t *need* to go start a tab in the first place, I guess.
  6. That said, there are strange underlying alliances, feuds, and politics that seem to pit  some of the bookstores with/against other bookstores. So maybe in retrospect, maybe a cash bar is probably not a good thing to have.

 

*Not true fact. He bought me breakfast and a fancy barista-made tea before helping me unpack our gear. I did have to do the first part of the convention on my own, but as I’m starting to learn, the first day of a three day convention is usually pretty quiet and pretty much just authors and a few die-hard readers.

** And then it gets a little sad, but then it gets funny again, because what can you do? Life is just sort of like that.

*** Being that I’m an expert because I’ve been to… like… three of these types of conventions? Four? Whatever, still far less than an expert has. But I still like lists, (and footnotes) so whatever.

Pros and Cons

posted in: comics, Conventions, Honors Thesis | 0

Back from the holidays!

John and I are getting ready for the upcoming year, which promises to be a pretty big one for us. (Which really just goes to show that “big” is relative, I guess!)

Pros:

We’re starting 2013 off at a workshop at the Stranger Factory. Jimmy Palmiotti will there to teach all of us lucky ticket holders how to sell and market our work. I’m not sure what to expect, exactly, but having gone to a few of the other Stranger Factory workshops, I know it will be incredibly awesome!

Cons:

Then the week after that, we’re heading over to the Albuquerque Comic Convention January 12 and 13 where I hope we’ll be slinging some new All the Growing Things trade-paper-backs. The timing is tight on the TPB, but I’ll let y’all know when it happens, as soon as it happens.

And then. Ugh, and then. School starts back up again on the 14th. I am all kinds of not ready, but then again, it’s my last semester ever unless I mess this up. School-wise I have finished another two paintings, and by “finished” I mean, “First pass done, still lots of work to go.”

Some first passes:

I’m currently trying to figure out how to make All the Growing Things and the first Vagus Collection all nice and pretty in a digital formats so y’all can read it on your gadgets. I’m having problems with borders on the awz files, and I’m thinking I should keep some of the double pages as doubles, rather than how I chopped them for singles for printing. Hm. Lots of thoughts, and lots of projects to go.

A few things

In Typo’d Comic world:

  1. The Vagus Street Rehabilitation Project – We had sent off a collection of issues 1-4 to be printed into one, standard sized issue, and it just arrived today from the printer! John’s almost done proofing it, and when he is, we’ll be ordering a bunch so we’ll have them soon!
  2. I just finished posting the last page for book one of All the Growing Things! I also realized today that my font size is too big to look nice when printed, so I’m going to be heading back to re-size all that stuff so that we can get ready to submit book one for printing! I’m pretty excited about this! (Well, about the printing, not so much about the resizing stuff.)

Conventions we’ll be at:

October 6th we’ll be at the Albuqeruqe Zine Fest at The Kosmos/Factory on Fifth
October 27 – 28 we’ll be at the New Mexico Tri-Con

Hm. October is looking a little busy, doesn’t it? Yikes. This is what happens when your husband is in charge of scheduling (on the other hand, if I were in charge of scheduling, I’d just hide in my bathroom and cry).

That’s it for now! Later alligators!

 

 

Day one of Albuquerque Comic Expo

posted in: Conventions | 0

Did you know typodmary has a facebook? It’s true. I’ve just sort of never linked it anywhere becuase I keep telling myself I’m going to do it and “make it look pretty.” As you can see from the site, I’ve… not done that yet. So, maybe I should do that one of these days? Until then, we book our face HERE.

Things I have learned from con-going:

  1. Smuggle in coffee. That stuff they sell you is expensive, and my friends drink A LOT of it.
  2. Try to talk to people, even when they don’t want to talk to you.
  3. (or 2a) Don’t get all hurt when someone doesn’t want to talk to you.
  4. Make a sign to hang on your table. (I still haven’t finished that sucker.)
  5. Tell people you are local.

I think there were more things, but that’s it for now. We have to head back in now, back, once more into the breach.