Archive for July, 2014

It’s amazing that we’re only a couple weeks away from Boston Comic Con 2014, where my podcast-mates and I will be manning the League of Ordinary Gentlemen Podcast Booth, and I will be trying to sell copies of the first issue of Robin Hood to the unsuspecting masses. We will have other cool stuff for sale, too, but I will be concentrating most of my efforts on selling Robin Hood (sorry, Gents).

I’m telling people that this is my first convention as a salesman (or huckster, if you prefer), but the truth is I played this role back in the day when John Hunt and I were trying to sell copies of our positively-reviewed but poorly sold comic, The Secret Monkey. “SM” had gone through a couple different incarnations already – webcomic in 2000 before they were cool, printed version before you could print on demand, and a second printed version after we fell in with a shyster lawyer who claimed he could put us on the shelves everywhere, including Wal-Mart – and we had bought a table at Wizard World 2005 as a last gasp to try and make some sort of splash. I don’t recall the actual numbers, but when all was said and done, I’m pretty sure we lost money on the deal.

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Still, I got a little taste of what it’s like to get people interested, and have them tell you that it looks good, and actually pay you for your hard work. Unfortunately, I also got a taste for what it’s like to practically beg people to buy it, and you give them your whole five-minute sales pitch, and they look through it and seem interested, and then walk away.

But those people/losers were the exception.  I know I said I lost money, but that was only because I didn’t know what i was doing, and we had just sunk too much dough into it in the first place. Now, thanks to the kindness of my Kickstarter backers, and the wonders of technology, I don’t have to print hundreds of comics and hope that I can sell enough of them to break even.  And Wizard World wasn’t the only convention I did to promote SM. I did several tiny cons, as well.  The ones that don’t have celebrity guests and long lines.  The ones that just had guys selling old comics and Playboys (I’m not even sure those exist anymore.) Hell, I even included copies of The Secret Monkey as Kickstarter rewards, so I’m still trying to make money off that thing over a decade later.

But the business has changed. Now, it’s possible to make money, and Boston has become one of the bigger cons, at least on this coast. So, I’ve got my copies of Robin Hood, some swag, and my League buddies to help out, and help pass the time.  I’ll either make money, have fun, or maybe even both. So, one way or another, I think Dursin will come out ahead on this one.

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It Takes a Village…

Posted: July 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

You know how those Marvel movies always have that post-credit scene that makes you have to sit through ten minutes of names scrolling up the screen?  The ones that make me want to sit through the credits of every movie I see now, just in case Nick Fury is going to sow up and tell me about his team of super-heroes, even if it’s a comedy?  Is it just me, or was that a ploy to get us to watch the credits of movies so the thousands of digital effects artists get their due? (Semi-funny side-note: At my “real” job at Boston University, one of my tasks is to show films, and a professor once yelled at one of my work-study students because she shut off the film during the end credits.  The angry prof demanded she play the DVD again so that the credits could be shown and the artisans from craft services could be given their due credit, even though the room was now completely empty.) FB-Crew-credits   Anyway, that’s a lot of build-up for me to get to the point, which is that nothing is created in a vacuum.  Yeah, it’s a little annoying to sit through all those names, especially since we can all watch the post-credit scene on our phones while walking out of the theater.  But, look at all those names! And when you’re a grunt in the movie business, I’m sure that first credit is totally satisfying.  I never got one myself in my short stint in the biz, but I would have probably crapped my pants if I did. The same is true of most creative endeavors. Modern technology has changed a few things. An accomplished musician can now record a whole album in their mother’s basement and then send it out into the world digitally and go on Facebook and tell everyone to buy it.  They can do that because the technology exists, but the musician still has to know how to do it. In my own experience, I did self-publish a comic book,(nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Buy it at the link) but the “self” part is a little misleading, because a lot of people made it possible.  I hired an artist, a letterer and a colorist, and I asked/begged many friends to help out with the technical stuff, which I new very little about, even though I thought I did.  Not to mention that over a hundred people donated to the Kickstarter so I could afford to pay all these people.  And as I touched upon in my previous post, then I had to send all the rewards out and spread the word to try and sell more books, because no one is going to do that for you. (I know of what I speak; I sent out dozens of emails to websites who say they would review independent comics, and nary a response.) That’s really where the “self” part of “self-publishing” comes in, and that’s the hardest part, and that’s where having a logo for an established company in your cover’s corner box helps a lot. Still, the fact that I haven’t sold too many books does not take away from the accomplishment. Even though it took a lot of help, I’ve done something a lot of people before me have done, and I must remind myself that a lot of people have also not done it. Upon seeing the finished product, a friend of mine asked, “How did you even know how to do all that?” I didn’t even really have an answer for her.  I just knew.  Obviously, it would have helped if I could draw or color or letter a comic book, but at least I knew where to find the right people to do all that for me.  And I figured out along the way how many pixels each page needs to be and all that, because I didn’t take a class for that (although if there’s someone out there who I can pay to do that for me, too, I’d be all over that.) The bottom line is that, in the end, even one small comic book requires a lot of work by a lot of people, and all you can do is hope people like it. And if not?  In the words of Johnny Depp in Ed Wood: “Well, my next one will be better.”    

 

 

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Robin Hood #2 preview art – Whole comic soon photo4