We interrupt our epic slog through the deeper bowels of online graphic novel sales [editorial comment: *multiple expletives deleted*] to bring you the latest gem to grace my inbox:
Dusk, by David Doub.
isbn 9780578014364. available online from a number of sources.
At 104 pages, this seems a bit thin when compared to most manga tankoban but is about the same length as many a more common (DC, Marvel) Graphic Novel collection. — from the publisher:
As a battered wife, Eve’s only concern was to keep her marriage together. But when she is kidnapped into the sordid supernatural world of vampires and foul magic, Eve finds she doesn’t want to leave. Her mysterious benefactor, the Vampire Lord Ash, wish her to have a normal life but Eve chooses to stay in the service of Ash. Dusk is the stories about Eve and her challenges living in the darkness. Dusk is a supernatural action/drama story done in a dynamic blending of the sequential art styles of American Comics and Japanese Manga. Several artists help tell these stark noir tales of Vampires and Unrequited Love.
It’s black and white, but as a fan of inkwork as an art in and of itself I won’t necessarily hold that against it. I don’t have a copy here to review, and even if I did I probably wouldn’t.
Aside: One unintended consequence that naturally follows from posting the charts on a weekly basis is that this blog comes up on just about any Google search for manga. That wasn’t and isn’t my intention (if it were there’d be a bajillion ads on this site) and while it’s kind of nice, it also opens one up for things like this.
In his email to me, David Doub (the author) states “I think the journey of getting my comic to print would make for an interesting article.”
You might be right, David. But it’s not my story to tell.
Best of luck. I applaud the spirit and motives behind efforts like yours, and congrats (especially) on actually getting a work into print.
My advice to you is to re-think the marketing of your book past an ‘article’ on some dude’s blog: You now have two jobs. Full-time, you should work on your next comic. You should always be working on your next comic.
Your second job, which is part time (no more than a third of your total workday — work on art should always be the priority), is to market the works that are out. Marketing is a subtle science, mostly because we’re exposed to it every day and from a frighteningly young age so the public is jaded. Hardened. We know a sales pitch when we see one.
Don’t let that deter you. To sell a book (or anything) you need either a deep faith in the value of the product (which as the creator I’m sure you have in spades), or a glib tongue, a dedication to sales-for-the-sake-of-sales, and a more adversarial relationship to your customers (“the marks”) — though to truly succeed in that latter tack you also need a certain amount of acting ability. It’s not enough to sell it, you have to Sell it.
But forget that. We’re not scamming marks, we’re looking for converts to the cause. As the #1 fan, you merely have to convey your enthusiasm for the work to your potential customers.
The ComicSpace page is a good start; you have a concise URL and a place to post artwork. The blogging function, however, leaves a lot to be desired; sure, it’s functional but it may not be the best soapbox for you to advertise your work.
Here’s a short and likely incomplete action plan:
1. Don’t abandon ComicSpace, but also look into Live Journal, Blogger, Wordpress.com, or other providers (I used Tabulas for years before Comicsnob and RocketBomber) — even if all you do is check in once a night to post your progress for the day (“Finished inking the last page of chapter 3 tonight! woot!”)
2. Register a domain name. There are many options for both the registration and webhosting, and it can seem like an unnecessary step with so many free options out there, but there is something to be said for a .com of your very own. (the trick is to find one that isn’t taken — you’ll note my domain name doesn’t have the word ‘manga’ in it)
2a. …and the second hassle with your own domain is building your own website. It’s not a walk in the park to install a CMS [content management system, AKA a website, or blog] but it can be done. And things like WordPress [the software, not the site] and TextPattern are free.
3. Write. The best person to tell your story, is you.
4. Link. If it’s cool to you then your theoretical, potential readership will want to see it, too.
5. Comment. Read other blogs in the industry, and if you have something to contribute to the ongoing online conversation then please do so. You don’t have to insert your ads and links all over the place — in fact you really really shouldn’t — but if something from your experience is relevant to the topic, don’t be shy about linking to your own stuff. [hence the necessity of points #1 and #2 above]
6. Befriend. This online stuff is kinda cool, actually. It’s your part-time job, but enjoy it. (and friends can help you out, but that’s not the main reason to do it obviously)
7. Research. Read, read, read. Take at least an hour a day to see what people are saying about the medium. Start with Journalista — I could recommend a score of other sites but eventually Dirk will link you to all of them.
8. Take It on the Road: it can be a humiliating, expensive, futile, aggravating, time-wasting, humbling exercise, selling your comic (or rather, trying to sell) at the Artist Alley at some local con. But the face-to-face opportunities, the chance to actually meet and interact with fans — and the amazing opportunity to connect even if it’s only with one fan — can become fuel to keep your artistic endeavors going for years to come.
No, really. Burnout is an all-too-common problem, even with slacker bloggers who are technically doing this as an enjoyable hobby in their free time. Don’t let this process drag you down. Remember the fun (find the fun, if need be) and come back only after you’ve a big smile on your face and a need to post links to ScansDaily and YouTube.
10. Nothing Builds on Success Like a New Book. I told you, this is a part-time job; never forget that the art is your primary work and that sequels sell the series.
— Does a lot of what I’ve posted seem like guidelines for bloggers? Well, duh, that’s my background and area of expertise. So… um, yeah.
The best person who can tell your story is You.
Get writing, David.
here’s the book, here’s David’s ComicSpace page.