Sunday, August 26, 2018

A Week in Writing #209

A sort of quiet week when it comes to Powers Squared. For the first time in quite a while, it wasn't until late in the week that we received pages to look at, pencils for the next four pages of Issue #8 along with a couple of changes we'd asked for on two earlier pages. So, for those keeping track, we're up to page 16 with the artwork or will be by the end of the month. She's also starting to work on the thumbnails for next month as well.

Our colorist is working on pages 5-8 of the same issue, having already delivered the first four earlier. And Trevor is more than halfway through with the lettering on Issue #7, so things are moving along.

We tried a three-way Google Hangout on Friday with Paul and me, Rachel and Nina but for some reason, we couldn't connect again this week with Nina. I think I figured out what the problem has been and it was me. You have to use a Gmail account and I was inviting her under the wrong email. Stupid is as stupid does as they say, or at least Forrest Gump says. We'll have to regroup and try it again.

We did have a nice chat with Rachel and talked about all things Powers Squared including the difficulties in growing a social media following. From my own example, we never seem to have a breakthrough moment. I tried paying Facebook to boost a post for me. Small potatoes, I spent $10 for 7 days and two countries. We did reach 158 people but only 26 actually liked the post, which was about the Shop Now feature we added to the page. Of those 26 people, only one took the invitation to like the page. Not a really great return.

Not to be deterred, I was approached over the weekend by to help publicize/market our website, which is We'll see what we get for the money but the goal is to draw more people to the site and to buy the comic book.

Before that, I had GoDaddy set up a poll for me on the website.

Still no word from our contact at comiXology. Sort of hard to explain why we haven't heard back and while I don't get accustomed to being ignored, this is nothing new. I'll try again this week to see if I can get some reaction before Labor Day.

Speaking of people I can't get a reaction from, I tried twice this week to call my editor on Familiar Stranger. Not only didn't he answer, but he didn't return my call either. Meant to try him over the weekend but ran out of time. Again, I don't appreciate the radio silence, but its nothing new. 

Is it me?

Still working on the rewrite of Getting Even. Had an epiphany about the ending so I'm excited to get to that point and get to work on it. I haven't worked out all the kinks yet but I know what I need to do. Right now I'm up to page 214 as I'm making changes. Hopefully, I'll get further during the week.

Finished a review of The Blues Brothers movie, which was published on Trophy Unlocked as the Saturday Morning Review.

So this week, I'm hoping to finish another review, in this case, Doctor X, which has been dangling for a week or so now. I will also be following up to see if I can get anyone to reply to my queries and, of course, more work on Getting Even.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Week in Writing #208

Well, let's start at the top with Powers Squared and Monday. I dutifully did as I said I would last week and reached out to my contact at comiXology trying to get feedback on Issue #6. Don't look too shocked but no word back. I won't go through the litany of reasons why, just that I have not heard back.

Meanwhile, work continued on the new issue. Later that day, Nina sent us the first four pages of issue #8. It's all looking good. I haven't sent them on to Trevor for lettering yet, as he's still working on Issue #7.

On Wednesday, we received pencils from Rachel for pages 9 through 12 of the same issue. We had a couple of comments but nothing major. It's always interesting to see things develop and the words on the page come to life, so to speak.

Later in the week, we got our quarterly accounting from comiXology on sales. While I'm happy to report sales were up 350% from the previous quarter, sales were still pretty miserable, considering all the work we've put into it and all the publicity we did receive around the release of Issues #3-5. Let's just say all that work amounted to less than two dozen sales over the five issues. Very disheartening.

Now, there are three ways to approach this. Either I/we could fold but that wouldn't be fair to the story. I really like the story and hope that it would eventually find its audience, so that wasn't really an option, though it did cross my mind. I like having a creative outlet that at least reaches people, even if those numbers are small.

The second option, I/we could continue the same thing and hope things would just turn around. That would be wishful thinking on my part.

So I took the third option and tried to change the way we present ourselves to the world. To begin with, I updated the home page on the website to make it easier to buy the books and how to communicate with us, i.e. join the mailing list. I also updated our Facebook page, activating a Shop Now button. I also followed the marketing advice from Comic-Con and advertised on Facebook, boosting one of the more recent posts. I didn't spend very much but we do seem to be reaching more people and have added several new page likes. I know that seems shallow, but you got to get the word out.

I'm also exploring options with media, including press releases and the like. More on that as it materializes.

The planned-for weekly video didn't come to fruition. We had technical problems connecting with Nina on Google Hangout.

Continued to post on Instagram, which does generate content on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Rather than publishing the same images over and over, I try to find a theme or something for the posts. This week has been first appearances in the story, rather than in flashback. Most of the artwork, so far, is from the first issue. Trying to build up to more recent first appearances in the comic book.

Nina also posted an image from our website on Instagram, one I had posted as a preview of Issue #6. That was unexpected and pretty cool. No one has ever posted anything about Powers Squared because they wanted to, so that was a new experience.

In other writing, I did finish the review I mentioned last time for Christopher Robin, which we published on Saturday morning on Trophy Unlocked. During the week, we also published a review for the video game Epic Mickey 2 written by Trevor and just today Sharknado: The 4th Awakens prior to tonight's final installment of that wrung out TV movie franchise. We had been reviewing them but had overlooked this one for some reason.

On the rewrites, I'm continuing to work on the rewrite for Getting Even. I've read and edited up to page 451, so I think I'll be finishing that next week. Okay, I said I would contact my editor about Familiar Stranger and I didn't do that. There never seemed to be the right time. Unlike the contact at comiXology, I don't think I can just send him an email and hope to get a response. He will take a phone call and unlike the guy at comiXology, I feel like I can call him up, it's just that I never had the opportunity at the right time. So, that's something I need to do next week.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Week in Writing #207

Let's start this week where we normally do with Powers Squared. This week began with thumbnails for pages 9 - 16 of Issue #8, Mathemagical. Our artist, Rachel Wells, sent us, as she usually does, two versions A and B. Paul and I went through them and chose which ones we liked. While this can go back and forth between versions, usually, as was this week, we, for the most part, liked one version for one page and another for the next. Sometimes, it can be panel one from A and the rest of the page from B.

Rachel then takes these and does a sort of composite of what we've asked for, which she sent us the next day. Paul and I then go through that and give a final okay.

I've always wanted this to be an interactive process with the artist having a say when she thinks the panels or the action differ from the script. This time, she made some very good suggestions about one sequence which was a really good idea.

Trevor finished lettering the cover and the first five pages for Issue #7, so its good to see that coming along as well. And I'm expecting pages soon from our colorist Nina Gaillard on Issue #8. Sometimes I'm amazed at all the moving parts.

Paul and I also made a very brief Google Hangout video with Rachel on Friday. Sometimes things don't take very long and this was the briefest of our videos on our YouTube Channel. Feel free to watch the video or all of the videos on the channel and let us know what you think of them. Please leave a comment or, better yet, follow. I know that's a term you keep hearing from me on this blog but that is part of the business of writing.

Made some updates to the website. Besides adding the link to the new video and moving the links around so the latest is on top, I also added a preview for Issue #6 Kirby Good and Evil Part 1 (cover and first two pages). Would love to hear what you think about it. Also, updated the pages for the first two issues to show the creative teams: writers, artists, colorist and letterer, who worked on them as well. As with the YouTube channel, you can leave comments or send us an email from the site.

Speaking of loving to hear from people, I had sent a working copy of Issue #6 to our contact at comiXology but after more than a week I've heard nothing. I'll have to follow up on that this next week.

And on the subject of not hearing from people, still no updates from the editor on Familiar Stranger. Starting to get a bit worried about that, so I'll have to follow up on that this week as well. Updates will be made here.

On the subject of writing, I've been working on revisions to another of my great unsold J.D. Barrister novels, Getting Even. I thought I was getting a slow start but I just finished making notes up through page 240. I'm about half way through.

Wrote and published a review for Game Night for Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review.  Was a busy weekend for movies so I have several to work on this week. First up will be Christopher Robin, which has been out for a couple of weeks. On Friday, in prep, we watched The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh so I have that to review, as well as Doctor X (1932) which we watched on Saturday night. That one may wait until October and our annual salute to Horror.

So a busy week behind and a busy week to come. Keep writing.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

A Week in Writing #206

Well, the week started out fairly normal and I'd have to say quiet. I was trying to get back into the swing of things. I was making some final edits to a script of a future Powers Squared issue and posting some images from the comic book on Instagram, you know like you're supposed to.

On Tuesday, saw a tweet from AMAfeed for an article they published on titled 11 Non-DC/ Marvel Comics You Should Read Before This Year Ends (Part 1). The cool thing and the reason I received the tweet was that Powers Squared was mentioned as #4. I was pretty excited and sent the link to Paul, Trevor and my wife.

While all of the other comic books had images of their covers, our mention had the same out of focus one of me from our AMAfeed last July. I would have picked a better image if I wasn't in a hurry (I was painting a bathroom at the time) and had known I couldn't ever change it. But there it was a few weeks later staring back at me from the article. Not a good showing.

Paul noticed that the brief write up also listed Marty and Eli Powers as the creators of their own comic book. Strange, I didn't remember them being there at the time. I wasn't miffed that I was omitted, even though I had lead the AMAfeed earlier in the month, but it didn't look good to have fictional characters listed as the creators.

After a couple of messages with AMAfeed through twitter, to their credit, they picked another image from our website and corrected the creators to be Paul and Trevor. Two out of three ain't bad, as they say and it wasn't worth going back a third time. At least now we have a better listing as you can see above.

I mention the incident not only to point out a bit of recognition but also to point out that under the right circumstances you can get "bad" press turned around. Now, if only the article said where you could buy the comic book.

On Friday, Paul and I had a delightful Google Hangout with Nina Gaillard our colorist, which was also posted on our You Tube channel. We also picked up our first subscriber, so that was nice.

Our colorist, Nina Gaillard during our Google Hangout.

Watched and wrote a review for She Had to Say Yes (1933), a Pre-Code drama directed by Busby Berkeley and George Amy and starring Loretta Young, which was published as Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review. Need to work on one for Game Night, a recent film that I only recently watched from a Digital download.

Still in a bit of a holding pattern with J.D. Barrister stories. Still no word from my editor on Familiar Stranger and I haven't had the will to re-edit the ending of Paperback Detective, yet. I made some brief notes for another story but I really think I should re-edit another of the "unfinished" books before I venture into uncharted territory.

I'll make the decision this week and let you know here as usual.