Sunday, February 24, 2019

A Week in Writing #235

This has been one of those weeks where Powers Squared has been dominating for me. I try to keep several balls in the air every week, but sometimes one will take precedence over another. This past week has been mostly about Powers Squared.

To begin with there are the pages of the current issue #10 (What's in a Name?). Rachel Wells, our artist, delivered us the final inks for pages 9-16. We received them in two sets and it took us a little while to look at them based on schedules. We try to get back to her or to Nina the same day we receive their work. We know from our own experience that waiting for feedback sucks, so our goal is to get back as soon as possible. Sometimes, however, there are times when we can't do that based on timing. But now we're down to the artwork for the final four pages and the cover.

Nina Gaillard, our colorist, sent us four pages this month, the first four pages of the same issue. She has a bit of a time crunch, with an upcoming convention, so we're not going to get the next four until next month. We want to be flexible and real-life does impact all of us.

With the first four pages in hand, we've sent them to Trevor to letter. So the beat goes on.

These are the usual activities but this has been a different sort of week. As I've written here, several times, that sales have never been what we want, which is a nice way of saying they're low. It's finally time for us to take control of our IP. Comixology has been supportive, in the past, but we don't have to be hamstrung by them and have the right and desire to get the product out there on other formats.

Being an independent comic book is a bit of a hindrance and it can be very hard to get traction but if we limit ourselves to only one channel of distribution, we're only hurting ourselves. We don't have the money to print a bunch of issues and warehouse them in hopes of selling them. The same with t-shirts and merch. To that end, we've been looking for some way to allow readers to print issues on demand.

This week, we've started working with our first partner in this,, which allows independent creators to provide physical copies and t-shirts on a print-on-demand basis. We've put up the first five issues and three t-shirts this week on the site. This website is out of the UK so the prices are in pounds and may frankly seem high for our readers in the U.S. but we are looking at other outlets both physical and digital and there will be more announcements soon.

But to make that happen means formatting pages in the site's formats, which can be somewhat time-consuming to put together. And then there is updating the website to handle as well as making updates to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to announce these. With time being a premium these all take away from other work.

I've also decided, that except for a select few people, I'm not going to give the book away anymore. The point of it wasn't to have a free to own comic book. What makes me tired of this process, is even then, it takes them a long time to actually read it. The final straw for me was someone saying they liked the artwork. While I certainly have nothing against artists, in fact, I love the two we're working with, the last thing a writer wants to hear are comments from someone you've given a free copy to of your work that sounds, at least through omission, that they don't like the writing. "The artwork is pretty good." That really sticks with me and hurts a little, too. I'm sure an artist would feel the same way if someone said: "the writing is pretty good." It feels like someone who saw you act in a play, comments to you, "Yeah, that was a play you were in."

One last thing, on Saturday afternoon, Trevor, Paul and I attended a two-hour seminar regarding Pitch Packets through the Ground Zero Animation Expo down in Stanton, California. I was there to see what I would need to do to someday pitch Powers Squared as an animated series. The seminar was led by Caroline Foley, who has worked in the industry. The parts about putting together a packet were quite helpful, as well as what to be prepared for when making a pitch. As with all of these, there is the gray area about how to set one up, which you're supposed to do that through your various contacts in the animation industry, that you have, of course, already developed. Well, then.

I did spend one night this week working on a review for Trophy Unlocked. I had made the commitment to doing reviews of shorts during the month of February and I was one short, so to speak. In one night, I watched Buster Keaton's The High Sign, twice, then researched and wrote the review for it, found images and uploaded all to the blog site. That review was published as our Saturday Morning Review.

In addition to that one, we published the review of Green Book on Wednesday as part of our effort to watch more of the films that are nominated for Best Picture. We watched Bohemian Rhapsody on Friday and will review it sometime after the Academy Awards.

I'm afraid to say that between the formatting, uploading, and promotions for the new comic book venture, as well as writing a review, I haven't spent any time on the novel, The Runaway. I really hate that I haven't. Nor have I had the time to chase down the editor on Familiar Stranger, though I will email him after writing this.

As far as Agent queries, there is another goose egg to report. I only have so many hours in a day to spend on writing and something had to give.

If we're hoping to work with other platforms on Powers Squared, then I'm going to have to spend some more time next week on them as well.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Week in Writing #234

For a little change of pace, I thought I'd better describe the week as it goes along.

On Monday night, Paul and I reviewed new pencils from Rachel. She sent us pages 9 through 16 on Sunday night but we didn't have a chance to look at it until the next night. We liked what she sent and didn't have any comments or suggestions. She should be sending us more pages this month.

Also worked on the next week's A Week in Powers Squared thumbnail. Found an image from Issue #4 which we will be discussing. I had already done some editing on the image and was able to do some color matching for the background. I'll admit I have no flair for the lettering but I was happy with the overall look. Usually, the lettering covers up something in the image or looks wedged in but this one has the image to one side and the lettering on the other.

Finished my review of Making a Living for Trophy Unlocked, adding about 355 words to the review, adding images and posting it on the blog.

Also did some more work on The Runaway.

Tuesday night, I started a review of The Stratton Story, a film I happened to watch on TCM during their salute to the Academy Awards. I had seen the film before and have always liked it but I thought why not review it. I also searched for images from the movie for the review. Not sure when it will appear but its always good to have some in reserve.

I also did some more writing on The Runaway.

Wednesday night, I completed The Stratton Story review and did some more writing on The Runaway.

This brings us to Valentine's Day and I'm sorry to say nothing new was written that night or Friday night, either, though we did watch Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016), an animated tribute to the old Batman TV Series from the 1960s. Trevor has this idea for Batman month in May, so I'm writing a review of that film as part of that tribute. I worked on it on Saturday and Sunday and am about 1600 words into the review as of this writing.

For Trophy Unlocked, on Saturday morning, published my review of Charlie Chaplin's first film, Making a Living (1914) as part of our salute in February to short films. One more review to go and I'm not sure what it will be as of yet.

On Friday night we received four more pages of pencils from Rachel, as Issue #10, What's in a Name? continues to take shape. Paul and I sat down to look at them on Saturday and gave her our feedback. Aside from questions about the two-page spread in the story, everything looks pretty good. She got back to us on Sunday with a revision, which we liked.

Also, on Friday, updated the poll question on the website. We seem to max at about 9 votes but it is never too late, unless until next Friday afternoon, to vote. The question before you this week is #21, If you had to choose one: Telekinesis vs. Teleportation? Takes about two seconds to vote.

We also spent part of Saturday exploring the Artithmeric website, as they offer creators the ability to have their comic books printed on demand and shipped worldwide. We're thinking this might be a good outlet for Powers Squared. We had been working on doing back covers for all the issues which I had thought I was done with on Sunday and started to compile print versions in pdfs. Only then did I discover that the new pages were slightly smaller than the rest of the pages, something I had thought I had already caught but apparently hadn't. Ended up figuring it out but I haven't yet recompiled the page into issues. When they go up, there will be announcements on all of our social media outlets.

In anticipation of the release of Issues 5 and 6, we commissioned our second Motion Comic as a trailer for those issues. This one went bumpier than the first one and took longer. I'm not sure what happened except the creator was sidelined by his day job. Also, we were allowed only one set of edits so we're "satisfied" with the finished product, as we sort of have to be. It'll be up as soon as we know the date of release.

Paul and I shot and posted our 21st weekly vlog on our YouTube channel, called Powers Squared Comic. You can view it here. Paul also submitted the video to jacksfilms to see if it might be featured on that YouTuber's YIAY series. Fingers crossed. Even if he makes fun of it, it would be more viewers than we get now. We also put up a story on Instagram about doing the video.

Well, that sort of gets us up to current. No new queries this week and no word from the editor on Familiar Stranger, though I haven't, yet, reached out to him again. You got to leave something for the week ahead.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

A Week in Writing #233

Okay, I'm writing this and I am a little nervous. Not because of this blog but I finally sent my first query letter off regarding Broken People. I know it's something that I've been talking about for weeks but I finally pulled the plug and sent one off. And I know I need and will do more but sending off query letters is a little like riding a horse, when you get bucked off (or rejected as might be the case) you have to get back on and send out more query letters.

The agent I sent mine to is one that I had met or rather heard at the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference last October. I really had the book pretty much completed then but had to hem and haw my way to sending it out. There is always a good reason not to send a query but I knew this day would come. I will, of course, update here as the process continues. I don't and won't name names, as that's not the way we roll at 1000 Words a Day, but this would be my dream agent at this point. But then again, any agent that would take me on as a client would be my dream agent, let's be real.

Already got a response, though it's a form email. I've had it be where I've spent hours to hone the query letter to a particular agent only to have them reject me in a matter of minutes so my first thought was not a positive one when I got the email so quickly. Rejection is never far from my thoughts when it comes to query writing.

Did a little more work on The Runaway as well. I wrote myself into a possible corner but managed to think of a solution before the trail got stale. I'm a little short of 35,500 words into the rewrite. I have a general idea where this is all going it's the getting there that still needs to be worked out.

No new word on Familiar Stranger and I truly doubt the editor reads this blog but we're coming up on almost a year now. I don't know if he's immortal but I'm not and time's a-wasting. I'd like to get this done sooner than later. I will have to follow up and I will let you know what, if anything, I hear back.

Published a review of the short The Balloonatic on Saturday on Trophy Unlocked. Part of our salute to shorts during the shortest month of the year. I've watched and written a review for next week of Making a Living (1914), Chaplin's first short for Mack Sennett's Keystone studio. Look for that next week.

There is also a review I wanted to point you to on that blog, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part was reviewed by Trevor after we all went to see it on Saturday afternoon. He was the best one to review it as the rest of us sort of blipped out from time to time if that's any indication on how good the movie really is.

This week in Powers Squared, we finished Issue #9 which is pretty exciting. Since we've just submitted Issues 6 and 7 to Comixology it may be quite a while before 8 and 9 are published.

Speaking of 6 and 7, I've reached out to the websites that had provided us with reviews, interviews, and previews for issues 3-5 and only one, First Comic News, has responded. We're hoping their reviewer will do one for the new issues. I sent them to him this morning after emailing the editor-in-chief. Hopefully, we'll get a positive response.

Our poll questions have taken an uptick in the past few weeks and I have to thank our fans in Singapore and San Mateo for getting those numbers up. 11 responses last week and 9 this week is nice. It makes you feel that you're not just writing in a void. I've asked them to perhaps watch the videos as well.

Paul and I do a Vlog every Sunday with whatever is new with the comic book. The last several, despite pushing them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest have garnered zero views. We keep hoping that trend will reverse itself. It hurts, people, it hurts.

We're still working out the details for the Kickstarter that I want desperately to do. Trying to see if our artist is willing to do something by hand that could be used as a tier reward and maybe be used as well on t-shirts and maybe even an alternative cover.

A fellow comic book creator is trying to start an Instagram Pod to support each other. I'm all for it but he wants me to do more than just publicize the videos which I need to do. I went through the last two issues and pulled out all of the sound effects so I might be posting them for a while.

Well, that about wraps up another Week in Writing. Please check back next week and I'll update you on queries and reviews. Until then, keep writing, cause you know, you gotta.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

A Week in Writing #232

I'm sitting down to write this while watching the Super Bowl since I don't have a pony in the race to mix my sports metaphors and thinking back on the past week.

Still making some progress on The Runaway though I didn't have the burst I had last week. Still, I got about 5600 words further into the book, which surprises even me. Some of the writing is rewriting I will admit that. I'm trying to use as much as I can from the previous version. There is nothing better to find a passage or chapter that can be placed somewhere else and with some tweaks can be reused elsewhere in the story.

I'm finding that I'm making a lot of changes in the story, killing off a character sooner than I had previously. I think it's making it a better story but we'll see. I mean, I'm a little prejudiced but if I don't like it there's no point in writing it.

For Trophy Unlocked, published a review of Tit for Tat (1935) as part of our salute to Shorts during February, the shortest month. Managed to also write one for Buster Keaton's The Balloonatic (1923) which should appear next week.

This week in Powers Squared, there was a lot of progress on Issue #10. Rachel sent us the first 8 pages inked just before the end of January as well as thumbnails for the next 8 pages. Nina has the first 8 pages for this month.

Started to work on a final review of Issue #9. There are a couple of changes we need to make to some of the dialogue but it's really nothing major. At least, that's what I've found, Paul still needs to give it a once over before we give it to Trevor for any fixes.

Paul and I finished our next A Week in Powers Squared video just before the Super Bowl. This week we went over a little bit of Issue #2 as well as discussed the progress that's been made since our last video. You can watch it here. While you're there, please feel free to subscribe and ring the bell.

Last week, we posted a video to Instagram about making the video. This week, we actually added it to our story, so we'll see if that gets as many views as our video did last week.

Big shout out to our best fans, who happen to live in Singapore, who actually heard the call and answered our poll question on the website. Maybe those votes help spur others on since when I last checked, we had 6 votes. I'm not a mathematician but that's a whole lot more than the zeroes we've been getting the last few weeks.

We're still working out some of the details for our Kickstarter tiers. Hopefully, we'll get those ironed out this week, hopefully being the key word there.

Going to be reaching out to some of the websites that helped us with our last release to see if they're interested in doing something with the new releases.

Whatever happens, I'll be letting you know here next week.