Sunday, November 29, 2020

A Week in Writing #327 - Let's Talk Wednesday

Hope everyone is staying well and had a Happy and safe Thanksgiving.

I know last week I wrote a lot about the previous Thursday, I thought today I'd write about this past Wednesday, or the release date of the latest issue of Powers Squared, #10 What's in a Name? Part 1. I know that sometimes I plug hard the comic book but it's only because I want it to be a success. As with any endeavor a writer undertakes, he/she wants it to be a success. I double down on Powers Squared since it is also something I am self-publishing. i.e. paying for. If you insist on supporting me in this, then please go to

Well, it may sound easy to self-publish a comic book but there are a lot of steps involved, which you can multiply by the number of outlets or platforms you're going out on. As a publisher, you stress over each one.

The first step, which I undertook sometime back, was to submit the comic book to the various outlets. We're on ComiXology,, IndyPlanet and Kindle, each with their own requirements, though many overlap. By that I mean if I meet the specs for say IndyPlanet, I can pretty much send the same files to the other outlets as well. I have been updating the cover for ComiXology, which doesn't like a border around the cover.

The submission process is a little different for each site. As an example, neither ComiXology or Kindle require you to purchase the book when you put it up. To be honest, neither Artithmeric or IndyPlanet require that either, but you want to see what a book looks like before you sell it, you have to order one and have it printed and shipped. With Issue #10, we have two covers, so I had to have two different copies from each of those outlets.

Some are more helpful than others. Paul and I had decided on our own that we wanted to have the issue out before Artithmeric's Black Friday Sale, which is going on right now through December 4, so we picked November 25th, the day before Thanksgiving. Releasing prior to a holiday, or a big convention, is probably not the best idea, as people's minds are elsewhere, but that was the date we chose. It was only a week before the release that ComiXology confirmed that they were also releasing it on that date as well.

ComiXology is the only outlet that you have no control over when the release date is picked and my guess is that they pick the dates based on some sort of algorithm rather than what is the best date to release it. They've picked dates that were the Wednesday before Comic-Con, the day before the 4th of July and this time the day before Thanksgiving.

So everything seemed to be in place except for something special I wanted to do on IndyPlanet. I had given them more than a week but never heard back on it. We wanted our B cover or Covid Cover to be print only and when submitting the issue, I didn't see a way to do that. I wrote to them a couple of times but it wasn't until the 25th before they confirmed they would do it.

About a week before the release, we sent out Press Releases to eight comic book news websites. This netted one story on First Comics News, who has been pretty supportive of us. That story came out the next day. I checked the other outlets today before writing this and that would otherwise be a goose egg.

Then there was the review. First Comics News has also been the only outlet to review all the issues and I was expecting it to be up on the day of release but it wasn't. It took a couple of emails on Wednesday and bothering the editor on Thanksgiving but it did go up a day late.

I also purchased some Facebook ads. I believe I had sworn off those earlier but I was hoping to see if things had changed. Each ad is $10 and runs for five days. We placed one when we launched our new landing page. Despite reaching 5558 people, I don't believe any of them actually signed up. We placed one when the issue was released. So far, that's reached only 984 people 31 clicked the link; no telling if any bought the book. On Friday, we put out another one for the Black Friday Sale. 1204 reached two clicks. I keep telling myself this is a marathon but it would be nice to get somewhere now.

So, the jury is still out on the ads and the release. I'll report back here if I receive any numbers on sales.

No queries this week. Thursday is my night and it was Thanksgiving. For those keeping score, I have sent out four and have one rejection.

I did work a couple of nights on Skylar. I guess a word count would be appropriate; that way we can all track how I'm doing on that project. So, right now I'm at 16535 words. Check back next week to see how much futher I get.

My review of The Clay Pigeon was Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review, thus ending our Noirvember salute. There were two more reviews this week on the blog, Trevor's review of  Transformers: Prime - One Shall Stand went up on Thursday to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series that it derived from. And on Wednesday, there was Trevor's review of Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion (PS4).

Next month starts the blog's salute to Christmas titles. Not necessarily for next month, I did write three reviews this weekend of Christmas titles, including A Christmas Carol (1910), Mickey's Christmas Carol, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Maybe they will come out this year, maybe next. I think we have enough for this year so it's nice to get ahead.

Well, that's about it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

A Week in Writing #326 - Let's Talk Thursday

I hope everyone is staying safe and, of course, writing.

Let me start with a plug: Powers Squared Issue #10, What's in a Name? Part 1, releases on Wednesday, November 25th. If you're reading this, I would really appreciate the support. Issues are available in print and digital and links will be live on the day of release at the website's new Campus Store. There is also going to be a Black Friday Sale at for a week. You can get 25% off by using the code BLACKFRIDAY. If you've ever thought about buying an issue of the comic book I write about each week, then this would be a golden time to do it.

I don't know about you, but some days are more successful than others when it comes to writing. This week, Thursday sticks out as a particularly busy day. As with most weeks it seems, it starts with Powers Squared.

It began in the morning, when I received an email from the US Copyright Office, in effect, denying our request to update the copyright. It wasn't so much that we couldn't but the mechanism the Copyright Office had told us to do it turned out to be wrong. I don't mind re-doing the claim, with the right instructions, but I was resisted to losing the $200 fee they charged me to make the revised claim, since I was working off their instructions. To their credit, the agent I was working with has offered to see if the fee can be refunded, so that's still up in the air.

During the day, we received pages from Rachel; pencils for the last four pages of Issue #16 as well as the cover. Paul and I did sit down and review after dinner. These sessions don't usually last very long but there are usually comments which are sent back to her and that night was no exception. Nothing really major mind you; all minor. I was reminded with getting Issue #10 ready for ComiXology that they didn't like the cover having a border. I've had to make adjustments and since I'm making changes months after the issue has been drawn, colored, and lettered, I have to be careful not to go outside the margins so to speak. Don't know if you've ever published a comic book, but print versions have margin and trim spaces. I don't think making that change or any of the changes we asked for were necessarily difficult since the next morning, she had the changes ready to go.

That night, I had some things to take care of with posting the new issue of Powers Squared on IndyPlanet. It consisted of adding preview pages. Earlier I had a question about the page count and I still have a question about whether or not one of the covers (we have two this time) can be print only; IndyPlanet offers both print and digital. That question is still outstanding. We're good either way but it would be good to know.

I then made the edits on the next script for Powers Squared, a sort of Metal Gear homage, tentatively called Mission: Istanistan. I was making updates Paul had suggested and I also moved one panel to the previous page. Again, nothing too hard.

I then worked out some talking points for our OAPS podcast. We had Kathryn Calamia on. She currently has a Kickstarter going for her comic book Like Father, Like Daughter. I had met her through a Facebook post in which she was looking for indie comics to use as tier rewards. I thought letting her use Issue #1 of Powers Squared might find us some new readers. I asked her to be on our show but I wanted us to prep for her. The actual interview took place the next evening and you can watch or listen to the show through links you can find here. I think the show went pretty well.

Next, I sent a query letter out for Broken People, trying to keep to my one-a-week goal. I had found this particular agent on QueryTracker as someone "new" that week. It was a bit of a gamble. QueryTracker shows she represents Crime Fiction, which is what I'm hawking, but the agency's website stated True Crime, but I thought it was worth a chance and a new assistant agent might be wanting to build a list.

Well, I was wrong. I sent the query at about 9:40 pm on Thursday and by 1:30 in the afternoon, I was rejected. "Thank you for your query, but unfortunately, I don't think this is a fit for me. I appreciate your getting in touch, though, and wish you the best with this project." Not the most informative of rejections but they rarely are. I don't think it has anything to do with the actual writing, since I didn't send any samples. The instructions on the agency's websites only asked for a query letter.

I'll give the agent credit for being quick. The rejection was sort of like ripping off a bandage. Painful, as always, but quick and over with. So if you're keeping track at home, that's four sent and one rejection. And now I need to send out two more.

I finished that night off with some writing and updates on Skylar, the most recent manuscript I'm working on. I'm reimagining some of what I had written to get to the action quicker and to introduce characters more judiciously.

Not a typical day but you sort of get a sense of what I'm up to; divided in all sorts of ways.

I would be remiss not to mention my Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked, Scene of the Crime; part of our Noirvember celebration. This was also My Little Pony week on Trophy Unlocked with five reviews featuring My Little Pony: Equestria GirlsMy Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Rainbow RocksMy Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Friendship GamesMy Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Legend of Everfree; and My Little Pony: The Movie (2017). Those reviews were written by Paul and Trevor, so check them out, too.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A Week in Writing #325 - Where Did the Time Go?

I hope everyone is staying safe and writing.

I can't say this was a red-letter week for me, writing-wise. I had such high goals coming into the week and here I sit on Sunday wondering what happened? I think we've all had weeks like this. So many things can derail your plans.

On the positive side, I did send out a third query letter on Thursday. If I did nothing else last week to forward my writing, then that would be the best thing I could have done for myself. So, that's three out and, so far, knock on wood, no rejections yet. I did find a couple of agents I wanted to submit to were closed for the rest of the year. Not sure if I'll come across more like that as the days of 2020 grow wee. My goal is 5 queries and if you're like me, each one is a nervous endeavor. So, I'm 60 percent of the way there.

I wanted to write three reviews this week for Trophy Unlocked, but I only finished two: Batman Returns and The Big Steal. Still have Son of Frankenstein and now, Man in the Dark, our latest Saturday night drain the DVR feature. I did publish a new one on Saturday morning, The Third Man, a new entry in Noirvember. Also on the blog were three reviews from Trevor: Big Bumpin'; PocketBike Racer and Sneak King, three Burger King Xbox games from 2006.

The work on Powers Squared this week was more behind the scenes than usual. I have been making updates to the website, as well as the landing page experience for the newsletter. I needed Paul's help with some of the latter and we're sending it out to the rest of the creative team to get their feedback.

There were also thumbnails for the last four pages of issue #16, as well as the cover, that Paul and I reviewed and gave feedback on. Then there were some revisions that we also looked at. Not sure when we'll actually be getting those pages; our artist is dealing with a family emergency at the moment, which justifiably takes precedent over the comic book.

On Saturday, Paul and I attended a Zoom class at UCLA, Showrunners and Show Writers (Fall 2020). It was interesting as we were both interested in that part of the animation industry. Me from a Powers Squared perspective but Paul from a longer-term career perspective. It was informative but more from the personal point of view of the showrunners on the program. The takeaway is that there are a lot of different ways to break into the industry and to keep trying and writing.

So, what got left out of the equation this week was Skylar. I really don't have any excuse other than time and perhaps bad time management. I will have to right that this week and I will make an effort to work on it every time I can.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Week in Writing #324 - Sleep? What's that?

Hope everyone is staying well.

I don't know about you, and I think I write about this every year, but Daylight Saving's Time kicks my ass twice a year. And it's not the Sunday after but the Monday that throws me. My sleep clock has not aligned itself with the "alarm" clock, though I haven't set one of those for nearly 8 months. Even working from home the getting dark at 5 pm is still hard. You feel like you're working late at night.

I was still getting used to the time change when the election happened and the fact that it didn't get resolved right away kept me up that night. I was even awake at 2:30 AM and came out to check my computer if there was any "good" news. I think I recovered and the news got better as the week went on, so I'm over that now.

But this isn't supposed to be a blog about my sleep schedule but rather what little writing I got done during the week.

Let's start with Broken People. Happy to say I sent out a second query this past week and so far, no rejection email yet. I think any response will be several weeks away. This one was again an online form and didn't ask me how I planned to market the book, so that was a bit of a relief. So, two down more to come.

I did some more writing on Skylar this week but nothing since Wednesday I'm afraid to say. I do like the direction it is going so I'm hoping to keep it moving forward as best as I can.

Worked a little more on reviews for Trophy Unlocked. I feel like I'm behind in that regard. I feel like there are three movies I need to review, including Son of Frankenstein, Batman Returns and The Big Steal. It sounds diverse, but those are the films we've been watching and I'm behind on them. They each have a different purpose for the blog.

We ended Spooktober and started in with Noirvember on the blog with No Questions Asked (1951). I have three more to go but I have to get them ready for publication. Blogger, which we use, has changed how you can upload photos so it takes longer now than it used to. Not sure the reason behind the changes but I have to live with them. During the week, Trophy Unlocked also published a review of AVICII Invector Encore Edition, written by Trevor.

This week, as we continue to work on a Pitch Packet for Powers Squared, I watched a 10-year-old presentation from CTNX about this very process. The presentation by Heather Kenyon, the then Vice President of Project Development and Sales for Starz Animation, was pretty informational and got me to rethink much of what I had already written. If you're interested, you can watch it yourself at,

Work continues on Powers Squared. Not only are we working on issue #16 now, as well as #15, we're also prepping to release Issue #10. One of the platforms we're available on is Kindle and I spent some time this weekend putting that issue together for that platform. I don't know if you've ever used their Comic Creator app, but it's quite buggy. It took several tries and repeated saving to get all the way through the issue. There are times when it will simply stop working and that can get to be pretty frustrating.

There is a lot of other work to be done before the issue is released, including trying to line up reviews and putting out a press release. The creative fun never stops.

Well, that about does it for me this week. I've got a lot lined up to do and I'll tell you how I did next time.

So, keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

A Week in Writing #323 - First Query


Hope is everyone is staying safe, wearing a mask, and writing.

I want to start with a bit of good news. After writing about it for weeks now, I actually did send a query this week for Broken People. I decided that I was only holding myself back and that if I wanted to reach my goals, I had to do something positive towards that. So, on Thursday night, I finally sat down and sent out a query, through a form, to an agent. They claim they'll take four to six weeks to get back to me.

I don't know about you but I've had queries rejected within hours of submitting them, so I'd like to think four to six weeks will mean some sort of contemplation on their end. Of course, I am on alert to hear back before that and prepared for never hearing back from them at all, you know how it is. I don't mean to sound down on the process but I have been down this road before.

Even though they asked if the query was out to other agents, and I answered no, I do plan to send out more in the next few days. I don't want to run through all the agents on my list but I do want to get and have at least five out there at a time. There is always the hope that you'll figure out where you went wrong with one query or the other but my experience has been that agents never give you that kind of detail if they reject you. It's usually just a terse prefab email. I hope I'm wrong and I will, of course, report back here as things go.

I worked more on my Skylar manuscript, deciding to restart the story closer to the action, or in this case, the start of the assignment. I think it makes it better and I don't think I'll have to lose too much of what I've already written. But this is the way it works when you're a pantser like myself.

The issue I highlighted last week, our submission to Comixology, got straightened out and we were told which of the two series to use. The bad one is still there but we should be able to avoid that pitfall in future submissions.

Still, a lot to do to get ready for the release. We need to try to line up reviews and any publicity we can. We need to make a video for our social media. We need to create a Kindle version. We need to finalize the website changes and the new landing page. But the main thing is we're one step closer to being ready. And on top of that, we still need to work on our Pitch Packet. So much to do.

Today we published our monthly newsletter, The Hound Dogs' Howl. I'm giving you a link to it, here, in case you're curious about it. I would also encourage you to subscribe to it as well. I would really appreciate the support.

We had a really good conversation on our On the Air with Powers Squared podcast/Twitch Stream. We interviewed another creator, Lucas Scheffel, the man behind Angry Fred Comics. We had never actually met until Friday night, even though we had supported each other's Kickstarters and social media accounts. Lucas is down in Australia so it was the next day down there when we spoke. Really cool. I hope you'll watch or listen and, of course, support him as well.

My review of Revenge of the Creature rounded out Spooktober on Trophy Unlocked. As always, there was a new video game review on Wednesday, Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams written by Paul.

Since Saturday was Halloween, the movie we watched to delete off the DVR was The Return of Dr. X (1939). That review may wait until next year, but Halloween is only 365 days away.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you again next week!