Unbreakable kicks off the last eight months of my life

Just this past week, Dirty South premiered the first single off his upcoming album With YouUnbreakable.  This begins the roll-out of a project I’ve been working on since before Christmas.

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The album tells a story… and that story comprises the film With You.  It was directed by Dirty South and produced by myself and Jimmy Devoti (who also produced White Space). The whole thing was done in-house – we even built a coloring suite at his studio (with coloring by Anthony Harris – who is one of the best in the business). The film stars Cameron Palatas, Nathalie Kelley, Jimmy, Dave Sheridan, Dendrie Taylor, Gary Dourdan and Jearnest Corchado – and will roll out in September with the album.  The trailer drops tomorrow so be on the look out for that.

I’m also very proud to say that all of the artwork in the film is by our very own Zsombor Huszka, this includes all of the album artwork (which is inspired by the movie).

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Author Review Etiquette

I’m copying this from a newsletter I receive from Author Marketing Experts, which always has great tips for authors.

Four Tips on What NOT to Say (or Pitch or Do) to Get Your Book Reviewed

If you want guarantees, you won’t find them in book reviews. Death and taxes, yes – but the book review process is a sea of unknowns, from how many review requests you’ll get to who’ll actually post a review to whether they’ll even like your book at all.

When you’ve got people reviewing books mostly as a labor of love, the reality is, that review you expected this month may be delayed by a couple of months. Or, they may not love your book and be pretty blunt about it. Life happens. It’s fine to check back with a reviewer if you haven’t heard anything and had been given a review timeframe. It’s fine to correct a factual error in a review, but it’s not appropriate to start a fight with someone who has fairly reviewed your book and just decided it didn’t work for them.

What else should you keep in mind during the review process?

Be a Pro. It probably seems unnecessary to state that being professional at all times is important, but there have been so many author-initiated blog brouhahas online that we can’t take anything for granted. Ask nicely when requesting a review; be gracious if the answer is no. It’s not personal. If you’ve done your homework you may know going in that a particular blogger – who you’ve identified as a key blogger for your book – is overwhelmed with a review backlog. Perhaps the blogger is up for a guest post, and if you see the blog often includes them, be prepared to pitch some ideas. Maybe it’s a good site for contests – again, be ready to suggest a contest and terms. Pay attention to what the blogger does on his or her blog – it’s most definitely not all reviews, all the time – and see if there is anything you can contribute to either complement a review or in place of a review.

Be appreciative. I can count on both hands, with fingers left over, the number of authors we’ve worked with who have bothered to thank reviewers. Do it. The authors who do take the time to email the blogger to say thanks are usually rewarded by developing relationships with the bloggers they thank. If that blogger enjoyed the author’s book they usually ask if they can review the author’s next book, and so on. What was originally a one-time situation now becomes an ongoing relationship in which the reviewer follows the author’s career and the author has additional opportunities for book reviews, interviews and more – and not only with that blogger; chances are the blogger’s peers who like the same kind of books are going to take notice.

Never burn bridges. Even if a review you receive is unfair, or not the quality you expected, there is only so much you can do. If there is a factual error, by all means alert the blogger immediately with the correction. Otherwise, if you just don’t like the review, let it go. Just remember that whatever the review says, you never know how readers will react and I’ve seen many cases in which the lukewarm review caused others to say they wanted to read the book for themselves. You’re getting free publicity and you have to realize that everyone may take away a different perspective from one review. And you should still thank them, nicely, for taking the time to review your book.

Take the long view. Also understand that the Internet has brought together hundreds of book lovers (aka book bloggers) as never before, and not only do they share their love of books, they also discuss problems, issues and more. Angry authors have gotten plenty of bad coverage this way, with the result being that a multitude of reviewers have sworn they will never review any work by that author. Ever. There’s an adage about never getting into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel – a reference to newspapers and magazines – but the reality now is you don’t want to get into a fight with someone who has a blog with hundreds (or more) of followers, plus Twitter and Facebook accounts and the ability to broadcast bad news far and wide. Don’t let that be you!

Maine Comic Arts Festival

I just got home from Portland, Maine… home of the Maine Comic Arts Festival (MeCAF). The day long art/comic show is run by Rick Lowell over at Casablanca Comics and I have to tell you, it is an awesome show.  I missed the opening night reception for my godson’s Christening… but seeing as how I really liked Portland I’m sure it was a great time.

It was held at the Portland Company Complex, which is right on the water and had the feel of an old shipyard building. It was the perfect size (or so it seemed) for the event. I’m a little leery about local shows because they are generally geared towards kids, and this was no exception. If you are familiar with my books, at least until Bulderlyns comes out, then you know why I’m leery. However, within the first ten minutes I had a great talk with an aspiring artist and he just opened the floodgates. It didn’t stop until about a half hour or so before the show closed. Everyone of the guests was really nice, obviously loved comics or art and was great to talk to.

It’s hard for me to leave my table, especially when I’m by myself, so pictures of the event itself are at a minimum. And I don’t get to speak to as many creators as I’d like – usually just my neighbors. I did have a few good talks with other creators who didn’t have tables at the show, but were there supporting.

I went down the street to what I guess is downtown Portland for dinner with a mission – lobster. I chose a place on the water that wasn’t too fancy, because in my experience these places always have better food. It was my first lobster roll and it was awesome. Can’t wait to head back…

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C2E2

After an epic road trip, Zsombor and I finally made it to Chicago for C2E2. We stayed right on the lake, at Michigan and Harrison, so we had the pleasure of seeing a bit of Chicago at night. And, other than the let down of deep dish pizza, I have to say that I was very impressed with the entire show and the city. Because of the space of the hall, I think I would have to give it the nod over NYCC as my favorite con. The people are great at both, interested and knowledgeable about comics (not just pop culture – which is what a lot of these cons have become). NYCC will always take a hit because the main hall is divided in two and artist alley is in a completely separate corridor. C2E2 doesn’t have this problem, at all.  The layout is almost perfect. And Zsombor and I got a great table in Artist Alley… across from Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmioti (great and talented people), the SpeciMen guys (awesome guys) and the folks at Yeti Press (another good group of dudes) – all of whom actually do comics, not nonsensical pop culture art.

We even got to meet a bunch of Kickstarter backers for R.E.M. as well as more than a handful of new faces.  It was a fun show and I can’t wait to go back.

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Zsombor with BumbleBee

Zsombor with BumbleBee

Ryan with Jigsaw

Ryan with Jigsaw

with Decapitated Dan, the most prolific comics journalist out there.

with Decapitated Dan, the most prolific comics journalist out there.

Utah - make it two.

Utah – make it two.

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Zsombor with the lamest quote ever

Zsombor with the lamest quote ever

 

 

AwesomeCon – Photos

After a few months on the road, to Los Angeles to produce a film, then to AwesomeCon in D.C., C2E2 in Chicago and a bachelor party in Vegas – I am finally back on my home turf of New York.  Since I was actually working most of the time, I don’t have a tremendous amount of photos from the conventions… but I do have some.

Below are a few from AwesomeCon, which was held in Washington, D.C.  It was fun, but ultimately this convention was more of a pop culture thing than a comics convention. And we didn’t have the best table – stuck right next to a guy selling grumpy cat artwork. If you weren’t familiar with the type of books I create, they couldn’t be further from pop culture humor and anyone that would walk past a grumpy cat booth and cackle.

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This guy had a simple, but great costume.

This guy had a simple, but great costume.

The saddest con pic ever taken?

The saddest con pic ever taken?

Awesome Con: Washington, DC

If you’re in the Washington, DC area this weekend, swing by Awesome Con and say hello to myself and Zsombor Huszka.  We’ll be in Artist Alley at Table M8 all weekend.  We’ll have copies of R.E.M., Harbor Moon, promo issues of Chasing Rabbits, art prints and t-shirts.  Treat yourself to some good times!

Awesome Con takes place April 18 – 20, 2014 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Friday: 3pm – 8pm
Saturday: 10am – 7pm
Sunday: 10am – 5pm
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Are Comics a Dead-End?

I ask this question somewhat facetiously… because I obviously work in comics (and have two books in production).  Everyone wants to lament how the business is dying and complain about how hard it is to make money. The latter may be all too true, but the statistics don’t actually back the former up.

In fact, 2012 was the best comics sales year of the millenium.

  • Overall, sales of digital comics are growing nicely.  Digital sales tripled last year, to $70 million.
  • The print side saw sales gains of 15%, to $750 million.

One of the reasons comics are doing well is because of digital distribution. In the world of ebooks, there are only a few players in the game: Amazon, Apple, and (barely) Barnes & Noble. The diverse range of comics distributors — both third-party organizations and publishers themselves — mean that users can pick and choose where they shop without sacrificing title availability. This fragmentation also allows for comics companies to pick and choose the way their comics are sold.

Comixology is leading the charge for digital comic distributors. The digital comics distributor was the third-highest grossing iPad app of 2012 and is closing in on 200 million downloads.

Exciting things are happening in digital comics and users get markedly different experiences between print and their devices — creating a separate realm for digital comics that doesn’t cannibalize print. So don’t give up the fight.

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