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1. Jimmy Palmiotti on Kickstarting Sex and Violence II and why women are reading Harley Quinn

Sex and Violence 2 Cover Jimmy Palmiotti on Kickstarting Sex and Violence II and why women are reading Harley Quinn

Everyone should  “Listen to JImmy” Palmiotti that is. The veteran writer, artist editor and publisher is one of the most knowledgeable comics people out there.  With his collaborators from Paperfilms, Justin Gray and Amanda Conner, he’s made a small publishing enterprise out of kickstarting a series of graphic novels based on the European album format. The seventh, Sex and Violence  Vol. II is ending in a few days and we advise you to get in on the Amanda Conner/Dave Johnson action as soon as possible — the books will not be sold in any other way. We talked to Palmiotti a few months ago when he was Kickstarting the SF tale Denver and got his overall thoughts on using Kickstarter as a platform. This time out we talk about the storytelling process,finding artists and also find out how Harley Quinn, which he co-writes with Amanda Conner, has become one of DC’s bestselling titles, with a huge female fan base. 

The Beat: Sex and Violence is billed as stories of “crime, lust, and redemption.” Are  these stories that you carried around for a while or did you sit down to think of  them just for this volume? 

3047913 jimmy3 12 300x281 Jimmy Palmiotti on Kickstarting Sex and Violence II and why women are reading Harley Quinn

Photo by Seth Kushner

Palmiotti: I can’t speak for Justin, but I have had the FILTER story idea for a while and was  at one point going to pitch it as a series, but never got around to it. I reworked  it so it can be enjoyed as a single story with a beginning and an end. The other  short story was something I came up with and thought it might fit perfectly into  the book. A lot of the time story ideas hit me and I keep files on them, waiting for  the right time or opportunity to place them. I have another story that I want to do  and hope we can get to a volume 3 of this series.

The Beat: I know Justin Gray wrote one of the stories, but can you tell us a little about  each of the three stories, and what interested you enough in your two to tell the  tale?

Palmiotti: Justin’s is called RED DOG ARMY and its based on actual history. Hitler  launched a full-scale invasion on Russia called Operation Barabossa, and Stalin,  reacting to this, authorized a special unit to train dogs as anti-tank weapons, sort  of a suicide dog squad. It’s a real interesting setting to tell a story and beautifully  illustrated by Rafa Garres whom we worked a number of time with on Jonah Hex.  The next story is called DADDY ISSUES and is about a mother and daughter  living in a trailer park dealing with the men in their lives. Its got a very tales from  the crypt feel but works perfectly here. Romina Moranelli illustrated it and it’s  just beautiful. The last story is called FILTER and it’s a look back on a killer’s life  and the things he has done to get to where he is today. It’s dark and cruel and  will stay with you for a while, I think. Vanesa R. Del Ray illustrates that story, an  art student I met a couple of years ago that is making a name for herself all over  now. All three stories work together pretty nicely.

The Beat: Your two stories sounds like they have fairly unsympathetic protagonists,  which I know can be a challenge. How do you make dark characters like this  compelling enough for the reader to want to follow along?

Palmiotti: Well, with Daddy Issues, you sort of understand what they are going through, but  in the end, these are killers and you should be scared to be around them. With  Filter, I set out to give the reader an understanding of how someone goes from  bad to worse. The interesting aspect of the story is there is a level or redemption  to the character that makes him a bit more sympathetic. I think the trick is to  humanize the situation into something we can relate to so we understand the  extreme reaction the character takes. Honestly, all of these characters are scary  on their own level.

The Beat: How do you find artists for these? You’ve said it’s like casting, and as a  sometimes editor, I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes you think of an  element of a comics story and an artist just pops into your head with just the  qualities that will make it work. Do you keep a physical or mental folder of artists  you want to work with?

Palmiotti: I actually meet most of them at conventions. They come by and show me  their work and I can feel the enthusiasm. I keep a file and also give them my  contact and hope they follow through and we chat again. The people that I end  up working with are the ones that stay after me and keep sending their latest  samples. I try to stay up as well on who is new and exciting in the field best I  can. I buy just about every new book that comes out, which my local retailer,  Emerald City loves. The casting thing is a perfect way of explaining what I do for  each story, It’s one of the most important parts of the job. I always say the Marvel  Knights gig was all about casting the right people with the right characters. The  magic happens after that.

The Beat: Do you ever write a story for a specific artist?

Palmiotti: All of the time. All three of the stories in Sex and Violence are catered to the  artist. I may have an idea, but once I know who the artist is going to be, I change  it to fit their style. In the case of All Star Western and Jonah Hex, we always  wrote for the artist. I think that’s how we got their best work. Issue 34 of All Star  was made for Darwyn Cooke and once we knew G.I.Zombie was going to be  Scott Hampton, the book took a creepier, grounded tone. I didn’t want to fight  against his style. I also think the work is better for it.

The Beat: I talked with you a few months ago for your Denver Kickstarter and it  sounds like you really have crowdfunding down to a science.   Were there any tweaks to the model this time?

Palmiotti: Yes, I did a few after the Denver Campaign. The first thing I did is stop  offering the expensive packages overseas because we felt the price was  too high to ask for the shipping and to be honest, a lot of the packages got  lost or damaged pretty bad. The next thing was limit the prints because we  felt there wasn’t as big a need for them this time, and last, since this is a  follow up of a series of books, we went back to press and reprinted the first  book with two brand new covers by Amanda Conner and Dave Johnson,  knowing a lot of people did not get the first one that might be backing the  new one.

The Beat: Your Kickstarter books seem to have a very European feel to them and  not just because you often use foreign artists. Is that part of the inspiration  for these books?

Palmiotti: It’s based on my love of European comics and artists. I grew up on Heavy  Metal and with that steady diet; it was bound to have its influence. I also  like to make the books mature audience books, again, a very European  thing. I feel I do a ton of all ages work for the mainstream, so we get to  unleash ourselves here and do whatever works for the story.

 Jimmy Palmiotti on Kickstarting Sex and Violence II and why women are reading Harley QuinnThe Beat: On another note, Harley Quinn has been a huge hit for DC and for the  Paperfilms crew. I saw you talking recently about the fact that it has a lot  of women readers. I know it’s all still anecdotal for DC but this audience  seems to be one that is really growing quickly. Can you talk about your  own experiences with that?

Palmiotti: Amanda and I have had a very busy year of conventions and signings and  the thing we noticed from working on the Harley book is that the majority  of the people coming up to us are females of all ages. We have only had  this happen once before and it was for the Painkiller Jane series. The cool  thing about this group is that we’ve had a large percentage telling us it’s  the first comic book they ever bought and thanking us for not weighing  down the title with continuity. They say they love that they can just pick up  an issue and enjoy it without going broke or feeling left out and confused  because they haven’t bought 15 other books. It’s something I am always  aware of on all my books because I’m one of those people that, if I feel  lost picking up a book, I never go back to it again.

What we are learning is that the traditional idea of done–in-one stories  not selling in comics just doesn’t apply to the new audience buying the  books, and believe me, most of that new audience are female. I think the problem right now is we have some people running the companies that just aren’t going out and trying new comics or interacting with the next wave of readers and keep pushing things the traditional way they did years ago. The retailers themselves are seeing this happening daily now and I feel it’s the reason Image comics will continue to grow and eventually outsell the big two, unless they start thinking outside the box and just make superheroes a PART of their publishing plan and not the entire thing and start looking at the different ways a superhero type of book can be done. Harley is one example , Hawkeye is another . The traditional graphics people associate comics with have been changing for years now and the market is embracing different looks and styles that are outside the house style and its pretty cool to see.

The thing that keeps me interested in comics is the prospect of new  ideas, new voices and especially new methods of applied technology and  connecting with the audience. It’s what keeps the Paperfilms crew and I  trying new things all the time. As an example, we had a soundtrack scored  on our last book DENVER and people loved it. That and the fact that  people can go to Paperfilms.com and get digital downloads of our books,  prints of Amanda’s work and copies directly from us is the next big for  creators these days. That thing is the connection between the creator and  the fan; something bigger companies have no real interest in promoting.  This is also happening in all media. Things are changing fast, and for me,  all for the better.

The Beat: You’ve made your Kickstarters a real cottage industry, What are your  plans going forward? How many a year do you foresee doing and how long  are you going to keep at it?

Palmiotti: I will keep making Kickstarters for as long as we have an audience for  them. The people that back our Kickstarters are a lot of repeat customers  and we are growing that fan base with every project. Our plans going  forward are to do more of them and take on less work that we just do to  pay the bills. Kickstarter has been a huge learning experience for us in so  many ways. Each project teaches us what the audience wants from us. We  look at the hard numbers, the comments and all the interaction and fine  tune each and every new project to be able to connect better with the fans.  We have only a few days left on SEX AND VIOLENCE VOL. 2 and after  this, we have another book ready to roll that is a western graphic novel,  something you would think we had enough of…but this one is different in a  number of ways and we are super excited to announce it in a few weeks.

1 Comments on Jimmy Palmiotti on Kickstarting Sex and Violence II and why women are reading Harley Quinn, last added: 9/20/2014
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2. A New Orleans Pop Up Travel Book is Featured On Kickstarter

Artist Jamie Hayes hopes to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter for New Orleans Pops Up. The funds will be used to cover the cost of printing this travel guide book.

With this book, Hayes will share history, personal stories, restaurant recommendations, and secrets about New Orleans. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“There will be lots of new illustrations designed specifically to ‘pop up.’ It’s going to be fantastic. It is not only a labor of love but quite different from printing a ‘regular’ book.”

(more…)

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3. My Audiobook Library Launches Kickstarter Campaign

The executives behind the My Audiobook Library company hope to raise $12,000 on Kickstarter. The funds will be used for expansion purposes.

The action plan for this money includes purchasing 55,000 titles and a distributors license. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“Our customers want to listen to the New Releases from the Top Authors as shown above, but the ‘Big Five’ publishers are unwilling to partner with a company that does not already have a large customer base, and the kind of numbers they want, come from having audiobooks from the ‘Big Five’ publishers. Thus, the ‘catch-22.’ This is why Amazon has ~90% of the audiobook market.”

(more…)

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4. Sticky Note Portraits Book on Kickstarter

postitnotesChristopher Locke hopes to raise $6,000 on Kickstarter to fund a book of portraits drawn on sticky notes.

Locke, a school teacher and artist, keeps himself focused in meetings by making drawings on Post-It notes. With the new school year, he is looking for a project and a way to teach his students about commitment to a long-term endeavors. For the Sticky Note Portraits project, Locke will draw portraits of donors who give $20 or more and publish them all into a collection. His goal is to draw hundreds of people. (more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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5. ‘Cat’ Anthology Featured On Kickstarter

Coffee House Press intends to publish an anthology entitled Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong. The inspiration for this project came from the well-attended 2012 Internet Cat Video Festival.

Some of the funds will be used to compensate the contributing writers and to give a donation to the Humane Society. The book features essays with various answers to the question, “Why can’t we stop watching cat videos?” A publication date is set for September 2015. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“We left the festival that night thinking about cats, and for the last two years Coffee House Press has been collaborating with the Walker Art Center to put together a project that might capture that fascination and say something interesting—not just about cat videos, but also about how we decide what is good or bad art, or art at all; about how taste develops, how that can change, and why we love or hate something. It’s about people and the internet and why there are so many more cat videos than dog ones.”

(more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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6. French Cult Favorite ‘Wakfu’ Premieres on Netflix in the U.S.

Since its premiere in France in 2008, "Wakfu," an anime styled fantasy-adventure series created by Roubaix, France-based company Ankama, has picked up a dedicated fanbase, even in countries where it hasn't officially aired like the United States.

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7. PEN America on Kickstarter

PEN Center USA hopes to raise $10,000 on Kickstarter to help increase funding for its literary fellowship Emerging Voices.

The organization will use the money to help increase its general operating budget and pay for the cost of books, event space rentals, transportation and printing costs.

The fellowship has been around since 1995 and has supported 119 authors. Here is more about the organization from the Kickstarter page:

PEN Center USA initiated Emerging Voices as a literary mentorship program designed to launch potential professional writers from minority, immigrant, and other underrepresented communities. The program has now evolved into an eight-month writing fellowship for writers who lack access to a traditional writing education for those who seek financial and creative support.

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8. SDCC ’14: Ben Costa on Kung-Fu, Gelatinous Goo, and Good Game Design

By Matthew Jent

Ben Costa is a maker. He makes comics, games, and deadpan jokes.

I caught up with Ben at the tail end of this year’s San Diego Comic Con to chat about the Kickstarter-funded second collection of Pang, the Wandering Shaolin Monk, his new webcomic Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo, and making the kinds of games you want to be able to play.

Ben exhibited in the Small Press area of SDCC as Iron Crotch University Press.

Photo courtesy of Ben Costa

Ben Costa at the Iron Crotch University Press booth.

How long have you been coming to SDCC?

I’ve been exhibiting for five years. I attended for a few years before that.

How’s your show been this year? What are you most excited about?

The Sakai Project. I have an illustration in there, and Stan Sakai has been one of my inspirations for a long time. Every year everyone says the show isn’t about comics anymore, but it’s still one of my best shows of the year.

And that’s probably because it’s five days long? It’s usually consistently good, but this year wasn’t the same way. Wednesday through Friday were kind of bad. A show like SPX is my best show, per day. One day at SPX I sold 40-something books, which I don’t do at San Diego.

But there were noticeably more people coming through Saturday and Sunday. The aisle would get full sometimes. And on Sunday, it felt like a bunch of people who have walked by and maybe didn’t buy anything came by, like, “Alright, I’ll take that print.” So I sold a bunch of prints on Sunday, whereas on previous days it was very few prints.

Do you still mostly sell the first volume?

Yeah, it seems that way. 90% of people coming past still seem like they have no idea what it is. One out of ten people will be like, “Kung-fu, this is awesome!,” or I’ll recognize them from previous years.

The last time we talked, your Kickstarter had been successfully funded but the book wasn’t out yet. How has the publication of volume 2 of Pang been?

Pretty good, overall. It’s been a little harder to get the word out than the first volume. It seems to be getting less press. I got several reviews from the first one, but I’ve only gotten one for the second one. I sent out review copies for both books. It wasn’t ordered into as many comic book stores. But both volumes were in Previews, and both volumes were Previews Staff Picks.

Pang started online, and you’ve self-published the two hardcover volumes that are currently out. Are you interested in working with larger publishers, or doing more work-for-hire projects?

Work-for-hire, on the right project. Like if it was Star Wars, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — sure.

Twist your arm, and you’ll write Star Wars. Do you have a Turtles story you’re dying to tell?

No? I’ve never been a great plot generator. If I sit there a long time and think about things I can come up with stuff. But the relationships are what draw me in. But with Turtles, you can also have cool ninja fights.

A lot of Turtles stories, after the first 10 original issues, are good stories, but they don’t get the core of the characters. What’s at the core for me.

What’s at the core of a good Turtles story?

They’re brothers. And Raph, he jokes and acts like he’s having a good time, but really, you know — it’s painful inside. So it’s that family dynamic.

Let’s talk about webcomics. Your new project is Rickety Stitch & the Gelatinous Goo.

It’s a fantasy. It’s about a skeleton minstrel and his trusty gelatin sidekick.

RicketyStitch1

Rickety Stitch, caught up in a march to monsterdom.

You’re serializing it online, like you did with Pang — do you want to collect it as a physical volume somewhere down the line? Or partner with a larger publisher to put it out?

There are webcomics that gain enough of a following that when they produce merchandise — books, shirts, prints, whatever — they can make a living through their audience without having to go through a publisher. But you have to be really popular, and it’s geared more toward gag comics that update every day. Although there are exceptions.

I didn’t want to work on this, get it to a publisher, then have wait and just be silent for 2-3 years while everyone forgets I exist. So, we’re putting it online. I dunno if that will effect how a publisher might react to it later. On the first volume of Pang — the beginning is a little rough, compared to the rest of it, so I could see why publishers might not want it. But once I self-published the first volume, the vibe I got was always, “This is great. Show me what you’re doing next.”

The question I have is — at what point do you start pitching it? I feel like comic book publishers like to get in early on the editing process. When you have a novel, you’re supposed to just write it, completely, and then show it to people. But with comics, it seems like they don’t want to see a completely finished thing.

Is it fun to make? Rickety Stitch?

Yeah, it is. James Parks, my co-writer, and I could have easily let this project die. We showed it to Slave Labor a while back, and they turned it down. But it was so fun to make that we wanted to just do it.

Stitch searches for a song. The Goo is afraid of the dark.

Stitch searches for a song. The Goo is afraid of the dark.

The Pang table-top role-playing game was a Kickstarter reward, and you’ve been selling some physical copies at the show this year.

One of the guys from Fantasy Flight came by and bought a copy. He says they have a group there that gets together and plays indie games.

Are you interested in game design? Or is it more about adapting the story and the spirit of Pang, and fitting that into game mechanics?

Adapting the story and spirit is more appealing to me, though I do like design mechanics. My friend Amir Rao, from Supergiant Games, is my regular Dungeon. All his life he’s been making games and RPGs that we would play. It rubbed off on me.

What did you approach adapting Pang’s story and turning it into a game?

The obvious things is kung-fu fighting. I wanted to have a combat system that felt different, that wasn’t just “I attack, you attack, I attack.” I wanted defense to be something you actively think about.

Having played it — it feels like really squaring off with an opponent. You spend points or save them, and you can react based on your opponents actions. You can hold back and defend, or make a big offensive move but leave yourself open to be pummeled.

I thought there was good opportunity to make abilities around that. And trying to make it feel Ancient China.

How did you do that?

I started with choosing stat names that were a little different. Stuff you couldn’t just pin down as exactly representing the skills. Like “Benevolence” — you can’t exactly know what you would put under that off the top of your head. It was a long process. It took way longer than I thought it would.

I also made a Star Wars game, for fun, from which I pulled a lot of the abilities for Pang. I made a Rickety Stitch game, then Star Wars, then Pang. So I have a fully functional Star Wars game.

When did you make a Star Wars game?

2012?

Why did you make a Star Wars game?

I had three-year campaign in the d6 system that was great, but we could probably never play it again. I started working on the new game towards the end of that. I’d added a bunch of custom rules to the d6 game, which has no classes. I added a “rebel ranks” ability system, so as you go through the ranks with rebels you get new powers. Sort of like Pang, they build on skills. You use your skills to activate them. Same idea as the Class Masteries in Pang.

It was sort of in response to the Fantasy Flight game, because I’d gotten the Beta book, and I was really excited about it, but for my own personal taste there was something lacking. I’m particularly proud of the space combat, which in my own games, has not been satisfying.

I like that spirit. If there’s something you don’t like, you just create the thing you do like.

I justified it to myself by saying I would use this game for a science fiction comic I want to eventually do.

I love it. Almost everyone else in comics is making a comic book to spinoff into a movie. And you’re making comic books so you can spin off role-playing games.

It’s like the way to not make money.

The hope — in any of my games — is to capture the abstraction of the story.

 

1 Comments on SDCC ’14: Ben Costa on Kung-Fu, Gelatinous Goo, and Good Game Design, last added: 8/4/2014
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9. Interview: Rick Geary on Kickstarter, Murder, and Billy the Kid

Anybody who has read any amount of my writing, either here and elsewhere, will probably know who my favourite comics writer is*. But I also have a favourite comics artist, whose work is a constant delight to me, and by whom I have pretty much everything I can get my hands on. It’s Rick Geary. He mostly works in black & white, has almost never done any work for The Big Two, and you could just about be forgiven for not having heard of him, but he’s been making his living as a cartoonist and comics artist for nearly forty years now, and is, for me, the comics artist whose work I cherish the most.

He worked on all sorts of things for Dark Horse Comics, and many others, over a number of years, much of which has been collected, and on a shelf right beside me, as I write. In 1987 he started work on a series called A Treasury of Victorian Murder for NBM Publishing, which now stands at eight volumes of true murder tales, which has since been joined by A Treasury of XXth Century Murder, which is up to six volumes, both of which feel like his true life’s work. I’ve always been a fan of true crime stories anyway, and to have them drawn in Geary’s gorgeous black line work is wonderful. If you want to try one – and you should – they’re all available on his Author Page at NBM. It’s not for nothing that Our Glorious Leader, Ms H. MacDonald, said ‘

No season would be complete without the latest in Rick Geary’s ongoing series of 20th-century murders: with elegant, unsettling penwork, Madison Square Tragedy: The Murder of Stanford White tells the notorious story of architect Stanford White, who was murdered by a jealous husband in a theater atop the original Madison Square Garden.

As well as his ongoing work with NBM, Rick Geary has recently taken to selling books through a series of Kickstarter campaigns, with the most recent, for The True Death of Billy the Kid, still running, until Monday the 11th of August, a week from today. It’s going to be a 60-page black-and-white hardcover graphic novel, and I can pretty much guarantee it’ll turn up right on time, too, because I’ve backed his other two projects, and they did – which is more than can be said for other fundraisers I’ve ante-ed up for, but that is something I’ll wait to address here another day, in the not too distant future.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s a quick interview with Rick Geary, which I was thrilled to be given the chance to do…

Billy the Kid

Pádraig Ó Méalóid: This is your third Kickstarter campaign, at this stage. First of all, what made you decide to try out fundraising like this as a way to get your work out there?
[Link to The True Death of Billy the Kid Kickstarter.]

Rick Geary: The first time I tried fundraising on Kickstarter was about a year ago, simply out of curiosity as to how it works and to see how well I would do. I thought I should start out with the kind of true crime graphic novel I’m known for. This was The Elwell Enigma, and it succeeded beyond my wildest imagination. After that, I thought I’d try something different. A is for Anti-Christ: Obama’s Conspiracy Alphabet, a kind of satirical children’s book, was a bit of a harder and slower process, but it finally came through. At last, I thought I’d use Kickstarter to fund the kind of historical and non-fiction subjects that fascinate me but which aren’t precisely murder cases. The True Death of Billy the Kid comes out of my life here in Lincoln County, and has now exceeded my funding goal with several more weeks to go. So I have to say I’m very happy with my Kickstarter experience. I also must say that the experience has been made as smooth as possible by my friend and agent and production genius Mark Rosenbohm, who has managed all three campaigns.

PÓM: Yes, I’d noticed that all your campaigns were under Mark’s name. So, is he effectively acting as your publisher on these, or is that the wrong way to look at it?

RG: I suppose he could be technically called my publisher, although I like to think of these books as self-published. They all have come out under my little imprint, Home Town Press.

PÓM: What led you to want to try out an internet fundraiser like this in the first place, and why did you choose Kickstarter to do it on?

RG: There are certain projects in my mind that I know would never be taken on by a mainstream publisher. The Obama Alphabet was certainly one of them. I began my career publishing my own work and I’ve always believed in it. Why Kickstarter? At the time, it seemed to be the only one out there.

PÓM: Are there any drawbacks to using Kickstarter, do you find?

RG: The hardest part of a Kickstarter campaign, though I’d hate to call it a drawback, is the work that comes on the back end. I try to be very conscientious about packaging the books and other premiums and sending them out in a timely manner. Almost 200 mailings for my first project. It’s all well worth it, though.

PÓM: Are you still producing work through more conventional means, like with NBM, for instance? I know they published your Madison Square Tragedy – The Murder of Stanford White around December 2013, so is there anything more scheduled from them?

RG: Yes, I’m still producing murder stories for NBM. I’m currently in the midst of a project that’s a bit of a departure from the true-life cases. Louise Brooks: Detective is a fictional mystery featuring the actress Louise Brooks solving a murder in 1940′s Kansas. After that I plan to return to non-fiction with the story of the Black Dahlia murder.

PÓM: Am I right in thinking you’re somehow related to Louise Brooks?

RG: She was my mother’s second cousin. Though they never met, they grew up in the same area of southeastern Kansas. Brooks was my mother’s maiden name (and my middle name). My mother was born and grew up in the tiny town of Burden, Kansas, as did both of Louise’s parents. The graphic novel I’m working on, Louise Brooks: Detective, takes place during the brief time (1940-42) that she returned to Kansas after her Hollywood career collapsed. The action unfolds in Wichita and Burden.

PÓM: What is it that draws you towards these murder stories, do you think?

RG: It’s become kind of a cliché, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to the dark side of human nature. Perhaps because I have such a light and sunny nature myself. Stories of anti-social behavior have the most drama and excitement. And the unsolved cases are the best of all, for the mystery they embody and the speculation they engender. I’m a big proponent of the essential unknowability of things.

PÓM: With the unsolved cases, do you have opinions of your own on who might have done them, or does that not matter to you? With things like Jack the Ripper, for instance, which has virtually mutated into fiction, do you have any ‘favourite’ suspects?

RG: In most cases my goal is to keep a journalistic detachment and not express opinions of my own. Some of the unsolved murders have, as you say, mutated into fiction, but I try to give equal weight to all the theories out there, no matter how ludicrous. Jack the Ripper is the perfect example. The endless speculation linking him to the royal family or other well-known people is pretty flimsy, though entertaining. My belief is that the Ripper had to be some faceless, anonymous East End resident, someone you wouldn’t even notice on the street.

PÓM: What is it about Billy the Kid, that made you want to do this particular book?

Billy 21 (1)

RG: Upon moving to Lincoln County, New Mexico, seven years ago, I found that the Kid is a very big deal here. The town of Lincoln, where he spent much of his brief life, is a perfectly preserved little western settlement, and the local historical society is very protective of his story. Accuracy is the top priority. I noticed that no graphic novel has been published that told his true story, and it seemed a natural for my next project on Kickstarter.

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PÓM: How much research goes into doing one of these books?

RG: I do as much as I can and still fit within the deadline. I start by reading as many books with as many different points of view on the subject as I can find, and take copious notes. I fill this out with online sources, but what I find there is usually not as detailed as the information contained in books. Then I condense all the material into what I hope is a clear and compelling narrative structure. As for picture reference for period costumes, interiors etc, I usually rely on my extensive personal library. But I can also find pretty much anything I want online.

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PÓM: Have you any plans to do more ‘Wild West’ based stories, or is Billy the Kid a one-off?

RG: Nothing specific on the horizon, but I wouldn’t rule anything out.

PÓM: What’s your feeling about fundraisers like Kickstarter, now that you’ve been through it three times? Is it the future of comics publishing, or just an interesting sideline, for you?

RG: I can’t speak for others, but my own experience with Kickstarter has been nothing but positive thus far. I don’t know if it’s the future of comics publishing, but it’s certainly my future. I plan to use it, perhaps once a year, for graphic novel projects that treat broader historical subjects and wouldn’t overlap with the murder stories I do for NBM.

PÓM: Will this, and your previous Kickstarter projects, be available for the general public to buy later on, or is this the only way to get hold of them?

RG: All of my Kickstarter books are, for the moment, sold personally by me at the SD Comic-Con and at APE, or else are available via the “RG Store” on my Website. I’ve also been selling them, on consignment, through a retail outlet in my tiny burg of Carrizozo. Whether they will eventually gain a wider distribution remains to be seen.

PÓM: Thanks very much for taking the time to do this interview, Rick.

RG: Entirely my pleasure, Pádraig. Thanks for everything.

Some Links:
The True Death of Billy the Kid Kickstarter page
Rick Geary’s own Website
Rick Geary’s Author Page at NBM
Rick Geary’s Facebook Page

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[*It’s Alan Moore, in case there was any doubt.]

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10. ‘Namesake’ Webcomic Authors Raise $37K on Kickstarter For a Fairy Tale Anthology

Megan Lavey-Heaton and Isabelle Melançon, the co-authors behind the webcomic “Namesake,” has obtained more than $37,000 through a Kickstarter campaign for her project, Valor. Originally, she set her fundraising goal at $20,000.

The finished book is a fairy tale comic collection. Altogether, this anthology will feature 17 stories. The money will be used to cover the cost of printing. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“The purpose of this book is to pay homage to the strength, resourcefulness, and cunning of female heroines in fairy tales. Some of these are recreations of time-honored tales. Others are brand new stories, designed to be passed to future generations.”

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11. ‘Watson & Holmes’ Comic Series Featured on Kickstarter

New Paradigm Studios hopes to raise $20,000 on Kickstarter for the second volume of the Watson And Holmes series. This comics project re-imagines Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective duo as two African-Americans who live in New York City.

The finished book will contain a collection of one-shot stories. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“Money earned will go to covering fees, postage, and printing of the exclusive Kickstarter copies. Leftover money will be used to fund future projects, which include adding more stories to this very trade. As always, if the demand is high enough and additional funds are earned beyond our request, we plan to roll out additional investment rewards and incentives as well.”

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12. A Manatee Picture Book is Featured On Kickstarter

Christopher Straub, a designer who has appeared on the sixth season of the Project Runway TV series, has hopes to raise $20,000 on Kickstarter. Straub hopes to self-publish a children’s book entitled Albert the Confused Manatee and produce a toy of the title character.

The funds will be used to cover the printing and manufacturing costs. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

Albert the Confused Manatee is a story about one animal’s quest to figure out what kind of animal he is. With the help of his 15 underwater friends Albert learns that, even though they have differences they also have a lot in common.”

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13. Author Spotlight on: Laurisa White Reyes

Today I’m really excited to welcome Laurisa White Reyes to the blog. I met Laurisa a few years back at a writing retreat, soon after her first novel, The Rock of Ivanore, had been picked up for publication by Tanglewood Press. Of course she was pulsing with excitement and we all wanted to sit next […]

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14. ‘The Most Dangerous Game’ Graphic Novel Featured On Kickstarter

James Mascia hopes to raise $2,500 on Kickstarter for his graphic novel project, The Most Dangerous Game. The plot is based on a short story by Richard Connell.

The funds will be used to cover the costs of finishing, printing, and marketing the book. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“The story is about a man who gets stranded on an island with a hunter who had grown bored hunting animals and therefore turned to a more challenging prey: human beings. When we are fully funded, we will be creating a version of this story with a science fiction twist to it, in which our main character, Rainsford, will crash on a planet run by a crazed alien who also hunts humans.”

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15. A Writing Lifestyle Book is Featured on Kickstarter

Jodi and Owen Egerton hope to raise $20,000.00 for their book, This Word Now. They plan to use the funds to cover the costs of editing and self-publishing. The Egertons have written down their thoughts and tips on writing and living a creative lifestyle. Readers will find essays and exercises throughout the book. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: "We view writing not just as a craft or a profession, but as a way of interacting with the world. The title This Word Now captures the focus on presence and passion that we aim to bring to our writing, teaching, and our day to day approach to life. We're excited to share this part of who we are in this book." continued...

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16. Shebooks: A fantastic kickstarter project for women readers and writers

Did you know that 3/4 of the stories published in traditional magazines are written by men? And yet women read SO much. Yep, there’s gender bias even in publishing.

This is where digital publisher Shebooks steps in. Shebooks publishers short ebooks written by women for women readers and designed to be read in under two hours–and they need your help to publisher even more! They only have 9 days left to their campaign.

One hundred percent of the donations made through their kickstarter project: 2014 Equal Writes Campaign will be used to pay women writers.

At every pledge level, Shebooks offers rewards, including a Shebooks subscription, a chance to get your own original work published in an upcoming Girl Power anthology, an “EQUAL WRITES” T-shirt, a night out with Shebooks authors, author visits to your book club, the opportunity to have a protagonist named after you in an upcoming book, and more.

Shebooks has already published over 40 original books by top authors and journalists. Shebooks authors include international bestselling author Hope Edelman, New York Times-bestselling author Caroline
Leavitt, former Deputy Editor of Essence Teresa Wiltz, founder of Ms. Magazine Suzanne Braun Levine, and National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart.

Shebooks can be purchased individually for $2.99 or by subscription.

I hope you’ll consider donating to them. Women need to have a voice, and publishing is a great way to have our voices be heard.



I also found this post by co-founder Laura Fraser inspiring and informative:

Not enough women are able to get their work published today—even the best women writers. Almost three-quarters of the bylines in leading print and digital publications belong to men. At Shebooks.net, we’ve decided to do something about this problem: Publish more stories by women. We’ve launched the Equal Writes Campaign to raise money to publish great reads by as many women writers as possible in 2014.

I’m the Editorial Director and co-founder of Shebooks.net, which publishes short e-books by and for women. I’ve been a journalist and author for 30 years, and while I’ve been relatively successful—one of my books was a NYT bestseller—I’ve experienced how increasingly difficult it is to be published. One of my cofounders, Peggy Northrop, has been the editor-in-chief of four magazines, and a senior editor at many more, and she’s seen the space for women’s writing shrink and shrink. Getting published is difficult for everyone, of course, as content has been considered free on the Internet, and publishers are putting all their money into their top earners and basically ignoring the rest. But it’s particularly hard for women.

Why is that? It’s a complicated question, having to do with both socialization and sexism. On the one hand, we have what people call the “confidence gap,” where women are reluctant to pitch to magazines–they don’t have the sense that their work is worthy. And there has been some research that shows that if women do pitch, if they are turned down, they tend to personalize that, and think, “the magazine doesn’t want me,” whereas men might think, “they answered my email; I’ll nail it next time.”

But the other factor is plain old sexism. It’s still very much a boys’ club, where male editors tend to trust male writers because they’re part of the tribe. I’ve been in the writers’ collective called the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto for 15 years, for instance, and I’ve seen equally talented men and women approach male editors at top-shelf magazines, and guys get the upper hand. I’ve had many personal instances of sexism in my career. One recent one was when an editor on a panel was describing a story in Italy he was considering. I approached him and said I’d like to pitch him on it–I speak fluent Italian and know Italy well. His immediate response was, “Oh, I was kind of looking for a science guy.” He automatically assumed I don’t write about science–which I have done, quite a bit–which is not what he might have assumed about a guy. And, well, a guy would have had the “guy” part of his remark down. Now, if you asked that editor if he was sexist and if he felt women should be equally published, he’s a nice liberal guy who would have said “of course,” and would have had no inkling of his deeper prejudices. Now, maybe it had to do with me and my writing. That’s certainly a possibility. But his answer seemed automatic. (I did persist and check out the story, calling Italian journalist friends to get the scoop, and it turned out to not be the story the editor thought it was.)

Shebooks wants to change inequities in publishing by giving great women writers a platform. We want to raise their visibility not only to our own readers but to other publications.
My partners and I—the third is Rachel Greenfield, who was the EVP of Martha Stewart Publishing–have been excited by the explosion of digital media, which is giving readers new ways to find compelling stories. And we’re pleased to see writers find fresh ways to work and make money outside the usual channels.

But even on these new media platforms, the problem has persisted that female authors, journalists, editors—and ultimately female readers—are being shut out of the revolution. Innovative digital publishing companies led by men and publishing mostly male writers are getting lots of investment and attention. But we know that women are voracious readers in every format—buying the majority of books and magazines and reading (and writing) the majority of blogs.

So we decided not to wait for our invitation to the party. Shebooks.net was the result: a new media format, real money for writers (our writers all share in our profits), and engaging stories that women can’t wait to read, that fit the corners of their busy lives. We’ve been amazed at the quality of writing we’ve been able to publish.

We hope lots of readers and writers will join our Equal Writes Campaign. We publish mainly seasoned writers, but if you’re an aspiring writer, you can pledge at our $35 level and one of our editors will take a look at your manuscript—for possible inclusion in a Shebooks anthology.

Please spread the word—and thanks so much!

Laura Fraser
co-founder, Shebooks

Please pledge to join our Equal Writes campaign! http://kck.st/1kbVVz7

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17. Ralph McQuarrie Coffee Table Book Featured on Kickstarter

Are you a fan of Ralph McQuarrie's artwork for the original Star Wars film trilogy? Over the years, he has also created pieces outside of Star Wars. Dreams and Visions Press hopes to raise $50,000 for their coffee table book, The Art of Ralph McQuarrie: ARCHIVES. The executives at this publishing house intend to feature "a career-spanning retrospective of Ralph McQuarrie’s non-Star Wars artwork" with this book. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: "The Art of Ralph McQuarrie: ARCHIVES contains examples of Ralph's work in each of the following areas: Early technical illustration, movie posters, book covers, film and television production, other commercial illustration and a selection of personal pieces. In many cases we have examples of work that demonstrate Ralph's process, from his tiniest thumbnails to larger sketches, color comps and ultimately his finished paintings." continued...

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18. The Beige Planet Podcast Kickstarter Recap for Talbot Toluca

A month ago I launched a Kickstarter campaign for my new comic puzzle book, “Talbot Toluca.”

After sleepless days and nights, I’m happy to report that it ended on a great note with the campaign exceeding its goal. Here’s a quick podcast recap with Al and Paul from the Beige Planet podcast talking about the experience and things that I’ve learned from it.

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19. KICKSTARTER POWER HOUR: Jump on the Todd Allen Train

Todd Allen – you know, the guy from this very website? – is taking his first project to Kickstarter. And true to form, not only will he be running the Kickstarter campaign himself… he’ll also be blogging about it. This is ‘The Economics of Digital Comics’.

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Notable not just for offering you the chance to see what Todd really looks like, the campaign is for a new book he’s writing in which he delves into digital comics. Having written for Publishers Weekly for a long time, there aren’t many people who know as much as Todd does about comics retailing, and this whole new world of Kickstarters, webcomics, crowdfunding and Patreons could use a little explaining.

The Kickstarter has already crushed the goal, meaning if you jump onboard the Todd Allen train you’re guaranteed to get yourself a copy of the book. Hurrah!

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20. KICKSTARTER POWER HOUR: Girls With Slingshots Goes On Tour

Danielle Corsetto’s Girls with Slingshots webcomic has been a decade-long success, collected into 7 print editions over the years and amassing a huge audience around the world. So to celebrate, she’s chosen to go on a road trip across America, meeting fans and taking part in signings.

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She’ll be hitting a few comic-cons along the way, and has a fairly exhaustive tour diary already planned out. To help fund the trip she’s headed to Kickstarter, where she’s offering books, prints, all kinds of merchandise and comics goodness for anybody who takes part.  And she’s already hit her target, once more! You lot really don’t waste time on these Kickstarters, do you?

While she’s gone, guest artists will be taking over her site for a few weeks, offering their own takes on the characters. Find out more about the plans on the Kickstarter page!

 

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21. KICKSTARTER POWER HOUR: Vera Greentea’s ‘Recipes for the Dead’

Vera Greentea is back once more for a seventh shot at Kickstarter, having enjoyed success with every single one of her last campaigns. And she’s returning with Allison Strom once more for a third issue of her series ‘Recipes of the Dead’.

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A series about a young, struggling baker who accidentally whips up a magical recipe which starts attracting her all kinds of trouble, the series mixes fantasy, magic, demons, romance – all the things every comic could do with more of. And the series features gorgeous, lush, expressive artwork from Strom, a brilliant talent whose every issue is somehow an improvement on the last.

Having already hit the funding target, the third issue will now get to go into production, with Greentea able to pay Strom for all 22 pages of the comic. Any extra money now will go into enhancing the book, as well as helping Greentea head across to NYCC so she can launch the book there. Lucky NYCC.

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Issue #3 is expected to be completed around September. To find out more, head to the Kickstarter page!

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22. ‘Moby Dick’ Marathon Reading Featured On Kickstarter


Polly Bresnick, Amanda Bullock, and Molly Rose Quinn will come together to host a marathon reading of Herman Melville’s beloved novel, Moby Dick. The trio has raised more than $5,000 through crowdfunding to pull off this event.

The group first launched this event back in 2012 with the participation of more than 150 readers. Last year, they presented a Moby Dick-themed variety show. This year, they plan to have this reading from November 14th to November 16th. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“The funding will help pay for the aforementioned expenses (printing and providing spoons and such) but it will also allow us to make the whole marathon bigger and better: color programs, hiring a designer to create print and online materials, higher quality print souvenirs, more chowder spoons, and the countless miscellaneous expenses that producing an event of this magnitude requires. We not only hope to fund this year’s marathon, but also to grow the MDMNYC community.”

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23. Reading Rainbow Team Raises $5M+ on Kickstarter

LeVar Burton (pictured, via) and his collaborators have raised $5 million in 35 days.

In addition to crowdfunded money, actor Seth MacFarlane has agreed to donate $1 million which brings the total to more than $6 million. Now that the campaign has ended, the Reading Rainbow team plans to establish a Reading Rainbow digital library (for the web, mobile devices, game consoles, and Over the Top boxes) and allow 7,500 classrooms to access this library free of charge.

24 hours after the Kickstarter venture launched, supporters had pledged more than $1 million. Follow this link to watch Burton’s reaction video towards the first million. What do you think?

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24. H.P. Lovecraft-Inspired Short Story Collection Featured On Kickstarter

The 01 Publishing team hopes to raise $5,000 to produce print copies of the anthology, Whispers From the Abyss.

The writers who contributed the 33 short stories drew inspiration from famed horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. The book was designed “specifically for readers on the go.” We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

Whispers From the Abyss is a collection of Lovecraft inspired short stories. The anthology was released last year for the Kindle and was well received. Of the entire 01Publishing catalog, we have been consistently asked by fans to bring this title to print.”

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25. The Sonic the Comic Convention is on Kickstarter

Adam Tuff, editor in chief of the Sonic Stadium website, has raised more than £2,200 on Kickstarter. He plans to use the funds to organize the UK’s first Sonic the Comic convention.

This event will celebrate the comics inspired by the “Sonic the Hedgehog” video games. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“Although the comic was discontinued in 2002, the artwork and stories had a resonating effect with many readers, who have continued the comic in an online incarnation as Sonic the Comic – Online. The comic still continues to garner interest to present day, with many stories featured in the comic being cited by fans as some of the best written across all of the many universes of Sonic the Hedgehog.”

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