WRITING, PUBLISHING, COMICS
Things got real today when I ordered £350 worth of jigsaws! Yes, that is a lot of jigsaws. I’ve also ordered a lot of fridge-magnets, beer mats and bottle openers amongst many other items of merchandise for the Undetermined Kickstarter. It’s also been a time of reflection. The Kickstarter was really successful thanks to all the support from friends and family, but the question I’ve been pondering is: where next?
Chris and I have already started work on Episode #2 of Undetermined. The script is more or less done, and the artwork has begun. We want it to be more successful than Episode #1, but is there a glass ceiling waiting for us to bang our heads on? I’ve also begun work on a graphic novel; the feedback has been really positive, and it’s a very exciting project, but a huge investment – a lot more than £350 worth of jigsaws. Yet, if I’m going to smash this glass ceiling into smithereens, I need to invest, and I need to invest in myself.
The analogy I’ve used recently is the opening of a coffee shop. Let’s say I make an amazing cup of coffee and I want to open my own shop. Such an enterprise will set me back tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds getting premises, equipment and raw materials. How am I going to make that money back? How will people know I make the best damn cup of coffee for miles?
Coffee makes me happy…
The truth is they won’t. They won’t unless I put myself out there, and I invest in advertising, promotion and networking. Maybe the first few people who come through the door are friends and family, and being friends and family say, ‘Hey, that’s a good cup of coffee.’
That’s great, and their support and encouragement make it all worthwhile, but then someone else comes into the shop who I’ve never met in my life and orders a cup. ‘Hey, that’s a seriously good cup of coffee you serve here,’ he says. ‘I’m gonna tell all my friends about this place.’ That’s organic growth, that’s very exciting, and it’s happened with Episode #1 of the comic. I’d say 80% family and friends, and 20% organic, e.g. people unknown to Chris and myself, have taken a punt on our product.
“How do I get more people through the door to sample the coffee/comic and tell their friends to come back? When I produce another product, such as a hot chocolate, or a graphic novel, how do I get people to say, ‘Hey, he makes good coffee, maybe I’ll try the hot chocolate too.’”
But how do I get more organic growth? How do I get more people through the door to sample the coffee/comic and tell their friends to come back? When I produce another product, such as a hot chocolate, or a graphic novel, how do I get people to say, ‘Hey, he makes good coffee, maybe I’ll try the hot chocolate too.’ This is where I need a boost.
I’ve just applied and amazingly been accepted on Tyler James’ Comixlaunch MasterMind. The blurb on Tyler’s site fits what I need perfectly:
If you are proud of what you’ve accomplished to this point in your career mostly on your own, but realize that to get to the next level, you’ll need to expand your professional network and spend more time with other extraordinary creators who will push you, support you, and encourage you to succeed, the ComixLaunch MasterMind may be just what you’re looking for.
A sneaky peak at Episode #2 – Robert doesn’t look too happy, does he?
Over the next six-months, I’ll be working with like-minded creators looking to take their projects to the next level and break their own glass ceilings. If I want to take on a scary, high-investment project, I want to ensure it succeeds, or at least give it the best chance of succeeding. The MasterMind collective will do this through mutually supporting one another, assisting with networking and contacts, and providing ideas and critical feedback. Investing in myself is going to give me the best chance of succeeding, and I’m determined to succeed.
I’m not saying I make the best cup of coffee in the world, or in my case, write the best material. But, I want to make sure my work reaches as wide an audience as possible, so they can make up their own mind. If people like it, they will hopefully recommend it to their friends. Much better than them walking straight past and heading to the nearest corporate conglomerate coffee chain.
Perhaps one day I’ll look back and laugh at the fact I baulked at spending £350 on jigsaws for Kickstarter merchandise. But, we all have to start somewhere, and if what we’re setting out to achieve is going to be successful, then investment, determination, hard work and support from our friends, family and peers is only going to help. Time to put the kettle on.