Confidence is a key factor in deciding whether to invest in any project, particularly a Kickstarter project. When you back a Kickstarter, you take a number of gambles. Key among them is whether the creator(s) will deliver a quality product in a timely fashion with your money.
This is especially relevant when you are considering backing an unpublished creator – hey, that describes me! In this post, I’ll outline some of the reasons you can be confident I’ll turn your contribution into a fantastic book – SOLON.
First, a recap of the project. The deliverable is a HYBRID graphic novel. The ratio of prose pages to full-page artwork spreads is about 8:1. The book is not quite as long as your typical prose novel – in my current mock up, it comes out to 300 pages, a total of 55,000 words.
Due to the nature of color publishing, the cost for a prose page is equal to the cost of an artwork page, and artwork can be freely mixed with text, so there will be smaller bonus illustrations in the margins in addition to the full-page spreads you’ve seen so far. The more the goal is exceeded, the more illustrations are possible.
We’ll have a lot less text in a panel than a typical graphic novel, since much of the dialogue and narration happens in the prose. There is a huge potential for smooth integration between the two mediums, with very short text boxes to remind you what exactly is being illustrated. I’ll talk more about that in future blog posts; here, I just want to make the case that I have planned this out thoroughly and to make sure you understand what you’ll be getting.
Since illustrations will be placed exactly where they make the most impact, the timeline for SOLON is a lot shorter than it would be for traditional graphic novels. We’re in the neighborhood of 15-20% done with the initial draft of the artwork. In roughly two months, Bridgeforth Design Studio and I can draft and polish the remaining artwork (the digital painting process goes quite quickly with the techniques Brian has developed, and polishing is always easier when it’s done digitally).
Publication will probably be through IngramSpark or a similar service. I’ve been researching the various self-publishing services a lot recently, creating accounts and talking to representatives and ordering sample packs. I’ve also had some interest from some indie publishers, so that is also an option (though not a guarantee by any means).
There are three of us working on this project: myself (Joey Collard) and the Bridgeforths at BDS (Brian and Marie).
The Bridgeforths have a great work ethic and an expedited strategy. When they receive a commission of this magnitude, they lock the door to their studio and buckle down on a project with no distractions, taking new commissions and visitors by appointment only. To measure their talents, simply look at their past work on their website or talk to one of their clients for corporate logos, advertising, posters, MtG card paintings, or fantasy sketches. Here is some recent work they did for my little town of Abingdon:
What about me?
This will be my first serious publication. But I’ve been through a lot of this sort of thing before. When I was a tween, I wrote and illustrated a how-to book for a hobby of mine. I sent it around to publishers, learning about query letters and editors and how to communicate complex ideas in only a page. This project is also what first taught me about marketing.
It came up again when I was in college, for I worked as a writing consultant at the University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point). I helped edit several works in a variety of genres and worked to get them ready for publication. Some of them made it into local omnibuses and such.
I’m a project guy at heart. I’ve always had something on the boiler at any given time since I was old enough to write. Not all of them were books, though – I’ve made comics, RPG adventures/rules, brand new board games, websites for my interests, little programs to assist in running games – basically anything that tells a story somehow. I’m the kind of guy who organizes things and sees them through, whether it’s D&D night or a trip to the movies or a new forum game to be played online.
I’m also the kind of guy who writes endings first. I had the ending of SOLON in mind since I first conceived the project. It’s one of the most interesting and thought-provoking parts of the story.
Though the art has a lot of work to be done, the prose is all polished and finalized, aside from any small changes to make it flow better with the art. I have rough storyboards and scripts for the art, too. As the writer, I’ve completed my job, but as creator and project owner, I’m still working hard to bring you the best possible result…to prove at every step that your confidence in me was justified.