Onwards & Upwards! To Self-Publishing!

It hath been decided!

For the quite some time, I’ve been butting heads on whether or not to find a publisher or self-publish.
Rocket Science
I’ll admit though, it wasn’t as fun as watching Blitzwing and Astrotrain getting their heads butted together.

After some careful deliberation, I have decided to self-publish! It was a difficult decision to make. Let me write out my thought processes for both.

Why See a Publisher?

I obviously didn’t go this route. So why DID I consider it?

There were a few reasons why I personally thought to go this route. First and foremost, I knew it would give me the biggest distribution. Getting picked up by a publisher would obviously mean better sales and a mass market. It also would give me some pretty hefty credentials for future projects (which I will have) down the road.

Secondly, it’s good for the ego. Sure, that sounds selfish and greedy, but to be officially published by someone would be amazing. I definitely had a-many dreams about meeting with publishers and discussing my book in great length. It made me excited.

As weird as this one sounds: I wanted to get a rejection letter. I enjoy critical analysis of my work. While I know a rejection letter would not go into any detail at all, I personally take rejection as a sign of having to do better – which is something that motivates me. Albeit, I know it de-motivates others. But that’s how I work!

While I’m still not confident with royalties on self-publishing, I know a lot of the hassle and finances would be covered by the publisher. They want to make money, too. Seeing a publisher would take the financial strain off.

Why Stay Away From a Publisher?

I was still reluctant to see a publisher for a few reasons as well. The biggest reason was creative control. For example: I have an idea for my book cover which I know they won’t adhere to. However, it’s my novel, not theirs. It’s my artistic ideas. While this is arguably quite nit-picky for a first-time author, it’s still a big deal for my overall idea.

Money also isn’t everything. While I like the idea of making money from my novel, it’s not my ultimate goal. It’s not even a real desire. My desire is to write. Money comes second. While I know it’s not financially viable to continue a path of self-publishing (under the assumption my books suck and sales slump to zero forever and ever), money isn’t my driving force here. A publisher thinks otherwise, and that’s totally okay, but not what I want. I desire to write a novel. Sure, if my first novel did well and they’d pay me to write a second, that’d be great. But it’s not what I’d want. Let me be me.

My other big reason to stay away was just reading about trying to submit a book. Looking into many different publishers, some require a literary agent, while others require a book to meet certain criteria. For example, one publisher wants to publish science-fiction, but did not want religious overtones. Another was willing to publish fantasy and horror, but refused to take upon zombies books unless they were unique. While my book doesn’t include zombies, it does include religious overtones. Certain publishers want to market a book based on their image – which is totally fine – I just don’t have to send my book there. Other publishers I considered actually had their submissions closed until they decided to reopen again (seriously). However, if I were to send a copy of my manuscript in only to find out it’s “too religious” by their standards, or that their “not accepting submissions at this time,” then I’m out the money from getting my book printed, plus postage. (I figured it’d average around $60 per publisher submission).

Reading about it all made me feel as dizzy as Starscream after Gears spun him around for a bit.

Gears Spin

Why Self-Publish?

In case I hadn’t said it enough, I’m big on creative control. With self-publishing, I get to control everything about my novel. From how the cover looks, to the price. It’s pretty freeing.

I can also get published faster. Most publishers were asking for at least three months to review the book. It’d take still another few months for it to get published after that. With self-publishing, the road can be paved right away and I can get started.

Challenges are fun. I really enjoy them, even if they’re super-stressful and nerve-racking as publishing a first novel. Especially if they’re financially stressful. I just enjoy being stressed I suppose? I’m a sick man.

But it’s also quite self-fulfilling. Being able to publish all on my own is quite an accomplishment. I accept all of the responsibility on whether the book succeeds or not. It’s exciting and strengthening. I hate asking for help, so I feel being able to do this on my own is what I need to do.

And I’m not in it for the money. I have to stress that again. Why? Because realistically, I won’t break even. At least I don’t expect to. I’d be surprised if I did. So that poses the question again: why self-publish?

The answer: because I want to do this for me.

Shockwave Dance

And maybe Shockwave.

While my reasons for self-publishing may not be the “best” reasons in the world, they’re the best reasons for me.

Keep on Space Truckin’!

Half n’ Half

I’m making this blog like a coffee. Half n’ half. Only half is a comic review, while the other half is about writing. So I guess it’s nothing like coffee.

But first, Scott Pilgrim came out on Blu-Ray yesterday and it is absolutely PACKED with tons of features. There’s over 15 deleted scenes, bloopers, documentaries, effects videos – it’s packed! I loved the movie. While it still was a variation from the books, it definitely reached high in my “favourite movies of all-time” category.

Speaking of adaptations, The Walking Dead came into its second episode which was unbelievably fantastic! These episodes beat-out most zombie movies. Once again, although it is not following the comics verbatim, the story has already grown a life of its own with great development and an already-signed second-season! I’m looking very forward to the rest of this season, plus the many, many more to come!

Also, is Spider-Man going to DIE? Hmm.

As for reviews this week, there wasn’t much up for grabs on the Marvel shelf for me. I picked up four great comics though. Avengers Prime #4, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #3, The Incredible Hulks #616, and The New Avengers #6. The best of the bunch was easily the Children’s Crusade, while surprisingly the weakest went to Avengers Prime.

***Spoilers***

ACC3

Why was Children’s Crusade so good? It’s because I don’t know. (Wait, what?) The story is the Young Avengers assisting their two members Wiccan and Speed, find their (maybe) surrogate mother, the Scarlet Witch. She has been missing since M-Day, and given the two Avengers’ powers resemble both Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, they assume that the Scarlet Witch must be their mother and in-turn, must find her to figure themselves out as well as what happened to her. Because of the immensity of the task they’ve undertaken, both Magneto and Quicksilver (Scarlet Witch’s father and brother), have decided to join the Young Avengers in their crusade. (See what I did there?)

What did happen to the Scarlet Witch? I have no idea. In fact, no one knows, except for maybe Dr. Doom. Issue two re-introduced Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, however, only leaving the reader to find out that she was a Doombot. Alas, issue three brings us no further to the conclusion to where she aside from assumptions. If Scarlet Witch was a Doombot, then surely Dr. Doom must have her for his own evil intentions (which if you read DoomWar, they aren’t so bad after-all). So for a long story-short, Wiccan takes off from the group to Latveria to search for his mother. Unfortunately for him, he gets captured by the Scarlet Witch, stating she is to be married tomorrow to Dr. Doom himself! The begging question is “is that the real Scarlet Witch or a Doombot?” I don’t know!

And I won’t know for another two months! One thing which has bothered me a lot about the Children’s Crusade is that the story is so well put-together, yet it’s a bi-monthly issue. That stings. Allan Heinberg really sticks it to the reader with the best pacing I’ve seen in recent comic years. I mean, we have great in-depth development with the characters, while still getting jabs between Magneto and Quicksilver about who is at fault for Wanda’s disappearance. To top it all off, we get a side-story with the Avengers trying to figure out where Wanda is too. In issue one, the Avengers tried to stop the Young Avengers from finding Wanda – afraid it may come back to haunt them. However, because the Young Avengers escaped, the Avengers took it in their own hands to find her too. Enter Wonder Man.

Here, Heinberg places two major plots under one title. Not to mention Hulkling’s and Wiccan’s love for one another at a crossroads, while the rest of the Young Avengers have their own problems to deal with.

Of course, throwing Jim Cheung in for art, we get wonderful, full drawn-out pages which causes jaw-dropping every turn. Added with Justin Ponsors great colour-spreads, the Children’s Crusade makes up one of Marvel’s best titles.

It is a shame though that it is only a nine-issue limited series, as it definitely deserves much more than that. Then again, if we just entered issue three and they have found Wanda, that will make the next six-issues nail-biting in anticipation for the next “No more Mutants” scare she pulls off. (If any!)

Grade: 10/10

Now on to writing.

I’d like to think that I started in the blogging world relatively early. As soon as I had access to the Internet (so being in 2000), I immediately put up a website and began blogging my life.

PowerRanger

Unfortunately, WordPress makes me look like a newbie here. Let me reassure you, I am a “professional.” Aka, I know squat. But what makes me feel fortunate is that, unlike my blog in the past, I have found a niche. I guess you could say, I found people who share similar interests with me. In high-school when I started my first blog (which arguably was a LiveJournal without the LJ tags on it), I had no one who understood me. I mean, I watched Star Wars, listened to heavy metal, and read comic books. All of it was nerdy and considered un-cool. All I had to do was write and be, well, an angsty teenager. I had stories and an imagination. No one cared for it because it wasn’t the new, hot thing on TV like Family Guy, or didn’t involve Tupac. I thought the Matrix movies were stupid, and knew that no one could quote The Transformers cartoons better than I could.

It was not until I graduated high-school and hopped in to university did I realize that I am not alone. Not only that, but I am actually cool. (I’ll use that term loosely).

I’m not about to go on about how I read comics “before they were cool” or how I need “revenge” on people who now like what I like. What I want to say is that without those experiences, I would not have became the writer I am today.

I mentioned this before in a previous blog article about how you must grab from your experiences to write as they are really what you go-off of for knowledge. But what I want to say is that writing also is something that is created around you (kind of like the Force). It surrounds you, binds you. Regardless of how stupid you may look or it may sound, you know what’s best for you.

I was an outcast for being the kid who sat at home and played video games rather than going out to parties. In result, it made me who I am today. Rather than dwell on it, I’d rather be happy about who I am.

Those people at parties, they’d never understand how doing my own thing affected me. I would also never expect them to – nor would I say they were in the wrong for being who they were and thinking what they thought. The fact is that I am a writer because of it and that because of their disbelief, I’ve turned it around into belief. So my first blog although was a mess, it pushed me forward into being who I am.

The future is always moving forward. I’m just going to write along with it.

P.S. I was the White Ranger, my brother was the Red Ranger. That photo was taken back in 1995. It’s still cool to do that sort of stuff, damnit!

Keep on Space Truckin’!

“It Will be Mine”

Oh yes. It will be mine.

What the devil am I talking about?

Being a writer. It’s not an easy thing to do. I mean, having a degree is one thing, but for the most part, that is never enough. You have to build your way up.

That’s not a bad thing, though. I mean it is labour-intensive, but that’s part of the fun, right?

No?

Let me start over:
I’ve always loved writing. I’ve enjoyed doing it since I was a wee one watching cartoons. Cartoons were able to express what I wanted to see. Not everyone can afford big-budget movies or TV shows to allow wild imaginations and still execute it properly.

Cartoons could do what real-life could not. Expand.
I grew up with Transformers, X-Men, Exo Squad, Eek the Cat and so on. Needless to say, my imagination was wild.

Then you throw in comics. My first comic was X-Men #36 from 1994. Since then, I’ve kind of grown from there. We were probably traveling to Lindsay, Ontario, and I always liked having something to look at on the car ride up. Turns out this one featured Sabretooth as being a part of the X-Men’s team – so that threw me for a loop.

Sabretooth Dies

I digress. . .
My imagination as a child was booming. Then you throw Star Wars into the mix and suddenly my mind wouldn’t stop. I became the weird kid at school because I was too involved in things too “childish” for others.

My first story was about time-traveling Dinosaurs attacking Earth. Of course, I was in probably grade four at the time. Maybe. Then in my late grade-school years, I remember that I started writing a Star Wars book – entirely unaware that the Expanded Universe was considered Star Wars canon! Boy, was I in for a shock.

Following in grade nine and ten, I was accused of plagiarism in two of my short stories – one a science-fiction, the other a regular fiction – because it was something entirely different than how I was in class – which was being an over-excited-yet-lazy teenager.

It really was not until I was accused of plagiarizing that I figured I could make writing a professional thing.

I then followed up with meeting people on the good old Much Music message boards (R.I.P.) and writing for a Toronto-based webzine for heavy metal music. I got to interview some gnarly musicians and had my work published. Following that, I wrote for my University’s newspaper for the first year – followed by a slump of me trying to figure out what I wanted to do with school. It wasn’t until my final year did I realize I should smarten my act up and actually start putting words to a page.

At my old job, I could stand around for hours without having customers. I began to write on scrap paper when I could behind the counter – and suddenly I had a chapter of something! I couldn’t believe it. On a roll, I ended up buying a small book to write in while in class (as English and Writing lectures became a great inspirational session – studying came last). Then I suddenly started writing a whole different genre from my first story. I had two going!

Throughout my childhood, I’ve always followed the X-Men. I hadn’t always bought their comics, but I knew these characters because I grew up with them. It wasn’t until I purchased a few rare comics in my youth, did I really start wanting to follow them.

After a few years I began a lovely pull-list around the time of Marvel’s Secret Invasion storyline and was hooked since.

It came to me that I loved comics because they were my cartoons. They were what I could use to expand my imagination, yet still tell a story. They were my bread and butter.

Now to only get started on it.
What about motivation?

Now back to the beginning of this blog. It’s labour-intensive.
How am I motivated?
Aside from being able to meet Leonard Kirk (yes, I linked my last blog), and finding a hometown hero so-to-speak, there are Indie comics which have taken off.

I mean, sure you’ve heard of X-Men, Spider-Man, Batman, et al.
But did you know of Kick-Ass, the Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, Green Hornet, Akira, The Tick, Transformers, Gi*Joe, and so on were all comics first? (Transformers released their comic the same month the TV series started).
If you answered no to at least one of these, you have to know that they took off because people took interest.

The Tick

Here are some figures of Indie comic book sales up-to-date (July 2010), and tell me that it’s not possible to make this happen.

Sure, it will take a lot of work. Sure, it’ll be labour-intensive. But as I’ve sort of hinted at – my plagiarism, my laziness, whatever you want to call it – it’s not work to me. It’s just me using my imagination.

By the way, over 100 views in less than two days is incredible. Thanks for all the support thus far, folks!

Keep on Space Truckin’.

On the First Day. . .

. . . Derek created blogs.

So here we go! The very first blog of the Uncanny Derek – me! Let us hope this doesn’t become an embarrassment for myself though.

One thing for sure is that I think I’ve found a home where I can communicate to others about my general interests – comics.

I actually do not want to make this a “rant” page. However, I know I will end up ranting about something stupid in the end.

Let’s hope this all goes to plan.

Keep on Space Truckin’.