Progress and News
Here is your monthly progress report, bringing you up to date with how the work is going.
I've now officially gone past the section I had already completed from the Samson chapters (13-16), which is very encouraging as I am currently doing the pencil drawing for Chapter 19 of the 21 Chapters; it is the final storyline in the book too.
In order to complete the work by my target of September, I have taken on a second colourist, who will complete the Jephthah story for me (Chapters 10-12). So please welcome Ryan Esch, 26 from Michigan to the team. He did a great job months ago when I gave the prospective colourists a test page and I'm so glad to be able to go back to him and get him on board.
Once I've finished preparing all the pages for colours I will colour what is left, so that hopefully with the three of us working furiously over (probably) July and August, we will make it to the end of Judges on time.
I am still pursuing publishers at the moment, with three direct applications through referrals that I am hopeful about and I have also applied to three Literary agents in order to reach the largest of publishers, who don't accept direct submissions.
I'd like to say a big thank you to Susanne Wildig and Nick Brooking who've helped me polish up my proposal for this.
I still have the option to self publish in order to get the project off the ground but this will be more costly and more effort up front so I'm hoping that a professional publisher will take care of it all this for me as well as ensure the comic has the widest audience possible.
Please pray that I get a publishing deal in good time.
What to do moving forward?
I am approaching both the end of creating of the Book of Judges comic, and the end of the funding from Kickstarter. I am trying to decide what to do next, in order to keep the project going and funded, either through sales or other means.
In September-November time the funding from the original Kickstarter runs out. I must say it is all thanks to my amazing wife that this 14K* has lasted us these nearly 18 months, with her PT wage, budgeting and saving money. (*= The total, minus Kickstarter fees and fulfilments.)
Although I will have the product ready at the end of the funding, the problem will be that if I do not have a publisher, more time will be needed to be spent to releasing the book and I may have to go back to a normal job in the gap between then and when the book starts making it's own money.
Things to consider...
Now I have been told by a publisher that you sell most of your sales straight after the launch, so it is important to have a strong, clear launch time. The reason this is relevant is because I was considering releasing the project digitally first, then in print later. It's also relevant because if I self-publish and can't get enough promotion and inertia, a professional publisher may lose interest as they are releasing a product which is already available.
Secondly, think is the Kickstarter backers who have given very generously and I don't want to invalidate their gift because they (you) are the reason I will have a complete 116 page graphic novel to take to market. Some of the options below may appear to dishonour their (your) gift, or my commitment to release the book by a certain date.
You might wonder why I don't get published by a little publisher, which is an option but I was advised against this as small publishers can often only promote and sell the book as well as you can yourself and they claim over half the profits.
Here are a few options I have...
Option 1: Hold on for a publisher: In order for the project to reach people all over the world with the Word of God, I will need a publisher who knows what they are doing and can promote it through established channels and sell co-editions round the globe. Although I haven't had anyone sign the project yet, it has been discussed by some big publishers already which, as my father-in-law pointed out, is pretty good sign as most author's books don't get a second look. Therefore, we just keep praying and applying and wait for a break through. If nothing comes by September time I get a job and keep trying to get it signed until I succeed.
Option 2: Concentrate on self publishing : In this option I don't look for more external funding,. Instead I would work part time for a wage and use the rest of my time to promote and sell the comic as well as go to Christian conventions and Comic Cons to sell it myself. The danger as I mentioned above is that if I can't make it a relatively big success, my chances of getting a significant publishing deal later on may be damaged.
Options 3 : Do a second smaller Kickstarter for book two: It's not unusual for successful Kickstarter projects to return for a second book or related project, and often do well as they know what to do and have followers already. An advantage is that I would have something to reward the backers with straight away (book one) as well as the prospective book two at the end. The Kickstarter will hopefully create a buzz for the release of book one just before it's released and (if self published) can help pay for the upfront printing costs of book one and keep us off the street by using the funding to create the second book. The second book I plan is Ruth which is a short book compared to Judges (4 chapters instead of 21) so the target would probably be significantly less around £5K instead of the £15K it was last time. In this scenario I might not release the book to the public straight away but would be able to fulfil the promised copies to the Kickstarter backers as a special limited run.
Option 4 : Set up a subscription funding campaign: A bit like Kickstarter but there is not end goal and people give an amount every month and build up credits for rewards over time. Patreon is probably the best example of this. This could work well but I think it would be harder to get people involved in than a short sharp Kickstarter, but then again it doesn't stop so you have more time to collect supporters.
In essence I need to decide if I should hold on for a publisher or bite the bullet and self publish, and whether I should look for external funding again or not.
Thanks for reading. Please do give your options and advise, don't hold back, I'd love to hear lots of responses and ideas on what to do next.