The path ahead

In my last post, I went over the tests that have led me to a new workflow. I also said I needed to move to another state.

Well, I’ve moved. It’s time to start up my production machine.

Patreon is having some legal issues, and while I feel like they are liable to survive the immediate kerfuffle, their handling of it does not bode well for a long and salutary future. Fortunately, migrating my Patreon audience to SucribeStar is easy: I don’t have one yet.

My SubscribeStar is not set up fully yet. That’s what we’re doing right here right now, and we’re kicking it off with a preview of the comic book I’m working on.

go on

Gearing up for Hat Trick 2

I was forced to replace my laptop recently, and I took it as an opportunity to test out Clip Studio Paint, as I already have a license for it.

Clip Studio, for those who don’t know, used to be Manga Studio. It is a Japanese program designed for making comic books. I tried to use it to make Alphabeasts, but alas, it does not make PDFs without A) the Japanese version (which I don’t have) and B) a paid plugin for said Japanese version.

But drawing and making comic books is what it’s made for, right?

Well, it works. I like the sleek, smooth lines the inking tools give. I like how buttery and fluid the paint feels. I was very frustrated by the hotkeys and workflow, but that’s to be expected when using a new program. To a degree, you can customize it, and to a degree, you just have to learn it.

Okay, and…

And so what we have learned applies to our lives today…

Jump the Shark and the Pirate Princess is out!

Get it on Amazon!

Each book is an experiment. I am building and refining my hypothesis of how to make fun awesome stuff every day, and testing that hypothesis with each release. So let’s find out what I’ve learned so far, eh?

Continue reading “And so what we have learned applies to our lives today…”

Wildly Imperfect

Today I attempted three times to record a video of me reading Hat Trick. Why? Because parents ought to know what’s in the book before they blithely hand it over to their children. Hat Trick has violence and gore, which I think children’s books ought to have, at least more than they currently do. More problematically, the hero lies and steals and seeks vigilante justice, and I offer zero commentary in the story as to whether this is right or wrong because Hat Trick is not an attempt to fortify young souls with virtue; it is an attempt to tell a fun story.

There is also religion and black magic in it, so some parents might be concerned about that. They have a right to know and decide for themselves, even if I think the stories are perfectly fine for young children.

The upshot is, I read the story three times. Each time, the video was spoiled. The first time by tons of glaringly obvious errors in the text which I had to stop and correct. The second and third times by my child, my child whom I love, bursting in and commenting.

Even were I not reluctant to bandy about my kid on the internet, and I am deeply reluctant to do so, Youtube and I have different ideas on what is appropriate for children, and so releasing the video would be just begging to be deplatformed.

But I was able to make multiple corrections to a wildly imperfect draft.

For some reason, certain errors in every book I write remain invisible to me before I place a book on sale. Once it is absolutely certain, however, that the erroneous work will make its way into the hands of paying customers, the errors bubble up out of the text and dance like evil little happy goblins.

I really ought to reserve the services of an editor. I wonder whether Brian Niemeier will offer me a discount for work that is less than a thousand words long. I wonder how I could get the stories to him in a format that permits him to easily work with it, but also interleaves the story and pictures in a sensible way. I wonder whether an editor would even break the curse, or if my manifold errors will elude the eye until publishing time regardless of precaution.

Corrections have been made and are awaiting approval by Amazon. If you want the wildly imperfect version in hopes that it’s a rare, first edition, grab it here. Otherwise, wait three days and then grab it.

Learning on the go.

I am embarrassed that I tried (briefly) to market myself as a cover artist.

Thanks to Niemeier having a nice talk with David Stewart on nostalgia, I was introduced to David Stewart.

Thanks to David Stewart, I was introduced to some flaws in my cover art. Namely, I’m trying to make art rather than an ad.

Here’s the Hat Trick 1 cover before Stewart and after Stewart:

Changes:

  • New font! Old font says “romance”, new font says “fantasy.” Hat Trick is fantasy, not romance. For the most part.
  • Made the title bigger. Now you can read it on the Amazon Thumbnail!
  • Moved the picture to make room for the title. From now on, I have to remember that the top third to half of the frame is reserved for that title.
  • Small color balance tweaks to make it more cohesive.

With time, I would redo the picture to make it play better with the cover design, but onward and upward!

Hat Trick 1 is Done

You can get the PDF now from my patreon.

A few thoughts:

Hat Trick has the same page count as Alphabeasts. But I will be able to sell Hat Trick for $4 whereas I have to charge $15 for Alphabeasts because Hat Trick is black and white, and Alphabeasts is color. This price difference makes me consider whether producing books in black and white isn’t the best plan for now. It’s pretty darn significant.

Hat Trick was never meant as Christian fiction, though I’m putting it in that category on Amazon. I’m putting it there because some of the characters are Christian, and Christianity is true in the world of Hat Trick as I believe it to be true in this world. And its truth matters to the plot because magic is a constant and tangible presence in that world, and so prayers and grace take on an equally tangible presence. But the purpose of the story isn’t to spread the faith nor to impart good morals. Hat Trick is not a tract. Crosses glow in the presence of vampires not because I’m trying to convert you, but because I think vampires and glowing crosses are cool.

“But wait!” you say, “isn’t Hat Trick set in a world of talking animals? How is Christianity a factor in a world of talking animals?”

Yes. Here are some spoilers about my world which I don’t mind sharing as they are not directly relevant to the plot.

World Building