CONNECT WITH US

 

 

Secrets of The Sire

Hey everyone, nice to be back on the mikebooks.com blog. This one is a relative short one though. Just going to list the upcoming awesomeness I’ve got in store over the coming weeks:

20140616-Blog

  1. New York Comic Con: I just got back from @ny_comic_con Special Edition. A bit quiet compared to the big one come October (ok, MORE than a bit when compared to the week long celebration Reedpop has planned) but it was nice to get the convention juices flowing again.

    Going to be working hard with my table partner @masicajames to get some super awesome prints ready for the show. I’ve got the art bug going again, especially after actually looking at some of my con sketches over recent shows and thinking, “Hey, I don’t suck anymore”

  2. Keep Practicing! That being said, I’m not quite”pro” but I’m getting there. Look for a TON of new prints and sketches going up on my Deviant Art and Facebook page for sale and just to check out over the coming weeks.
  3. The Undone: Soussherpa and myself and Todd are rolling through pages. Look for the first Digital Rewards to drop this week.
  4. The Sire #9: A brand new issue of The Sire is coming in October. Look for a special pre-order event in August.
  5. Sire Web Comic: We resume Wednesday!
  6. Super Mystery Project! I teased something that I’m up to with @talentcaldwell and @TonyMoy88 a while back and it’s almost time to deliver. Trust me, it’s going to be sweet! Check out the panel above…

Ok folks, that’s it for now, talk soon!

-Mike

Whew! How about that guys, it’s been a month or so since my Kickstarter for the Undone was fully funded. And it’s taken me about that long to recuperate and grind some of the work out. Here are 4 things I’ve been up to since then:

1) Writing the darn script!
I had a basic outline going into the Undone Kickstarter, along with the first scene fully written. So in the past month, now that I knew for sure we were actually going to be making the book, I’ve been plugging away at taking tht outline and fleshing it into a full fledged script. Here’s a sample page below:

20140514-UndoneBlog

2) Setting up the schedule
When you’re doing an indie book, you are not only the writer, but essentially the production manager and editor rolled into one. Coordinating with Todd and Soussherpa may not seem like work, but it’s important to ensure we get you the book as promised.

3) Sketches! Sketches! Sketches!
I’ve been fortunate to have attended 1 convention and 1 FCBD signing since the Kickstarter ended. Gave me a great excuse to sit down and start some of the head and body sketches I owe.

4) Sleep
Ok, this isn’t exactly true, but we can all dream right?

It’s back to work i go! Keep checking out mikebooks.com for more updates on The Undone. Plus we’ll be starting up the Sire web comic now that the fanfare for the Kickstarter is at an end.

Talk soon!

So I’m happy to report that we have reached our funding goal! But does that mean the campaign is over? Heck, no! Let’s talk Stretch Goals and (shudder) Dropped Backers.

20140410-stretch

First things first: Mo’ money mo’ pages. I think a cool way to keep folks into the campaign is to truly give them something to stretch for. Some peeps didn’t realize that once the goal was hit the campaign still continues. So besides a good stretch goal, education is a must for those not familiar with Kickstarter. For me, the best goal I could think of (and my most desirable goal to boot) was to increase the amount of actual story and art you get. My 32 page first issue will end around the traditional 22-24 page mark. So with that beings said (drum roll please):

STRETCH GOAL #1: $3200: If we can break the $3200 goal mark then you will get a five page preview of Issue #2 at the end of the first issue. That’s 5 more pages of story and art! Help make this happen by spreading the word!

Now onto issue #2…Drop Outs!

So during the course of the campaign I did indeed have 2 backers that for some unknown reason, cancelled their pledge. Which got me thinking  (nervously I might add) what if someone drops with 30 minutes to go and my pledge total falls under the $2500. I emailed kickstarter and this is what they said:

20140410110412-dropouts

I emailed them again to triple check that it means I’m safe, but from the looks of their response it appears I am. Not that anyone will drop out, but you just never know. Ok folks, if you haven’te pledged yet now is the time to do so! We’re 8 days from the finale. Thanks again to all who have!

KEEP SPREADING THE WORD! To pledge, go to:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mdolce/the-undone-1

Michael Dolce is the creator of The Undone – available now as a Kickstarter! Click here to pledge.

Well gang, we’re in the home stretch – less than a week to go and only $153 or so needed to cross the finish line. With that in mind I want to thank everyone who’ve gotten us to this point. And also with that in mind, here are some tips for those that want to partake in a Kickstarter of their own: keep up with Thank You’s and start your fulfillment EARLY!

When I first launched the Kickstarter and the first couple of pledges came rolling in (an AMAZING feeling mind you) I started to thank backers on the Undone Facebook Event page as well as on the Undone Facebook page itself. By the time I actually made it a point to do this for EVERY new pledge that came in, I realized I had missed a few along the way. Luckily there was still plenty of time and I was able to go back and rectify any backer I had missed, but bottom line is this: if you’re going to thank one backer you better be sure you thank them all. Because there’s nothing that may tick off a backer more than by watching you thank every Tom Dick and Mary and not thank them. Stay on top of it.20140407-TheUndone

Second, after reviewing all my backers and seeing how much left we have to raise, I came to the realization that this thing is going to get funded. Not to sound smug or count my chickens and all, but with a buck fifty to go, it’s pretty obvious we are going to hit our goal. Which then led me to realize: hot damn but I am going to have to do a TON of sketches! And as my friend @TonyDonley tweeted me, it’s really important to start getting your fulfillment done EARLY:

So yes, not to be presumptuous, but i better get drawing!

Less than 2 weeks left – back our project now!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mdolce/the-undone-1

Michael Dolce is the creator of The Undone – available now as a Kickstarter! Click here to pledge.

I’m counting down the days when I can launch my first Kickstarter comic campaign for The Undone #1 a brand new tale of powers and corruption in the Wall Street sector of America. So in the meantime I reached out to Omar Morales, a creator who just successfully launched his own Kickstarter campaign for his Graphic Novel The CruZader – and for whom I contributed colors for the project. He gives us his experience delving deep into the Kickstarter world. Omar, take it away!

Omar Morales – creator The CruZader

So, you want to start a Kickstarter campaign, eh kid? Let me tell you, as someone who ran a campaign late last year, it is not for the feint of heart. Even successful campaigns can bring a lot of unintended consequences for people that aren’t prepared to fulfill thousands of pledges from a campaign that goes viral. On the other end, I’ve seen campaigns that generate zero pledges and zero dollars – what a heart-breaking epic fail.

20140317-kickstarter2

If you do nothing else, study Kickstarter campaigns within your category before you start, plan your campaign and publicity tactics in advance, and limit your exposure by knowing exactly how you will fulfill your rewards ahead of time. I rushed into my campaign a bit too soon, and wish I had spent more time on creating the rewards and tiers ahead of time. Luckily I was able to go back and create more tiers after I realized that I needed a tier where backers could get my graphic novel á la carte in the $30 range, as opposed to $50 and $75 with a bunch of extras that could potentially price them out of pledge range.

At the end of the day, I had success, but I had to scramble and reinvent the campaign continuously throughout the 60 days that I was stumping. Some advantages that I had going in:

• I had incredibly generous family and friends that knew that my graphic novel was a dream that I’d been working to realize for many years. My average pledge was well over $100 thanks to big ticket pledges from family and friends.
• The graphic novel was pretty close to being a finished product, as opposed to an idea. The writing and art were all done. The colors and letters were almost done. All I was raising money for was finishing touches and printing, so my project was a safe investment for backers.
• As an ex-PR man and journalist, I knew how to generate publicity – some of it didn’t generate a single pledge, and some of it generated all the pledges I needed to get me over the hump.
• My rewards were pretty much in-house already; all I needed was the graphic novel. All of my goodies and extras were things that I had on hand. Maybe I could’ve done more with t-shirts, bookmarks or bumper stickers, but ultimately I decided to stick to original artwork and scripts.

20140317-kickstarter1
Regardless of how prepared or unprepared you are, you will not rest. You will not sleep. The campaign will consume you. If you’re at a movie, out to dinner, trolling around on the internet, whatever, your mind will drift toward the inevitable question: what else should I be doing to push my campaign right now? For me, this question motivated me and kicked me into high gear. I started studying other campaigns and fleshing out my marketing and publicity campaign on the fly. On top of this, I sent a steady stream of solicitation e-mails to family and friends – and what an interesting psychological experiment that was! Fellow comic book fans and close friends completely blew me off, and people I haven’t heard from in years were some of the first to jump in head first with pledges of $100 or more. Friends with competing Kickstarter comic book campaigns will suddenly stop communicating with you. Don’t try to figure it out, just keep it moving, or it will drive you crazy. Try to balance the euphoria of the push notifications to your mobile phone every time a pledge rolls in with the disappointment on days when zero pledges come in.

In terms of advertising, you have to spend money to make money. There is no way around it. Begging on Facebook and Twitter will not win friends and influence people.However, investing $100 or $200 for legitimate Facebook and Twitter ads is solid and will generate clicks to your campaign because you can target exactly who your audience will be by their interests, geography, and who they follow. Both Twitter and Facebook will generate analytics to help you understand how your ads are tracking. This is valuable.

At the same time, I would advise you not to spend a single penny on the legions of crowd sourcing leeches that market themselves as experts that can boost your campaign. They are all full of crap – every last one of them. I invested in a handful of services, and none of them yielded a single pledge. Many of them are one-person operations that try to make themselves look like legit companies and they are so overwhelmed that they deliver zero value or professional follow up. Worthless. Trust me.

The best salesperson for your campaign is you. Don’t rely on anyone else to carry the burden for you. The internet will not help you. Celebrities will not retweet you. Some of your closest friends will not care. Pour every ounce of passion you have for your project into: your campaign video (and keep it short), what you write on your Kickstarter campaign page, and into your pitches to bloggers, podcasters and trade media. Passion works. Energy yields results. Potential pledges will convert into dollars if people feel you are genuine and that you will deliver what you say you will deliver.

It worked for me. It can work for you.

‘Nuff said, true believers.
Your friendly neighborhood self-publisher,

Omar Morales

Omar Morales is the creator of The CruZader for The Force Media. He can be followed on Twitter @TheCruZader, on Facebook at Facebook.com/El.CruZader, on Kickstarter at kickstarter.com/profile/omorales81 and on the web at www.theforcemedia.com.

Michael Dolce is the creator of The Undone – coming soon to Kickstarter! Click here to follow him.

Well folks, it’s time. I’m happy to announce that next week, I’ll be releasing my first ever Kickstarter campaign for a new project called, “The Undone.” But before I do, a few quick tips I’ve picked up during this whole process:

1) Have your Amazon Info Ready

One thing nobody mentioned was that you have to have your Amazon Payments account verified before you go to launch. Kickstarter themselves will send you a note to get it ready while you set up your campaign, but I didn’t realize that you can’t even preview your Kickstarter without verifying your email, ID, bank account and tax info. I may have already launched if I’d done this week’s in advance.

2) Your Personal Info Is Out There

During the verification process Kickstarter asked me for some personal info so I could verify my identity. They then shot me back a list of questions about my personal info that only I would be able to answer. Things like, “How old is your mother?” and “What car did you once drive” asked in multiple choice was actually bit disconcerting to say the least. No matter how secret you think you life is, it’s not. Scary stuff

3) Get Your Rewards Done In Advance

Because otherwise they can be a pain to enter. You can’t switch the order of any rewards, only edit each reward individually. So if you forgot reward between numbers 4 and 5 and you have 22 total, get ready for a painful editing process. NOTE: This is my first Kickstarter, so maybe I’m wrong. Anyone know how to edit the reqards easier please let me know!

Ok folks, please follow me on Kickstarter if you haven’t already done so! As soon as I’m verified I’ll be able to announce the release of “The Undone” and tell you all about it. Trust me…it’s gonna be really really cool!

Michael Dolce is the creator of The Undone – coming soon to Kickstarter! Click here to follow him.


NOTE: Due to the Comixology News, this blog has been pushed back one day from its regular Monday post day.

As I sit here on a gorgeous East Coast morning, about to partake in some healthy comic book binge reading, I found myself thinking, is this a healthy addiction? Before anyone sounds the alarm at me for being so dramatic, fear not, I think the answer is 100% YES! So what are we waiting for? Let’s take a look at some awesome binge reads, starting with Peter David’s All-New X-Factor.

Binge Review: All-New X-Factor Issues #1-3

Let’s dive in shall we? First, the skinny: X-Factor is now a corporate super team led by Polaris. In issue #1 she recruits none other than one of my favorite ex-X-Men Gambit into the fold. Quicksilver (conveniently) appears and also wants in. Hurray! All three head out on their first mission for the Serval company (a corporaton that wants to help people? Obviously we’re suspicious but what they hey) to save the mutant Fatale.

Did I love Peter David’s X-Factor starring Madrox and company – hell yeah! While it erred more towards an episode of Buffy more than X-Men, it had its fun moments, great characters and great dialogue. You get that here as well, especially the early exchanges between Wolverine and Gambit. The parts I have a lot of issues with though is how rushed and convenient everything seemed to come together. That and Gambit’s voice not sounding at all like the character. First off (and i don’t know how other writers have handled him lately but still) he’s supposed to have a SOUTHERN DRAWL. Instead he kind of sounds like…well, Madrox. Which is great and all, but he’s Gambit.

The art goes in and out as well. The covers are gorgeous but the interiors toggle between slick and amatuerish. If it didn’t say X on the cover I might think I was reading an indie where some of the art would be more acceptable than it is for a mainstream book. Let’s sum it all up shall we?

Binge Worthy? Maybe
Binge Rating? From fun size to all-you can eat buffet, I put it right there in the middle so far. I’ll stick with it because David has a track record, but so far a bit underwhelming.

Next time we Binge Review we’ll take a look at one of the best books on the shelves today: Superior Spider-Man!

Michael Dolce is the creator of The Sire for After Hours Press/MBD Studios Inc and Descendant for Image Comics. He binges on comics and UFO related alien shows. It drives his fiance crazy.

Hey folks, welcome back to Secrets of the Sire! Got a lot of great feedback from the topic of print vs digital, what comic book stores must do to survive and finally comic books stores: should they serve alcohol. For the final note on this debate, I’d like to give a shot out to @LyriaExchange for the great exchange on Twitter recently. Here’s a look at what we had to say on the matter of local comic shops (LCS) bringing artists in or even serving Starbucks:


So what do you think Internet? Would transforming local comic stores into Barnes and Noble type places get you to go? What about offering a venue for local artists and students to show off their digs? Drop me a line @Michael_Dolce. And don’t forget! The Sire #4 is available for download on Comixology NOW!

You can download the whole series here: https://www.comixology.com/The-Sire/comics-series/10515

Michael Dolce is the creator of The Sire for After Hours Press/MBD Studios Inc and Descendant for Image Comics. He’s also got some cool things coming down the pipeline that he is sure to subliminally plug while he merciliessly preaches to you in this blog.

Got some great responses to our latest blogs! Here are just a few snippets from social media on the topic of print vs. digital and what retailers must do to survive:

Stacy Korn from Comic Fusion – another fantastic store in New Jersey had this to say on some of the suggestion posted:

To serve alcohol you have to have a liquor license. Not always easy to get. I think the key is to not have all your eggs in one basket. T-Shirts, Action Figures, Statues and games are all good sellers for us in addition to comics. I see Trades as a more viable print option long term. Single issues will die out or just move online. My current customers are die hard buy the issues types, but those will thin out over time. Gaming is thriving now that we have the space.

We are trying to work out a kids art class with the local business here in Turntable Jct as well. I am a big believer in promoting other local businesses. It works out for both of us.

My Response: Good stuff Stacy! Gaming is a HUGE draw and worth it. It’s that kind of thinking that keeps stores like yours going while others fade away. And as for incorporating other businesses, networking is the best way to grow.

Victor Dandridge, president of Vantage InHouse posted:


My Response:
Good to hear! Some might have found my suggestions to be too extreme, but it looks like I’m not alone! Ok folks, more follow up in this Friday’s blog. Cheers!

Michael Dolce is the creator of The Sire for After Hours Press/MBD Studios Inc and Descendant for Image Comics. He’s also got some cool things coming down the pipeline that he is sure to subliminally plug while he merciliessly preaches to you in this blog.

Got a lot of great responses to last week’s blog. So here’s a follow-up question tackling even more concerns with print vs digital comics. Do people even collect modern comics anymore? And more importantly, storage: what the heck to do with all those hard copies?

Andrew Lovuolo from Graphic Illusions Studios (and also the fine gentleman who created both the Sire and Descendant logo for Mikebooks) brought up an interesting point on Facebook:

“I’m making the switch to digital not really by choice, but out of necessity. There’s not much room in a 2-bdrm for all of these toys and Im trying to lock it it in 4 long boxes. There are still fans who prefer printed books, but more and more people are doing apps.”

And that got me thinking…do people still collect comic books anymore? Now obviously there is still a vital back issue market when it comes to Gold and Silver age books and it makes sense. Long before the days of speculators in the early 90s the number of hard copies for comics, especially those from the 40s, 50s and 60s, were slim to none, thus creating a demand. (Economics 101 here people, low supply + high demand = big market) The problem, as most comic fans are repeatedly reminded, is that people outside the comic book industry started planning their retirement funds around new issues. When a million copies of Superman dying or being reborn are printed, the supply side of the equation kind of goes away no?

So with that being said I look at my collection (or what’s left of it after having donated or trashed so many books I used to collect. Generation X? Come one Mike, what were you thinking?) and honestly I don’t consider myself much a collector anymore. I consider myself a reader. Forget the fact that all my Image books i bought in 1992 are pretty near worthless as are any Marvel book post X-Men #1 too. Now they just take up space in storage. Which my fiancee constantly reminds me that we need to empty out. (Really I should be consulting my friend Matt Baier who is a professional organizer, but that’s a blog for another day.)

So what do you guys think? Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter or in the comments below. Do you still collect modern day comics anymore? Is there any value in doing so or do you collect because you’re a reader?

Tune in next week as I discuss another hot button issue in our industry: The future of brick-and-mortar retailers: what comic book shops must become to survive.
Michael Dolce is the creator of The Sire for After Hours Press/MBD Studios Inc and Descendant for Image Comics. He’s also got some cool things coming down the pipeline that he is sure to subliminally plug while he merciliessly preaches to you in this blog.