People are doing it…EVERYWHERE! Let’s dive right in.
§ Warren Ellis’s second novel, Gun Machine, has just been released, and a second printing is already on the way, and Charles “Chip” McGrath gives it a fine review in the NY Times. Congrats, Warren!
§ The finalists for the 2012 Cybils awards have been announced and Brigid Alverson has the comics categories. The Cybils are given out by librarians for book in various categories.
§ Matt Kindt and Brian Wood interview each other and there’s a lot of insightful dialog including a hard truth from Wood:
Lastly, and this is something that comes from my wife, who is not only a business owner but also someone who knows nothing about comics except what she sees from me: This is a job. This is a business, not a hobby or a social activity. That may sound a little cold, and it doesn’t mean I don’t get immense creative satisfaction from doing what I do (if I didn’t, I’d go be a stockbroker or something) but it’s about finding the right balance. Not making business decisions based on being a fan, or social pressure, or making too many allowances for the quirks of this industry. I’m 41 years old, this is my life, this is what I’ve committed to and made the promise to feed my babies by doing, so to say I take it all drop-dead serious is actually an understatement. So I keep a sharp eye on the business, find great friends within the industry and plenty others outside of it, and write the hell out of the comics I write. The right balance and perspective allows me to find the fulfillment in this career and keep the B.S. to a minimum.
§ In more hard truths, Jim Zub is back with Why Don’t Publishers Give Brand New Writers a Chance? and it is indeed a very steep climb for writers who are trying to get into the biz:
The most consistent way to get an editor’s attention is by creating your own comics as a platform to show you can do the work instead of just sending incomplete sample concepts or scripts and expecting someone to take their time poring over it (and the hundreds of other submissions just like it) to see if it’s any good.
If you don’t have a body of work you need to create one and keep building. If you’re not willing to put in the time to create quality stories on your own then how is anyone supposed to trust that you’ll suddenly be able to do it ‘on the job’?
§ If you aren’t already depressed, here’s Dean Haspiel’s Holiday Interview and even someone as accomplished and well-known and socially mediated as Haspiel is having a hard time fitting in:
What I realized from that, though, is that I'm not just a cartoonist. I never was, Tom, I never was just a cartoonist, even as a young kid. I liked acting. I liked writing prose. I love music. That's what I realized, one of the things about comics, I don't know if I should stay in comics for the business of comics. Not only is it hard to make a living at it, I bend over backwards to write a pitch to get a piddly page rate for something I don't own that will hardly get marketed. I don't even know if my name brings any kind of sales acumen to the properties or not. No matter the amount of fun I'm having writing or drawing these things. Then again, it's comics. I watch TV. I love movies. Like I said, I love music. Why don't I expand out and take more risks like that? When I went to Yaddo this year, I didn't go for artwork. I didn't want to draw. I went, and the first night I was there and didn't know anyone I wrote a comic book script. Fine. And then I drew it. Great. But what I spent the majority of my time there doing was finishing a screenplay and writing the first 60 pages of a prose novel. I took that time to invest in something different in myself. What do I do next with it? I don't know. I have some friends that work in that industry, and slowly but surely I'm sharing my wares that way.
2013, shit is going to get real.
• More year end stuff — this is going to be flowing for a while!
§ The Best of 2012 for DC Women! from SCQKA–there was lots to like!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.