VR Painting: Using the HTC Vive

Just wanted to show off a doodle I did in Google Tiltbrush, a virtual reality painting program. This was done at Mod Productions at Suite 25, Level 2, 647 George Street Haymarket Sydney NSW 2000. You can book them to do virtual reality sessions (hourly).

Painting in 3D is really a different thing completely to painting in 2D. I’m not sure there is much application for comics in this space, but I’m interested in 3D modelling in VR, especially because 3D modelling on a computer screen is a nightmare. I’ll be going back to Mod Productions to play around with the VR headsets more in the future!

“The Dreaming” is available from Diamond again!

Just a quick post to let everyone know that “The Dreaming: Perfect Collection“, which is the omnibus edition of “The Dreaming“, is now available to be ordered from Diamond comics again. The book never quite went out of print – it just went out of distribution which made it near impossible for any bookstore to order. Now that it’s back in distribution, comic bookstores everywhere can order it through this handy code:

New Cover for Small Shen

Hi folks! It’s been 3 months since I finished “Fabled Kingdom” v3, and I’ve spent the past 3 months getting it into print and going on a long-awaited trip to Japan. It’s been a relief to finishing the “Fabled Kingdom” series, and I realised that I was so exhausted that I’m still stuck in holiday mode. Still, I’ve got a few shorter projects lined up, and I’ve also finished my short horror story “Mother and Son“, so I’ll be working on those this year while I practice my colouring and plan my next graphic novel.

Fabled Kingdom News: You can now buy the series in print from my webstore, with FREE SHIPPING for Australia and the US (USD$10 for international), and also on Amazon (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3), where a random fan of “The Dreaming” left several 5-star reviews!

The other piece of good news is that the “Fabled Kingdom” series is selling quite well at cons. In a completely unexpected turn, I’ve been selling the series as a box set and seeing a lot of sales. It seems that people want to buy the full set, and I’ve been getting rave reviews about the strong ending to book 3 as well. It seems that a good story with a strong ending is always popular!

New Small Shen Cover: My collaboration with author Kylie Chan on her novel “Small Shen” came out in 2012, and is still selling 5 years later in 2017. For those who don’t know, “Small Shen” is a prequel to Kylie’s best-selling “White Tiger” series, a 9-book Chinese Fantasy series that finished last year. Kylie and I have always owned the international rights for “Small Shen“, and since the book has never been published in dead tree format in the international market, we’re re-releasing the book with a new cover in 2017. If negotiation for the Australian rights go well good, we should be able to sell it in Australia too.

Here’s the new front/back cover for the “Small Shen” book:

“Fabled Kingdom” v1-3 is Done!

Hi all! Having spent the last few months just racing to the finishing line for “Fabled Kingdom“, I haven’t had much time to blog or do anything else. So here is so updates and new doodles professing my love for the anime “Mob Psycho 100″.

Fabled Kingdom News: I just got the edits for the last chapter of “Fabled Kingdom” v3 back today, and there’s no major changes. There’s about 2 more pages I feel I need to add to bring some closure for 2 characters that will make the 3 books feel more self-contained, so I’ll look into doing that. Hopefully I’ll get those copy-edits sorted, and then the book test-printed in the next few weeks. I’ve also started to write book 4, but I’ve decided to take a year off to produce a “World Bible” for “Fabled Kingdom,” so I can properly flesh out the religion, politics, clothing/building designs, map and history of the continent before I continue, since book 4-6 happens partly in the Kingdom of Westerwick.

Art Evolution: After I’ve finished “Fabled Kingdom,” I started drawing with biros for no apparent reason. I was stunned by the freedom I have with the linework – here’s some Mob Psycho 100 fanart that I did just to test out different biros. I’m liking it so far!

I randomly found some highlighters, and decided to draw this picture of Mob.

Ritsu was just stretching when his brother approached from behind. Mutual observation?

Lord Reigen gives Mob his “Sorcery Crush” massage, but hits a bit too hard. Reigen, Mob’s a teen, you don’t need to give such a strong massage.

Fight for the last takoyaki. Who will win? (ANSWER: Dimple licks it, and no one wanted it after that)

 

What I’ll be doing for 2017:  Experimenting with more biros. I’ve got 2 other shorter projects in the works, one of which the script is already complete. That one is the second half of “Short Ghost Stories“, which has been nagging me at the back of my mind since 2013. I’ll get these other stories done, so I can get this out of the way permanently. The other is an experimental graphic novel, which is the first of the kind I’ve done, though I’ve got to iron out the script first. Lastly, the “World Bible” for “Fabled Kingdom” will be the background project.

Why are Indie Comics so Difficult to Sell?

This is an article I sent around on my Mailing list, amongst other things such as progress reports, art and other announcements. Please join my mailing list via this form.

IMPORTANT:  Book Expo for the weekend of 8-9th Oct has been cancelled, folks. Tickets will be refunded – it’s sad, but unfortunately it’s no longer happening.

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Hello all, since I’m nearing the end of my “Fabled Kingdom” series (book 3 will be finished after 2 chapters), I’ve started thinking about marketing myself and my work. As a result, I’ve decided to address a common topic as part of my research, but from a perspective that may not be common in artistic circles.

I’m writing this because “Why are indie comics so difficult to sell? is a question that is frequently bandied about on forums by comic book artists, but few can provide a good, straight-forward answer to it. I’m going to try to answer it from a different angle: through a business investment approach.

 

Why Fiction is Hard to Sell

You may be wondering what I do for a day job – I’m actually an investor, which is the family business. For that reason, I like to look at questions like “why is product X not selling?” from a business perspective, because it’s a perspective that would benefit artists a lot by understanding.

fungible

Before I continue, I should clarify something. The title for this post was originally “Why is fiction so hard to sell?“, because most indie comics also count as “fiction” even though that term is rarely used to describe comics. However, both fictional comics and fictional prose are subject to the same problems, so perhaps this article may be useful for looking at all works of narrative fiction, including movies or games.

Here’s the truth:  Fiction of all kinds, including indie comics, are a “WANT”, not a “need”. As a “want”, they are also a NON-FUNGIBLE PRODUCT.

That’s just ONE reason why they’re difficult to sell in a general marketplace, but an important one if you want to understand how to market an indie comic.

 

What is Fungibility?

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“Fungibility” is the property of a good or a commodity whose individual units are capable of mutual substitution. In other words, the likelihood of a consumer to buy one brand over another brand, because in the consumer’s mind, there’s not much difference between them. Fungibility is a spectrum, and it measures how mutually interchangeable a class of products are.

For example:  If I go into a supermarket and I need some apples, I’m going to buy Pink Lady apples. If I can’t get Pink Lady apples, then I’ll buy Red Delicious apples, because I need apples, and I’m not too picky. If neither are available, maybe I’ll buy Granny Smith.

In that scenario, apples are fungible. If I want apples, I’ll buy whatever brand is available. Likewise, so is peanut butter, eggs, a pair of shorts, shampoo, pencil lead, notebook paper, etc. Most perishable items and mass-manufactured household items are fungible, because most people buying them will end up buying one anyway even if their first choice of brand isn’t available.

 

But Fiction Doesn’t Work That Way

bookexchangeIf I go into a bookstore wanting to buy “Dr Sleep” by Stephen King and they don’t have that book, I’m not necessarily going to buy a Dean Koontz book instead, even though both Stephen King and Dean Koontz are both blockbuster horror writers. Likewise, I’m not suddenly going to buy “Carrie” either, even if it’s also by Stephen King, because I’m not interested in that story.

This is an example of how fiction, even well-known fiction, isn’t fungible.

Authors/artists may act as brands in fiction, and genres are used to direct customers to their favourite type of book, but neither of these actually make fiction fungible.

Books that are by the same author aren’t necessarily fungible, and sometimes, not even books in the same series is fungible. For example, if I want to get into the “Harry Potter” series and the bookstore doesn’t have book 1, I’m not going to go and buy book 6.

There is an important distinction to make, because fiction is different to non-fiction. Non-fiction is easier to sell than fiction, because non-fiction serves a practical, functional purpose in many people’s lives. If I want to learn how to play a guitar, or how to bake a pumpkin pie, two how-to books on the same subject is the same to me so long as they teach me what I want to know. Conversely, fiction doesn’t have the same function.

 

So How Do you Sell Fiction?

bookmarketingThis is a question that many people, myself included, struggle with. In the next article, I’m going to look at some marketing ideas, particularly passive marketing ideas, that can help sell fiction better.

Keeping in mind that fiction is a non-fungible product, there are actually advantages that fiction has over more fungible products – the key is to figure out what that is.