Comic Con-versation 2017

Hi all! Sydney Library Comics Festival “Comic Con-versation” will be from the 10th-15th July this year, and I will be doing a number of events with libraries across Sydney (and selling my books as well)! This year, 20 libraries will be involved, and here is a list of all the activities I’ll be doing next week:

  • Whitlam Library (Cabramatta): Tue 11th July @ 1-4pm – Comics Lab! Me drawing comics in public!
  • Liverpool Library: Tue 11th July @ 6 – 7:30pm – The Continental Divide Panel: Visual Storytelling from Around the World – Learn the differences between European, Asian (Manga) and US comics!
  • Burwood Library: Thu 13th July @ 10-1pm – Comics Lab! Me drawing comics in public!
  • Chatswood Library: Fri 14th July @ 12-4pm – Artists Alley & Comics Lab! Me drawing comics in public! Also, there’s an exhibition at Chatswood that features some of my work!
  • Ashfield Library: Sat 15th July @ 12-5pm – Artists Alley! Come along!
  • Ashfield Library: Sat 15th July @ 12:30-1:30pm Comics and Creativity – What is creativity is? Why comics? A panel discussion moderated by moi!

Listing Graphic Novels with Library Suppliers

This year I’ve also produced a “book list” for Australian libraries who want to buy Australian graphic novels for their collections. These graphic novels are listed with Australian library suppliers James Bennett and Australian Library Service (ALS), and I have provided instructions for how to do it below:

The 2017 booklist is below. Download it in pdf format here.

 

Why List with Library Suppliers?

Libraries often want to order the books of local creators, especially if they’re doing a workshop or talk with the library. A library can buy directly from a creator, but books are not allowed on the library shelves unless they’ve been catalogued, and libraries don’t do their own cataloguing – library suppliers do. If a library buys a book from a creator, they will have to send it out especially for cataloguing, which will cost extra time and money. For that reason, libraries nearly always prefer to order from library suppliers.

Requirements for Listing with Library Suppliers

You can list as many books as you have available and are able to provide as your own distributor. That said, if you already have a distributor for your book, you won’t need to list with library suppliers. Your books:

  • Must have a valid ISBN. ISSNs won’t cut it – those are for periodicals, not books
  • Must be a properly-bound book (ie. perfect bound, no spiral spine binding)
  • There is a preference for standard trade sizes

Listing with James Bennett

http://www.bennett.com.au/publisher-services/faqs-for-small-and-independent-publishers/
James Bennett is one of the largest library suppliers on the east coast of Australia, and the link above tells you how small press should list their books with them. Read up on it, download the form, fill it in and send it to the email address. Please make sure to mention that it’s an Australian graphic novel. (Note: If the book is more than 1 year old, then make sure to let them know that it doesn’t need to be in their “New Titles” database, just in their regular one.)

Listing with ALS

https://www.alslib.com.au/authors/
Here’s the link to the ALS website that allows authors to list their books. Please make sure to mention that it’s a graphic novel by using that email address to let them know that you’ve listed a book that is an Australian graphic novel.

How to Price Your Books

Ideally, your books will be not much more than $30 for children’s fiction, and not much more than $60 for adult fiction. You will be required to provide to all library suppliers at 45% discount off the retail price, PLUS free shipping. Regardless of what your book’s normal retail price is, it’s recommended you list it at a point where you can at least break even.

  • Example: Fabled Kingdom” v1 is normally $20 when I sell it, but it’s listed at $30 with library suppliers. When they place an order with me, I bill them at a 45% discount + free shipping, meaning that I charge $16.50 for book (with free shipping). “Fabled Kingdom” v1 costs $7 to print and $8 to ship, so I make $1.50 off that sale).

If you don’t list your book at 45% discount with free shipping, the extra cost will be pushed onto the libraries, and they will be less inclined to order your books. Please remember that libraries have limited funding.

Sales Cannot be Guaranteed

Unfortunately, listing your books do not guarantee any library sales. What it does do is make it easy and cheap for a library to order directly from library suppliers (assuming they use said library suppliers). Books come to the library catalogued and shelf-ready, which makes it immediately ready to be shelved and read.

To get library sales, you still have to market to libraries yourself. If libraries don’t know about your books, they can’t order it in. One of the best ways to get libraries to order your book in is to do workshops or talks for them – comic workshops are extremely popular with kids during the school holidays.

Colouring Tests: Fabled Kingdom Chapter 1

I’ve been doing some colouring tests, with the goal of moving towards doing colour comics. Despite having drawn comics for almost 20 years now, I feel that my biggest weakness has always been my aversion to colour. After drawing manga-style black-and-white (or greyscale like The Dreaming) for so long, I think I’ve done all there is to do on that style of art, and it’s time to move onto something else.

For this reason, I’ve been looking to build a colour palette I’m comfortable, and learning to use it. I started colouring Fabled Kingdom art from Chapter 1 as practise, and so far, it looks surprisingly good. Each took 2-3 hours at the most to do – I deliberately limited myself to the amount of time allowed since colouring is about speed as well as quality.







In the end, I’m actually looking for a more simple colouring style, so my colour comics will probably not look like this. I’ll probably aim to change my drawing style to something more cartoony and western to suit a two-tone colour palette, unlike this one which has 3-4 tones for each colour.

Bizarre Note: I’ve shown my colouring to a number of people, and while most agree that the colours look beautiful, some openly preferred the greyscale version. Interesting to see why they do that, but hey, everyone has their preferences. At the end of the day, what matters is the story and characters.

Fabled Kingdom v2 Shortlisted for the Ledger Awards!

Exciting news! “Fabled Kingdom” v2 got shortlisted for the Ledger Awards, which is the Australian comics industry award for excellence. It was a handful of books chosen out of about 200 entries, so this is a good thing for the “Fabled Kingdom” series of course (all three books). It’s also helpful at conventions (and elsewhere) for advertising reasons, so I decided to make some printable placards to and book bands for this.

Here’s what they look like:

Other News: As for what else I’ve been doing, I’ve just finished a short colour kids mini-comic called “Counting Sheep” and printed it. Let me just say that at 14-pages long, I’ve still yet to nail down this colouring thing, since I’ve noticed that the colours were different on my monitor and on my printer. Best to do more research on this. Also, my short 20-page horror story “Mother and Son” seems to need a bit of a workover because of mild pacing issues at a particular point in the story, so I’m looking at that soon to see if that can be smoothed over.

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.