Decisions…Hardcover vs. Webcomic

About a week ago I made a BIG decision. Since the beginning, I always envisioned this as a textbook in the hands of students. Here we are, seven years later, and no book. It is the typical trap for any wannabe self-publisher and I’ve fallen into it myself.

My reservations of self-publishing, no less a textbook, involved the daunting tasks of writing the book (done), having it edited by a professional editor (limited by resources), having it content edited for credibility’s sake, creating the rough panel layouts and blue-line sketches, and finally illustrating and finalizing layout design. This has been no easy task. Did I mention we have a baby?

By the time all of the steps above are complete, it would be time for me to retire and the original students I wanted to help would be 45. For this reason, I chose to self-publish in the style of a webcomic.

A recent screenshot of my progress in Adobe Illustrator.

Webcomics are traditionally updated in small increments, sometimes page by page, when the creator has something to show.  Webcomics are the perfect platform for indie-comic creators because you get to bypass all of that other traditional publishing crap, because all that you really want to do is show people your work anyway. I figure that as I release my new pages, people will give me feedback if the content needs tweeking. It is much easier to make a correction in Adobe Illustrator and re-upload, than it is to wait for a new edition of a hardcover book.

What about copyright? What about getting paid? What about it not being “finished enough”, what about…, what about…?

I’m tired of waiting. My life is short and I want to produce!

Most importantly, the recent launch of my introduction pages to the web has brought major joy and excitement. Now I am accountable to someone. It’s kind of like a diet-when you commit to telling friends you started one and now you really have to back up your game.

And who knows, maybe by the end of this I can do one of those fancy Kickstarter campaigns and get the textbook printed-just like other webcomics do.

One of my favorite webcomic artists is Kate Beaton whose webcomic strip, Hark a Vagrant, has landed her a few cool book deals. She is incredibly talented, sometimes off-color, but mostly tasteful (she’s Canadian). Many of her strips have a history and Old English theme that makes any history/english teacher want to binge-read.

Source: Kate Beaton. Hark a Vagrant website.

In the meantime, I’m improving my website skills and trying to find time between feeding the baby dinner and waking up early for school.

Coffee is my best friend.


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