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.
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.
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.