Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rueben Awards 2013 Nominees

The 68th Annual NCS Reuben Awards! 

The winners will be announced Saturday, May 24th at the annual NCS Reuben Awards dinner in San Diego, CA

Editorial Cartoons
• Clay Bennett
• Adam Zyglis
• Mike Ramirez
Newspaper Illustration
• Bob Eckstein
• Miel Prudencio Ma
• Dave Whamond
Feature Animation
• Mike Giamo: Production Design Frozen (Disney)
• Hayao Miyazaki: Director, The Wind Rises (Disney)
• Jonathan del Val: Animator of Lucy character, Despicable Me 2 (Illumination)
TV Animation
• Craig McCracken, Wander Over Yonder (Disney)
• Paul Rudish, Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse shorts (Disney)
• Douglas Sloan And Art Edler Brown, Dragons: Riders of Berk (Dreamworks)
Newspaper Panels
• Dave Coverly
• Scott Hilburn
• Mark Parisi
Magazine Gag Cartoons
• Matt Diffee
• Bob Eckstein
• Mike Twohy
Advertising/Product Illustration
• Cedric Hohnstadt
• Sean Parkes
• Rich Powell
Greeting Cards
• Glenn McCoy
• Mark Parisi
• George Schill
Comic Books
• Sergio Aragones, Sergio Aragones Funnies
• Jay Fosgitt, Bodie Troll
• Chris Samnee, Daredevil
Graphic Novel
• Dan E Burr, On The Ropes
• Rick Geary, Madison Square Tragedy
• Andrew C Robinson, The 5th Beatle
Magazine Illustration
• Daryll Collins
• Anton Emdin
• Dave Whamond
Online — Long Form
• Jenn Manley Lee, Dicebox
• Dylan Meconis, Family Man
• Eddie Pittman, Red’s Planet
• Jeff Smith, Tuki
Online — Short Form
• Jim Horwitz, Watson
• Ryan Pagelow, Buni
• Mike Twohy, New Yorker Online
Book Illustration
• Matt Davies
• William Joyce
• CF Payne
Newspaper Comic Strips
• Isabella Bannerman, Six Chicks
• Terri Libenson, Pajama Diaries
• Mark Tatulli, Lio

Find out more information at The National Cartoonist Society.

Monday, March 17, 2014

So you want to self-publish?

Before you do anything read Matthew Mather’s SHAKESPEARE system for self-publishing.

Key networks
Select Program on Amazon
Perceived Value
All free posting websites

Also check out his CyberStorm novel Chronicles:

I feel this system is great! After reading let me know if you can think of anything else to add as a self-publisher for comic books and graphic novels for print and digital books.


As attention spans shorten in the online (and real) world, readers don’t trust a new author enough to read 400 pages to get the point. For a new author, a winning approach is to serialize, to create your work as a set of progressively longer stories that connect together through cliffhangers to get a reader hooked. And speaking of that…


The first short story needs to be punchy and tell a complete story in itself while leaving the reader wanting to know more. Even more than that, you need to hook the reader on the first page somehow, create a mystery, a reason and need to keep reading.


To start, focus only on Amazon. I’m not here to promote Amazon, but the first rule of entrepreneurism is to focus, focus, focus. The large majority of revenue in digital books comes from Amazon, with a small minority coming from all of the other players combined. So when you start, focus on Amazon by itself; getting reviews, getting up in the ranking. By only going on Amazon, you force people to buy from one place and thus drive up your rankings in this one spot. Once you have achieved some success there, expand to other platforms (FYI the easiest way to get on other platforms is just to use Smashwords).

Key networks

Make sure to use your personal social networks to maximum effect. Post on Facebook and ask people to re-post your postings for free book offers. Make sure to email everyone at work on the “internal” email (ask your boss first, of course!) Use your LinkedIn network to mention that you have a book out. What other networks are you a part of?

Try emailing top-selling authors in your category when you release the first installments of your work. Ask them to read the first one (by starting with serialized shorts, it makes it easier for other authors to try reading your work), or just ask them to post on their blog or Facebook. When I released Atopia, I had about five or six top-selling authors who posted to their readers for me!


It is critical to create a character that you introduce readers to right away that they can empathize with. People read still primarily because they want to feel an emotional involvement with a character they meet in your writing. Keep this front and center of your mind when writing.

Select Program on Amazon

Use the Amazon Select Program: You can offer your book for $0 (free) for 5 days each 3 months. Used effectively, this is an extremely potent tool for reaching an audience. There are at least 40 websites I use to promote a “free weekend” for my books (email me for a list) – these sites are mostly specific to books that go free on Amazon Select and are mostly free to use for promotion.

If you can plan it ahead of time, write out all of the parts of your serialized work ahead of time, and then each two weeks release one of them, promoting it on Amazon select for free and on the promotional websites. I can usually get 4000+ downloads of a free book when I do this.

Perceived Value

Create perceived value by offering a deal. For instance, try and divide your ‘whole’ work into 6 parts, and sell each for $0.99, and then offer the whole ‘collection’ at half price, e.g. $2.99 for all six. This creates perceived value on the part of the buyer when you start to sell the whole collection


If your work is not edited well, you will get killed in the reviews and in word of mouth. As a first pass, make sure to find some friends or family to have a look. If you can’t afford a professional editor, trying going on Craigslist and find some just-graduated English lit major to edit your book on the cheap. A “real” editor can be quite expensive, but there is no excuse to not get an external editor of some kind, and not getting one will kill your chances of success.

All free posting websites

Craigslist and other free online classified ads are the secret weapon for a new authors. It is incredibly difficult to get outside feedback when you are a new writer. My solution? Post an ad saying you’ll pay someone $10 or $20 to read your book and give you honest feedback. Note that this is not for line editing, but for high level feedback to make your story more engaging in an iterative process.

Bonus: Get 20 people to read your book like this; these people will probably become your biggest promoters and will be happy to write reviews and Facebook and tweet your book when released.

Free PR – When you release your book, create several press releases about different aspects of the book, what it is about, why people would like it. When you release each of the story segments, put these press releases up on the free press release websites. There are about a dozen high quality free release sites out there. Highlight that the short story that is free that week.


It is critical to get reviews as this has a direct impact on the Amazon ranking and recommendation system. YOU CANNOT do fake reviews. Apart from the ethical issues, Amazon has an impressive array of technical tools to make this very difficult. Instead, be honest and creative; use friends, family, co-workers; and see my point regarding Craigslist and getting people ready to punt for your project.


Find any and all ways to engage with your audience once you start to get readers. Do a video blog on YouTube about the process, do a regular blog showing progress on next books and stories, get people to your Facebook page. Just get engaged with them somehow!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kickstarter is not for the meek

Get everything in order before you do Kickstarter. Plan and plan some more.

If you are considering a Kickstarter, then be prepared to be working at it like a 40 hour a week job. You can’t just post and let it sit there. You have to continually campaign, champion your project, promote and update. You have to have a strategy. Plan like Batman.

Here are some words of wisdom from Max West after his failed campaign.

Remember...  Just Create!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Comic Book Sales Down in February

February always the weakest month.

Self-publishers and independent publishers should be aware that this has historically been true for years. Plan accordingly.

See more info at The Beat.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The San Diego Comic-Con Early Bird Hotel Sale

Book your  Comic-Con rooms now, if you want.

This special Early Bird Hotel Sale is only available BEFORE general housing opens. All rooms must be paid for in advance and are non-transferable. Get info here.

Watch out for the fine print!
  • Each room reservation requires full pre-payment at the time of booking.
  • Your full pre-payment is NON-REFUNDABLE.
  • Name changes and adding nights to your stay will be accepted through Travel Planners up to April 8, 2014.
  • After April 8, 2014, reservations are NON-TRANSFERABLE
  • The “Comic-Con Early Bird” hotel rates expire on April 8, 2014.
  • Reduction in room nights will not be eligible for refunds.

See more here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bill Waterson Returns! sort of...

'Calvin and Hobbes' creator Bill Watterson does first public cartoon in almost 2 decades

Cartoonist Bill Watterson created the cover art for comics film documentary, Stripped, on Wednesday, the first cartoon art the artist has released publicly since retiring the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip in 1995.

Stripped will be available on iTunes April 1. Read more and watch a trailer here: