I See The Same Mistakes In Every Culture War Battle

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Every time there’s a flare up, the folk who try to be fence sitters and moderates do exactly the same thing. They’re engaged in a battle because they’re attacked, or some of their friends are attacked, and they try to play a “voice of reason” in this. The problem is, when you’re in the middle of someone’s identity game, there is no reason, because identity is not a reasonable thing, it’s all outrage emotion .

These folk are usually on the conservative side of the aisle, but they don’t want to actually acknowledge the ID politics or full on culture war going on. And by doing so, they invariably lose and set back the cause.

I am vague posting a little bit because I’m watching something happen, and I am not going to just force someone’s involvement, but I am going to warn against what I see this person doing all the same, because it matters.

  1. You’re not going to get in with the left. If they have targeted you or your friends, you’re out. Despite their lines about diversity, they do not want diversity. They are in a full on culture war. Read history in Europe in the 1930s-1950s about communism, or China from 1970 forward. If you’re not a member of the party, you get ostracized, you’re just as suspect as the actual opposition. You get nowhere without joining them because they ARE in a full on identity war and you’re not their identity, therefore you’re the enemy.
  2. DO NOT APOLOGIZE DO NOT APOLOGIZE DO NOT APOLOGIZE. I see this so much, especially when someone does something so innocuous there’s nothing wrong with it. They think if they apologize for the slight they can get back in the good graces. The truth is, the apology just opens the door to bigger and stronger attacks. They’re going after you. They’ll push harder because they smell blood. SJWs are not in this because they genuinely care about getting something accomplished. Failed Tor author John Scalzi made a nice thread about this last year where he posited about “allowing someone back in” after their supposed thought crimes. He stated it would take 10-15 years of reparations to be able to even consider it. Do you want your life to be that? Don’t apologize.
  3. Yes, you’re going to get ostracized. But there’s no camp for the fence sitters. You’ll be stuck. Join us already because this is a culture WAR. The other side is fighting to win, if you want to survive, fight to win too.

And you can help fight by supporting folk on your side. We’re working hard to Make Science Fiction Fun Again and stop the nonsense. Check out the collection of great sci-fi stories in the book or on audio.

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A Phenomenal Review + The Lunch Stream with Brian Niemeier

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I received about the most substantive review of Flying Sparks to date last night from Elzibar. This person truly understands the importance of character to drive a story, and what I’m going for by proxy.  It’s not a puff piece, he has very good critiques on the book but on the story front, you can tell that I knocked it out of the park. My stories are going to be a cut above a lot of crowdfunded books in general, but don’t take my word for it, just get to where he says “I want to read more” — that’s exactly what a reader should be feeling at the end of a serialized book.

 

And today we’re going to have a NATIONAL EMERGENCY lunch stream, featuring Brian Niemeier and his new kickstarter project, Combat Frame XSeed (volume 2).  You’ll not want to miss this as Brian’s a great guest. You’ll want to tune in, and make sure to subscribe! We’re growing nicely and still need to get to 1K. It’s just a click!

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Never EVER Apologize to SJWs

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It’s 2019, and I feel like this has been beaten to death as a topic, but it still bears repeating as we now have the millionth example of someone hoping to get back in the good graces of SJWs who control publishing after explicitly VIOLATING THE NARRATIVE.

I need to point people to the great book SJWs Always Lie by Vox Day is the single best resource to see how SJWs will act, to be able to predict their behavior, and also to be able to recognize how you should act when you are under SJW attack.

We’ve seen as YA has blown up yet again with fake controversy, drummed up by a few authors jealous of a contract received by Amelie Zhao– who, the SJWs in publishing apparently decided to give their token Asian a $500,000 advance for her first published writing efforts. It was an insane move, and one meant to garner pats on the back from New York elites so they could show how diverse they are with “own voices” (a buzzword used in publishing which will send you down a terrible rabbit hole if you look up).

Despite her sacred minority woman status, she was targeted for VIOLATING THE NARRATIVE, and, instead of rightfully saying “Fuck you” to the censorship brigade who was fake outraged about her having a fantasy book with slaves in it (oh noes!), she pulled the book from publication. She has not made a statement since apologizing. She’s been mobbed. The New York Fake News Media actually came out and protected her to some degree because she’s a minority (which they hadn’t done for white authors in the past), but her brand is forever tarnished as she has been branded a racist. Her career will never be the same.

Keira Drake, a person who underwent much the same situation as Amelie Zhao a year ago, but as a white woman, took out an op ed in the New York Times to discuss “social media mobs.” I was pretty excited for this at first because I thought “finally, someone’s fighting back and doing what they’re supposed to do.” Until I read the article, which is why this needs to be restated.

Her article is spent apologizing for her work, where she “copied” Native American and Japanese cultures and made them into fantasy cultures in her book The Continent, a pretty standard trope in the fantasy genre. You can point to almost any culture in books and see parallels to real world cultures, and that’s part of the fun of the genre, being able to play with “what ifs” outside realism’s bounds. She was branded racist for this because of this fake outrage “cultural appropriation” where white people aren’t allowed to write anything under SJW rules. She was branded a racist. Her book was pulled and rewritten and delayed as a result, and the publishing industry threw her under the bus with very little marketing effort, and just let her flail in the wind against haters.

Unfortunately, Drake didn’t learn from the situation. It’s a year later, and the article keeps apologizing, saying her critics “were right.” This is a fatal mistake against SJWs. Their intention is not for you to have some actual inclusive book to make all the feels happy and everyone to get along — their intention is to destroy you because of your identity.

I repeat: they are disingenuous. They do not care about what they’re espousing. Do not ever take them at face value.

Drake is targeted because she’s white. She’s not getting the coddling from the media that Zhao gets because Zhao is not white. That’s all there is to it. They want a scalp, because much like Keira’s fantasy culture in her book, they are bloodthirsty savages. Keira’s changes to her original book were “not enough” — and they will never be enough, because this is a crazed mob, not a group of people seriously debating topics.

Think about it. Their whole point is topics and debate get shut down. They want white people to never write cultures outside of white experiences, yet at the same time white people need to write more diversity.  You must not write A, but you must write more A is the logical syllogism. It’s contradictory. The point is to remove white authors, nothing else. Over identity. Just like they’re complaining about identities being “marginalized” they want to force marginalization on another.

SJW attacks will happen, they can come out of nowhere, it doesn’t matter if you’re a good diversity liberal like Drake, or if you’re an evil right winger like me. They do try to pick easy targets, people who can’t psychologically handle the stress so they can bring them down.

There’s only two ways to handle the attack, as we see the result of Drake’s apologies — her career is in big trouble and she doesn’t have a support network because she said “they’re right” so she is not a cause to rally behind. Apology is not an option if you want to come out with your career or life intact. You can:

  • Fight It Directly
  • Keep your head down, do your work and act like it doesn’t exist (another form of fighting it)

I’ve seen both of these strategies work, and it depends on the type of person you are and what your identity type is. If you’re a white male, I don’t recommend the keeping your head down strategy because you will be perceived as aggressive at every turn. If you’re female, I’ve seen it work in certain situations. Those situations is where you’re NEEDED by the industry you’re in — to where you’ve reached critical mass to the point where you have to be able to produce your work and it’d cause your company a big loss to stop you. If you’re too small, you’ll still get screwed.

But fighting it is the best solution for most people. You will never be accepted by the SJW mob. Don’t try. They are not going to bring you into their tribe after scalping you. They always will sneer at you, it will always be uncomfortable at their conventions. There’s nothing you can do. They will view every action you take as evil, you can’t change it.

However, these are very weak people. They’re so weak minded they can’t even handle fantasy books after all. If you fight and say you’re good at what you do, screw SJWs, you can create a business for yourself. It’s going to be outside of the standard corporate business (because those are run by SJW mobs at this juncture, or at least people friendly to them), but you can thrive. I’ve done it. Vox Day has done it. Larry Correia has done it. Ethan Van Sciver has done it. It drives people INSANE how successful we are because we have our own platforms and it’s very hard to tamper with them. We make good money in our fields, and have such loyal fanbases it makes other authors very jealous.

The reason is because our audience knows they can depend on us. We’ll fight when it’s hard, we won’t bow to social pressure, we refuse to lose, we refuse to go away. People want to be around that kind of mentality, and for good reason, because if someone screws with our friends, we’ll react much the same way. We won’t abandon people. That kind of loyalty and kinship makes us more than just your average writer with disposable books, it make us a cause. And our cause is to fight this garbage outrage culture is win.

In conclusion, if you come under similar attack, fight. I’m here to help you. All of the names I listed above will help you as well. You can ask us questions and we’ll do our best for you. Reach out to us. We know how to do it. We know how to win. We’ll help you make your business great again.

In my book, The Blood of Giants, Zaira von Monocle travels to a strange continent where she faces off against savage jungle warriors. You can check it out here and support the cause with good fiction where I refuse to censor myself or my ideas.  

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When You Can Predict How Enemies React (SOTU Analysis)

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When you easily can predict how opponents will react, you can set a persuasive agenda that is unparalleled. We watched this in action in the state of the union address last night where President Trump has pushed the Democrats to go full tilt. I love watching this strategy in play because it’s useful on a smaller scale for people who understand the basic concepts here.

Let’s talk about the framework in which President Trump is operating: the Democrats have pushed the narrative that he is LITERALLY HITLER for several years, forcing that comparison to be so commonplace within their ranks, it makes them have to disagree with LITERALLY EVERYTHING he says. After all, you can’t compromise with LITERALLY HITLER, cuz we all know what happens if you do.

It’s a powerful rhetorical grenade, not for the Democrats (as most people find such comparisons exhausting at best), but for President Trump to use.

And he did so to great avail last night with imagery of holocaust survivors, world war two veterans, victims of anti-semitic attacks, and heroes who took down anti-semitic killers, all who President Trump PRAISED and appeared to support President Trump. The imagery in the minds that sticks is “This guy is the Anti-Hitler.”

And you watched as Democrats reacted tepidly. They knew they weren’t supposed to applaud. They knew Trump is LITERALLY HITLER… so what was he doing? But they were forced to clap because if they didn’t, they would have a very, very bad look. You can see it in their body language and expressions that the cognitive dissonance they suffered was very difficult for them. It was absolutely beautiful to watch.

And the polls agreed. 76% according to the very hostile CBS News poll approved of the speech, which means the real number is even higher. No one could be opposed to what Trump was saying made America great. If you are opposed to it, well, you might actually be a Nazi.

It was brilliant visually as a display, of course, especially in contrast to Virginia Governor Northam, who was shown in a picture with a KKK hood. This made powerful visuals again in Trump’s favor as several of the Democrats chose to wear solid white together. The link is clear in many Americans’ minds, and it was a bad look for Trump’s opponents. Moreover, because of Northam’s insane defense of post-birth abortion (which we will call infanticide from here forward), Trump used the visuals of the white KKK Democrats and holocaust to hammer the point that late term abortions are Nazi-level murder. It went beautifully.

And it forced the Democrats to oppose his agenda despite this powerful imagery on his side, pushing them into more extreme positions. Let’s look at what he proposed:

  • Banning late-term abortions (unlike Nazi Germany who tried to “abort” quite a bit of the population)
  • USA is not a socialist country (unlike Nazi Germany the imagery reminded us)
  • No endless wars (unlike Nazi Germany)
  • Negotiating and peace (Unlike Nazi Germany)
  • Healthy respect for God (Unlike socialist soviet Russia)

The points are very simple things pretty much all Americans can get behind, and the Democrats already fell right into the trap.

The response was canned, not even listening to or anticipating the speech, nor making any adjustment. Abrams rambled about her own life personally, as if she were some sort of victim because she lost an election. It fell utterly flat and gave no real contrast other than saying Republicans are bad. But we just were filled with imagery that Republicans love the things that we all agree made our country great. The economy is good. It looked very bizarre, and she may have just been made a sacrificial lamb because no one else wanted the job.

Second, Kamala Harris, a presidential candidate for the Dems, immediately made a post about “politicians shouldn’t tell women what to do with their bodies” – but in conjunction with late term abortion. Polling shows that about 29% of the populace thinks abortion should be legal “no matter what”. If you look at polls, around 20-30% believe ANYTHING, but it means the vast majority of Americans want limits. Late-term is a sensible limit and a bad optic for the candidate, because she can get blasted with pictures of fully formed babies, and most people agree that killing fully formed babies is bad.

Trump forced her into this position by taking a very reasonable position, and got his opponent to react because LITERALLY HITLER. And that is expert persuasion at work. The question is, how far are the democrats going to go to keep up their rhetoric? I can’t wait to watch and see.

If you like my content and analysis, consider supporting my Patreon. I put out a lot of short stories, comics, books, a huge amount of content for the value, and it also helps me support my blog, Youtube, and other cultural commentaries I provide. You can subscribe here.

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Burnt Out On Fake Outrage

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If there’s one thing the internet is good at, it’s fake outrage of the day. For the people stirred up, it isn’t even fake. The passions are real. But the reason people stir it up is for clicks and engagement, not about any concern about an actual topic.

The danger we run into is there are very real abominable things that occur, like the Virginia governor covering for killing babies, and it gets lost in the mix of all the fake controversies out there.

I try to only stick to real topics, real issues in our society that matter, but it’s getting overwhelming out there with people flailing from one topic to the next — it’s not even a political thing I can point to with the SJWs anymore, it’s just everyone trying to out-outrage each other for attention.

I’m hesitant to bring up examples of what I’m seeing these last few days, because I’ve gone into a couple of different forums pointing out problems I’ve seen with fake outrage both left and right — and I was met with hostile results both times. Trying to say “this narrative is bogus and a waste of everyone’s time” only gets a mob pointed at you for daring question them. Your loyalty gets questioned, you’ll become a target of “defending” whatever they’re outraged about, when your point is actually to try to help the group.

Because when someone not invested in the outrage story sees the outrage and sees people flailing like crazies over it, the optic is that the outraged people are the problem in the situation. It actually dilutes the topic they’re upset about because the story becomes about them. It turns off more people than it turns on about the topic.

So be careful with what you react to. If you react all the time in a panic, people will see you as a person who cries wolf. If you are measured except for rare instances when it really requires it, you’ll be more persuasive because people will know it’s something important that moves you.

Sorry to vaguebook today but I think putting any context will just make the wrong point and become a political team thing, which is not the intent of this post.

Did you know this blog costs money? It does! I have to pay for domain and hosting. Part of why I have a Patreon is so I can up my content game and cover projects like this, as well as help the up front art costs for comic projects. It helps me get a lot done to have the steady contributions, and I give a ton of value compared to a lot of other patreons just by how much I produce. Check it out here.

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Amazon’s Tampering With Castalia House Is A Lesson In Anti-Fragility

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For content creators, we rely on platforms. This blog is hosted. Amazon sells books. Indiegogo crowdfunds. Patreon provides a stable source. Youtube provides video advertising and discussion. Twitter provides interaction with fans.

It’s a necessary part of the game if one wants to have a full career where one is actually getting their content out to the consumers.

What occurred yesterday when Amazon took down all of Castalia House’s ebooks was not only a travesty for free speech, as it’s clear they were politically targeted, but also a frightening reality for content creators — you can have one of your platforms ripped away from you at any time.

When Vox spoke with Katrina and me on the lunch stream yesterday, one of the things that struck me is his saying “you’ll notice I’m calm about it.” I definitely did notice it, but the question is why? I’d be in a panic if I were in his situation.

It’s because he took precautions to set up other distribution outlets in the event of this occurring.

What happened when Amazon pulled the books is CH got a massive SPIKE in sales on their proprietary store, where all the books are not only listed — but in higher quality formats than is offered by Amazon.

The lesson is to have things set up in a way where death on one platform will not kill you.

Whereas I’m fairly reliant on Amazon for my books, I spread my business along a lot of different platforms. I mentioned most of them above, and it’s intentional so in case one of these big tech monopoly decides to mess with Your Favorite Hispanic Author (me), there will be options and alternatives.

I like Patreon because it has a nice tiered content delivery system which makes it easy and it accepts PayPal, which is big. It provides me a decent monthly base every month in which I can rely on to pay for a portion of my editing, art production costs, and do some extra things like make maps for my worlds and commission character sketches.

I like IndieGoGo because I can crowdfund projects like comics and cover my big art costs.

I like Amazon because I sell a lot of books there.

But at the end of the day, only really Amazon would hurt me if they were unfairly ripped away from me. The others I am aware of alternatives and have back ups planned. They’re not as slick as the main sites in terms of how they work, but I’d be able to recover and mobilize quickly to enable them.

And that’s important. Castalia House has taught us that it can be a matter of time before one of these platforms changes, stops being useful for sales, any number of things can happen. I have seen amazon change their kindle unlimited from a money making machine for authors, to when they cut royalty rates, to pittance compared to what people used to get. They can do the same with ebook royalties. What will you do as an author then?

I try to exist on as many platforms as possible. For marketing, it gives people a much higher chance to find me. For anti-fragility, not relying on one platform is crucial for survival.

Right now my hit award winning steampunk novel, For Steam And Country is on sale for 99 cents. Sales have gone through the roof. Have you tried it yet? Grab it at a very low cost before the sale ends!

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Introducing IndyCron

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Back on July 30, 2018, I unveiled IndieChron, crowdfund tracking of independent comics from my site here meant to highlight indie books and show how much of a dent they’re making in the industry from their successes.

The point was this: we would promote indie books, have a good spot for people to find links and be able to surf and find books they want as a kind of news aggregator.

It was a spreadsheet, I was updating by hand with Edwin Boyette, and while it served its purpose, it was ultimately taken by a twitterite named PixelTraitor who made a much better site out of it and so I let them do that.

The purpose was always support indie comics. It was always “whoever asks to be on, can be on”. Those was always our plan as, in July, my group I was involved with was very inclusive and wanted everyone who makes and loves comics to be a part. It was a true indie revolution for the positive.

That changed over the last month as this group got taken over by alt-left internet trolls who form harassment mobs to try to harm different creators of all stripes. The site that I allowed to take over from my spreadsheet began gatekeeping books off over personal politics between creators — the antithesis of what my movement and indycron were supposed to be about.

So I sent forth with a great guy Joey D (the programmer of IndyCron) to provide what it was always intended to be: a hostpot for news for indie comics. We’re upgrading the way it’s looked at with a focus now on promotion of indie works. We want it very clear and easy to read, something folk can find any book they choose and click on the books.

The best part is we don’t only track IndieGoGo, a site with about 1/100th the amount of indie comics that Kickstarter has — but we have the main kickstarter site as well. This helps us fully get the scope of what’s out there on the market. I’m also using a news feed to talk about comics the come out through other means and even have a pull list for indie comics in the comic shop.

It’s a TON of work. Just adding these and doing the blog and sourcing news weekly is going to be a chore. I don’t get paid from it, I’m paying for the hosting and site. This is all to help indie creators and readers have a very organized site where they can peruse and find projects they want to support.

Comics on the site don’t necessarily have my endorsement, as that’s not the purpose. This is a news website like anything else. If, say, Ethan Van Sciver puts up a book, I will list it. If Gail Simone puts up a creator owned book, I will list it. We at IndyCron will not discriminate as that’s not our job or roll here, just to promote indie comics.

Anyway, the site is here, so check it out.

And if you like what I’m providing and do want to support, please just check out my book, Flying Sparks: Meta-Man Special which I released directly to Amazon. Silver Age-style fun, $4.99. An affordable and available indie comic like everyone asked for.

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Everyone’s Talking Meta-Man!

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What a day! Despite having a hate campaign against me where several reviewers said they couldn’t review the book because they feared harassment from ComicsGate, some reviewers were very brave with their channels. Please give them likes and subscribes to let them know that people love them for being brave and being a REAL alternative to Marvel and DC!

And Bleeding Fool did a great article on the book which you can read here: https://bleedingfool.com/comics/del-arroz-releases-flying-sparks-prequel-meta-man/

We gotta support the media that’s reinforcing positive change in the industry or we’re going to get nowhere. It’s very important to give these guys clicks and love to make sure this can be a sustainable thing, just like it’s important to come out with monthly, affordable books on the creator side.

Even though the book got up a little late in the afternoon and the print edition got delayed by Amazon (it’s up now here amazon has it at a different link), it’s doing great:

Almost to that #1 spot. Help push Meta-Man over the top! 

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The Distribution Problem In Comics Is Solved

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Peter Simeti, owner of Alterna Comics, made a post inquiring as to whether would support a crowdfund to “make a new distribution system” for comics the other day. He’s interested to see what people would pay for that. Overwhelmingly, comics fans acknowledge Diamond Distribution’s role in being a problem for comics, and of course, the vast majority of Simeti’s followers voted yes, they would fund such an effort.

Here’s the thing — alternative distribution exists. Even Simeti has his own system where a comic shop can buy direct from him for cheaper than they can buy books at Diamond, though it requires certain quantities to do so. Just like all Distribution.

Comic shops have not adopted his platform very much however. Why? Because they put in their monthly orders from Diamond and 90% of the product they sell is available as a Diamond Exclusive. If they want to try to help Alterna, they’ll just buy a couple of books from there and not have to have a quantity minimum for shipping. They’re already in there to do their order, they don’t want to have to remember to do something new for $5-10 in profit a month.

Unless Alterna really creeps up on the Big-2 (which won’t happen in comic shops), their platform won’t matter.

It’s because the hard truth is the specialty comic shop is part of the distribution chain that is part of this monopoly. Marvel/DC > Diamond > Shops> Marvel/DC collecting customer base. It’s how it works. Customers buy mostly Marvel/DC at these shops and have forever. The percentages aren’t really changing. They will special order product for customers who ask for specific things that are coming out, but they’re not out there stocking the indie revolution. Regardless if my book Flying Sparks was available to every comic shop in the nation (it is, which I’ll get to), it doesn’t matter, they’re not going to grab it and feature it.

That chain isn’t something one can penetrate without being an Image Comics, and even then, Image only has a couple of big sellers and the rest are in the same obscurity land that Alterna or Kickstarter/IndieGoGo books are.

It’d be like trying to start a book store distributor for books, not carrying anything by the big 5 publishers, and throwing hands up and saying why isn’t Barnes & Noble buying from me.

The thing is, in books, other options were set up, and those other options won. They cut into the big 5’s almost full market share and now indie books represent almost 50% of the market. How did they do it?

The same way Arkhaven Comics has built what they have so far. The distribution system went out to a broader customer base, to everyone. Anyone can find the book and buy it at any time, and get it delivered free through Prime. If you don’t want to use Amazon as the outlet, you can buy direct through Arkhaven’s very own bookstore which the distributor handles its shipping and processing so they’re not in the business of holding a warehouse of print like it’s the 1980s, and hiring people to ship themselves.

That’s what a distributor does and is for. Getting the producers out of the shipping business, handling all that themselves so we are free to create product. Making the product available to people to purchse at any time. This is the modern way to do things, this is why Amazon’s won out in almost every industry so far (and why even Marvel/DC cater more toward Amazon/Comixology sales than a lot of specialty shop buyers) because there’s an ability to go wide there without a consumer having to travel ever increasing distances to a specialty book shop.

Arkhaven took great pains to set this up, has good printer discounts which make indie books cheaper and more hassle free than a lot of alternatives, it’s available in multiple formats (Kindle, CBZ digital, Print), and the books are ALWAYS available. The distribution system is a solid one and doesn’t rely on anyone else, which is the same way I’ve sold thousands of copies of my steampunk novels without the gatekeeping of big publishing or agents.

And the best part is, any quality comic creator could come, show up, make the deal and make it happen, as it has been since September lsat year. The only reason the clique on twitter won’t acknowledge it is because of a few YouTubers who don’t even represent 1% of the market share. Those YouTubers are bitter and don’t want a solution so they can keep complaining about problems. Stop listening to YouTubers who don’t care about comics, and start producing and paying attention to the actual solutions in the industry.

You can get Flying Sparks on Amazon or through the Arkhaven Bookstore direct. I ran out of my initial print run, but it’s still available cuz of this awesome distribution system–and even better, we’re able to charge lower prices than I originally anticipated because of it. Check it out and pick up the book now.

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