Being A Creator Is All About Producing

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There’s things going on right now I just don’t want to blog about because it’s just so negative, so instead, I’m reflecting on how to make 2019 into something better than 2018 (which was pretty great as it was) and build a new movement from the ashes of the old one I started in early 2017.

The truth is, nothing matters on Twitter. There’s a short-sighted look at things that appears like a little mob on Twitter will matter for a career, or what that mob goes after will have an impact, and it definitely takes an emotional toll on the target when it happens, but the truth is, maybe 1-2% of the audience is on there, and everyone else doesn’t know what’s going on at all.

I’ve shifted a lot of my business these last couple of months working on Amazon and Facebook advertising, and it’s done wonders. People buy the books, they don’t know who I am, they enjoy them, and they don’t care about comic book politics. It’s pretty interesting. I believe this is the case with most creators out there who are seeing some success in the business.

All the readers care about is production. As long as you put out product, do it in a timely fashion, and have quality, they’ll keep coming back. That’s why I get messages from folk left and right who love my work even though I do a lot for the political cause in the culture war. It’s what differentiates me from a lot of other folk, and I’m going to continue with that in 2019.

I saw the other day that writer Donny Cates penned 80 comic scripts last year – EIGHTY! With that kind of output it’s inspiring and daunting at the same time. I do novels as well, which are a bit more time consuming than comics, but I want to double my output this year, and that’s what I’ll aim to do. The inspiring stories of people who work as hard as Cates only should serve as examples to us as writers.

Anyway, back to work. I hope you’re having a great 2019 so far and please check out my recent release, Guard Training, some of my best work to date. It’s standalone even though it takes place well into my steampunk world.

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Meme Of The Day: Anime And Subtitles

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It’s a new year… and I”m super sick and in bed not having the brain capacity to blog this morning. So I’ll just post up a meme and call it a day.

If you missed it yesterday, my comic Flying Sparks is now available in high rezz digital and print on the Arkhaven store. Bypass crowdfunding, amazon, all big tech with our new awesome distribution: 

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A New Year And New Innovations In Comics

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Unlike a lot of the guys who launched crowdfunds over the summer who are still struggling to try to get their works done and haven’t figured out what to do on distribution as they’re exploring the same tired traditional options which historically don’t move the needle at all, we’re continuing to innovate and make the books available at affordable prices for all, while producing so much great content it’s mind-boggling.

For the first of the year, I’m pleased to announce you can now avoid all evil-tech and still read Flying Sparks. No supporting Amazon, no IndieGoGo, it’s available direct and in a higher quality digital format than anywhere else.

Yes it’s now available as a CBZ from the Arkhaven Direct store! Read the book that’s launching my comic career, and get on board now, because I just finished up my dialogue edits for Flying Sparks Volume 2: Mob Ties and it’s going to blow you away.

Buy the CBZ here:

http://arkhavencomics.com/product/flyingsparks/

 

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Alt-Hero Novel Update And Cover Art

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If you missed Vox’s blog today for whatever reason, you’ll know that the title and cover for my Alt-Hero Novel was revealed — at least the line art for it.

 

Alt-Hero: Covert is coming in January!

As an ordinary high schooler, David Wright struggles with loneliness, stress, and a lack of purpose. There’s nothing special about to make him worth noticing by anybody. Being too ordinary, he realizes he might as well be invisible. One day, the invisibility becomes all too real as he finds himself disappearing in the middle of school.

Unable to control his powers, David registers with the U.N.’s Superhuman Protection Council for their new schooling and training program for young specials. His powers are spotted by the U.N. as useful for reconnaissance and spy work, throwing David far in over his head into matters of national security. 

All David wanted was to be someone who matters, but will the work he’s forced to do cost him his soul?  

If you’re new to my writing and what to see how my prose is, the best place to start as a comparison to what I’ll be doing for Alt-hero is The Steam Knight series, featuring James Gentry. Book 1 is only 99 cents and it’s a quick read so you’ll be able to check it out pretty easily. Read it here:

 

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2018’s Top 5 Game Changers In Comics

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There was a lot of shake up in the comic industry in 2018, and a lot of cool experimentation that went on. There were a lot of interesting developments in the industry as a result, though we’re partially only speculating their long term effects. Let’s dive in:

5. Matt Kindt –  Matt is the creator of Mind MGMT and this summer he launched a couple of projects which blew the doors off of the creativity of comics and what can be done with the medium. He bought a 2-color Reso Printer, learned the craft of printing and physically making comics himself, and did a comic which made sense in the medium. He made a chick-tract style comic that acted as a recruiting borchure for Mind MGMT with a twist. And finally, and most impressively, he made a “read along record” comic, which the story told in by the narrator was different than what you’d read on the page, and everything came together in a magnificent way. Utilizing comics in a way that pushes the boundaries of what the mediums can do makes Matt Kindt a game changer like few others in the industry.

4. Richard Meyer / Diversity & Comics –  Meyer made the transition from Youtube Commentator to creator, and it spurred a summer of incredible crowdfunds from people getting their foot in the door producing their own work. Earlier in the year, it looked like this was going to be a bigger long-term shake in the industry, but a lot of the momentum from the summer tapered off pretty quickly, so the long term effects have yet to be seen. Regardless, Meyer produced his Iron Sights and got it out, and he did shake the industry for a portion of the year.

3. Alterna Comics – Alterna comics has been chugging along for 10 years with their indie press. This year they really hit the map and got big when they came under fire for refusing to denounce a portion of their readers. They sold thousands of books in their online shop. Alterna is using “newsprint” to make comics cheap again, with price points on their books of $1.50 and $1.99 which makes them attractive compared to the big companies. They also have been working on alternative distribution methods and setting up a printer service for indie comic creators.

2. TKO Presents – This group came out of nowhere in recent weeks and had names like Garth Ennis, Joshua Dysart and Elizabeth Bretiweiser working on books for them. They are foregoing the comic shop business model for an experimental model on their website which is a 6 issue limited series — you can buy digitally, as issues, or as a TPB. The first issue is free as a sample and you have to buy the rest. This is a really neat way around the dying-comic shop model and worth watching to see how they succeed.

  1. Arkhaven Comics / Vox Day.  Really the biggest shift and getting people thinking about different business models came from Arkhaven. From day one, Vox has been about setting up online stores, alt-tech and alt-crowdsourcing platforms, making hundreds of thousands of dollars before anyone else decided to try to get in on the action, and continued it — even raising $130K in 2 days after IndieGoGo deplatformed the comic the first time. Akrhaven has been producing books directly to amazon and directly through its own online shop, print on demand so books go straight from the printer to the consumer. No holding stock, no mailing stuff out themselves, it’s revolutionizing the business in way that books were revolutionized years ago by Amazon. And comics are the next logical medium to go this route. They’re doing amazing things and it should be worth noting how they shape new business innovations in the years to come. With literary works like Right Ho, Jeeves adapted by Chuck Dixon, they’re doing more with comics than a lot of other small publishers on the content side as well.

Like my list? Check out my comics! Flying Sparks is available on amazon in both Print On Demand AND Kindle. And it’s got incredible reviews.

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Jon Del Arroz’s Year In Review

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Whew. What a year! I got a few comments toward the beginning of the year of “you really need to focus on putting out your books” from people sending concern to me… well, I did. I notice I didn’t get any accolades from those same people.  Oh well, can’t please the haters as we all know.

My original intention this year was to come out with books like this:

  1. The Stars Entwined
  2. Justified
  3. Colony Launch (this has gone through a few retitles)
  4. Von Monocle 2
  5. Alt Hero Novel
  6. Von Monocle 3

So 6 books on the year.

Plans changed as I decided to push Justified to a full trilogy written before I even release book 1. I’ve completed 2 of those books as of this writing and the 3rd is outlined and will begin in the next few days.

But further complicating the plans was comic books. I hadn’t intended to get heavily back into comics at the beginning of the year, but I found that this year MOST of my writing ended up being in comic book form. The other thing that happened was I wrote a quick novella for James Getnry to take a break, and that ended up becoming my hottest seller. It’s a business decision at the end of the day. So we ended up with a release schedule that looked rather different:

March: The Stars Entwined

July: Knight Training

August: Von Monocle 2

September: Von Monocle 3

October: Flying Sparks

November: Make Science Fiction Fun Again

December: Guard Training

So I came out with 7 books instead of the planned 6, though two of them were short novellas so really it’s about the same output.

Writing wise, I’d intended on doing Von Monocle 3, Stars Entwined 2, Alt Hero 1 and 2.  Instead I did Von Monocle 3, Sanctified, Alt-Hero 1, The Ember War Graphic Novel, Dynamite Thor Issue #1, Knight Training and Guard Training, and two other comics which have yet to see the light of day. I don’t count the short stories I put out to Patreon subscribers which just happen as “breaks”.

So again, while different than intended, the productivity might have actually exceeded my original ambitions. The Stars Entwined probably was the biggest disappointment, as it didn’t sell like I’d intended. I have a whole giant space opera planned there I’d love to get to but as it looks right now, I need to set it aside for the time being because Von Monocle and the comics keep selling so well. I’m hoping the Justified trilogy will do a bit better in that regard next year.

Flying Sparks had to be the biggest surprise success on the flip side. That did so well I really pushed my focus in the comics direction as I’ve mentioned. I’m working on a TON of content related to this as a consequence. Volume 2 will be crowdfunded early next year, we have The Meta-Man Special coming out soon, and we’re also working on volume 3.

Regardless, sales have been awesome, revenue wise I exceeded my expectations by 5x so I’ve moved from “This is a hobby” to “this is a serious business” over the course of the year. Also had a lot of great successes on selling short stories, of which I had 4 anthologies in the last couple of months put out more stories by me. Because of time considerations, I’ve switched to pretty much only writing Von Monocle tie-in shorts as of late — I figure if I submit those and they get rejected, I can always put out a Von Monocle short story collection when I get about 15 of them.

Von Monocle continues to sell. I’ve got a nice ad program and it’s working really nicely from what I’ve found, but won’t bore you with the details there. It’s been a great bonus that it keeps trucking along as a series. Book 2 is almost finished on the audiobook front, same with Knight Training.

In conclusion, despite the weird YouTubers turning on me in extremely bizarre fashion in the last couple months, 2018 has been a tremendous success. The Del Arroz train is still winning and we’re gonna win even bigger in 2019!

Make sure to grab my latest release!

 

 

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Some Cool Crowdfund Comics You Might Not Have Heard Of

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I know it’s closed to Christmas and we’re all tapped out on presents and the like, but splurge a little on presents for yourself. We’re here to help indie comics, that’s what we want to do to create a thriving replacement industry for the failed business model Marvel/DC have set up. And there is no rest in this business!

I’ve found some cool projects that I think are great and need your help:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/robot-western-the-comic-book-series#/

Robot Western. I like robots. I like westerns. This pleases me as a concept.

Apollo: Chariot Of The Gods

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/apollo-chariot-of-the-gods#/

A cosmic superhero adventure. I’ll be releasing my own like this next year sometime but for now, this can help you fill that itch.

Hero

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hero-book-1-full-color-kid-friendly-graphic-novel/x/7822803#/

An all ages book with some cute animal heroes.

Hiro: Blood of The Patriots

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hiro-blood-of-patriots/x/7822803#/

Super soldiers and some good pro-military themes.

The Wreck

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-wreck-into-the-breach/x/7822803#/

Some excellent sci-fi action

 

A great selection from you to choose from. Back some indie projects and support indie comics!

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Effective Conservative Artists Don’t Live In Fear

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Today we have the lesson brought to us by an artist named Mike Miller.

My history with Mike was a pretty simple one. Mike acted like a friend, had me on his live streams multiple times, because others in his immediate circle told him to. Once they told him not to, he bowed to social pressure immediately and barely had any communication with me. It’s tragic watching someone act like that, and it should have been the end of the story, but this week, Mike decided to join the pile-on attacks on me coordinated by Ethan Van Sciver and his hate mob.

Mike doesn’t attack in a “you’re a scum!” way, he’s a passive aggressive gamma male. So he came at me in the middle of this after their private DM group where they shit-talk against other creators non-stop was losing their minds on me in order to score points with them. He showed up on a thread of mine where I was pointing out how EVS’s crowd are hypocritical with a “What would Jesus do?”

A passive aggressive public insult to try to mock someone’s Christianity is certainly not what Jesus would do. As he’s wont to do, he wouldn’t stop. He went for hours, I attempted to reconcile the situation multiple times, but Mike laughed it off, called me crazy, mocked mental illness, rambled about how I associate with racists. He would not speak to reconcile, never messaged me in private, just kept on the attack.

Now this isn’t to condemn Mike for those, I’ve done that already, but we have a very important lesson for conservative artists wrapped in this: if you operate in fear for your livelihood, you’re going to lose.

The thing is, Mike has to do what he’s doing. EVS’s club is about creating drama and enemies so they can rant about people on youtube and get superchats. Ethan’s primary business is keeping youtube going, the comic book element of what he’s doing is not important to him. And unfortunately, this summer, Mike tied himself so hard to this guy, that he has no way to extricate himself without a hard landing with no parachute.

So he lives in fear.

Being A Conservative In the Arts

As conservatives, we are already at a disadvantage. You can’t go into “being a conservative in the arts” for the money. If you want money and mainstream notoriety voicing right wing views kills you.

Mike already burned his bridges hard by being an abrasive guy who’s passive aggressive about such views to the establishments in his field at Marvel/DC. He has NO way back to them.  As a comic artist, that’s career suicide. And unlike some others, Mike is no moderate. He’s a pretty extreme right winger. Yesterday he was championing the Border Wall independent funding project, laughing about how much money it was making to keep Mexicans out of the country. The things he’s said about homosexuals on public forums are cause to make anyone blink. The thing is, he’s already painted himself into the “extreme right wing corner” where he gets called racist, sexist, homophobe more than anyone else I know.

He can’t go back, and he knows it’s career suicide and he’s going to struggle feeding his family. As I understood it, he was in some pretty hefty debt before this whole comicsgate things began. He needed the Lonestar money badly, enough to do anything for it.

There Is No Trust Between Anyone In EVS’s Arena

Here’s where EVS came in. Mike was on his show day in and day out, the guy did raise tens of thousands of dollars for Mike. So Mike cannot risk crossing the guy.

When you’re a conservative in the arts and you cannot risk crossing people, it’s already a formula for trouble.

We cross people by existing. It’s what we do. We’re extremely controlversial because we voted wrong. Nothing can change that. Being in that situation, we have to know that social pressure to virtue signal against other right wingers is going to be CONSTANT, and we also know that engaging in that and going around pointing “racisssst” at people (as Mike did to several of my friends this week) and then going and slamming other conservative artists’ works (as he did with my Flying Sparks yesterday though I know he hasn’t read it), is detrimental.

The problem is Mike’s in .a tight spot. His recent IndieGoGo campaign got less backers than my second campaign The Ember War when his first did nearly 7x my backing. That big of a delta and swing is because people stopped trusting Mike, and a lot of the people he recruited from EVS don’t actually care about BOOKS. It’s the wrong audience that was targeted for expedient cash rather than trying to build something long term, but that’s another story.

Mike’s blown through the Lonestar money and needs it and sees the IndieGoGo Van Sciver train drying up, and doesn’t know what to do. But Van Sciver is still helping him with what remains of that train for a few thousand bucks now instead of tens of thousands, so Mike is afraid. He has to attack when his master says attack or he has not cash train left.

I’ve seen this happen to people before in conservative circles. This is why it’s so important to build your own platform, have your own thing and NOT rely on someone. EVS’s titanic is sinking fast, and they’re all running very scared because of it. They’ve got a group of people who aren’t on the right at all dictating things, harassing people, pointing and shrieking racist at everyone who crosses them, and Mike is in abject fear of that.

It’s a tragic story, and nothing can be done about it. I can’t repair things with Mike while he’s living in fear, because Mike will always be too afraid of a little backlash to do what’s right. His master Van Sciver requires people disassociate with others in order to please him, and one cannot serve two masters, as Jesus taught us.

The Lesson

If you’re a conservative in the arts, this is a lesson for you. Do your own thing, don’t care what others think. Don’t bow to social pressure ever. Build your own platform and don’t rely your family’s existence on someone–especiallly on a youtube/social media personality — because it’s a tenuous circumstance to start. E-fame almost never leads to people getting rich.

It may be slower building an audience, but sticking to your principles, sticking to producing (Mike is also 4 months late on his project and it’s looking like he’s going to be another 3-4 months if he gets it out at all) rather than joining in the chorus attacking other conservatives will get you the right fans: ones who are loyal and principled.

Loyal and principled are the type of readers I have, and I know that I don’t have to risk purity tests or offending them, so I can speak the truth without a problem.

Mike, brother, I’ll forgive you when the time comes (which I believe will be in the next year or so). But as of right now, even with forgiveness it’s going to be hard to trust you completely without some major changes to the way you operate. The ship is sinking, you can keep trying to ride it but it gets more dangerous as it falls further into the icy water. But also know this: it’s better to do what’s right early, before it’s cool to do so, because then people know they can trust and rely upon you as a man. That’s valuable.

I came out with Guard Training yesterday. James as a character is fiercely loyal, and he struggles as his King tells him something he doesn’t want to hear about his personal life. Can he do what’s right under social pressure? You’ll have to read to find out! 

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