The Complete Creative
Rising from the Ashes and writing over 75 novels with USA Today bestselling author Ann Gimpel

Rising from the Ashes and writing over 75 novels with USA Today bestselling author Ann Gimpel

February 25, 2020

Today on the show I’m talking to USA Today bestselling author Ann Gimpel.

Ann Gimpel is a USA Today bestselling author. She’s also a mountaineer and vagabond at heart. She’s stood on top of some really gnarly peaks, and discovered that Zen mindfulness comes in very useful when the only other option is screaming your lungs out or curling into a fetal position because you’re too scared to do anything else.

I met Ann at Loscon last November when we sat on a panel together, and I was just so impressed by everything she had to say about writing and building a career. I later found out that she’s written over 75 novels, and attained a level of success in publishing that most authors can only dream to achieve.

After the show, we became friends, and recently she put together an anthology of stories to support the victims, both animal and human, of the horrendous fires in Australia. I gave a story to that anthology, and since it’s now live on all platforms, we wanted to do an episode of the show to support it and raise funds for the project.

All proceeds go straight to relief efforts on the ground in Australia.

Rising from the ashes book link

 It just so happens that I have my own anthology launching next week, so anthologies have been on my brain, which makes this perfect timing.

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • Why Ann will never go into Kindle Unlimited
  • How to self edit more effectively
  • How to maintain the stamina to write 75 books
  • How to research better

And much more. If you love this one, make sure to head over to https://anngimpel.com and tell Ann how much you appreciated her stopping by for a chat.

And if you are enjoying the show please rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes by clicking here, or find us wherever you download your episodes. 

Digging deep on anthologies with editor Terry Cronin

Digging deep on anthologies with editor Terry Cronin

February 18, 2020

Welcome back Wannabes and Creators to another episode of The Complete Creative. I'm changing up the show notes this week. I've been having my editor write these notes for the past few weeks, but this week I'm back at the helm. In two weeks my biggest project of the year launches, the second volume of my epic anthology series, Cthulhu is Hard to Spell. 

Because of that, I've got anthologies on the brain, and I'm going to be talking about them a lot in the next month. This week, I'm talking to Terry Cronin, editor of The Healing, which is live on Kickstarter right now. 

The Healing link

Terry Cronin is a writer, filmmaker, and the creator of the Horsepower G comic book. He is also the writer of The Skinvestigator novel trilogy, along with the editor of The Healing, An unforgettable superhero comic tale by a collaborative group of 10 writer/artist teams each telling a chapter of the story. It's an anthology series, but Terry had a huge part in forging the overall story, providing beat sheets to each creator, and pairing them up with superstar artists like, Larry Waits, Barry Kitson, Lee Oaks, Sergio Cariello, Ben Herrera, and more.

We dug deep on the process of creating an anthology in this episode, from finding artists to hiring writers to how to write a good piece of short fiction. Listen to this one if you want to learn: 

  • How to fund an anthology
  • Why anthologies are a lot like mixtapes
  • How to pace an anthology
  • How to get chosen to be in an anthology
  • How to write a great anthology story

And much more. 

Dealing with anxiety, depression, and burnout with New York Times bestselling author Dr. Debra Holland

Dealing with anxiety, depression, and burnout with New York Times bestselling author Dr. Debra Holland

February 11, 2020

Join Russell Nohelty (The Complete Creative) and Dr. Debra Holland (psychotherapist) as they chat about Dealing with anxiety, depression, and burnout.

By the end of this episode, you will learn much about how to properly deal with anxiety, depression and burnout. You will also learn a lot about writing different genre of books, and a lot of other great stuff from both Russell and Debra. Enjoy!

~

Debra Holland is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of the award-winning Montana Sky Series (sweet, historical Western romance) and The Gods’ Dream Trilogy (fantasy romance.)

Debra is a three-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist and one-time winner. In 2013, Amazon selected Starry Montana Sky as one of the Top 50 Greatest Love Stories.

When she’s not writing, Dr. Debra works as a psychotherapist and corporate crisis/grief counselor. She’s the author of The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving, a book about helping people cope with all kinds of loss, and Cultivating an Attitude about Gratitude, a Ten Minute Ebook. She’s also a contributing author to The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the interview.

You can find Debra on...

https://www.debraholland.com/
https://twitter.com/drdebraholland
https://www.facebook.com/Debra-Holland-395355780562473/

 

Connect with Russell Nohelty
http://thecompletecreative.com/
https://www.facebook.com/russellnohelty
http://facebook.com/thecompletecreative/
https://www.instagram.com/russellnohelty/

[REBROADCAST] Traditional vs. Self-Publishing with World Fantasy Award Winning Author Tim Powers

[REBROADCAST] Traditional vs. Self-Publishing with World Fantasy Award Winning Author Tim Powers

February 4, 2020

This week on the show we have Tim Powers, Philip K. Dick award-winning science fiction and fantasy author of Dinner at Deviant’s Palace and On Stranger Tides. I met Tim at Loscon and he made an offhand comment about how nobody should ever self-publish their book. I asked him to come on the show and make his case, and he agreed! This is his bio, straight from Wikipedia:

Timothy Thomas ”Tim“ Powers (born February 29, 1952)[1] is an American science fiction and fantasy author. Powers has won the World Fantasy Award twice for his critically acclaimed novels Last Call and Declare. His 1988 novel On Stranger Tides served as inspiration for the Monkey Island franchise of video games and was optioned for adaptation into the fourth Pirates of the Caribbeanfilm.

Most of Powers’ novels are “secret histories“. He uses actual, documented historical events featuring famous people, but shows another view of them in which occult or supernatural factors heavily influence the motivations and actions of the characters.

Typically, Powers strictly adheres to established historical facts. He reads extensively on a given subject, and the plot develops as he notes inconsistencies, gaps and curious data; regarding his 2000 novel Declare, he stated,[2]

“I made it an ironclad rule that I could not change or disregard any of the recorded facts, nor rearrange any days of the calendar – and then I tried to figure out what momentous but unrecorded fact could explain them all.”

Tim has been a published writer for a long time, and I really enjoyed his perspective on writing. Even though I don’t agree that there is never a reason to self-publish. He laid out his case very well for why somebody should look for a publisher, and even how to do it. I really enjoyed toward the end of the interview when he went through the step by step process for how to get a book published. It was a brilliant strategy, and even though he’s not a marketing person he clearly has some marketing in him because it’s genius in its simplicity.

I also really liked what he said about how to find an agent. Yes, he went through the exact process you should use to find an agent toward the end of the interview and it was great. There is a secret piece of the puzzle you need before getting an agent interested, and the way he talks about it is just fantastic.

The four publishers he talked about in this interview that accept unsolicited manuscripts are TorDawBaen, and Ace. I know I’m going to look into them and if you have a qualifying book then you should too.

If you liked this episode, please head on over to Tim’s Facebook page and website to say thanks. If you like the show, please head on over to iTunes. Rate, review, and subscribe today.

If you want to check out my Kickstarter Toolkit, the free resource I designed to help you launch your own project, filled with everything I’ve ever said about Kickstarter on my blog and podcast, click here.

Following your Hollywood dreams with filmmaker Kris Wile

Following your Hollywood dreams with filmmaker Kris Wile

January 28, 2020

Join Russell Nohelty (The Complete Creative) and Kristopher Wile (filmmaker) as they chat about Following your Hollywood Dreams and talk about other cool stuff related to film making.

By the end of this episode you will learn much about the film making industry, tips on how to become a successful film maker, and a lot of cool stuff as they share both their experiences in film making. Enjoy!

~

Kristopher Wile was born in Greensboro, North Carolina to Eric and Belinda Wile. He began writing at an early age and would often bring along pen and paper on family vacations, only to have filled them with short stories by the end of the trip. Kristopher attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he began studying History and Classical Archaeology with the intent of entering academia as a professor of Near Eastern Archaeology.

While at Chapel Hill, he stumbled onto the Carolina Production Guild, a student run production company devoted to the art of celluloid filmmaking. It was through his involvement with CPG that he filmed his first short film on Kodak Super 8mm film stock. The experience awakened his love of film and motivated him to pursue a career in entertainment. After moving to Los Angeles, Kristopher founded the production company Aureate Films with business partner Wally Schrass to produce commercials, music videos, and feature length content.~

 

I sincerely hope you enjoy the interview.

You can find Kristopher on...

https://www.instagram.com/kwiledirects
https://www.instagram.com/aureatefilms/
https://aureatefilms.com/

 

Connect with Russell Nohelty
http://thecompletecreative.com/
https://www.facebook.com/russellnohelty
http://facebook.com/thecompletecreative/
https://www.instagram.com/russellnohelty/

How to build a personal brand and publish books with Humanoids senior editor Fabrice Sapolsky

How to build a personal brand and publish books with Humanoids senior editor Fabrice Sapolsky

January 21, 2020

Join Russell Nohelty (The Complete Creative) and Fabrice Sapolsky (Humanoids senior editor) as they chat How to Build a Personal Brand and talk about the right approach and mindset when building a brand.

By the end of this episode you will learn a unique perspective on the subject of building a brand, the right approach and mindset to be successful, and a lot of great stuff as they share both their experiences in brand building. Enjoy!

~

Born in Paris (France), in 1970, Fabrice Sapolsky broke into the comic book world as creator of the French magazine about American comics Comic Box in 1998. But in December 2006, he wakes up one morning with the idea of alternate reality Spider-Man set in the 1930s. After sharing his idea with David Hine, they both decide to pitch it to Marvel comics as Spider-Man Noir. The first mini-series, will be published between Dec.2008 and March 2009. A second series, Spider-Man Noir: Eyes without a Face follows a year later (Dec.2009-March 2010). Both series have been blessed with critical and commercial success.

On top of his numerous activities, Fabrice created and curated his own comic book convention! After meeting with President of the Kol Israel Synagogue, Fred Polaniecki, Fabrice decides to create a convention like no other: the Jewish Comic Con. This convention, not a Jew-Centric con, is as much a celebration of the founders of the comic book industry (where 90% of the creators happened to be jewish) as a place to bridge communities of Brooklyn around a fantastic medium (comics, of course). The first edition took place on November 13th, 2016. A second one happened on April 29th, 2018.Fabrice Sapolsky edits, designs, draws and, of course, writes. He has many projects in development and likes the quote : “To Be Continued”.

~

I sincerely hope you enjoy the interview.

You can find David on...

https://fairsquarecomics.com/
+1 (323) 405-9401
https://twitter.com/fabricesapolsky
https://www.instagram.com/fabricesapolsky/---

 

Connect with Russell Nohelty
http://thecompletecreative.com/
https://www.facebook.com/russellnohelty
http://facebook.com/thecompletecreative/
https://www.instagram.com/russellnohelty/

Building the career of your dreams with artists Kristine and Colin Poole

Building the career of your dreams with artists Kristine and Colin Poole

January 14, 2020

Join Russell Nohelty (The Complete Creative) and Kristine and Colin Poole (artists) as they chat about building the career of your dreams.

By the end of this episode you will learn how networking can help you, use shows and social media to grow brand, get some pointers to stretch your mind to be more creative, and a lot of fun stuff especially in the world of entertainment. Enjoy!

~

Colin and Kristine Poole are partners in both art and life. Kristine, a sculptor and Colin, both a painter and sculptor, work both individually and collectively. As Colin describes their sculptural collaborations, “We are both completely involved in all aspects of the process from the beginning. There isn’t any part that we don’t both have our hands in, both literally and figuratively.” Kristine adds, “We both bring specialized backgrounds to the table – my extensive background in ceramic sculpture and anatomical study is the perfect complement to Colin’s 25 years of experience as a professional painter and sculptor.”

~

I sincerely hope you enjoy the interview.

You can find Kristine and Colin on...

Colin and Kristine Poole
http://www.colinpoole.com/
http://www.kristinepoole.com/
https://www.instagram.com/kcpooleartists

---

Connect with Russell Nohelty
http://thecompletecreative.com/
https://www.facebook.com/russellnohelty
http://facebook.com/thecompletecreative/
https://www.instagram.com/russellnohelty/

Surviving Creative Burnout with Hugo winning author David D. Levine

Surviving Creative Burnout with Hugo winning author David D. Levine

January 7, 2020

Join Russell Nohelty (The Complete Creative) and David D. Levine (Hugo Nominated author)  as they chat about Surviving Creative Burnout and Give some tips on how to be successful with your writing career.

By the end of this episode you will learn survival tips from having creative burnout, define your own brand of success, and you’ll also learn how to balance your passion and business. Enjoy!

~

Although he has a long interest in reading and writing science fiction, he began as a writer of technical articles. He has primarily written short fiction; his first professional fiction sale came in 2001.

A long-time member of science fiction fandom and early member of MilwApa. He also co-edited a fanzine, Bento, with his late wife, Kate Yule, and has served as Convention Committee Chair for Potlatch. His short story "Ukaliq and the Great Hunt" appeared in The Phobos Science Fiction Anthology Volume 2 (2003).

Although he grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Levine now lives in Portland, Oregon. In 2010, he spent two weeks in a simulated Mars habitat of the Mars Society, in Utah.

~

I sincerely hope you enjoy the interview.

You can find David on...

Website: https://daviddlevine.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/david.d.levine.sf

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/daviddlevine/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/daviddlevine

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Connect with Russell Nohelty
http://thecompletecreative.com/
https://www.facebook.com/russellnohelty
http://facebook.com/thecompletecreative/
https://www.instagram.com/russellnohelty/

[LIVE] How to dominate on social media in less than one hour a week

[LIVE] How to dominate on social media in less than one hour a week

December 31, 2019

Join Russell Nohelty (The Complete Creative) as he talked about How to dominate on social media in less than one hour a week during a live show from World Fantasy convention in 2019.

By the end of this episode you will learn how to utilize social media properly, mastering one social media platform is much better using all social media platform at the same time, and spend less time while reaping the full benefits social media can give to you. Enjoy!

 

~

Hi. I'm USA Today Bestselling author Russell Nohelty. I write the books you read. Some of them at least. Well, I hope you read my books. I guess that's a bit of a presumption on my part. At least I hope you read my books now if you haven't already. That would be cool.

I like to think of myself as Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, John Green, and Chuck Palahniuk's love baby. If you like them, you're almost guaranteed to like my stuff.

The goal of my writing is to combine entertaining plots with thought provoking ideas. I hope to incite conversations with the stories that I tell, but without the impossible density some literary novels face when dealing with difficult subjects.

I love thinking about reality, perception, righteousness, justice, religion, piety, love and the origins of it everything. Since that's what I love thinking about, it's also what I love to write, but I try to do so in an entertaining way real human people can enjoy. To me, entertainment is paramount.

---

 

Connect with Russell Nohelty
http://thecompletecreative.com/
https://www.facebook.com/russellnohelty
http://facebook.com/thecompletecreative/
https://www.instagram.com/russellnohelty/

Finding the rhythm of your creative career with composer David Raiklen

Finding the rhythm of your creative career with composer David Raiklen

December 24, 2019

Join Russell Nohelty (The Complete Creative) and David Raiklen (composer-producer-host) as they chat about finding the rhythm of your creative career and give their perspective on living a complete creative lifestyle.

By the end of this episode you will learn a unique perspective on how to advance your career through being creative, get some pointers to stretch your mind to be more creative, and a lot of fun stuff specially in the world of entertainment. Enjoy!

~

David Raiklen is a composer-producer-host. He was mentored by Oscar winner John Williams and Pulitzer Prize winner Mel Powel. Dr. Raiklen studied at USC and CalArts and later taught at those universities. He has worked for Fox, Sony, Disney, Sprint, Mattel, Warner Bros and PBS, plus many independent producers. Films he scored have starred Elliott Gould, Doug Jones, and Martin Sheen. David made the New York Film Critics Top Ten with the documentary Heist, the short list for an Academy Award® for Worth, and Mia, A Dancer’s Journey won the Emmy.

David Raiklen compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and Disney Hall. He is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club, where guests include Joshua Bell and John Williams; and is host and leader of The Academy of Scoring Arts seminars. David is currently producing and composing for Space Command, a series of epic adventures set in a hopeful future, and creating a Virtual Reality experience.

~

I sincerely hope you enjoy the interview.

You can find David on...

Be Friends https://www.facebook.com/david.raiklen

Space Command Pilot https://youtu.be/o9bDvJnrOyI

Sound Cloud https://soundcloud.com/cinematicmusic1

Website: http://davidraiklen.com/wp/

email: cinematicmusic1@gmail.com

youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzxmcE0I6UbomGFne0pb85w

---

Connect with Russell Nohelty
http://thecompletecreative.com/
https://www.facebook.com/russellnohelty
http://facebook.com/thecompletecreative/
https://www.instagram.com/russellnohelty/

How to be successful writing in a niche with author Chrishaun Keller Hanna

How to be successful writing in a niche with author Chrishaun Keller Hanna

December 17, 2019

This week’s episode is Chrishaun Keller-Hanna. I’ve known Chrishaun for a while, and she’s one of my book marketing clients, but then I was listening to the Sell More Books show and heard her as the guest host, and completely went digging to learn everything I could about her.

She’s the real deal. Mentored by Michael Anderle, she learned from all of his successes and failures, and then went to launch her own successful series. Chrishaun talks about her journey to success including all the bumps along the way.

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • How to be successful in a niche
  • How to diversify your offerings beyond just your core product
  • How to make sure your community functions like a living organism
  • Why geeking out about the things you love is so important to your success

And more.

If you liked this episode, go find Chrishaun on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram and let her know how much you enjoyed it. Also, find her Shaman States of America on this website.

Make sure to subscribe to this podcast, too, and visit www.thecompletecreative.com for tons of awesome resources that can help you build your own creative career.

 

Dominating the convention scene with artist Megan Risk

Dominating the convention scene with artist Megan Risk

December 10, 2019

Join Russell Nohelty (The Complete Creative) and Megan Risk (The Art of Megan E. Risk) as they chat about Dominating the convention scene and Tips to be a successful artist.

By the end of this episode, you will learn as an artist how to use your creativity to be successful in a convention scene, to do what you love and be successful, and how being adaptable can help you with your career as an artist. Enjoy!

~

Megan Risk has been an art student since freshman year of High School. As a kid, she was always drawing. None of it was miraculous or evidence of her being any kind of child savant in art, but it was always very detailed and people seemed to like it. She enjoyed making things, so it worked out for everyone

Then she started to understand the fundamentals and realized what she could actually do with a pencil and paper or a brush and canvas. Even clay. And it just never stopped. She wants to learn everything, knowing she never will, but as long as she’s learning SOMETHING, she is happy.

In 2014, she started my creative business online where she sold hand-dyed and handspun yarn as well as crocheted items for those who don’t have time. She took drawing portrait commissions at the same time and supplemented her income while she worked as a sushi chef, which is what she originally thought she would be building a career in. She realized one day that it wasn’t. Where she has a deep respect for sushi making and working in a professional kitchen and will never forget the discipline and friends (and family) She gained along the way, every second she spent away from my artwork of the non-food kind felt like she was that much closer to shriveling up. SHE NEEDED to draw.

In January 2017, Megan gave up my day job and went full time into freelance art. Her bread and butter has been conventions and it’s been an ABSOLUTE BLAST. She can’t even believe this is my life right now.

~

I sincerely hope you enjoy the interview.

You can find Megan on...

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/meganerisk/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeganERisk/

Website: https://www.meganrisk.com/

 

This is the Kickstarter she talks about for her super creepy short story art book:

 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/marionette/marionette

 

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Connect with Russell Nohelty
http://thecompletecreative.com/
https://www.facebook.com/russellnohelty
http://facebook.com/thecompletecreative/
https://www.instagram.com/russellnohelty/

What it takes to make a living as an artist with Naomi VanDoren

What it takes to make a living as an artist with Naomi VanDoren

December 3, 2019

This week I talk to one of my favorite fantasy artists, Naomi VanDoren, about what it takes to build a brand that sticks and endures for the long haul. I still remember the first time I saw Naomi's art at Worldcon 2018. I literally stopped dead in my tracks because I loved it so much, and then spent the next 15 minutes gushing about it to her. In the years since, I've spent a lot of time with Naomi at shows and grown to treasure her not just as an artist, but as a friend and fellow artrepreneur. 

This episode we talk about how to build a brand from scratch, what it takes to make a living as an artist, and how to transition into authorship after years as an artist.

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • Learn how to experiment with your art effectively
  • How to figure out what you’re passionate about
  • The secrets to growing your brand
  • How to evolve your brand over time

And more.

You can check out Naomi’s work at:

https://www.naomivandoren.com/

Make sure to go to her site b/c she has one of the most cohesive art brands you will ever see.

If you liked this episode, go find Naomi on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram and let her know how much you enjoyed it. Also, subscribe to her Youtube channel for some awesome resources and beautiful process videos.

Make sure to subscribe to this podcast, too, and visit www.thecompletecreative.com for tons of awesome resources that can help you build your own creative career.

 

How to raise $43,000 on your first Kickstarter with Melissa Pagluica

How to raise $43,000 on your first Kickstarter with Melissa Pagluica

November 26, 2019

This week’s guest is artist and creator Melissa Pagluica, writer and artist for the Above the Clouds series, which raised $43,000 on Kickstarter.

Oh, and did I mention that was her first campaign?

This episode, we dig deep into what made her campaign, and her career work, what she does to keep going, and how she found success.

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • How to write comics where the words don’t overpower the art
  • How to plan ahead in your writing
  • How to create an enduring fandom
  • What’s most important for Kickstarter success

And more.

There were also a couple of books that Melissa mentioned on this episode:

-Invisible Ink by Brian McDonald (she said McCloud) can be found here.

-Wired for Story by Lisa Cron can be found here.

You can also read all of Above the Clouds at:

http://www.atcloudscomic.com/

If you liked this episode, go find Melissa on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram and let her know how much you enjoyed it.

Make sure to subscribe to this podcast, too, and visit www.thecompletecreative.com for tons of awesome resources that can help you build your own creative career.

How to build a sustainable hybrid writing career with Neo Edmund

How to build a sustainable hybrid writing career with Neo Edmund

November 19, 2019

This week’s guest is Neo Edmund, author of the Alpha Huntress series, several Power Ranger books for Random House, and animation writer for such shows as Kaijudo.

Neo has taught me so much over the years, and I am excited that I got to have this conversation with him. Neo taught me all about panels, and tabling at conventions, and what makes a book sell while I was just getting my feet wet as an author.

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • How to take risks strategically
  • Why even if you’re scared you should do it anyway
  • How to interact with fans at conventions
  • Why writing a thousand books a year doesn’t matter much

And more.

If you liked this episode, go find Neo on Facebook at www.facebook.com/neoedmundauthorguy or Twitter www.twitter.com/neoedmundx and let him know how much you enjoyed it.

Make sure to subscribe to this podcast, too, and visit www.thecompletecreative.com for tons of awesome resources that can help you build your own creative career.

The free course I talked about in the intro can be found at www.thecompletecreative.com/fbc

 

How to sustain a 50 year comics career with legendary writer and creator of The New Teen Titans Marv Wolfman

How to sustain a 50 year comics career with legendary writer and creator of The New Teen Titans Marv Wolfman

November 12, 2019

This is my first new guest on my podcast in over 18 months.

I’m so thrilled to be back, and I’m excited to get back to it. This podcast has always been near and dear to me. It’s the one thing I always regretted giving up, so to be able to be back on the air is very special to me.

I wanted to give you a guest as special as this moment entails, and that was a tall order. I have been planning this launch for over a year, and almost immediately I knew who I wanted to kick us off.

My good friend Marv Wolfman. Marv is a living legend in comics and one of the most successful creators working today. I say that without an ounce of sarcasm, either.

Marv has had a 50+ year career. He created the Teen Titans, Deathstroke, Nova, Blade, and hundreds of others, as well as writing every character you can imagine. He was the editor in chief of Marvel comics for a time, as well as Disney comics, and more. He's also the architect of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, with CW is retelling through all five of their shows. 

This was a treat to record, and I’ve been planning this whole relaunch on this interview. I was a wee bit nervous, but I think it turned out amazing.

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • How to develop a character that enters the public zeitgeist
  • The biggest change to creating in the last 50 years
  • How to break down a story that keeps readers guessing
  • How to build a sustainable career

And more.

If you liked this episode, go find Marv on Facebook, Twitter, or on his website at:

http://www.marvwolfman.com/marv/frontpage.html

Make sure to subscribe to this podcast, too, and visit www.thecompletecreative.com for tons of awesome resources that can help you build your own creative career.

The free course I talked about in the intro can be found at www.thecompletecreative.com/fbc

[NEW] Why I’m relaunching The Complete Creative podcast with USA Today bestselling author Russell Nohelty and Comixlaunch founder Tyler James

[NEW] Why I’m relaunching The Complete Creative podcast with USA Today bestselling author Russell Nohelty and Comixlaunch founder Tyler James

November 5, 2019

This is it. The first new episode of my podcast in two years.

I have been so anxious for the past couple of months waiting to officially launch this baby, and now it is up and out into the world. The response has been incredible for even the replays we’ve put out the last couple of weeks, but now this is the real deal, and I wanted to do something special for my first show back.

I wanted to do an episode that explains my journey over the past couple of years, and why I’m bringing the show back now. This is a crucial piece of the puzzle, because I was rather definitive when I walked away from it in 2017, so bringing it back is a BIG THING for me.

I don’t dwell on a lot of regret in my life, but I have always regretted giving up this show. In many ways, it’s the only thing I’ve ever regretted in my creative life.

In order to help me along in this episode, I brought in my good good friend, Tyler James from the Comixlaunch podcast. He’s a wonderful interviewer and a great friend. I couldn’t think of a person who I would rather have interview me, as he has interviewed me for his show more than anybody else.

Next week, we have my first new guest in two years, Marv Wolfman, creator of the Teen Titans, and a legendary writer, who has had more characters developed for the screen from his work than anybody in comics except for Stan Lee.

But for now, I hope you enjoy this episode. If you do, please head on over to www.thecompletecreative.com and check out everything else I have to offer on the site. And please rate, review, and subscribe on your favorite podcast app today, on the right-hand side of the website.

You can find me on Twitter (@russellnohelty), Facebook (@russellnohelty), or Instagram (@russellnohelty).

Please also subscribe to the Comixlaunch podcast, and find Tyler on Twitter (@tylerjamescomic) or Comixlaunch on Facebook (@comixlaunch) to tell him how much you enjoyed the show.

[REPLAY] The Secret to getting ahead in comics with Marvel writer Jim Zub

[REPLAY] The Secret to getting ahead in comics with Marvel writer Jim Zub

October 29, 2019

This is it! The most popular show in the history of The Business of Art, back before the rebrand and the name change.

Today on the show we have Jim Zub (www.jimzub.com).

If you like this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you listen to podcast, whether it’s iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or any other aggregator.

Jim is an icon in indie comics for the candid way he talks about the ups and downs of making stuff. If you don’t know him, here is his bio from www.jimzub.com.

Jim Zub is a writer, artist and art instructor based in Toronto, Canada. Over the past fifteen years he’s worked for a diverse array of publishing, movie and video game clients including Marvel, DC Comics, Capcom, Hasbro, Cartoon Network, and Bandai-Namco.

He juggles his time between being a freelance comic writer and Program Coordinator for Seneca College‘s award-winning Animation program.

His current comic projects include Dungeons & Dragons, a new series celebrating 40 years of the classic tabletop RPG, Thunderbolts, the return of Marvel’s villainous superhero team, and Wayward, a modern supernatural story about teens fighting Japanese mythological monsters.

So the reason I brought Jim on the show wasn’t because of Skullkickers, or his work on Thunderbolts, or even Wayward. It was because of an article he wrote about the economics of his book Skullkickers, and how much money he made on it over time. It was a fantastic breakdown of how even a book that is deemed successful might be losing money at the beginning as it builds an audience. I thought it was such a fantastic and candid look at the industry that I’ve been a fan ever since.

The weird thing is that we barely touched on that article. We did talk about it for a couple of minutes, but the thing we talked about most of all was treating people like human beings. Whether it’s your artists, or editors, or the press, or publishers, it seems more and more that people get forward by having a little empathy.

I’m dealing with this right now as I record my 31 tips in 31 days for the launch of my next campaign. A lot of my advice is on how to build an audience, press contacts, and connections. However, I have to make sure I include in every one of those tips that it doesn’t help if you are a douche.

If you are the guy that’s trying to game the system and find the most important person at a party, or using the tactics I show just to make a good impression. If you are doing favors just so you can ask for a favor, it’s not going to work.

Because the key of this whole thing is you have to treat other people like human beings because you want to do so, not because they can do something for you. That’s the way that most of these creators get ahead. Yes, they are talented. Yes they did the right things, but more importantly they were genuinely nice people because they wanted to be.

We talked about Charles Soule on the show. I met Charles when Renzo was penciling Ichabod and 27: Second set at the same time. We struck up a conversation and I just remember how nice he was. He had no reason to be nice. He didn’t know me. I was just some kid with a floppy, but he was nice. He even bought my book. It was so cool. I still remember it to this day.

Jim is the same way. He gives value all the time. He does it because he wants to help. He wants a better industry and gives without asking. In return, he has an enormous amount of people that like and trust him. Those people want him to succeed and are more likely to buy his book just because they like him.

There was a post on my Facebook feed about ways to get rich, and I had to comment about being “rich” is a byproduct of providing value. It’s amazing how much more you can get back if you give value first. If your position is one of value, you build empathy and people want to buy from you. In return, you’ll make money.

However, the key is you have to provide value for the sake of value, not in order to get ahead. The byproduct is that you get ahead and make more money. I don’t even know if Jim thought about the psychology behind it before. He was just giving back because he wants to help.  

In this world people say you have to be two of the following: nice, on time, talented. I think that’s horseshit. I think you should strive to be all three.

Look, you can’t just be supremely talented. That happens over time. You have no real control of being amazing. You can always control being on time and nice. Those are things you can control today, and should control today. Then, if you become talented, guess what…you’ll have all three and be in the driver’s seat.

Jim learned that long ago. He spent years making mistakes, but always being on time and polite. People knew he would get books in on budget and on time. He just kept hanging around doing the right thing, and opportunities presented themselves. Of course Jim is supremely talented.

But that supreme talent doesn’t come overnight. He wasn’t always able to write for Marvel. He grew into that role. But he was always on time and polite. It’s so important to control what you can control and work on those things you can’t.

If there is one wonderful example of that, it’s Jim Zub.

If you like this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review it wherever you listen to podcast, whether it’s iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or any other aggregator.

 

[REPLAY] Why Real Artists Don’t Starve with National Bestselling Author Jeff Goins

[REPLAY] Why Real Artists Don’t Starve with National Bestselling Author Jeff Goins

October 22, 2019

Whee!!! We’re still counting down the most popular episodes of this podcast from back when it was called The Business of Art. In just two weeks we’ll have our first new episode ever.

Whoa.

But today, we have the second most popular episode of all time, with Jeff Goins.

Jeff Goins is a national bestselling author of five books, most notably among them The Art of Work and Real Artists Don’t Starve.

I was in the launch group for his new book and I loved it. It was everything I wanted to say, except much more eloquently and cohesively stitched together. If you’ve ever struggled with making money as an artist, this book makes the strongest case I’ve ever seen, full of a hundred stories of people who’ve made a living as an artist, making every type of art, both historically and through to today.

Now, if you’re already in the right headspace to make a living as an artist if you’ve got a good relationship with making money, and if you’re ready to rock and roll, maybe this isn’t the book for you. However, if you’ve struggled with making money in the past, or you need to get in a better headspace to make a living as an artist and not feel guilty about it, then this is the book for you. Check it out in the link below.

Click here to check it out.

In this episode, Jeff talks about

-Why struggling as an artist isn’t required

-Why real artists don’t starve

-The biggest mindset shift you need to make a living as an artist

-The most important key to building an audience

-Why you are doing a disservice to your audience by not letting them buy from you

And much more. Make sure to head on over to www.goinswriter.com if you liked this one. You can pick up some freebies from Jeff once you buy the book. He also has a great podcast called The Portfolio Life, which you should check out.

If you haven’t joined our Facebook group to help you make more money selling books, click here.

Remember, www.thecompletecreative.com has all our archives plus tons of additional work, including the archives to this podcast, epic blog posts, and more.

And don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes if you liked this episode.

[REPLAY] The Secrets to Crowdfunding Success with Kickstarter publishing director Margot Atwell

[REPLAY] The Secrets to Crowdfunding Success with Kickstarter publishing director Margot Atwell

October 15, 2019

We’re still counting down the most popular episodes of the previous incarnation of this show, The Business of Art, on our quest toward new interviews!

This week, it’s our #3 most popular show, and it’s no surprise that it’s with Margot Atwell, Publisher of Gutpunch Press, writer of The Insider’s Guide to Book Publishing Success, and publishing director at Kickstarter.

I talked with Margot just a couple months before I shot to success with my first $25,000+ Kickstarter project Monsters and Other Scary Shit, and I credit a lot of the advice she gave me here with unlocking the last bits of the puzzle for me.

This interview is INVALUABLE if you ever want to run a publishing or comics Kickstarter because you are listening about what to do straight from the person who runs that part of the Kickstarter platform.

Here is her bio straight from www.emdashandco.com.

Margot Atwell is a publishing professional with over a decade of experience. She is currently a Publishing Community Manager at Kickstarter.com.

Previously, Margot was Publisher at Beaufort Books, an independent publisher of fiction and non-fiction. Under her leadership, Beaufort published four national bestsellers, including Hide!!! by Jeff Foxworthy, If I Did It by the Goldman Family, and a new edition of I’m Dancing As Fast as I Can by Barbara Gordon, along with many award-winning books.

Margot is a freelance writer, editor, and book reviewer. Her writing has been published in The Huffington Post, Moviefone.com, Publishers Weekly, fiveonfive magazine, and Derbylife.com.

Her first book, The Insider’s Guide to Book Publishing Success, was published in February 2013. Her second book, Derby Life: Stories, Advice & Wisdom from the Roller Derby World is forthcoming from Gutpunch Press.

I knew of Margot before we met earlier this year, I just didn’t know it. Before I launched my publishing company, Wannabe Press, I read her book. When we first started talking, I knew the name sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it. When she agreed to be on the show I did my research, saw the cover, and IMMEDIATELY connected the name with a very formative book from my past.

We started our conversation talking about her past and publishing as a whole. One of the things I quickly found out about Margot is that she is publishing through and through. Even before Kickstarter, she was a publisher and author. Since then, she has launched two successful book campaigns focused on her love of Roller Derby. Check them out here and here.

The conversation quickly turned to Kickstarter, as these things must. As much as I would have loved to talk about publishing books for hours, the purpose of having her on was to answer your pressing questions about Kickstarter…well really my pressing questions about Kickstarter.

The first one was one that’s been gnawing at me for years, since even before I got on the platform: how do you get to be staff pick? I’ve done five projects so far and only one has been a staff pick, since renamed Projects We Love.

While I wish I got a hard data answer, the truth is more subjective. While anybody can look through projects and flag something they like, it’s really the curation team that has the final say. One thing she told me is that tweeting at the Kickstarter people and sending them gifts DOES NOT HELP.

What does help is doing something cool and original, making sure your page is clear and concise. Make sure it tells a story and does something original. They specifically look for books that are told from a different perspective and featuring diverse characters. The end goal is that it’s unique and original. It can’t be something they’ve seen before.

If you look at the comic book team or publishing team at Kickstarter, one thing you will see is that they have very diverse tastes. They are almost all creators themselves (if fact Kickstarter encourages their team to run Kickstarters for their projects), and their tastes are diverse. Margot told me that they like to get a wide range of projects, from the $50,000 banger to the tiny $500 one.

Another thing she told me was that there is no limit. If 50% of projects are deserving, then they will all get picked. I always thought there was a limit, so it was nice to see there isn’t.

One thing people complain about is that Kickstarter doesn’t work like it used to even a couple years ago. There are fewer people on any given project, and people feel deluged with constant project updates. While Margot wouldn’t cop to this, she did say that there are many more fantastic projects today by sheer volume than ever before. Additionally, there are many more people using Kickstarter to find projects as well. There are 12 million backers on Kickstarter, and 3.5 million of them are repeat backers.

Margot said this is where you should focus your energy. 60% of all money raised is raised through repeat backers. It’s critical for you to find these backers because they are your best chance for success.

The last point she made before answering some listener questions was that Kickstarter is a community. That’s what they are trying to build and that’s what they are most proud of creating at the end of the day. Even though it’s overused, the word community really matters to them. Kickstarter works hard to build custom experiences for backers and works to get people to find new projects to back.

We talked about much more during our conversation, but I’m not going to spoil it all here. There was so much gold and I felt this was a more in depth conversation than most people get when researching Kickstarter. I’ve never seen or heard a Kickstarter community manager or director interviewed on a podcast before, so this was quite a thrill for me. I hope you get as much out of it as I did and that there is enough meat to pull a whole lot away for your own project.

Here are some of the links Margot mentioned during the interview.

Kickstarter Creator Handbook

https://www.kickstarter.com/help/handbook

Kickstarter on Medium

https://medium.com/kickstarter

Kickstarter Basics on Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/user/kickstarter

Kickstarter Campus

https://www.kickstarter.com/blog/welcome-to-campus

If you liked this episode, head on over to twitter and say tell Margot herself @MargotAtwell.

Don’t forget to find us on iTunes as well by clicking here to rate, review, and subscribe to the podcast today so you don’t miss any of our awesome episodes.

[REPLAY] Sustaining an art career for more than 30 Days of Night with NYT Bestselling author/artist Ben Templesmith

[REPLAY] Sustaining an art career for more than 30 Days of Night with NYT Bestselling author/artist Ben Templesmith

October 8, 2019

ZOMG!!! I am so excited to announce that there's going to be more of this podcast, now renamed The Complete Creative. 

I have been working on this behind the scenes for months, and I can finally, finally announce it is really true. 

In just a couple of weeks, I will have brand new episodes, but until then I thought it would be nice to revisit some of the most popular episodes from the past. 

So, I'm going to be counting down the four most popular episodes of my original podcast, The Business of Art, completely remastered for your earholes based on everything I've learned in the past few years about audio. 

Giving up this podcast was my #1 regret as a creative human, and I can't wait to bring it back. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing with you a little bit more, and then I'm going to have an interview conducted by Tyler James from Comixlaunch where he interviews me about why I'm bringing the show back now. 

For now, though, sit back and listen to our #4 most downloaded episode of all time, Ben Templesmith. 

Nobody taught me more during their time on my show then Ben. I have tried to incorporate his entire business model into my own with varying degrees of success. 

Here is his bio, straight from his Wikipedia page.

Templesmith produced his first commercial American comics work in 2002, providing the art for Todd McFarlane Productions’ Hellspawn, which was published by Image Comics. He has gone on to create his own original works as well as contribute to many licensed properties at various publishers, most notably IDW Publishing, with which he had an exclusive agreement through most of 2008 and part of 2009 before returning to being a freelancer.

Other licensed properties that Templesmith has worked on include illustrating “Dark Journey”, a story in issue #17 of the Dark Horse Comics anthology series Star Wars Talesin 2003, and the covers to Devil’s Due Publishing‘s Army of Darkness: Ashes to Ashes #1 in 2004 and IDW’s G.I. Joe #0 in 2008.

Original works Templesmith has produced include the miniseries Welcome to Hoxford, the New York Times best-selling Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse [3] Tommyrot: The Art of Ben TemplesmithConluvio and Choker at Image Comics with writer Ben McCool. He also provided a number of covers for the Oni Press series Wasteland.

In April 2012 DC Entertainment announced that Templesmith will be one of the artists illustrating a new digital Batman series whose stories will be set outside of the regular DC continuity.[4]

Starting in November 2014, Templesmith launched Gotham by Midnight from DC Comics with writer Ray Fawkes

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

-Ben’s method of utilizing Patreon, Kickstarter, and the direct market to create a profitable business model for his art

-The trick to having a successful Patreon

-What to watch out for in a publishing contract

-Why he keeps coming back to comics even though other forms of art pay better

And much more.

If you liked this episode, go thank Ben online. He’s @templesmith almost everywhere, including Twitter and Instagram.

Please rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes by clicking here.

Finally, go pick up the first chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build Your Creative Career, by clicking here.

Unf*ck your publishing with publisher Joe Biel

Unf*ck your publishing with publisher Joe Biel

October 12, 2017

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • How to tell a good publisher from a bad one
  • How to work with a publisher effectively
  • Why every publisher is different
  • How to niche down your writing and publishing for massive success
  • How to 10x your book sales 

Listen:

Itunes

Stitcher

Podbean

Joe Biel is the publisher of Microcosm Publishing, and he’s been doing this a long time. In February, he will celebrate his 22nd year in business as an indie publisher. He’s had a lot of success in his day, but I know him from the 1607 backers he accumulated on his recent Kickstarter for Unfuck Your Brain.

I wanted to talk to him about that, publishing and making your way as a creative. Here’s a bit about his company, Microcosm Publishing, from its site, https://microcosmpublishing.com:

Portland's most colorful, authentic, and empowering publishing house and distributor, Microcosm Publishing is a vertically integrated publishing house that equips readers to make positive changes in their lives and in the world around them. Microcosm emphasizes skill-building, showing hidden histories, and fostering creativity through challenging conventional publishing wisdom with books and bookettes about DIY skills, food, bicycling, gender, self-care, and social justice. The then-distro and record label was started by Joe Biel in his bedroom in 1996 and is now among the oldest independent publishing houses in Portland, OR. Microcosm focuses on relating the experiences of what it's like to be a marginalized person. We constantly strive to be recognized for our spirit, creativity, and value. Our books are printed in the U.S. on post-consumer papers while we double the industry standard in our number of women authors.

Microcosm has lived in milk crates, in closets, in a mud room, in a windowless basement, in a church, and under a desk at a major credit card company. We've brought our brightly colored books to infoshops, zine fests, media summits, bicycle conferences, parks, street corners, house shows, dirty bars, all­night coffeeshops, art museums, and every corner of the mainstream where we can clear away a little space to set up shop. We set out to save ourselves from not caring, but out there in the margins we've found communities worth always doing it better for. Now we have contracts instead of handshakes, a warehouse instead of a fanny pack full of zines. We have a staff, we have relationships in the industry that send our books to places we wouldn't have dreamed we could walk into ourselves. We're not as drunk or dirty as we used to be. But still, at heart, we've got this milk crate strapped to the back of a bike and we're riding wildly across town to hand you the book that might just be the one that saves your life. We refuse to die. Get over it.

Microcosm is distributed worldwide by Legato / Perseus Books Group and by Turnaround in the UK.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter and/or weekly book blast.

We're on Patreon! You can join our Ebook, Book, or Zine of the Month Club on the Microcosm Patreon page and/or support the feminist bicycle publishing revolution on the Elly Blue Publishing Patreon page.

 If you like this episode, check out Microcosm on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Joe was also gracious enough to give his email. If you have questions about publisher hit him up, joe at microcosmpublishing dot com.

If you like this episode, head over to Twitter and find Matt @mattharrymh.

If you like free things, you can get the first chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build your Creative Career on Bookfunnel now at www.gosellyoursoul.com

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group at www.writingandsellingcommunity.com

If you are feeling generous, leave us a review on iTunes at www.thebusinessofart.us/iTunes

Thanks so much. Until next time.

Recommended episodes:

Gina Gagliano

Colleen Dunn Bates

Maytal Gilboa

Lee Kramer

 

How to build a rabid fanbase

How to build a rabid fanbase

October 5, 2017

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • How to build a rabid fanbase from scratch
  • The three mindsets holding you back
  • The secret to getting people to buy from you
  • How to get more people to notice your work
  • How to love selling your work

Listen:

Itunes

Stitcher

Podbean

This week I did a live presentation at Ontario California Comic Expo about how to build a rapid following. I talked about three mindsets holding people back right now, and the three secrets to building a rabid following. It’s been a while since I did a live presentation, and you know that the audio tends to be spotty with these things, but I hope you enjoy it.

If like free things, you can get the first chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build your Creative Career for free at www.gosellyoursoul.com.

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group at www.writingandsellingcommunity.com

If you are feeling generous, leave us a review on iTunes at www.thebusinessofart.us/iTunes

Thanks so much. Until next time.

Recommended Episodes:

How to build a rabid audience from scratch

How to build an audience even if you don’t have a product…yet

How to build an audience from scratch

Engaging your audience with Eva Sowinski

Be Forever Moved with entrepreneur Tara Massan

Be Forever Moved with entrepreneur Tara Massan

September 28, 2017

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • How to find your right mindset
  • How to achieve focused execution
  • Why it’s important to let your audience into your business
  • Why asking for feedback is so important
  • How to feel good about selling

Listen:

Itunes

Stitcher

Podbean

Tara Massan and I have been friends for a couple years now. She is one of the first people ever to take me up on my free coaching calls, and a 30-minute call ended up lasting 2 hours as we gabbed forever. Recently, I checked out her site and was thrilled to see not only did she listen to my advice but she IMPLEMENTED it! Her site is awesome now. When I met her it was all sorts of lame and now it’s amazing! Check it out at: www.foreverbemoved.com.

Here’s her bio:

Tara Massan is a life coach and a writer who has been featured in The Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Tiny Buddha and The Wall Street Journal.  She is the founder of Be Moved - a lifestyle company dedicated to helping others live their best life.  Her primary focus is to help others create a healthier and happier life on their own terms.  

If you like this episode, head over to Twitter and find Tara @taramassan

If like free things, you can get the first chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build your Creative Career for free at www.gosellyoursoul.com.

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group at www.writingandsellingcommunity.com

If you are feeling generous, leave us a review on iTunes at www.thebusinessofart.us/iTunes

Thanks so much. Until next time.

 

Recommended Episodes:

Jasmine Sandler

Dave Lukas

Angela Lauria

James Haick

 

How Wizards Sell Books with Author Matt Harry

How Wizards Sell Books with Author Matt Harry

September 21, 2017

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • Why publishers are still important to the book process
  • How Inkshares works
  • What a hybrid publisher can do for you
  • How to get excited for sales
  • Why writing is like dating

Listen:

Itunes

Stitcher

Podbean

 

Matt Harry and I have been friends since almost the time I moved to Los Angeles. He wrote movies and I wanted to write TV. I watched his career as a writer turn into a career as a professor, and he watched me struggle to make a living as an author.

Then one day I got a message from him that he wanted to publish a book, and I won’t lie I squealed a little. Finally, after years, I could help Matt with something. We sat down and chatted. A few months later he had a publishing deal with Inkshares, which is an alternative to Kickstarter for books.

I wanted to have him on to talk about his experience, publishing, and just shoot the shit. I don’t get to talk with Matt enough, and it was good to catch up. Here’s his bio, straight from Matt.

Matt Harry has been writing since he was 10 years old. He spent his early years writing newspaper articles for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, one-act plays, and some very serious short stories before finally discovering filmmaking at Ohio University. He graduated cum laude and was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Television Production. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he attended the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and received an MFA in Film Production. Since graduating from USC, Matt has worked as a reality TV writer, editor, director, and feature film producer. Projects include The Bachelor, Design on a Dime, Seriously Funny Kids, Rock the Reception, and Red Serpent.

As a writer, Matt’s screenplays have been recognized by the Austin Film Festival, the FOX/NYTVF Comedy Script Contest, the PAGE Awards, Script Pipeline, the Launchpad Manuscript Contest, and the Nicholl Fellowships. In 2006, Matt was awarded a screenwriting fellowship by the Writer’s Arc, a non-profit organization that searches for emerging talent. His first produced feature screenplay, Fugue, landed on several top-ten lists, won Best Horror Film at the Mississippi Film Festival, and was picked up for distribution by GoDigital. Matt has written also screenplays for the Flynn Picture Co., Primary Wave, Fishbowl Films, Co-op Entertainment, and director Todd Bellanca. His short film Super Kids, which he wrote and co-directed, has over 3.2 million views on YouTube. Recently, his animated TV pilot Monster Cops was awarded Grand Prize in the Second City Original Sitcom Contest, and is currently in development.

His debut novel Sorcery for Beginners has been described as “J.K. Rowling meets V.E. Schwab,” “an immersive and interactive adventure,” “amazing,” and “innovative in its telling.” It’s available for purchase on October 10 from Inkshares and wherever books are sold. The link to the Amazon page is here: https://tinyurl.com/y9apvs7y

If you like this episode, head over to Twitter and find Matt @mattharrymh.

If you like free things, you can get the first chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build your Creative Career on Bookfunnel now at www.gosellyoursoul.com

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group at www.writingandsellingcommunity.com

If you are feeling generous, leave us a review on iTunes at www.thebusinessofart.us/iTunes

Thanks so much. Until next time.

 

Recommended Episodes:

Pat Shand

Tim Powers

Colleen Dunn Bates

Amanda Meadows and Geoffrey Golden

How to Build your Press Contacts with Publicist Desireé Duffy

How to Build your Press Contacts with Publicist Desireé Duffy

September 14, 2017

Desireé Duffy is a force to be reckoned with in the publishing world. Aside from being an author herself, she has 20+ years of experience as a publicist. I know most of us have no experience with publicity and PR, so I wanted to bring her on to clear up some of the most common misconceptions about building relationships with the press. Here’s her bio for you. You can find out more at www.blackchateauenterprises.com

As the founder of Black Château Enterprises, Desireé Duffy has created a new way of promoting books and authors. Known as the Author Network, it offers the main components that independent and small press authors need—media interviews, articles about their books, book reviews, and social media buzz.

Focused on helping authors and creative individuals elevate their work, Black Château’s goal is simple: to give talented individuals and exceptional brands the exposure they deserve with flexible, creative strategies that deliver results.

Duffy is the chair for the Alliance of Women in Media’s Advisory Board and also writes for Equites.com as a contributor on marketing, digital media, technology and entrepreneurship. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two puggles—Spike and Teddy Bear.

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • How to compete in an overcrowded holiday season
  • How to make SEO, SEM, and Google Adwords work for you
  • How to package your product like a best seller
  • How to drive traffic to your website
  • How to put together a press kit
  • Why buying a press list doesn’t work

And much more.

If you like this episode, head over to www.blackchateauenterprises.com to learn more. She's also on Twitter @Desiree_Duffy.

If you like free things, you can get the first chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build your Creative Career on Bookfunnel now at www.gosellyoursoul.com

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group at www.writingandsellingcommunity.com

If you are feeling generous, leave us a review on iTunes at www.thebusinessofart.us/iTunes

Thanks so much. Until next time.

 

Recommended episodes:

Eva Hartmann

Monica Leonelle

Cory Huff

Jeff Goins

Get your marketing game on point with editor and author Eva Hartmann

Get your marketing game on point with editor and author Eva Hartmann

September 7, 2017

Eva Hartmann (aka Jewel Quinlan) is a fiction editor and author with 15 romance books to her name. Romance authors are the most ruthless marketers in the game, and I wanted to have her on to talk about developing the proper mindset, building her brand, and developing her marketing chops.

I saw Eva speak at a LARA (Los Angeles Romance Authors) event a couple weeks ago, and she nailed it, talking about the advantage of using Instafreebie, Mailchimp, and Facebook ads together. She has two courses coming out next month through www.yourfictioneditor.com, but I couldn’t find a bio on that site, so here is one I found from her romance author site www.jewelquinlan.com:

Jewel Quinlan had an abundant imagination and strong desire to write novels since she was very young. She has a passion for writing paranormal and fantasy romance but often finds herself straying into new areas like contemporary and suspense because her imagination just won’t let up.

An avid traveler, she has visited fifteen countries so far (which she enjoys using as setting in her novels) and has plans to see more of the world. She has a particular fondness for Bavaria and studies the German language as one of her hobbies.

During the day, she work as a pharmaceutical sales representative and, at night, she writes romance. She currently lives in Orange County, California with her dog Penny. Jewel is kept in shape by Penny’s frequent demands for walks and squeak toy time.

 

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • How to get your CPC down for Facebook ads
  • How to set goals and achieve them
  • How to get your mindset right for success
  • How to avoid overwhelm
  • How to use Mailchimp, Instafreebie, and Facebook ads together seamlessly
  • Why you should always celebrate your accomplishments

And much more.

If you like this episode, head over to www.yourfictioneditor.com or www.jewelquinlan.com to check how her work

If you like free things, you can get the first chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build your Creative Career on Bookfunnel now at www.gosellyoursoul.com

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group at www.writingandsellingcommunity.com

If you are feeling generous, leave us a review on iTunes at www.thebusinessofart.us/itunes

Thanks so much. Until next time.

Resources:

Amy Porterfield

Rick Mulready

Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA)

Episode suggestions:

Monica Leonelle

AG Billig

Colleen Dunn Bates

Alex Echols

Jasmine Sandler

 

Find Self Publishing Mastery with author A.G. Billig

Find Self Publishing Mastery with author A.G. Billig

August 31, 2017

Andreea (A.G.) Billig is the founder of www.selfpublishingmastery.com, an author, and motivational speaker. I am part of her upcoming Self Publishing Mastery virtual summit and wanted to have her on the show to talk about it, her career, and how authors can master self-publishing.

Here is her writing bio, straight from www.agbillig.com.

She began writing short stories at the age of 8. Imagining plots and characters became her favorite pastime, leaving little time for playing with toys and dolls. Soon after, she started taking part in national literary contests and children magazines featured her creations. The grown-ups acknowledged her gifts, speaking on radio, TV and in print about the 13-year-old writer. They also awarded her with several first prizes in the most important national writing contest for young people in short story, reportage and drama categories.

At fifteen, A.G. finished her first novel, a book she may decide to publish someday. She also discovered  that she could express her creativity as a journalist. She wrote articles and interviews for several newspapers and magazines, she was a TV host and a radio presenter. In addition, after gradutaing from University, she developed a career in communication, as a PR Consultant.

  1. G. Billig’s first collection of short stories is called Four Doors and Other Stories. It’s been launched as en eBook in November 2012 by  MP Publishing (U.K.). A  revised Romanian version was released in paperback and digital by Datagrouppublishing house in June 2013. She chose to self – publish her first non-fiction book. “I Choose Love!” was realeased on the 20th of March, 2016,  and became a best seller on Amazon in four different categories.

As the daughter of a French father and an Eastern European mother, A.G. is a natural born traveler.  Her trips took her across Europe, to the Americas. It was during a spiritual journey to Brazil to the magical land of Abadiania, at the end of 2010, that she found out that writing is her life purpose.

When she is not imagining things, she enjoys dancing, doing sports (skiing, skating and kick box aerobics), taking long walks, reading, listening to the music and being outdoors. She shares her flat with the lovely Oona The Yorkie.

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • What authors can do to get more visibility on their work
  • How to find your ideal readers
  • Why it’s important to know your readers
  • How librarians can be your best friend
  • Why word of mouth is the best marketing
  • Why crafting a 360-degree experience for your readers is important

If you liked this episode, make sure to check out A.G. Billig on Instagram @ag_billig. Also, make sure to check out her site at www.selfpublishingmastery.com.

If you want a free chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build a Creative Career, just click here.

If you haven’t joined our Facebook group to help you make more money selling books, click here.

And don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes if you liked this episode at www.thebusinessofart.us/itunes.

Suggested listening: 

Sheri Fink

Maytal Gilboa

Sebastian Jones

Angela Lauria

Why the World Needs Your Book with Author Monica Leonelle

Why the World Needs Your Book with Author Monica Leonelle

August 24, 2017

Monica Leonelle is a force of nature. I heard about her before I ever booked her on the show, and then I kept hearing about her well after I booked her. She’s an author and speaker. She writes fiction and non-fiction books but is probably best known for her Growth Hacking for Storytellers series, one that I was told to buy over and over again in the past couple of months.

Here’s a bio, straight from her site, www.proseonfire.com:

Monica Leonelle was born in Germany and spent her childhood jet-setting around the world with her American parents. Her travels include most of the United States and Europe, as well as Guam, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the Philippines.

She started publishing independently in 2009 and has since published over half a million words of fiction spread across four series, SocialpunkWaters Dark and DeepEmma + Elsie, and Stars and Shadows. In 2014, she published 8 books and one short story.

She writes about indie publishing at ProseOnFire.com. Her most recent non-fiction book, Write Better, Faster, has earned raving reviews from the independent publishing community for going deeper than anyone else into the topic of writing speed. She currently averages around 3,000 words per hour and writes 25,000+ words per week (most weeks).

Before becoming an independent author, Monica led digital marketing efforts at Inc. 100 companies like Hansen’s Natural and Braintree.

Monica is a lifetime member of Sigma Pi Sigma honor fraternity and was a 2007 Chicago Business Fellow, graduating with an MBA from the Chicago Booth School of Business at 25 years old. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Physics from Truman State University.

She’s been an avid blogger of marketing and business trends since 2007. Her ideas have been featured in AdAgeThe Huffington Post, the AMEX OpenForum, GigaOmMashableSocial Media Today, and the Christian Science Monitor. In 2009, she was named one of the top 25 Tweeters in the city of Chicago by ChicagoNow, a subsidiary of the Chicago Tribune.

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • How to get in alignment with your audience
  • How to win the CPC game
  • How to protect yourself from rising ad costs
  • How to build a value ladder
  • Why writing is marketing

And so much more.

If you liked this episode, please check out Monica’s new site www.theworldneedsyourbook.com. I’m so excited for the next chapter in Monica’s journey. You can also find her on all the usual platforms @monicaleonelle.

If you like this show, please rate, review, and subscribe to it on iTunes by clicking here.

And if you want to learn all about making more money as an artist, you can get the first chapter of my new book for free at www.gosellyoursoul.com.

Other episodes you will like if you like this:

Angela Lauria

Jasmine Sandler

Alex Echols

Dave Lukas

Jeff Goins

Cory Huff

 

How to be the Aggregate of all your projects with Drawing Blood artist Ben Bishop

How to be the Aggregate of all your projects with Drawing Blood artist Ben Bishop

August 17, 2017

BEN BISHOP is a comic creator from Maine. We’ve been friends online for a while but met for the first time in person at Emerald City Comic Con, where we did a signing together at this shop in Seattle.

I brought him on the show because his Kickstarter for Drawing Blood, with is written by David Avallone and Kevin Eastman (yes, that one) is blowing up Kickstarter as we speak (www.drawingbloodcomic.com) and I wanted to talk with him about that, his book The Aggregate, and how he’s made a living making comics. Here is his bio, straight from www.bishart.net.

Ben has wanted to make comics since he was four years old and wrote to Marvel, at age eleven, asking for a job. Finding out it was not only illegal to hire an eleven-year-old, but that his skills weren’t QUITE there yet, Ben went back to the drawing board and to Mr. Morley’s 5th-grade classroom.

Ben later moved to Portland, Maine, to attend the Maine College of Art. After one great year and some loans that didn't go through, he was forced to leave. Ben then realized that if he really wanted to MAKE COMICS, maybe he should just MAKE COMICS.

For the next four years, Ben worked at coffee shops and lobster shacks while writing and drawing his first graphic novel. In 2008 he released the 300 page, NATHAN THE CAVEMAN, which was soon followed by several other smaller works.

In 2011, Ben illustrated the award-winning LOST TRAIL, NINE DAYS ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS, the graphic novel retelling of Donn Fendler’s famous true story “LOST ON A MOUNTAIN IN MAINE.” LOST TRAIL led to illustration work for larger companies like Archaia, IDW, Darby Pop, Action Lab, Nickelodeon, and Hasbro. Ben also jumped at the opportunity to create comic cover art for some of his favorite characters like Batman, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and G.I.Joe.

After 7 straight years of commissions, work for hire, and freelance work, Ben was determined to get back to creating stories of his own. In 2015, he put together a KICKSTARTER campaign for his next big project, THE AGGREGATE. The book would be the first of a new kind of comic he’s calling, SPLIT DECISION COMICS. In this innovative new format, the reader makes decisions for the characters and ultimately dictates the direction of the narrative. With a goal of $10,000 which was hit in the first 24 hours, THE AGGREGATE book went on to raise 3 times that thanks to the demand and excitement of his friends, family, and fans.

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • How to augment your Kickstarter to make sure you don’t run out of money.
  • How to start a fan club.
  • Why you don’t need a publisher.
  • How to go it alone and make comics even when every publisher tells you no.
  • How to finish projects

And much more.

If you liked this episode, make sure to check out Ben on Twitter and Instagram @bishart. Also, make sure to order his new comic on Kickstarter at www.drawingbloodcomic.com.

If you want a free chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build a Creative Career, just click here.

If you haven’t joined our Facebook group to help you make more money selling books, click here.

And don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes if you liked this episode.

How to be an Abundant Artist with Marketing Expert Cory Huff

How to be an Abundant Artist with Marketing Expert Cory Huff

August 9, 2017

Cory Huff is a marketing expert that specifically works with burgeoning artists and creative entrepreneurs through his association The Abundant Artist. I wanted to have him on the show to talk specifically about how to approach art from a mindset and marketing perspective.

I have found in my career that mindset trumps everything, and it’s the thing that artists have the hardest time overcoming. If they can overcome their mindset issues and become comfortable with money, then they can create a thriving company and dispel the idea of the starving artist.

Cory is great at that. Here a bio, straight from his site www.coryhuff.com:

In 2009 I started The Abundant Artist (TAA for short) as a way of teaching internet marketing to my artist friends who were asking me for help. Since then, I’ve helped dozens of artists go from never sold anything to now selling pieces monthly or weekly. Some of my artist friends and clients have gone on to sell their work for $20,000 or more.

I teach artists to dispel the starving artist myth by using the Web to sell art directly to your fans. If you want to get into a gallery or museum, the marketing skills I teach can help you do that. Building your own business online can be complementary to a gallery business for the right artists and galleries.

 Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

-What is holding artists up from having a successful career.

-How Picasso became successful during his life while Van Gogh struggled

-How to get out of your own way and achieve success

-What you can do to prove yourself wrong every day

-How to have a better relationship with money

And much more.

If you liked this episode, make sure to check out Cory on Twitter @agoodhusband. Also, make sure to visit all his projects at www.coryhuff.com.

If you want a free chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build a Creative Career, just click here.

If you haven’t joined our Facebook group to help you make more money selling books, click here.

And don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes if you liked this episode.

Finding your artistic pack when you start our a Stray writer with author Vito Delsante

Finding your artistic pack when you start our a Stray writer with author Vito Delsante

August 3, 2017

Vito Delsante is a workhorse creator. He’s somebody I’ve known about for a while, but only known a short time, but people were always talking about him. We had Sean Izaakse on the show last year, for instance (listen to the show by clicking here), to talk about Thunderbolts and Stray, and Vito is the writer of that book. There’ve been a lot of that moments for me over the years, and I’m excited to have him on the show to talk about his career.

Here’s his bio, straight from his wiki page:

Delsante worked for the Canadian comics company Speakeasy Comics in a public relations capacity prior to their closing doors in the Spring of 2006 and was seen by some as the only public face in the company's final days. He was also a creator at Speakeasy, with part one of the six part series Fallout with Dean Haspiel printed as a back-up to Beowulf #7 before the series was canceled as a result of the publisher's closing. With the closing of the publisher, the future for Fallout is uncertain.

His first major creator-owned title, The Mercury Chronicles with artist Mike Lilly, was rumored for publication in 2007.

In March 2006, Delsante began a weekly column called Random Shuffle on Comicon.com's comics news website The Pulse. He is a store manager at one of New York's largest comic book retailers, Jim Hanley's Universe.

In August 2006 The Chemistry Set, a webcomics collective of which Delsante is a member, launched. He produces the comic Stuck with Thomas Williams and is currently writing FCHS, a "semi-autobiographical look" at his high school days, with artist Rachel Freire.[1]

In 2007, Delsante was slated to write a three-issue JSA Classified arc with artist Eric Wight.[2] He has written a graphic novel for Simon & Schuster based on the childhood of Albert Einstein. The book, Before They Were Famous, was due out in July 2008.[3] It never was published, but in February 2009, Aladdin published Delsante's biography of Babe Ruth, illustrated by Andrés Vera Martínez, part of the same Before They Were Famous series.

This to this episode if you want to learn:

-how music influences Vito’s process

-the value of deep work

-why you should focus on people who like your work

-how to tune out the naysayers

-how to make a superhero that feels mainstream but still sells to an indie market

And much more.

If you liked this episode, make sure to check out Vito on Twitter @incogvito. Also, make sure to order his new Stray series as it enters the Action Lab Actionverse.

If you want a free chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build a Creative Career, which is sort of the companion book to this one, just click here.

If you haven’t joined our Facebook group to help you make more money selling books, click here.

And don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes if you liked this episode.

Sustaining an art career for more than 30 Days of Night with NYT Bestselling author/artist Ben Templesmith

Sustaining an art career for more than 30 Days of Night with NYT Bestselling author/artist Ben Templesmith

July 27, 2017

My guest this week is Ben Templesmith. He is a comic book writer and artist most recognized as the artist on the 30 Days of Night comic which was adapted into a motion picture with the same name. Here is his bio, straight from his Wikipedia page.

Templesmith produced his first commercial American comics work in 2002, providing the art for Todd McFarlane Productions' Hellspawn, which was published by Image Comics. He has gone on to create his own original works as well as contribute to many licensed properties at various publishers, most notably IDW Publishing, with which he had an exclusive agreement through most of 2008 and part of 2009 before returning to being a freelancer.

Other licensed properties that Templesmith has worked on include illustrating "Dark Journey", a story in issue #17 of the Dark Horse Comics anthology series Star Wars Talesin 2003, and the covers to Devil's Due Publishing's Army of Darkness: Ashes to Ashes #1 in 2004 and IDW's G.I. Joe #0 in 2008.

Original works Templesmith has produced include the miniseries Welcome to Hoxford, the New York Times best-selling Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse [3] Tommyrot: The Art of Ben TemplesmithConluvio and Choker at Image Comics with writer Ben McCool. He also provided a number of covers for the Oni Press series Wasteland.

In April 2012 DC Entertainment announced that Templesmith will be one of the artists illustrating a new digital Batman series whose stories will be set outside of the regular DC continuity.[4]

Starting in November 2014, Templesmith launched Gotham by Midnight from DC Comics with writer Ray Fawkes

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

-Ben’s method of utilizing Patreon, Kickstarter, and the direct market to create a profitable business model for his art

-The trick to having a successful Patreon

-What to watch out for in a publishing contract

-Why he keeps coming back to comics even though other forms of art pay better

And much more.

If you liked this episode, go thank Ben online. He’s @templesmith almost everywhere, including Twitter and Instagram.

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group @ www.writingandsellingcommunity.com

Also, please rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes by clicking here.

Finally, go pick up the first chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build Your Creative Career, by clicking here.

Thanks!

Russell

The difference between complicated and hard

The difference between complicated and hard

July 19, 2017

                This week I’ll be down at San Diego Comic-Con, and with all the hype around that event, I decided not to post an interview this week. I didn’t think it would be fair to any of our upcoming guests. So instead, I am doing something special. I’m giving you a sneak people inside my Facebook group, Writers and Authors Making Money Selling Books. It’s a completely free group I moderate that helps authors make more money by selling more books.

                This episode is the audio from a live video I did for the group about the difference between something being complicated and it being hard. It’s a really important concept I hear people confusing all of the time, and I wanted to clear it up for the group.

                If you enjoy this group, head on over to www.writingandsellingcommunity.com and sign up for free. 

                Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

-How to get off the fence and start doing the hard work of writing

-Why most advice is so complicated when it comes to making it as an author

-How simple the business side of writing really is

                And many more insights I hammer home along the way. If you like this episode, don’t forget to rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes, and if you want the FREE first chapter of my new non-fiction book Sell Your Soul: How to Build Your Creative Career, all you have to do is enter your email at www.gosellyoursoul.com

Thanks a lot!

 

Why Real Artists Don’t Starve with National Bestselling Author Jeff Goins

Why Real Artists Don’t Starve with National Bestselling Author Jeff Goins

July 12, 2017

Jeff Goins is a national bestselling author of five books, most notably among them The Art of Work and his new book Real Artists Don’t Starve.

 I was in the launch group for his new book and I loved it. It was everything I wanted to say, except much more eloquently and cohesively stitched together. If you’ve ever struggled with making money as an artist, this book makes the strongest case I’ve ever seen, full of a hundred stories of people who’ve made a living as an artist, making every type of art, both historically and through to today.

Now, if you’re already in the right headspace to make a living as an artist if you’ve got a good relationship with making money, and if you’re ready to rock and roll, maybe this isn’t the book for you. However, if you’ve struggled with making money in the past, or you need to get in a better headspace to make a living as an artist and not feel guilty about it, then this is the book for you. Check it out in the link below.

Click here to check it out.

In this episode, Jeff talks about

-Why struggling as an artist isn’t required

-Why real artists don’t starve

-The biggest mindset shift you need to make a living as an artist

-The most important key to building an audience

-Why you are doing a disservice to your audience by not letting them buy from you

And much more. Make sure to head on over to www.goinswriter.com if you liked this one. You can pick up some freebies from Jeff once you buy the book. He also has a great podcast called The Portfolio Life, which you should check out.

If you want a free chapter of my new book Sell Your Soul: How to Build a Creative Career, which is sort of the companion book to this one, just click here.

If you haven’t joined our Facebook group to help you make more money selling books, click here.

And don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes if you liked this episode.

Having a Young Justice for art with animation director Vinton Heuck

Having a Young Justice for art with animation director Vinton Heuck

July 6, 2017

Today’s episode is all about animation. I talk with animation director Vinton Heuck about his career trajectory, working up from a storyboard cleanup artist on X-Men and Spider-Man to an animation director on Young Justice season three.

I actually met Vinton without having any idea his resume. We were at a small convention called San Fernando Comic Con last December, and he was showing off his new book Mabigon, an original epic fantasy tale with Arthurian legend tones. We talked for a while during the show, and I friended him on Facebook later.

Then, a few months later they did the show again, and I was talking with Larry Houston, one of the directors of that seminal 90s X-Men cartoon, and he was talking about working with Vinton, and I said, hold up, the Mabigon guy?? That led me down the rabbit hole of asking Vinton all about his past and finding out he’s got a resume as long as my art.

We got to be friendly enough for me to ask him to come on the show and talk about his experience in animation, from a kid in Washington trying to work in comics (and getting a shot at drawing Green Hornet back when Now Comics owned the license), to driving down to Los Angeles to work for Saban on Captain America and Silver Surfer, to bouncing around Sony on Jackie Chan Adventures and Godzilla, until he finally found a home at Warner Brothers on The Batman show from the early 2000s, eventually rising to become an animation director on season 5.

Along the way, he’s worked with DC comics and made his own comics. If you’ve ever wanted to track an animation director’s career, Vinton gives a deep dive on exactly his step by step process to getting where he is today.

Listen to this episode if you want to learn:

  • The step-by-step of how Vinton went from living in Washington working as a security guard to directing Young Justice.
  • The secrets to surviving in animation for 20 years.
  • Why it’s so important to remain positive
  • Why success is all about perseverance
  • What he would tell himself to cut years off his career struggles
  • What he did right in his career to make him the artist he is today.

If you want to check out Mabigon, his original comic, head on over to www.mabigoncomic.com today. If you want to check out Mabigon on Facebook, click here.

If you like this show, please like, review, and subscribe to it by clicking here.

If you haven’t joined our Facebook group yet, now is the best time by clicking here.

Internal vs. External Motivation

Internal vs. External Motivation

June 29, 2017

When it comes to living a creative life, there are two types of motivation you can use in order to find meaning in your work. These forces can drive you toward success or madness, depending on which one you choose.

The first is external motivation. There are many types of external motivation, like the desire for fame, glory, money, or some sort of validation outside of yourself which will make your work meaningful.

Most people I encounter begin their creative life focused on these external motivations. They want to be actors because of a desire to walk the red carpet and make lots of money. They want to paint so they can be hung in the Met or the Louvre. They want to work for Marvel because millions of people will see their work and recognize them.

People motivated by external factors, however, quickly fade out. Almost nobody will ever be hung at a prestigious gallery, or work for Marvel, or achieve any sort of fame. That realization hits people like a ton of bricks and they run away without ever looking back.

Even if somebody does achieve some measure of success, that success may not exist in three years, three months, or even three days. People that achieve great fame and success often talk about the crippling depression that comes right along with it.

That’s because relying on external motivations to validate your life is a hollow pursuit. The only true way to succeed and be fulfilled is to be internally motivated by the love of creating something. This is the second type of motivation; internal motivation.

Being internally motivated means your validation comes from the creation of something, not from somebody appreciating it. It means you can motivate yourself instead of relying on other people to do it for you. The appreciation of your work by others is a bonus, but the true validation comes from making it in the first place.

Additionally, internal motivations create better art because you are no longer hamstrung by what society wants you to create. You are no longer looking for the right thing to make. You are making something that is unique to you. Ironically, by making something unique to you it becomes easier to find an audience for your work.

I’m not saying that external validation isn’t wonderful. There is nothing like selling something you’ve made. However, the sale of the product should be a bonus on top of the creation of something great.

I’m also not saying you should create without ever worrying about something’s salability. This is a book about making a career as a creative after all, not about creating weird and unsaleable material. However, the first step in creating great content is to actually make stuff for the sake of making it.

At the beginning of your creative pursuits, nothing you make is going to be saleable. Until you can hit that stride of making consistently great work, it’s important to create for the sake of creating and let that be its own reward.

Then, when you get to the level where you can create saleable material you can hold true to that internal motivation as a rudder while you look for ways to sell your work to a mass audience.

A perfect example of this is Laika. They are a stop motion animation house in a world full of computer-generated animation. Yet they have still been able to find an audience and put out Coraline, The Box Trolls, Paranorman, and Kubo and the Two Strings. That’s an amazing testament to internal motivation.

By developing that internal motivation, you will never be devastated when a product doesn’t catch on because the true value was in the creation of it. By being able to validate yourself, you can always keep going even in the face of tremendous adversity.

The Stranger things about running a comics company with Niobe creator Sebastian Jones

The Stranger things about running a comics company with Niobe creator Sebastian Jones

June 22, 2017

This episode showcases my dear friend Sebastian Jones, whose company Stranger Comics is seeing the type of explosive growth you hope for every company run by good people. With their message of inclusion, focus on fantastic stories, and 20 year journey to bring the world of Asunda onto the world stage, Stranger went from tabling next to me with one book and a couple of kid’s books and one graphic novel two years ago to getting massive 10”x20” corner booths and blowing out the type of sales numbers that would put your jaw on the ground.

Along the way, Sebastian has kept humble and focused. We had an amazing talk with ranged from creating worlds to selling at shows to building an audience over time, to handling scaling rapidly, and even what it’s like co-writing with Amandla Stenberg, who played Rue in the Hunger Games movies.

This is one of those interviews you don’t want to end because you have hundreds of unanswered questions, and every answer led to a dozen follow-ups, but what Seb shared was amazing, and I hope you will check out his new Kickstarter for Niobe: She is Life, which closes just a couple of days after this goes live. They’ve already passed $50,000 and their first OGN was one of the best I’ve ever read.

Listen to this episode is you want to learn:

-How to build a new world over more than 20 decades

-What most fantasy authors get wrong when writing their books

-The most important thing about building a shared universe

-The secret to finding a rabid audience and keep them coming back for more

-What Sebastian would do differently to cut years off his struggle to get where he is today

-The method Seb uses to get massive publicity for his launches

You can find Stranger comics on all the major platforms @strangercomics. Make sure to check out Niobe: She is Life on Kickstarter today by clicking here.

If you liked this episode, please rate, review, and subscribe today by clicking here.

If you haven’t joined our free Facebook group yet, you can do it today by clicking here.

Russell

Keeping your creative Compass pointed South with Batgirl Writer Hope Larson

Keeping your creative Compass pointed South with Batgirl Writer Hope Larson

June 15, 2017

This week on the show I’m excited to have Hope Larson as a guest. Hope is the current writer for Batgirl, but I know her from her amazing work on Chiggers, Compass South, and the A Wrinkle in Time graphic novel, along with having the most reasonably priced original art I’ve ever seen. I picked up three of her original pieces at ComicART two years ago for $25. Here is here bio, from Wikipedia:

While Larson was still in college, Scott McCloud took an interest in her illustrations, encouraging her to create comics. Soon after, she was invited to the webcomics anthology site Girlamatic and produced her first professional comic, a web serial entitled I Was There & Just Returned.[4] Afterward, Larson concentrated on a number of small, handmade minicomics, combining her interests in comics, screenprinting, and bookmaking.

She contributed to comics anthologies FlightTrue Porn 2, and You Ain't No Dancer, while working on a web-serialized graphic novel, Salamander Dream. This eventually became her first full-length book, published by AdHouse Books in September 2005; she moved to Oni Press for her second graphic novel, Gray Horses (released March 2006).

In 2006, Larson signed a two-book contract with New York publishing house Simon & Schuster. The first book under this deal, Chiggers (released June 18, 2008, under the Atheneum Books Ginee Seo imprint), is a graphic novel about "nerdy teenaged girls" who meet at summer camp. Chiggers is intended for a 9- to 12-year-old audience.[5]

March 26, 2016, It was announced she would be the new writer for DC Comics Batgirl A run that saw the character go on a backpacking trip through China on a voyage of self-discovery.

In addition to comics, Larson has worked as a freelance illustrator for various clients, including the New York Times.

She has also worked as a letterer on such books as Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly's Local.

Hope is awesome, and another in a truly small amount of comic book creators I’ve had on the show which has been published by traditional publishing houses AND mainstream comic book publishers.

Listen to this episode is you want to know:

  • How to learn to write better as an artist, even if you are self-taught
  • The But…Therefore strategy made famous by Trey Parker and Matt Stone from South Park (listen to the original by clicking here)
  • What Hope would tell little Hope about pitching to editors
  • How to sustainably build a career (newsflash: it’s hard)
  • The ins and out of publishing contracts, like what does being paid in thirds mean and how do you earn out
  • The difference between mainstream publishers and direct market ones

If you like this episode, head on over to Twitter @hopelarson or Instagram @despairlarson, and check out her slow-updating webcomic at solocomic.net.

And if you haven’t checked out Compass South, pick it up here, and make sure to also buy her new book Knife’s Edge by clicking here. I loved Compass South and can’t wait for my copy of Knife’s Edge!

If you like this show, please rate, review, and subscribe today by clicking here.

And if you want to make more money selling your books, join our free Facebook group by clicking here.

 

 

The First name in creator owned Comics with Preacher Executive Producer Ken Levin

The First name in creator owned Comics with Preacher Executive Producer Ken Levin

June 8, 2017

This week on the show is another live show, but it's not a panel or a workshop. This panel is a spotlight panel with Ken Levin, founder of First Comics in both the 80s and during its relaunch in 2011. 

Ken started First Comics in a world that only knew Marvel and DC, and he entered the scene as one of the first champions of creator rights that led directly and indirectly to the creation of Image Comics, and the industry as we see it today. 

Of course, that's only one of Ken's claims to fame. Ken is also the lawyer behind every big comic creator from Neil Gaiman to Garth Ennis and beyond. He's been an executive producer and producer on almost every relevant comic book movie since the early 2000s, most notably Preacher, the amazing series from AMC. 

So the City of Indio's Fantasia Comic Con brought me in as a moderator to ask Ken some questions, and let me tell you, this was the easiest moderation panel I've ever done. Ken could have talked for another six hours straight without another word from me. 

If you ever wanted to know about the history of independent comics, how to turn a comic book into a movie, or anything else that's happened in comics since the early 80s, this is the panel for you. 

If you like this episode, go find Ken at a show (he doesn't do a lot of social media), and check out First Comic's books. They are awesome. They put out Zen: The Intergalactic Ninja, several books from the Yuan Twins, and much more. 

If you like this show, head on over to iTunes to rate, review, and subscribe to the show by clicking here.

If you are an author or creator who wants to make more money selling books, join our free Facebook group by clicking here.

 

 

How to build a rabid audience from scratch

How to build a rabid audience from scratch

June 1, 2017

This week I’m bringing you a live workshop I did at Wyrdcon 2017 about how to build an audience from scratch. This is the holy grail, people. There is no point in making things if you don’t have an audience to buy it, unless you really don’t want people responding to your work. Since every artist I’ve ever met wants more people to respond to their work, it’s critically important that we are able to talk about building an audience.

There is an audience from literally everything on the planet, and if you can find yours, then you can start to make money on your art.

Here’s the description of my panel, straight from the Wyrdcon website:

Whether you are an author, and artist, a game designer, or a baker, you need an audience to buy your product. Building an audience is the critical factor that grows your business. Without it, your business can't become sustainable. Join Russell Nohelty, publisher of Wannabe Press and host of The Business of Art podcast, as he breaks down audience building and makes it attainable for everybody. 

The last part of that description is the most important in my opinion because this panel is all about making the process of building an audience attainable for everybody.

Listen to this episode if you want to find out:

-The five steps you must follow in order to build a rabid fanbase

-How to find your ideal client avatar

-Why you need to figure out your audience before you go looking for them

-Where to look for your ideal audience online

…and much more.

Hope you enjoy it.

How to get your comic over the finish line with Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Christie Shinn, Barbra Dillon, Garrett Gunn, and Hannah McGill

How to get your comic over the finish line with Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Christie Shinn, Barbra Dillon, Garrett Gunn, and Hannah McGill

May 25, 2017

Have you ever started a comic and not finished it? Are you in the middle of production on a comic and getting lost in the weeks? Do you lie awake at night trying to figure out how your book will ever get done?

That’s the topic of this week’s live episode, recorded at Silicon Valley Comicon. It’s for everybody that’s been in the weeds producing a comic and doesn’t know where to go next. I put together an amazing panel of guest who’ve all successfully produced comic books, from creators to publishers to artists and everything in between. Here’s the description, straight from the panel guide.

TITLE: How to get a comic over the finish line

DESCRIPTION: Does making a comic seem insurmountable? Are you stuck in the middle of production? Then this is the panel for you. Join a group of veteran indie comic creators as they discuss what it takes to get a project over the finish line and into the hands of readers.

MODERATOR: Russell Nohelty (Wannabe Press)
SPEAKER 1: Hannah McGill (RAWR! Dinosaur friends; www.hannahmcgill.com; @hannahcomb on Twitter)
SPEAKER 2: Garrett Gunn (Franklin and Ghost, Go West; www.geekerymagazine.com; @somewriterguy on Twitter)
SPEAKER 3: Barbra Dillon (Fanbase Press; www.fanbasepress.com; @barbrajdillon on Twitter)
SPEAKER 4: Madeleine Holly-Rosing (Boston Metaphysical Society; www.bostonmetaphysicalsociety.com; @mhollyrosing on Twitter)
SPEAKER 5: Christie Shinn (Personal Monsters; www.horatotastudios.com; @horatorastudios on Twitter)

You’ll recognize some of these guests from other episodes of my show over the years. You can listen to Barbra Dillon on her own spotlight panel here, and she talked about building an audience with Madeleine Holly-Rosing here.

You can also catch Madeleine on previous panels talking about Kickstarter here and how to sell at conventions here, along with her spotlight episode here.

Also, catch Christie on her own spotlight panel here.

If you enjoy this episode, please rate, review and subscribe to our show by clicking here.

And if you are an author or creator looking to make more money selling books then join our free Facebook group by clicking here.

Plotting the ZeneSCOPE of your career with Author and Creator Pat Shand

Plotting the ZeneSCOPE of your career with Author and Creator Pat Shand

May 18, 2017

I won’t lie. Pat Shand is a guy I’m a little jealous of because he seamlessly weaves comics and novels into one awesome career. He’s raised $20,000+ on Kickstarter and had exclusive contracts with comic publishers. He’s written Marvel books, including Guardians of The Galaxy, and he’s just killing it.

I’m not even gonna attempt to list out the rest of his bibliography here, but you can find it by clicking here.

I don’t know how Pat and I met, especially because we live on different coasts, but I am super excited that we did because he has been an awesome and supportive friend along with making great projects. I must track down Vampire Emmy and the Garbage Girl somewhere. It’s essential to by existence.

Pat came on the show to talk about building a living as a writer and to pimp his new book Clonsters, which is on Kickstarter now. You should check it out. The art is incredible.

Listen to this episode if you want to know:

  • Why you shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to your fans
  • How to bridge the writing gap between comics and novels
  • Why networking is so important to writing success
  • How Pat writes 3+ novels in a year
  • Why you shouldn’t be pissed at creators if their covers suck
  • How to book jobs (both the sneaky way and the best way)
  • Why you should always buy from creators you meet
  • How to test an artist properly

If you like this episode, tell Pat by finding him @patshand on twitter. Talk to him positively about stuff you love if you want to win his heart.

If you are digging this show, please head on over to iTunes to subscribe, rate, and review it today by clicking here.

If you are an author or creator yourself, don’t forget to join our FREE Facebook community, Authors and Creators Making Money Selling Books, by clicking here.

 

Becoming a better editor with Beth Scorzoto

Becoming a better editor with Beth Scorzoto

May 11, 2017

This week’s show features Beth Scorzato, freelance editor, and maker of cool things. I’ve known Beth since she moved to Los Angeles a few years ago, and she was on my list of people I’ve wanted on the show since the beginning. Here’s her bio, straight from www.bethscorzato.com.

I'm originally from Connecticut, where I grew up in theater, surrounded by the workings of my mother's costume shop, a local business which started in our basement. I thought I'd be in theater forever, but I fell in love with comics during college at SUNY Purchase, where I earned my BA in Journalism. I continued to study publishing at Pace University, where I earned my MS in Book and Magazine Publishing.

Since then I've worked at Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Papercutz Graphic Novels, and Lion Forge Comics, as well as boutique YA literary development house Paper Lantern Lit. Currently, in addition to my freelance work, I am a partner and Editor-in-Chief at GeekChic Comics.

I moved to Los Angeles from NYC in 2014 and yes, the weather is great. And, after all that, I still work in theater on the side anyway.

Best is one of the few editors I know who doesn’t have a burning desire to write as well. She really loves editing and it comes through in everything she talks about in this episode. Listen to this episode if you want to know:

  • What makes a good freelancer
  • The biggest problems Beth finds when hiring freelance writers and artists
  • Why knowing the whole supply chain is critical to your success
  • Why prior success as a creator is important to whether a company will hire you
  • What you should look for when hiring an editor
  • Why editors are so important

If you liked this episode, find Beth on Twitter or Instagram @girladactyl, or on her site www.bethscorzato.com.

If you enjoy this show, please like, rate, and review it on iTunes by clicking here. AND if you are an author or creator who wants to make more money selling books, join our FREE Facebook community by clicking here.

 

How to Sell at Conventions with Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Gwendolyn Dreyer, Daniel De Sosa, and Mike Wellman

How to Sell at Conventions with Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Gwendolyn Dreyer, Daniel De Sosa, and Mike Wellman

May 4, 2017

This week we have another live show from Long Beach Comic Expo. This is our last live panel from that show, and it was an awesome one, especially if you ever wanted to learn how to sell at conventions. Our awesome panelists are some of the best I know at selling at conventions, and I brought them all together to show how their styles are different, and how you can be successful as an artist, writer, or even editor.

Here’s a description of the panel, right from the program guide:

It’s incredibly expensive to exhibit at a show. Not only are there table fees involved, but you have to pay for products and marketing materials among many other expenses. Most creators go into their first exhibiting experience blind and end up losing a lot of money. Don’t let that happen to you. Join moderator Russell Nohelty (Ichabod Jones: Monster Hunter) as he talks with a panel of experienced con veterans including Mike Wellman (Guns A’ Blazin’), Gwendolyn Dreyer (Monster Elementary), Madeleine Holly-Rosing (Boston Metaphysical Society) and Daniel De Sosa (Purrvana) as they give you their best tips to make money at conventions and make sure you are profitable from day one.

Most of these awesome creators have been on the show before. You can catch Gwendolyn Dreyer’s of my show here, and listen to her talking about building an audience from scratch here. You can listen to Madeleine talking about Kickstarter here, building an audience here, and on her own spotlight episode here. You can hear Mike and I debate Kickstarter vs. self-funding comics here and here.  The only person who hasn’t been on the show at all is Daniel, but I can assure you he is a con selling rock star.

If you like this episode please make sure to find the panelists online to thank them. They can be found below.

Gwendolyn Dreyer (@monsterelem on Twitter, www.monsterelementary.com)

Madeleine Holly-Rosing (@mhollyrosing on Twitter, bostonmetaphysicalsociety.com)

Daniel De Sosa (@bardicfury on Twitter, www.desosa.tumblr.com)

Mike Wellman (@macafro on Twitter, www.thecomicbug.com)

If you like this episode, then make sure to rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes by clicking here.

And if you are an author or creator who wants to make more money selling books, then join our new, awesome, promo-free Facebook group by clicking here.

The Politics of Partnership with Mark Waid, Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, and Dean Haspiel

The Politics of Partnership with Mark Waid, Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, and Dean Haspiel

April 27, 2017

This week is another live episode, this time from the Comic Creator Conference at Long Beach Comic Expo. I know it feels like I’ve done a ton of live shows recently, but I have such a backlog of amazing panels that I want to get them out while they’re still relevant. Usually I like to toggle through interviews, live shows, and lessons, but with the anthology interview series blocking out seven weeks, I stockpiled a bunch of these episodes, and there are STILL MORE!

I know I still owe you an episode on the Kickstarter, but I want to make sure to collect all my thoughts, and that I’m feeling well, before I dig in to unpack that massive undertaking.

This panel is all about the Politics of Partnership. I was lucky enough to be asked to moderate one of the coolest, most epic panels of my entire career at this show, including a funny story that shows how a career can come full circle in just a few years. I won’t spoil it, but it involves being fired from Boom! While Mark Waid was the CCO.

This amazing panel is filled with fantastic guests. Here’s the panel description, straight from the C3 website.

Working with a creative team on an independent title or through a major publisher can come with questions of ownership and percentages. Mark Waid, Dean Haspiel and Amy Reeder discuss how to navigate these waters and negotiate the best deal for all parties involved.

We were also joined on the panel by Brandon Montclare, Amy’s partner on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and Rocket Girl. Between all the panelists involved, we had dozens of years of experience in both good and bad partnerships. They dropped knowledge bombs galore.

Hope you enjoy it. If you did, let the panelists know on Twitter or Facebook. If you liked this episode, please subscribe, rate, and review by clicking here.

And if you are an author or creator, looking to make more money selling books, I highly recommend our new Facebook group, Authors and Creators Making Money Selling Books. It’s no promo, just awesome content. Join now by clicking here.  

 

How to Build an Art Portfolio and Pitch to Editors with Pia Guerra, Tom Hutchison, Greg Smith, Laura Neubert, and Margot Atwell

How to Build an Art Portfolio and Pitch to Editors with Pia Guerra, Tom Hutchison, Greg Smith, Laura Neubert, and Margot Atwell

April 20, 2017

This week on the show we have another live episode. This time, it’s an amazing panel I moderated and put together from Emerald City Comicon. The fact that me, as a first-time vendor at the show, was able to book a panel at Emerald City Comicon was pretty amazing, and it was almost entirely due to the amazing panel we were able to put together to talk about building an art portfolio and pitching to an editor, which is the topic of this panel.

This is the description, straight from the Emerald City ComiCon site: Before you can book jobs with publishers, you need to know how to build a portfolio. Once you've built a portfolio, you need to know how to pitch an editor or publisher. This panel combines both steps into one information-packed hour. Learn how to build and pitch your portfolio from pros who have worked in the industry for years.

I went out to find a diverse group of panelist who could hit this from all angles. I brought in writers, artists, publishers, editors, and art directors. Here’s a list of the panelists.

Pia Guerra (artist, Y: The Last Man; @piaguerra on twitter)

Tom Hutchison (publisher, Big Dog Ink; @tjhbigdogink)

Laura Neubert (artist, Artful from Action Labs; @missrosengeist on Twitter)

Greg Smith (co-writer/co-creator, Junior Braves of The Apocalypse from Oni Press; @thatamazingtwit on Instagram)

Margot Atwell (publishing director, Kickstarter; @margotatwell on Twitter)

It was an amazing and diverse panel of experts in every field of hiring and creating art. Two of our guests are returning to the show for this panel. Margot Atwell talked about Kickstarter here and Tom Hutchison discussed building a publishing business here.

I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, make sure to find the panelists online and say thanks! If you like this show, please write, review, and subscribe to it on iTunes by clicking here.

And if you are a writer or creator looking to sell more books, then join our free Facebook Community, Writers and Creators Making Money Selling Books, by clicking here.

 

Incubating Bestselling Authors with Author Incubator founder Angela Lauria

Incubating Bestselling Authors with Author Incubator founder Angela Lauria

April 13, 2017

Today on the show I have Angela Lauria, founder of the Author Incubator, which has successfully launched over 270 bestselling authors into the stratosphere.  I had to have her on to talk about her success and how she can create bestselling authors on autopilot. Here’s a little about the Author Incubator, from their website www.theauthorincubator.com:

People will tell you writing a book is a struggle, but with my system, it’s simple. There’s you and your book which is already written inside you. It already exists. We simply have to clear away the stuff between you and it.

The Author Incubator provides a structure and space so coaches and other healing professionals can get their message out to the world by writing a book that makes a difference with clarity and ease.

I’ve worked with hundreds of authors in transformation and what we’ve found is there are really only 10 pieces of the puzzle to writing a book that actually changes people’s lives. See writing a book SEEMS very complicated and that can make it overwhelming, but if you can master these 10 steps, you will have a book that makes a difference in many people’s lives. So would you like to know the steps?

That almost makes writing a bestselling book seem attainable to everybody, right? I actually found Angela from a Facebook ad, another nut I’ve been unable to crack successfully, and decided to reach out and see if she would be on the show. I expected nothing, but she replied the same day.

What amazed me about her advice for Amazon book launches was how similar it is to my advice about launching a Kickstarter. I shouldn’t be surprised, though, since a book launch is a book launch is a book launch.

If you enjoy this one with Angela, make sure to like her page on Facebook by clicking here, and follow her on Twitter by clicking here.

And I know you are jonesing for some Kickstarter knowledge and I promise I’m going to do a post about it eventually, but in the meantime, you can head on over to my Kickstarter Toolkit by clicking here and seeing everything I’ve ever said about the topic.

Live @ LBCE: How to Develop a Profitable Pitch

Live @ LBCE: How to Develop a Profitable Pitch

April 6, 2017

If you want to get somebody interested in buying your product, whether it’s a book, a print, or even your services, you need to start with a dynamite pitch.

In my experience, you don’t have much time to catch somebody’s interest. Luckily, I’ve perfected the steps to a good pitch so you can gain somebody’s attention in a minimal amount of time. Once they’re hooked, you can spend as much time as you want with them. The trick is getting them interested in the first place.

 I’ve tailored this formula through dozens of shows, but it can be used on social media, in meetings, or basically anywhere you need to get somebody’s attention.

A pitch needs to be simple and concise with specific appeals for your intended audience. There are tons of steps that go into a great pitch. Don’t worry if you get frustrated with it. Pitching, like any art form, gets better with practice.

Step 1: The question

The first step in any good pitch is the question. This is where you get your potential customer to engage with you by answering a simple yes or no question.

My first question to passersby at a convention is usually “Do you want to see a cool comic?” However, as the variety of titles at Wannabe Press grows, my pitches vary depending on what I am trying to push on any given day. If I want to sell more of my murder mystery novel, the question is “Do you like murder?” If I am trying to sell kids’ books, the question is “Wanna see something that will put your kid to sleep?”

The people who stopped and replied “yes” were immediately self-identifying that they were interested in what I was pitching. I knew they were in my target market because they said “yes.”

One of the most important concept in sales is the idea that many small yeses lead to one big yes—the big yes being a sale. If you can get people to say “yes” over and over again, they are confirming their interest in your product, and you have positioned yourself well to win their business.

If you are selling yourself and not your product, your question might be, “Are you sick of freelancers that bail?” or “Are you having trouble making people notice your brand?” If you are selling prints, you might ask, “Are you looking for a new accent piece for your bedroom?” or “Are your walls annoyingly bare?”

You won’t know exactly what works until you get out into the world and test several possibilities, but the idea is to get somebody to say “yes” to you right off the bat with a simple, innocuous question.

Step 2: The option

Once your potential customer is engaged with your pitch, you need to give them a simple two-choice option to move the conversation along to the next step. This option is another way to make your potential customer self-identify their preferences. When there are two comic books on my table, I ask “Do you like psychological mind screws or girls that kick butt?”

By giving them the choice, I’ve forced them to buy into their preference. Psychologically, this puts people in a more receptive mood to buy. By choosing their favorite, they agree they are interested in what I am selling. Now, all I have to do is make my case and hope they bite.

The beauty of this option is that I know every possible outcome and can plan my pitch accordingly. You know what your pitch will be if they say option one, and you know your pitch if they say option two. Even if they don’t pick either option, you know your next step because you’ve limited their potential responses.  For instance, if they say “both,” or if they pause for more than a second, I always pitch my best seller.

Some people prefer to ask their customers open-ended questions, but that is a dangerous game. If you ask a question like “What are you shopping for today?” or “What do you like?” you are giving the power to the buyer. They could say anything. For all you know, they might say, “I’m here because goats are cool.” By using the two-choice option, you get all the advantages of engagement with none of the risk posed by open-ended questions.

By narrowing down your potential customer’s options, you can nail your pitch every time. With pitching, even a few seconds’ delay can be the difference between a sale and the customer walking away in disgust.

Step 3: The pitch

Did you notice there are two steps before we even get to the pitch? This is called “priming the customer,” and it allows for you to get a couple of yeses before you even pitch the product. It also forces the customer to self-identify as a member of your ideal audience—twice. This leads to a more engaged listener and higher overall sales.

Your pitch is a simple one-sentence summary of your project’s biggest hook. For example, my pitch for Katrina Hates Dead Shit is: a woman gets sick of living during the Apocalypse so she sets out to Hell to Kill the Devil.

It’s short, sweet, and to the point. Most importantly, it creates an emotional connection with my ideal customer. The perfect customer of that book will hear my pitch and have a visceral reaction to it.

That’s the most important part of your pitch. It’s not about what your product does. It about creating an emotional connection to your customer. People make purchases based on emotion, so you need to make an emotional connection to the buyer. The good news is they’ve already self-identified that they want to hear your pitch. Now, all you must to do is nail the emotional hook.

Emotional connection is a powerful thing, and it’s the most powerful buying trigger you have to help boost your sales. When somebody doesn’t know you, they must be able to connect with your product emotionally in order for you to make a sale. 

Don’t worry if you don’t have this down perfectly at first. Discovering the emotional resonance of your product is difficult. You should write out ten to twenty potential pitches and then start delivering them to people to find the one with the best emotional connection. Most likely, you will need to combine the best parts of several pitches for the best effect.

Before a product ever even launches, I spend hundreds of hours developing the exact wording of its pitch. I show people our in-progress work, tell them as much as I can about it, and watch how they react, noting which parts of my description light them up. I mold that all into the perfect pitch. By the time the product launches, I know the exact emotional beats necessary to maximize sales.

Step 4: The flavor

Once you finish your pitch, let it settle in for a moment with your potential customer. Let them look at the product and turn it over a couple times. Once they’ve looked at it for a few seconds, you should start adding on some flavor elements to spice up your pitch. This is when you start peppering in some unique selling points and your value proposition for whatever you are selling.

These flavor elements are things they can’t find easily by looking at your product, like where it was made, why you made it, or who worked on it with you. Every product is different, and you need to find the right “spice” to resonate with a product’s ideal audience.

For my graphic novel, Ichabod Jones: Monster Hunter, people respond when I tell them about our influences for making the book, that we used a single artist for everything, and that it’s a complete story. With Katrina Hates the Dead, I know they respond when I talk about the artist going on to work on a Star Wars story and that we have additional process images in the back showing how we made the book. Each of these bits of flavor perk up the reader and strengthen their desire to buy the product.

Step 5: The acceptance

Before you ask for the sale, you want to get them to agree once again that the product is cool. This can be as simple as “Pretty cool, right?” You are priming them one more time before asking them to buy. They’ve agreed this is a product they want—three times—and now it’s time to ask for the sale.

Step 6: The ask

Ask for the business by stating the price of your services and giving them another optional close. For instance, you could say, “This book is twenty dollars or two for thirty,” or “Will that be cash or charge?” This final optional close once again primes the customer that they are going to buy. Instead of the option being yes or no, it’s, “How do I want to pay?”

Don’t be too pushy here. You’ll see their reaction when you state the price. Most people will back off, some will buy, and some will be on the fence. For the people who back off, exchange cards and add them to your mailing list. For the people who buy, have them pay and add them to your mailing list. For the people on the fence, move on to step seven.

Step 7: Objection handling

Most people aren’t going to buy your project. Some will flat out say no, but others will sit on the fence waiting for you to convince them to buy. They want your product but you haven’t given them a strong enough reason to give you their hard-earned money. So, you have to give them a good reason to buy.

With these people, you want to give them another question, like “What’s stopping you from buying this right now?” However, a better question would be, “I know you want this, but you’re trying to save your money to see if there is something better, right?”

They will almost always agree with this, and then you can make them a special offer, something like, “What if I gave you a money-back guarantee? If you find something better at this con, come back and I will give you your money back.” I’ve been making this offer for years, and nobody has ever come back to get their money back.

Maybe they will have a great reason, like “I’m not getting paid for two weeks.” Maybe they have a crappy reason you can easily overcome and make them a customer. Perhaps the pricing is too high, and in that case you can lower the price slightly, or maybe they really want multiple pieces, in which case you can offer them bundle pricing.

If you can overcome these objections in one round of objection handling, then you should have a customer on your hand. If they still have objections, try to flush them out with one more round before giving up.

You want to do at most two rounds of this objection handling. If you can’t make a sale by then, exchange cards, add them to your mailing list, and make them a future prospect. You can keep going for as long as you want with objections, but I’ve found if you can’t convince them with two chances, then they most likely won’t buy, at least not until later.

In practice, this entire pitch, from meeting a customer through objection handling, takes no more than a couple of minutes, max. It’s the whittling down everything you want to say into a couple sentences that takes forever. The actual pitch should be no more than two minutes.

The first time you do it, it won’t take two minutes. It will take forever, and you’ll get everything wrong. You’ll sound terrible. You’ll say things in the wrong order. You’ll say things you didn’t mean to say. You’ll ramble on forever. You’ll be…just awful.

That’s okay.

It’s unnatural to talk about your project. Nobody likes to do it. Since you don’t want to do it, either, you’ll stop after two or three attempts. Then, you’ll hang your head in shame and never want to do it again.

Don’t give up.

That’s the key to this. You can’t stop. You have to keep going. Over time you will get better. The more you practice your “pitching muscle,” the better you’ll get and the more natural you will become. The key to a pitch is that it can’t sound like a pitch. It has to sound natural, and it can’t sound natural until you’ve done it a thousand times. You can’t do it a thousand times if you stop after the first attempt.

You’re supposed to suck at this at first. Sucking at something, as Jake the Dog from Adventure Time says, is the first step to being kind of good at something. If you want to be kind of good at pitching, you have to do the work. There are no shortcuts in coming up with and practicing a compelling pitch. The only secret is to do it a whole bunch of times.

Get schooled on anthologies with Monster Elementary writer Nicholas Doan and editor Gwendolyn Dreyer

Get schooled on anthologies with Monster Elementary writer Nicholas Doan and editor Gwendolyn Dreyer

March 30, 2017

Nicholas Doan and Gwendolyn Dreyer are two of my favorite people in the comics community. They are incredible at giving of their time and knowledge, along with making dope ass books. 

I brought them on the show to talk about anthology in conjunction with the launch of my new anthology Monsters and Other Scary Shit. Click here to check it out. For just $40 you get a hardcover of the book, digital print, and pdf, including shipping in the USA!

Nick and Gwen put together the amazing Monster Elementary anthology. Published by Spacegoat Productions, Monster Elementary tells the stories of five monsters who are forced to attend a normal human elementary school, with hilarious consequences. Here is the premise, pulled straight from www.monsterelementary.com: 

Monster Elementary is a fun, witty, comedy/adventure comic for children of all ages featuring five monster children based on classic monster movie archetypes. These five monster kids are forced to attend a human public school after their monsters-only private school is raided by the FBI. To their surprise, they're not allowed to eat any of the other students. The monsters’ adventures and experiences hiding their identities and growing up are the focal point of the book.

The book is amazing, and they have been in the trenches for a long time, attending cons, and slinging books. It was great to talk with them about Kickstarter, the state of indie comics, and anthologies. You are going to get a ton of value out of this massive episodes. I highly recommend you listen. However, if you just want the cliff notes, here is their list of the top five things you must know before starting an anthology.

1.) Make sure you have a variety of art styles. What's the point of doing an anthology if it all looks the same?

2.) Try to have all your stories end in even page numbers. There may be circumstances where that is less than ideal, but it will make the layout stage go SO much faster.

3.) Make sure to balance the desire for diversity in stories with the need to stay on theme. Always be asking yourself, "Why does this story need to be in THIS book?"

4.) Make sure your cover, and front and back matter have a strong sense of design reflecting the stories and theme of the book. It can be difficult to find a unifying design, but it's necessary to accurately convey to your potential reader what's inside.

5.) Make sure you finish big. Make sure the last story in your book is on theme, impactful, and is the lasting memory you want your reader to have at the end stick with them when they reflect on your book.

If you dug this episode, make sure to head on over to www.monsterelementary.com and let Gwen and Nick know, or find them on twitter @monsterelem. Tell them they need an Instagram, too!

Don’t forget to check out the Kickstarter for my book, Monsters and Other Scary Shit, live on Kickstarter now. Nick has a 7-page story inside with awesome artist Daniele Serra! Back it today by clicking here.

It’s just $40 for a hardcover book, digital print of the cover, and pdf, including shipping! That’s 224 pages of monster goodness. Click here to back today!  

Also, head on over to iTunes to subscribe, rate and review today. Just click here and subscribe today!