Thursday, June 25, 2009

That Which Can Drive a Man Insane

Before I get into today's post, I'd like to remind everyone of our contest, the self-proclaimed "Easiest Contest in the History of the Internet," where any one of you (yes, you!) can win a gift certificate to So far, we've had a few entrants and commentators, and we thank everyone for playing along.

Anyhow, if you want to be entered into the contest, please do check the rules out here. We appreciate it, and good luck!

With that, let's right to today's (a little bit depressing and a little bit not depressing) regularly scheduled post...

Some days you get what they call a gut check. Other days, you get a punch in the gut. Yesterday, for me, was a bit of both those things.

By now, you're all sick and tired of hearing about the status of my graphic novel (still at a publisher, still being drawn and lettered, and still in a very Strange Place as I sit here and wait to hear some answers). However, I've never really talked about what the book actually is.


In my head at least, it's a book with cross market appeal. "Cross," in this case, between the school/library market and the mass market. It's an educational graphic novel, about an important historical event, with a very mainstream feel to it. And that's really all I can say right now because the script is being reviewed by a large publisher.


As I've mentioned, getting the project to its current state has been tiresome, and frankly, pretty rough. But the book is written, it was edited and vetted and edited and vetted and edited and...well, you see my condescension dripping from the page so I'll just stop.

And people told me how great it was, and others told me how not-so-great it was, and through it all I just tried to focus on completing the project. Finishing the script, forging ahead with the art, and getting the pages lettered and colored and finished and ready for press.

It's been expensive, it's been daunting, and it's been quite a bit of fun at times. Yesterday, though.

Well, yesterday wasn't very much fun at all.

A guy I hired to come on and help with marketing of the project decided he wanted no part of it. He didn't see the cross marketing viability of the product, and really just didn't like the book very much. He didn't like the script, he really didn't like the art, and that was that.

So far, he's the anomaly, the exception to the rule. Most people who have read the script and seen the art dig the book, and the concept, and agree about its long term potential. Still, this guy didn't. And, like I said, it was a swift punch to the gut.

Maybe it shouldn't have been, and maybe I should have seen it as others have told me to see it. But, when it boils down to it, I guess I was just upset at the outcome, and the former athlete in me was pretty annoyed with the person. But the businessman in me was smart enough to know when not to flip out, and the check was put in the mail immediately, preceded by an email filled with good wishes and thanks.

And now I need to move on and go to the next phase.

But before I do that, I'd really like to linger in this phase for a bit. Anyone who has ever written anything or put their art in front of others (heck, even athletes can relate to this feeling) know what it's like to be rejected and to be praised.

And unpublished writers especially know both feelings incredibly well. Most of us in the unpublished masses know the feeling of rejection better than the alternative, which while unfortunate, is very true.

And it's character-building, and it makes you a better person, and it just flat out stinks.

Whenever someone doesn't like something I've written, or in this case, something I've spent nearly two years writing, organizing, launching, promoting, and funding...well that just makes things a bit more difficult to swallow.

And I know every artist will say, "It's one guy. Who cares?"

But the truth is, at times like this I can't help but think that maybe what I've written just isn't all that great. And I've only looked at it through rose-colored lenses and maybe I should rethink things. And I know that's anathema for a creative person to think this way, but I am not (nor was I ever) a Rah-Rah, believe in yourself and you can achieve the moon type of person.

Mostly because, while you do need confidence in yourself to do many things, you also need talent. I could believe in myself until Tinker Bell's head exploded, but that wouldn't mean I'd ever become a professional wrestler. Or a soccer player. Or a golfer. Or captain of the Harvard polo team.

When it comes down to it, though, I have to just put my head down and keep running. But for today--just for today--I'd like to remain in this phase. Angry at things and mad at the world. Sometimes the best writing gets done when emotions are at their highest. Sometimes when I feel like this, nothing gets done besides vegging out on the couch until midnight.

But, whatever today brings, I'll deal with it.

I do have faith in my book, I have faith in my artist, and I have faith in my own abilities. I think the thing can sell and that it can be incredibly profitable. And hopefully the publisher will recognize that.

And if not, then it's on to the next. Either the next phase in this project, or the next phase in a whole new project.

If nothing else, these past two years have shown me that I want to be connected with the creative world, to talk to and yell at crazy and brilliant people, and to get out of the box, literally, of a regular job.

And maybe this punch to the gut can become a swift kick in the butt to do just that.

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