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Monday, January 20, 2014

Writing Goals for 2014

Over on his blog, my friend and former Weekly Crisis colleague Ryan K. Lindsay posted his goals as a writer for 2014, which made me think about what I’d like to see in 2014 from my comics writing career.  Last year I had a lot of cool things happen, including a number of anthology releases, a solid year of Dear Dinosaur, and, of course, my gig scripting the final issue of Youngblood for Image Comics.  Needless to say, it was the biggest year of my young career, but I think that 2014 has the opportunity to be even better.  I have some very specific goals and some broader goals to make that happen—hit the jump to see what my goals are for 2014!

Smooth Webcomic Transition
As announced at the very end of 2013, my beloved webcomic Dear Dinosaur will be ending this Spring.  I have hit a point where I have told the stories that I want to write and if I pushed myself to write the characters beyond the planned natural completion, it will be a disservice both to me as the creator and the characters that you know and love.  As of right now, my plan is to launch a beat ‘em up video game-inspired webcomic Left 2 Right immediately after Dear Dinosaur ends—which I will be writing and drawing.  I’d really like the transition between the comics to go smoothly, which will be pretty difficult, especially since I will need to work well ahead of schedule (unlike Dear Dinosaur, which is usually finished a few days before posting) as it will be colored by my good friend BJ Humphrey.

Making a Bigger Splash
One of the problems I had with my releases last year was that I had a number of comics released, but I had trouble getting people to notice.  I’ve done a great job of selling my books at conventions, but when that 1-on-1 element is removed, my books aren’t selling as well as I would like, despite being widely available.  As I have more anthology stories being released this year and a few things I can’t yet talk about, I want to do a better job of building hype and getting my comics into the hands of readers.

Nailing the Pitch
Last year I had two big creator owned pitches—How the Krampus Saved Christmas and Oren Takes Flight—neither of which were able to land with publishers, despite a few close calls and a few contracts that I had turned down.  I really believe in these projects, but I do think that sharper pitches would have made my proposals more successful.  This is one major thing I want to work on in the coming year so that the excellent comics that I’m shopping around will have a better chance of standing out against the other comics being pitched.

Getting Oren in Flight
Oren Takes Flight built up some great buzz thanks to the art previews that Ben Holliday posted online and the awesome preview that was included in the back of Mice Templar.  While we had some offers, Ben and I could not find a publisher that we were happy with that wanted to publish the book—but we know we are on the right track.  I believe in this project more than any other comic that I have ever worked on and I’ve already started to lay the groundwork for its publication in 2014.  Expect some news on that…eventually.

I picked up three freelance gigs in 2013: Youngblood in mid 2013, Des Taylor’s Scarlett Couture due out later this year, and one project that has not been announced yet.  One of my biggest goals in 2014 is to land a few more jobs freelancing as a writer.  Working on someone else’s characters is wildly different than writing creator owned stories, but is incredibly exciting in its own right.  With so many mid-level publishers breaking out and doing such cool work, I think there are some great opportunities for me to write established characters, whether it be fill in issues, back up stories, etc.

That Creator Owned Gem
Writing creator owned comics remains my number one goal with my career.  I have so many stories that I want to tell and there are so many artists that I want to work with.  I had some close calls in 2013, but 2014 needs to be the year that I land a perfect pitch that convinces a mainstream publisher to release one of my creator owned projects.  Maybe it will be Oren Takes Flight.  Maybe it will be Stray (now with a new artist).  Maybe it will be The Largest Heart (now with an artist).  Maybe it will be something else all together, but one way or another, I’m going to make a splash with a creator owned title this year.  Hopefully more than one.  But at least one.

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