by Nate Lindley
Ashcan Comics Pub. and every other publisher, artist, and writer out there posts samples of their finished products and works in progress (WIP), but what about all the other work that goes into making comics, stories, anthologies, etc.? Truth is, there is a ton of effort that goes into project planning, collaborating, encouraging, reviewing, and cross-promoting. So this blog is intended to show you what happens behind the scenes at Ashcan Comics Pub.
"With a good team and clear goals, Ashcan Comics Pub. has been successfully publishing work every month since December 2018."
So where does it begin for Ashcan Comics Pub.? Technically it begins with recruiting, but the first step in our production is planning a project. The lead team determines a title/topic, presents a prompt/idea to the team, and then we use a social media platform to discuss the project and arrange collaboration teams.
As you can see above, we pair up artists and writers for all of our Flash Fiction Force anthologies. This has been a great way to build Team Ashcan and lighten the load for any participant. Every now and then, we may have an artist do both the story and the art, but sharing the slot really improves the experience for both members.
Since our flash fiction pieces are 3 pages of story and 1 page of art, we shoot for 5-7 slots - that provides us with 20-28 pages of content. We also clearly define due dates for drafts, revisions, and the final. This communication is critical to success. With a good team and clear goals, Ashcan Comics Pub. has been successfully publishing work every month since December 2018.
"In this group, we would love to see artists and writers hone their craft, make awesome work in and out of Ashcan, and help others do the same."
Collaborating & Discussion Boards
Discussion has become a major part of Ashcan Comics Pub. We have contributors across The States as well across the globe. Somehow, however, we find time to interact with each other. Sure, 3/4 of our conversations are about our current productions, but often times we are just talking. We will probably never be able to meet up as a complete team, but social media has provided us the opportunity to get to know one another beyond the project.
Ashcan has had over 40 people contribute to our monthly publications. Recently, we recruited a team of 18 dedicated writers and artists. This team (known as the Flash Fiction Force) has become tightly knit. With a group of regular contributors, the members have been able to mesh and discover each others talents. Many of the people on this team have taken on outside projects, including full-length sequential comics and cross-overs.
This is what Ashcan is about. Ashcan is an indie publisher, but ultimately, Ashcan exists to build talent and collaboration. In this group, we would love to see artists and writers hone their craft, make awesome work in and out of Ashcan, and help others do the same.
"Countless times, I have received direct messages (DMs) with extremely thoughtful and useful information."
Encouraging & Reviewing
Have you ever drawn or written something and wish you could get some honest feedback? Parents, friends, and spouses are all great sources of feedback, but they love you. It can be hard to separate an emotional connection from an analysis. On that note, it is often hard for our team to do this as well. However, countless times, I have received direct messages (DMs) with extremely thoughtful and useful information. Feedback and a fresh-set-of-eyes is one of the best things about an indie comics community like Ashcan Comics Pub.
Behind the scenes at Ashcan, our team submits drafts for our projects and feedback is encouraged. Everyone needs to remember to be helpful and to remember that the critique is simply feedback. It's a tricky business, but absolutely helpful.
If you are looking for feedback or editing services, be sure to find a community of trusted colleagues. It'd be great if Ashcan could someday provide this community to a larger group, but right now we don't have the man power. However, as I type this, my wheels are turning! Who knows, maybe this could become a possibility. Comment below and tell me if this interests you.
"Comradery is something we strive to achieve and cross-promoting is a great way to support colleagues."
Behind the scenes, Team Ashcan also shares outside works. Comradery is something we strive to achieve and cross-promoting is a great way to support colleagues. Sure we want to promote Ashcan, but seeing the variety of work and perspectives from our teammates helps us see who we are beyond the Ashcan projects.
The opportunity to post various projects within a group like this provides a strong support network. Promoting is a monumental task for any creative, and generally something one person will struggle to do well. Sure, after several successful projects, collaborations, or years of dedication, a single person could gather a dedicated following and promote their work well. However, getting some retweets (RT) or boosts not only feels like a virtual high five from your colleagues, it is also a HUGE help when you are trying to gain some traction.
Our goal is to someday be able to send a much larger wavelength out for all our Team Ashcan members and the indie artists and authors community.
There you have it: beyond the projects we post on social media. A sneak peek behind the scenes with Ashcan Comics Pub.: project planning, collaborating, encouraging, reviewing, and cross-promoting. If you are an indie artist or writer and would like to know more about Ashcan Comics Pub., send us a message and follow us on Twitter or Instagram. We are always looking to connect with motivated and dedicated individuals.
by Nate Lindley
Funding is no small task! In 2018, Ashcan Comics Pub. opened it's doors with one comic book to its name and $0. The forefront task - find funding! Making a comic is great, but marketing and successful funding is no joke.
Why did Ashcan decide to use Patreon?
Patreon offers a unique quality that is not present on Kickstarter and Indiegogo: longevity. Because Ashcan set the goal of monthly publications, monthly funding made sense. Burn out would have been real if monthly campaigns were attempted. Patreon allows simple monthly pledges to be arranged and the opportunity to connect with interested patrons beyond a single publication.
Is Patreon right for you?
The first thing to remember is that you are not selling a single product. If you do not expect to produce content on a regular (at least monthly) basis, Patreon is probably not the best option. Marketing and selling monthly subscriptions is much harder than a one-time purchase. It does not matter if your subscription is a financial bargain or not, it will be hard to gain a patron. Ashcan offers a comic and prose piece each month for $10 + Free Shipping. That is much less than most Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. However, despite the better deal, customers still feel less threatened when dropping $15-$25 on a on-time purchase. So, if you want to start a Patreon, be ready to make content regularly, market as much as possible, and value your patrons - let them know how much they mean to you.
Will Ashcan use Kickstarter or Indiegogo in the future?
Sure. There is nothing wrong with exploring every option possible. In fact, Ashcan does have a Kickstarter and Indiegogo account ready to go. We are also exploring other distribution avenues. Most likely, our monthly publications will remain a direct order, exclusively Patreon-funded product, but there has been discussion of funding graphic novels / Trade Paper Backs (TPB) publications via Kickstarter and/or Indiegogo
Whether using Patreon, Kickstarter, or Indiegogo, remember to promote! You are making something special. If people hesitate to support your work, don't get discouraged!
If you have questions or thoughts, feel free to contact Nate Lindley