Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dishful Thinking.


Welcome to the latest update on "Saturday" the book. It's kind of like the hot sheets for this book I'm working on. That is, if the hot sheets only came out once every two weeks and contained almost no useful information.

Anyhoo, how are ya? I'm still chipping away at the edits. I've actually hit kind of an uninteresting part of the editing process. The work is just a little tedious at the moment. But, to be fair, I'm still working on a comic book, so the lowered interest level is relative. Saying I'm at an uninteresting part of drawing my dream project is like saying I've hit a boring part of eating birthday cake with a unicorn. In the back of a dune buggy. Flying through space. It's still fun on a bun.

As for the search for an agent and publisher, well...there's been a bit of a development, but don't get your hopes up just yet. I received some feedback from an agent who was kind enough to take time to read the book. He liked the artwork and the story, but said he thought most publishers probably wouldn't be interested for a couple of reasons. Foremost among them was that "Saturday" doesn't exactly fit neatly into any category.

It's somewhere between a children's book and a graphic novel. It's also somewhere between age groups. When you write a book, publishers want it to be for a specific age group. Publishing is the business of selling books. When books don't fit nicely into a category, it makes it hard to market them. Which makes it hard to sell them. I understand this. And if this ends up being the reason "Saturday" is never picked up by a publisher, no big deal.

Ok, maybe it would be kind of a big deal. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't entertained fantasies of "Saturday" being a big commercial success and me rolling in caviar. Except that would smell terrible and feel creepy, so I'd probably choose to roll in something else comparably expensive, like stamps or Gruyere cheese or something (money is out of the question; it's filthy). The point is that, although I'd be disappointed, I wouldn't have any hard feelings. Publishing is a business, not an art gallery (which are also actually businesses).

But I had a reason for the way I wrote and drew "Saturday". I always knew some of the humor and some of the references and some parts of the story would be a little advanced for kids. There's a reference to "Yentl", for Pete's sake. But that's what I wanted. When I was a kid, my favorite books and movies always had elements I didn't understand (and wouldn't until I got older). But I actually liked that. I love it when you can revisit a book or a movie as you get older and constantly find new things and have your understanding of it change over time. I also think that it's condescending to give young readers material that's easy to understand. It's a disservice to assume they won't get it and to censor in advance.

Long story long: at this point, it looks like I'll be going this alone.

I've compared drawing "Saturday" to making a big meal in the past. It does feel a lot like that. It was fun. And now I want to share it. But making a big meal means using a lot of dishes. Looks like I'll be spending some quality time in front of the sink as a result. I'm not sure if that's a clear metaphor. In this case, the "dishes" are printing, distribution, marketing, shipping, and all the other stuff a publishing company would have done.

No big deal. I'm used to hard work. I kind of like it.

Hey, speaking of dishes, here's one of the panels I recently re-drew (from page 10):



If you made it through all that, it probably felt like doing a stack of dishes. As always, thanks.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Short Post: Taking the "Pal" Out of Principal.

Please come in.

Do you know why you're here? Well, we're here to discuss your behavior recently. Oh, never mind. That's my next appointment.  You're here about the "Saturday" update. Well, good news! Here it is. And, even better news: I won't be flapping my keyboard gums nearly as much this week. I happen to be sick and tired (literally), so I just don't have the energy to talk your ears off. Because I'm sick, you might want to rub your eyes with some of that antibacterial goop after you read this.


Update: Still editing, but making great progress and having fun. There's no real hurry. I'm still eager to get the book to you, but the agent/publisher search isn't exactly a fast process. If it turns out I have to print and distribute it myself, I'll need to save money. I've already started this process, but that's going to be glacial as well. But we'll get there, damn it. We'll get there if it kills you. I meant me. If it kills me. Yes, that's what I meant.

In the meantime, here's a recent edit from page 9. It's of India's principal, Principal Flummox. He's an uptight man. Here's the original:

And here's the new version:

I didn't think the original looked uptight enough. In "The Simpsons", Superintendent Chalmers says of Principal Skinner: "The rod up his butt must have a rod up its butt!" I wanted him to be THAT uptight. Hence the edits.

Ok, Noah needs to go sleep for a little while.

Thank you for reading and for being cool.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Introductions all around.


Welcome to the latest edition of the "Saturday" update, wherein you'll get all the news that's fit to print about the graphic novel/illustrated book of the same name. It's usually a brisk stroll through a forest of metaphors and colloquialisms. It's also pretty much straight from the horse's mouth.

If you're just joining us, having stumbled onto this page accidentally whilst combing the internet for articles about the band "The Saturdays", covers of "The Saturday Evening Post", or clips of Saturday morning cartoons (and you haven't immediately left after furiously screaming, "This ain't the $#@&% 'Thundercats'!"), let me lay it on you:

"Saturday" is a book about a creative, sarcastic little girl named India McGreevy. When India's creativity is poked, prodded and taunted into submission by a dismal week, it takes her parents, a tattooed mechanic with a prosthetic leg, and the world's largest crocodile to put things back into perspective.

Actually, you know what? I drew an introduction that probably says it just as well:

This will go right at the beginning of the book. Originally, I just jumped right in to the story, but I thought this page would be a good primer on India. Also it's fun to look at, which is a big part of the show here. My favorite part is probably the panel with India and the evil robot, which has been manufactured by Powell and Sons Quality Evil Robots Company.

So, moving right along to the Progress Report:

I've just started what is probably the last page that will need major edits. Many pages after this one (page 10 for those of you keeping track at home) will need small edits here and there, but nothing as substantial as this one. So the subtext here is that the pace of edits should move at a good clip after this page is wrapped up.

As for the agent and publisher search: Well, it continues. I've sent out a lot of query letters at this point and the response (when there's been one at all), has been brief and "no". I think part of the problem is that "Saturday" doesn't fit neatly into any category. It's kind of a combination of a kids' book and a graphic novel. It's also more complex than most children's books. There's humor and references in it that some (maybe most) kids wouldn't understand right away. I always thought of that as a positive. My favorite kind of art (books, movies, music) is the kind that I can revisit as I age and take new meaning away every time. I'm not sure if "Saturday" succeeds in this respect, but it was an aspirational goal.

All of that was on purpose. And I figured these elements would make the book more attractive. But publishing is a business, not an art gallery. And, again based on my limited understanding of the publishing world, publishers like books that fit nicely into categories. That way they know whom to market to and how to market to them.

Long story long, I may end up printing this myself after all. And the cost will, an amount that makes an illustrator like myself reach for his bottle of Tums (well, his bottle of "Off Brand Val-U Antacids", anyway). I'm considering running another Kickstarter campaign for the printing costs, but I don't know yet. Honestly, I would feel bad about asking for money again. I already did it once and I was astonished and humbled that you supported the book. The original campaign allowed me to work on the book nearly full time for several years. God only knows how long it would have taken otherwise. But saving the money for printing on my own may take a while, and I'm impatient to get the book to you. I haven't made any decisions yet.

Suffice it to say, I'mma get you this book.

And once again, thank you for being awesome.


P.S.: I redesigned the "Saturday" website: Take a look around if you're up for it.