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Johnny B
10-11-2009, 07:49 AM
Greetings, everyone...

Question for the board. I'm doing some research for a paper for school centered around success in the comic book business and would appreciate some feedback.

What's your biggest frustration on the road to success in this industry?

Now this can be anything. Biggest frustration in trying to break into Marvel, biggest frustration in trying to get that indie book published, etc.

Some friends I've talked to have already stated 'getting my work looked at,' 'getting connected with a fellow collaborator,' 'I can't draw hands,' 'getting off my ass and getting the work done.'

Also, as a follow up question, if you don't mind, I'd like to know why you think what the root of the frustration is. Why is no one looking at your work, why can't you hook up with that fellow comic fiend who rides the same brain waves as you, why can't you get off your ass and simply do the work?

Any and all answers are valid so don't be shy. If you can't pick one frustration, a top five list would be cool. I appreciate you guys taking the time to read this thread and reply if you so choose.

Regards,

NewBabyProd
10-11-2009, 10:04 AM
Biggest frustration.... Diamond
Root of the problem... Diamond

RonaldMontgomery
10-11-2009, 11:44 AM
As a hopeful writer: money.

I read the help wanted ads here all the time, and other wannabe writers promise artists back-end pay or part-ownership of a property in lieu of a page rate.
My personal favorite is promises of "guaranteed" publishing on the Kindle and iTunes. One, that's not publishing, that's distribution. Two, the artist can do all that themselves (submit work to Amazon and Apple, get it approved, sell it).

I believe that if you're a writer with little or no track record, you need to pay your artist. Otherwise, you and your publisher (if you have one) are asking someone else to subsidize your dream.
(On the other side, some artists will bitch about low page rate offers and how the artists who accept them are killing the market. But you can only try your best.)

I think comics are like any other small business. A lot of people (writers here) start without any or very little capital and they're doomed to failure for that reason. It takes money to hire artists. It takes money to learn production or hire someone to help you out. It takes money if you want an editor to help you improve your work.

It isn't twenty or thirty years ago, where you could send a letter to Marvel with your wacky idea and get hired to write a comic (though how often did that happen back then -- not very).

Money.

D.J. Coffman
10-11-2009, 01:21 PM
The cutthroat backstabbery that goes on ALL OVER- Many people are only your "friends" when they're working an angle to get something from you.

That and a general lack of ethics. Publishers stringing along freelancers pay, etc.

BKMDog
10-11-2009, 01:57 PM
As R. Montgomery said: Yes, money plays a big role.

MARS
10-11-2009, 03:01 PM
Lip service.

Publishers. Editors. Art directors. Sandwich makers alike.

All of 'em.

They tell you what you want to hear to get you in there. Then never tell you what you want to hear whole you are there. Then tell you what you wanted to hear when you are gone.

I think i'll sum it up in the immortal words of Jay-Z:

"They say you can never make a bad girl good but once a good girl goes bad shes gone forever."

That should be above the doorway of every publishers front door.

Along with : No dancing on the Tables.

Learn to have a thicker skin. You will need it. Cuz baby it's cold outside.

M.

Lovecraft13
10-11-2009, 03:11 PM
People incapable of finishing the work they were hired to do and masquerading as professionals.

Nic
10-11-2009, 04:47 PM
People incapable of finishing the work they were hired to do and masquerading as professionals.


There is a thing called LIVE that sometimes throws more important stuff your way then to work on a indy comic for less then minimal wage...

OH SNAP did I just say that???

James Taylor
10-11-2009, 05:00 PM
Totally agree with DJ, too much backstabbing and disloyalty. It happens at every level in this industry from the bottom individuals to the top companies.

Also I’ve always disliked the fake friendly schmoozing, as I prefer work and professionalism speaking for themselves which sadly it often comes in second or third place. Though I have managed in my time to find a few loyal/true friends.

Crestmere
10-11-2009, 05:05 PM
Biggest frustration.... Diamond
Root of the problem... Diamond

I hate Diamond.

Honestly, I am doing a comic on my own site just so I don't have to deal with them.

Scribbly
10-11-2009, 05:18 PM
People incapable of finishing the work they were hired to do and masquerading as professionals.
Yep.
I am forced to deal with one of these guys... every morning.

Biofungus
10-11-2009, 05:36 PM
Quality control en masse.

It's nice that almost anybody can self-publish nowadays, but it seems the crappier the indie title, the more they have to spend on advertising, so the good gets lost/buried in the shuffle of crap (and this goes for major publishers, too).

j giar
10-11-2009, 05:37 PM
There is a thing called LIVE that sometimes throws more important stuff your way then to work on a indy comic for less then minimal wage...

OH SNAP did I just say that???

Then don't take the project on. I always ask about time frame for this exact reason. Most of us work fulltime jobs and have families. My fulltime job, which is what's paid for my house, cars...vacations can be very demanding time wise. I learned long ago to not take on something that has a tight deadline if you can't swing it. Does more harm than good....for everyone.
Back on track....I'd have to say as an artist, working on projects, putting a lot of time into it just to have it go belly up. Frustrating, depressing and demoralizing.

Lovecraft13
10-11-2009, 07:28 PM
There is a thing called LIVE that sometimes throws more important stuff your way then to work on a indy comic for less then minimal wage...

OH SNAP did I just say that???

Thank you for your unsolicited opinion, random internet avatar. Truth is, little children, probably like yourself, over-saturate this tiny, little indy world with large intentions but have very little integrity to finish a gig, not solely because of this "LIVE" you speak of, but because of plain incompetence as well. While babies take their balls and go home, they balloon budgets, delay or cancel projects, and smear the book's name by association.

Now, unless you have anything of merit to add, I suggest you go back to bouncing your ball and let the adults speak.

Oh, snap, did I just say that???

Nic
10-11-2009, 07:38 PM
Thank you for your unsolicited opinion, random internet avatar. Truth is, little children, probably like yourself, over-saturate this tiny, little indy world with large intentions but have very little integrity to finish a gig, not solely because of this "LIVE" you speak of, but because of plain incompetence as well. While babies take their balls and go home, they balloon budgets, delay or cancel projects, and smear the book's name by association.

Now, unless you have anything of merit to add, I suggest you go back to bouncing your ball and let the adults speak.

Oh, snap, did I just say that???


WOW.

A lot of suppresed agression right there.

Which in fact is why I replied to your original post.
It just sounds like a general insult to every "artist" who had to leave a project before, which I am sure pretty much everyone of us has done before.

But what do I know I am just a little baby and will go back playing with my ball because obvisously you act so much more grown up then I ever could.

=)

RonaldMontgomery
10-11-2009, 07:49 PM
Most of us work fulltime jobs and have families.

Jim, I love ya man.

Say the kids get easier when they're older.

Say it.

SAY IT!

:laugh:

NaveenM
10-11-2009, 08:05 PM
People incapable of finishing the work they were hired to do and masquerading as professionals.

I second this. If you can't do the work, then DON'T accept the job.

Lack of professionalism is a major problem in this industry. It's not simply in indie comics. Even books from the Big 2 come out late on a regular basis. You couldn't get away with that in pretty much any industry. Imagine a TV show missing a couple weeks because they were behind schedule?

JamieRoberts
10-11-2009, 08:16 PM
The dedication required for years on end with absolutely no guarantee of even a foot on the bottom rung of the ladder. I guess due to the structure (or lack of) in this particular field. In fact, I used a bad metaphor, since there is no ladder.

Barnaby
10-11-2009, 08:56 PM
Money, definitely! Sometimes looks like everything is an obstacle in the way of making that big step to some big company which will allow me to finally take off the rope around my neck... money wise, of course! ;)

j giar
10-11-2009, 09:58 PM
Jim, I love ya man.

Say the kids get easier when they're older.

Say it.

SAY IT!

:laugh:

No they do not. :cry:
And I love your quote, dude. :D

HouseStark
10-11-2009, 11:44 PM
Flakey artists. Also, as a writer, I have to pay to play. Which sucks, because you have to either have a lot of disposable income (which most of us don't) or everyone involved has to work for back-end (which basically means for free). If everyone is willing to work for free, then cool. But trying to put together a creative team entirely for back-end is not an easy feat.

Upon crunching the numbers, I can't see how anyone makes money except with high-selling licensed books (which has is working for Boom, IDW and Dark Horse). Once in a while a Bone or Echo comes along and sells a ton of books, but for the most part, your average indie creator is probably losing time and money playing in the comic biz.

As a writer, I don't mind dedicating my time to create comics. What I do mind is paying for everything (which amounts to me losing money). If I had the disposable income, I would gladly use it to fund my projects. I just don't have the money and therefore can't play anymore.

Since I don't have any extra cash, I guess I could offer a split of all of the revenue (comic or otherwise) that "property" makes. That would most likely amount to working for free for everyone involved—as any hope for Hollywood money is a long shot at best. I just don’t think that many good artists are willing to do that anymore.

Newt
10-11-2009, 11:59 PM
My own lack of discipline. I start on a project, get distracted, start on something else, go back to the old project, get frustrated and quit drawing for a month or two, etc., etc. I wish I had a product to get rejected by publishers! :laugh: Fortunately I know this about myself and don't offer my services for hire.

Lovecraft13
10-12-2009, 12:24 AM
Which in fact is why I replied to your original post.
It just sounds like a general insult to every "artist" who had to leave a project before, which I am sure pretty much everyone of us has done before.

But what do I know I am just a little baby and will go back playing with my ball because obvisously you act so much more grown up then I ever could.



Um, no. The whole, "Oh, I posted like a bitchy fanboy to prove a point, got called out, then retracted my statement to kinda make myself look like the 'better person' " is so righteous. So, once again, you have nothing to add. So please go away.

Paul Sanderson
10-12-2009, 12:33 AM
People incapable of finishing the work they were hired to do and masquerading as professionals.

Agree with this 110% (life is no excuse. We all have them).

Agree with DJ, too.

Allegory Comics
10-12-2009, 12:34 AM
As a writer, I have to spend so much time writing the story, the backstory, the characters, my plans for the near future, and why I think it will work. Oftentimes I have to come up with a full creative team, which isn't easy or cheap. *IF* I'm lucky enough to find a team I can afford, I'm even luckier if they finish. Assuming all that goes as planned, it's eaten up about 2-3 months of my life. But it's done, so I get it in the mail and have to wait 2 more months to get a simple one line rejection letter back from the publisher. "Thank you for your interest, but this is not what we are looking for at this time." No explanation telling me what they ARE looking for, or how I can improve my submission next time. Just no and go.

At least artists can show at cons. Writer's can't even do that. It's a long, tedious, frustrating process.

Now I've wasted at least 4-5 months of my life, and money I can't really spare, and wound up with nothing. I find myself with neither the time, the energy (creative or physical), or the money to do it again. I can literally feel the weight of it on my body and I barely have enough energy to step out of bed in the morning. So I take a few months off, and then come back fresh for more punishment.

Maybe I'm lucky and I get a publisher or an editor to show a sliver of interest, but they're usually just leading me on. Maybe they had good intentions all along, or maybe they were just trying to be polite. Either way, they got my hopes up for nothing and wasted more of my time. Maybe I'm even lucky enough to have gone through all this and been printed (forget pay, I'm usually happy just to be on the shelf). Then I have to listen to fanboys griping and moaning about my story and telling me I suck and I should be killed and all kinds of other nice things as they spit all over my dreams, my heart and my creation, because they misread the story.

After a few rounds of that, you stop trying all together because it's broken your heart and you have no part of it left to put into your work.

And here I am.

I know it's called "paying your dues" and it's something we all have to go through, but at some point you feel you've paid enough and either it's working or it isn't ... and you're tired, and you're alone, and you're disillusioned, and you're beaten, and you're bitter, and you're still not entirely convinced it's YOUR FAULT that it isn't working. So much of success in life is just luck - being in the right place or who you know. And if you're broke and stuck in a poor city in southern Ohio and can't afford to go to major cons in California or Chicago, you're kinda screwed because you can't meet anyone that way.

I love comics, and it's something I really want to be part of; but I do not love the business and politics of comics. It's an ugly, petty world full of ex-lovers who say they'll call but never do.

William Blankenship
10-12-2009, 12:35 AM
People incapable of finishing the work they were hired to do and masquerading as professionals.


I want to say this openly: I apologize for not being able to finish Abigail and Rox. It was my own fault. I was unprepared and unprofessional, and I acted immature. I apologize wholeheartedly for any stress this may have caused you, or frankly an stress caused by just having to work with me. I know it's not easy. I know I was a downright douche most of the time. While you've assured me that you don't want anything to do with me, and that's fine, I would like to say I was happy to hear you'd moved forward with the project, and I do hope it's a successful one, despite the fact that I have nothing to gain from it being successful. If you are afraid I'm going to smear your books name by association, you can feel free to leave me uncredited. I've already given you the copyright to the whole of the work I produced for you, I'm more than willing to be uncredited if it eases your frustrations.

And mods, I think this is a reasonable post, so please don't delete it. I'm not openly airing grievances, but openly apologizing.

Peace,
Pope 3!LL

Scribbly
10-12-2009, 12:41 AM
Agree with this 110% (life is no excuse. We all have them).

Agree with DJ, too.
Yeah!
All these bitches, they should be spanked with a wet towel.
That’s what they deserve!

RonaldMontgomery
10-12-2009, 12:59 AM
As a writer, I have to spend so much time writing the story, the backstory, the characters, my plans for the near future, and why I think it will work. Oftentimes I have to come up with a full creative team, which isn't easy or cheap. *IF* I'm lucky enought to find a team I can afford, I'm even luckier if they finish. Assuming all that goes as planned, it's eaten up about 2-3 months of my life. But it's done, so I get it in the mail and have to wait 2 more months to get a simple one line rejection letter back from the publisher. "Thank you for your interest, but this is not what we are looking for at this time." No explanation telling me what that ARE looking for, or how I can improve my submission next time. Just no and go.

At least artists can show at cons. Writer's can't even do that. It's a long, tedious, frustrating process.

Now I've wasted at least 4-5 months of my life, and money I can't really spare, and wound up with nothing.

I hear you!!!!!

MARS
10-12-2009, 02:38 AM
I will say this.

I think most of the writers who post here that seem interested in actually writing comics aren't writing anything but ridiculaz posts about how they can't write comics and how all artist suck and blah blah blah.

Then there's the writers who come here. Rarely post. And surprise surprise...

...Are working?


hmmmmm i wonder why that is?


All this talk about ex- lovers makes me want a meatball sandwich. extra cheese please.

M.

fbwash
10-12-2009, 03:15 AM
I want to say this openly: I apologize for not being able to finish Abigail and Rox. It was my own fault. I was unprepared and unprofessional, and I acted immature. I apologize wholeheartedly for any stress this may have caused you, or frankly an stress caused by just having to work with me. I know it's not easy. I know I was a downright douche most of the time. While you've assured me that you don't want anything to do with me, and that's fine, I would like to say I was happy to hear you'd moved forward with the project, and I do hope it's a successful one, despite the fact that I have nothing to gain from it being successful. If you are afraid I'm going to smear your books name by association, you can feel free to leave me uncredited. I've already given you the copyright to the whole of the work I produced for you, I'm more than willing to be uncredited if it eases your frustrations.

And mods, I think this is a reasonable post, so please don't delete it. I'm not openly airing grievances, but openly apologizing.

Peace,
Pope 3!LL


After reading this , as an artist whose worked 14 years in advertising and now dipping my pen into the comic book field. This quote struck me as being a poignant reminder of how the foundation of the comic book industry has deteriorated. I applied my artisan brother in his apology to not hold up on his end of the agreement. That says a lot about his integrity in expressing his feelings in this forum for the world to see. In the field of commercial art, ad agencies or clients are not forgiving. You flake on an assignment you don't get called back or even worse your name gets blacklisted.
Most times it's not even personal - It's all about you really getting the job done and making the "Creatives" (Art Directors etc) happy.
My approach as a slowly move into the comic field is to retain that strong professional ethic which has helped me navigate thru the profession.
Alex Ross is a fine example of a commercial artist (He originally worked for Leo Burnett, an ad agency in Chicago) before he jumped into comics. His approach to dealing with Editors and deadlines was honed by the intense discipline of working in an ad studio.
To the many artist out there who are professionally working- remember that your word is bond. If you feel deep down in your gut that you can't do a job, just don't do it. If you agree to fulfill an agreement- then prepare to hold up on your end.
I always negotiate a reasonable amount of time to allow me to work on other client jobs without overlapping my current assignment :
http://www.maroonedonmogo.com
Peace

William Blankenship
10-12-2009, 03:45 AM
After reading this , as an artist whose worked 14 years in advertising and now dipping my pen into the comic book field. This quote struck me as being a poignant reminder of how the foundation of the comic book industry has deteriorated. I applied my artisan brother in his apology to not hold up on his end of the agreement. That says a lot about his integrity in expressing his feelings in this forum for the world to see. In the field of commercial art, ad agencies or clients are not forgiving. You flake on an assignment you don't get called back or even worse your name gets blacklisted.
Most times it's not even personal - It's all about you really getting the job done and making the "Creatives" (Art Directors etc) happy.
My approach as a slowly move into the comic field is to retain that strong professional ethic which has helped me navigate thru the profession.
Alex Ross is a fine example of a commercial artist (He originally worked for Leo Burnett, an ad agency in Chicago) before he jumped into comics. His approach to dealing with Editors and deadlines was honed by the intense discipline of working in an ad studio.
To the many artist out there who are professionally working- remember that your word is bond. If you feel deep down in your gut that you can't do a job, just don't do it. If you agree to fulfill an agreement- then prepare to hold up on your end.
I always negotiate a reasonable amount of time to allow me to work on other client jobs without overlapping my current assignment :
http://www.maroonedonmogo.com
Peace

Not to diminish what you're saying in any way, but my problem was not about work ethic. What very little reputation I had was pretty much ruined, by myself and not by anyone else. That gig was my first attempt at a long form project and I fucked it up royally in numerous different ways. In fact I'll save people some time:

I'm not a professional. Do not hire me.

Now, should I be judged forever for fucking up my first attempt at doing something with it. I don't think so. If you want a list of things to judge me on, terrible terrible things that would make you not want to mention my name aloud around your children for fears of corrupting their precious little minds, I can PM you a long list. Should the entirety of the comics industry be explained with a blanket statement referring to my experience on my first long-form project? Probably not as well. There are people more learned than me that could provide more plausible explanations about why the industry is... whatever it is, and probably a whole nother group of people as learned who disagree with them.

In defense, I can say this. Noone taught me this stuff. I had to learn by doing, and fucking up, and trying to learn from those fuckups. This particular experience made me bow out of the whole attempt and do my own thing. If eventually doing my own thing leads to enough interest that people want to pay an attractive rate for my skills, so be it. If not, I own my shit for the rest of my life, and I got enough stories to fill a lifetime of work.

So, to sum up, don't be confused by the mesmerizing awesomeness of my art, I am not a professional, you should not hire me.

Not too bad for being born poor white trash though, if I do say so myself.

Pope 3!LL

illojik
10-12-2009, 09:27 AM
my biggest frustration, personally, has been (and continues to be) publishers who cannot pay on time or in a reasonable amount of time.

When you deliver a book, whether as a penciler, inker, colorist, letterer or writer, agree to terms with a publisher, and then have them still owing you money 10 months after a title hits the stands.....it sucks. I've gone back to doing STRICTLY 50/50 terms on all my comic coloring gigs because that is how I STARTED doing illustration commissions 6 years ago when I went freelance full time.

The one thing that I have learned from coloring comics full time for 2 years straight at one point...is that being an advertising designer is a heck of a lot easier and less stressful (especially when I get a paycheck every week for it) :D

Hanzou
10-12-2009, 10:28 AM
The most frustrating thing for me is seeing indy comics struggle across the board. There's so many talented people out there, but it seems that we just can't get a healthy independent comic market going. Part of it is diamond, the other part of it is money.


At least artists can show at cons. Writer's can't even do that. It's a long, tedious, frustrating process.

Yeah, I don't envy your position at all. I know plenty of writers who go to conventions and pitch their scripts to artists. Even had a couple pitch stuff to me. Its pretty sad all around.

Lovecraft13
10-12-2009, 05:30 PM
I want to say this openly: I apologize for not being able to finish Abigail and Rox. It was my own fault. I was unprepared and unprofessional, and I acted immature. I apologize wholeheartedly for any stress this may have caused you, or frankly an stress caused by just having to work with me. I know it's not easy. I know I was a downright douche most of the time. While you've assured me that you don't want anything to do with me, and that's fine, I would like to say I was happy to hear you'd moved forward with the project, and I do hope it's a successful one, despite the fact that I have nothing to gain from it being successful. If you are afraid I'm going to smear your books name by association, you can feel free to leave me uncredited. I've already given you the copyright to the whole of the work I produced for you, I'm more than willing to be uncredited if it eases your frustrations.

Dude, it's the past, and this was a private matter handled internally. And my post wasn't directed at you. I've had and will have people bail on projects. With that said, I am still a fan of your work, but not everything works out. So let's please leave it as a private matter.

Paul Sanderson
10-12-2009, 06:48 PM
Dude, it's the past, and this was a private matter handled internally. And my post wasn't directed at you. I've had and will have people bail on projects. With that said, I am still a fan of your work, but not everything works out. So let's please leave it as a private matter.

Well said, Joshua.

I've never made any of my situations public over the many years I've been at this, nor do I intend to. But if I told you how many people took money from me (sometimes substantial money, substantial for me anyway) and then left me with nothing to show for it (ie. little or no art and then becomes uncontactable), you would truly be shocked!

L Jamal
10-13-2009, 08:35 AM
My biggest frustration with this business? Prima donnas who think that they are owed something just because they exist. Work hard at your craft, network, work hard at your craft, network.... and eventually you'll get a break or not. Life's a crap shoot and being bitchy little Baby-Men (Baby-Men is TM Mike Manley) only hinders your progress.

Business is business.
Approach making comics as a business and you'll have less stress and less lost money.

I don't understand the animosity between writers and artists. If writers don't want to chase after and pay artists, then write prose. There's a healthy self-publishing market in prose and it's a lot cheaper in terms of start up cost and you control the story from beginning to end. Stop pretending like you have to write comics and that the story can only be told in comics. It makes you bitter and cynical.

Writers that want to make comics, but can't draw... learn to draw. Drawing is a skill that any one can learn. It just takes practice. I've seen the same writers bitch and complain over the last 5 years while those that practiced their drawing have made real progress.