This week I read a post on Reddit by someone who had successfully financed her Kickstarter campaign beyond her wildest dreams, and she wanted to give a *very* detailed accounting of the steps she took to get there. It was more than I was ready to read in a single sitting (and I still haven’t finished the entire post), but not one comment complained about how longwinded she was or the minutia she dug into… on the contrary, almost every person who commented thanked her for sharing her experience – or they asked for even more details! She had done what so many of us who crowdfund our projects hope for ourselves, and she was willing to offer her experience for others to draw from.
And she reminded me that my own success is built on the wisdom and help of those who have gone before me.
Last fall, I released my first full length graphic novel after working on it for almost two years. It’s still my greatest professional triumph and my most ambitious creative achievement… and I can’t help wondering whether I would still be working on it if I hadn’t found others who were willing to share their experience and help guide my own direction.
I knew almost nothing!
I didn’t know how to create comics on a digital platform, I didn’t know how to Kickstart a project, and I didn’t know how to get my book printed at a price that wouldn’t break me.
Thankfully, I *did* know how to google – and that made all the difference.
Once I started looking, I found so many people willing to share their stories of triumphs and failures and what they did to get to where they were. Through reading and processing what I was finding, I learned what I should be looking for and what questions I should be asking and a vision for what I wanted to do took shape. Because others were willing to take the time to make their path known, I was able to figure out how to make the idea in my head a reality I could share with the world.
Whether you’re making your own graphic novel, or starting a business, or changing the tire on a car (that was me two weeks ago) – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the unknowns and allow oneself to freeze up… it’s easy and understandable and exactly why it’s some important for those who know better to share what they know so the rest of us can keep going, too.
…and maybe even become our own expert with something to share!
Since I’ve published Z Class: The Beginning, I’ve been invited to speak to groups (usually kids) about what it takes to make a graphic novel. I get lots of great questions about the way I draw and what books inspire me and how do I keep going when I’m feeling discouraged.
And now that I’m in a position to be able to offer from my own experience, I’m glad to share with anyone who asks.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve still got A LOT to learn and as I gear up to launch the Kickstarter campaign for Trix I’m finding new challenges that I need to overcome… but I know there are answers out there from people who have been here before and I’m grateful for their willingness to share what they’ve learned.
And in the meantime, I will always do what I can to help others who are following a similar path to the one I’ve been on.
We’re learning and growing together!