Reviewing Black Snow

Self publishing isn’t easy.  It’s a lot easier than it used to be, but it still isn’t easy.  Primarily because there is still a lot of it you have to do yourself.  For instance, while I’d really just like to be an artist that spends all his time drawing, I have to focus a significant amount of time on promotion.  Things like writing this very blog, creating and editing this website, finding ways to advertize it, researching, signing up for and attending conventions, trying to get distribution, etc.

It’s not all that glamorous.  But necessary, unless you are lucky enough to start off with an active following.

It was never really my goal to self publish, it was more out of necessity and determination after being rejected by publishers.  We’ve always remained open to the idea of working with a publisher, and we actually came close to working with Shot in the Dark Comics back in 2011 when we were in the creation stage of TDM.  Ultimately we passed, and I think it was one of the best decisions we’ve made.

Well, we’re still keeping our options open.  As I teased a couple weeks ago, I’ve recently been in talks with a publisher.  A publisher I’ve always wanted to work with, based on some of the great titles they’ve put out and the fact that they are located right here in my hometown of San Jose.  In case you haven’t guessed, I’m talking about SLG.

Back on Free Comic Book Day I had a really positive conversation with their editor-in-chief, and I don’t want to jinx it, but I think there is a strong possibility they’ll respond positively when I do submit TDM.

So that is exciting, and I’ll keep you posted on any news.  But back to my current state of self publishing.  I’m in the process of reviewing physical proofs, and it’s almost to where I want it.  The book looks great, all the problems found in the limited first edition have been fixed.  I’ve seen the book in glossy and matte finish, and honestly it is hard to choose.  But based on all the attention I got from the matte cover and the opinions I’ve sought from others, it looks like I’ll probably stick with it.

The changes I’m waiting to see on this proof?  I lightened up certain elements of the cover because they were printing too dark (thought they look great on a screen), made a few very other minor tweaks, and repositioned all the even number pages of the book to fit better with the binding margins.  So nothing too major.  I just want to get it right, now that there is no rush.

You might wonder what the print book contains that the version on our website doesn’t.  First off, you can already read the ending in the print book, whereas you will not see that online until August at the one page every Saturday release schedule.  There is also a special final page in the book that will not be put online.  It’s a nice capper to the book that is not part of the story proper, but something that I’ve envisioned for a long time.

Beyond that?  Some of your standard book type front pages, nothing else in the way of bonus material.  It does feature quite a bit of touched up drawing and easier to read word bubbles.  All the pages are surrounded by a nice thick black border that frames things in a cool way.  Plus the kick-ass cover and the fact that you get to hold a printed book versus staring at a screen.  If you’re a fan of print books like I am, this is a no-brainer.

I wanted to share one of my experiences editing the book.  It was something that happened when I finally got to read the book from start to finish.  You might think that working on this book for years, I’d be sick of reading it by the time it was done.  But you’d be wrong.

For one thing, I didn’t often go back and read much of it.  If it wasn’t from the current scene I was working or directly related to it, I probably wasn’t looking at it.  So there were definitely things I had forgotten.

But it was more than that.  It was my first time seeing it all as one complete work.  Even during the writing we only had the outline done, while scenes were written up as they came.  So reading it all at once, even with my job being to find all the problems, I was struck by something…the book was really good!

Of course I always had confidence that what we were working on was worthwhile, but reading the whole thing I could see just how well it all came together.  The writing is really sharp, and you can appreciate that a lot more when you can see the setups paid off later.  Even though it is meant to be a pure restart to the series I also liked that it contained some nods to the old comic books and the history of the character.  Meta jokes about the meaning of the name and the confusion of the “anti hero” on the chest were fun treats.

So reading it and seeing it realized in print has got me more excited than ever.  I’m excited about how it turned out, all the people that will be seeing it for the first time, the possibility of it getting published on a larger scale, and continuing the series in the next book.

And I’m ready to share it with the world at large.  I’ve been compiling a list of possible reviewers that I plan to contact.  But I’m sure there are plenty of reviewers out there that I don’t know about.  So if you have someone you think should be reviewing the book, let me know.  Better yet, if you want to review the book, let me know.  I want to get this book in front of as many eyes as possible, and I want to get the word out.  I’ll need your help to do it.

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