You know I was working on this Christian Publishing thing and I started to put some ideas out to some people earlier this week. I started to kick the tires and check under the hood to see if there was some life in it. After sending out some feelers and getting NO responses, I knew that I was supposed to go about this the old fashioned way.
One of the things that I do know from the Christian circle is that we, us, them, are some of the pickiest people on the planet.
Questions I am sure come up regarding me and my comic are, “…how do we know he is saved?” or “…what is his mission statement?” or “what church does he belong to?” Oh, and my all time favorite, “….what denomination or religion is he?”
I do have to laugh because when I first started this thing, there was these groups out back in the day ( and they are still kicking it) called Switchfoot and the Cross Movement.
Man, I used to tell people about the PK Band that is out (PK preachers kids) and they do not sound like they are singing this little light of mine. I used to also tell people about these kids that are rapping some serious old school beats and they are laying down some lyrics that can compare with the Hip Hop of the radio.
People would look at me and say the same thing, “…how do we know he is saved?” or “…what is his mission statement?” or “what church does he belong to?” Oh, and my all time favorite, “….what denomination or religion is he?”
But, as they were killing the passion, there were a lot of kids that just went unreached. They became lost due to people would not receive something that was needed and timely for the Christian faith.
I know that when I started this thing back in 1996 people looked at my characters and took a long gasp. I used to tell them that there are kids who need to know that the troubles that the go through are real and that the art that I put together just represented their struggles.
I still got the cold shoulder though. But! I was determined to get this thing moving and I was a hard charger with it. I went to bookstores with my comics and characters, contacted clothing shops with my t-shirts, called all the “Bricks” (large Christian retail shops) to try and find space on the shelves, and I tried to talk to buyers and on and on until I got zilch.
I think the funniest thing I ever heard one of the Bricks tell me when he had my t-shirt and comic in his hand was, “…we do not have any name for the category that you are presenting. We would not know where to place it in our stores.” Then the thing that put the icing on the cake was, “…when we are dealing with young people products we sort of wait to see what the secular markets are taking and then we work from that angle.” Man, are you fricking kidding me?
My mouth hit the floor and went through to the basement. So, not only did they not know where to place my stuff, but also they waited for the secular world to lead and they followed. I kindly said to him, “…I thought it was supposed to be the other way around?” His response was classic, “…that is just they way this business is?”
It was then that I knew that I had to get away from the “Christian” market and get to the folks who needed it. It was then that I learned that maybe if I take my product to the streets – then I could have a chance at making something that has some real world substance, cool art, cutting edge storyline, amazing t-shirts and outstanding multi-media to possibly allow the message to stand on its own.
Wow! But how do you do something that you have no clue how to do?
Just gotta have Faith.
The Christian Graphic Novel Publishing project is called the Horseless Carriage. The name is goofy, but it is taken from a very famous man named Henry Ford.
If you remember, Ford made the Model A and T cars and then mass-produced us into the age of horsepower. But, it was his first was dubiously called the Horseless Carriage. LINK – http://wp.me/p3oxx6-2
Now, some of you are like – “Dude! What?” Well, Ford followed his dream and I can only imagine he had significant Faith to dream a dream that no one else but he could dream.
He had no huge engineering background, nothing, just a dream and a thought of making a Horseless Carriage. A dream that lead to one of the greatest success stories in the planet and it allowed him to become the master of an industry that was not even an industry.
Well, that is what I am going for. To create something that is needed and even though I am not sure, I just gotta go forward so others can get their visions to reality and have some faith. Let the journey begin.
After thinking, I feel it best to start a small Graphic Novel Publisher that focuses on Christian and Alternative Christian Graphic Novels. Now before people start acting like they are foaming at the mouth and asking “…what do you mean Alternative Christian?” By this I mean, alternative story lines other than just the Bible Stories and or the good kiddie stuff that is on Veggie Tales (which I love and I love the My Cheeseburger episode…classic) and basic David and Goliath kind of animation. Those are great, but times have changed and so has the Christian audience.
But, there has got to be something else for those that are not going to pick up the King James, NIV Bibles and something different for those who are not going to go to church, listen to a message or talk to the Gideons on the street corner.
Maybe they will pick up a hard knocks story of a kid who is down on his luck and has to turn to selling weed and then finds out there is more to life than slinging dope and working the corner. Or maybe there can be a story of a girl who has to run the streets to make ends meet and has to do some ‘thangs’ in order to take care of her family, kids, mom, dad whatever.
Personally, I have created the Judgment series to answer this exact problem. It is not the cookie cutter novel, and as the story line gets going there are characters in this thing that resemble life and the issues of lust, temptation, desire and others that make men and women do dumb things.
My goal is to really start getting some solid information setup for those who want to submit. But first, I need to really start working on securing a couple digital press accounts and getting some e-pub accounts lined up.
I believe the best way to publish graphic novels is to develop it as an e-pub with one ISBN to track it and then work as many digital venues as possible with direct sales from the various big chain websites.
No, I am not really thinking of the brick and mortar folks like, Lifeway, Family Christian and Mardel. They have resends and various chargeback policies, returns and other stuff. Plus the Bricks have specific numbers for them to cover their costs and make money, so the margin for profit on my side would be limited.
So, if you have some skills and you want to help, or you know someone, or you just want to do what the IT world does with technology and do a start-up with a dude who likes comics….leave a comment.
A lot to think about and do…just sort of daunting to set something like this up that is so needed.