Do-It-Yourself

Aug 212007
 

cons-thumb.jpgJust coming down from the high of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival where we not only found an excited audience for our new graphic novel (we sold 90 copies in two days!) but I got to sit beside my favourite comic maker at the convention, Carla Speed McNeil — who, incidentally, I first heard about through the first TCAF when we were on a self-publishing panel together. I did a quick 20 minute interview with her and we talked about why she creates anachronistic science fiction societies, how she gets around the fact that her work is complex and hard to promote, and the development of her sin-eating aboriginal bad-boy.

Download the MP3 here.

Keep reading to hear about the other amazing cons I went to this summer, as well as some tips for enjoying them! Continue reading »

Jul 312007
 

Ariel Gore gets the word out thereI’ve always prided myself on the fact that the DIY publishing articles on this site have a certain lack of, shall we say, bullshit. And normally, a book called How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead would smell a little funky to me. However, Ariel Gore, Hip Mama mag creator and indie culture maven wrote this book, and like all her books (I’m particularly fond of her memoir Atlas of the Human Heart) it is excellent. As well as sharing her own considerable experience, she interviews folks like Ursula K. Le Guin, Dave Eggers, and even me, and manages to pack more wisdom and practical advice than I’ve ever seen in a book of its ilk. (It had an extremely high nods-per-minute ratio.) She even gets the folks she interviews to give “assignments” at the end, making it a writing class unto itself. Plus it’s extremely readable — I intended to skim to find something to excerpt but I found myself sucked in and reading most of it. Below is one of my favourite sections in the book. Continue reading »

Oct 192006
 

Click to zoom.Benny had told me we could use a paint-roller extension as a boom pole, but I figured I was going to have to tape on my shotgun mike somehow. Much to my delight this was not the case. The day before the third Infest Wisely shoot, when I got my $15 Home Hardware Extension Pole (8′, #4538-682) back home I noticed there was a small hole in the removable black tapered tip. My Rode VideoMic has a shock mount that connects to a shoe mount for use on a camera, but I saw that the shoe mount was screwed in. I removed the screw and threaded it through the tapered tip of the paint roller and it actually fit!

The next day, we did an eight hour shoot and it was rock solid and sounded sweet — when I was perched on a rusted-out catwalk high above an abandoned factory floor, I was glad I didn’t also have to worry about the mike falling off.

Of course this is almost ridiculously specific to Rode VideoMic owners living in Canada, but it’s too neat a trick to keep to myself. For some more generally useful DIY Sound tips from my sound guru Carma, keep reading!
Continue reading »

May 192006
 

Willy vs. Mass ProductionSilkscreening is such a great happy medium — nestled comfortably half-way between hand-drawn and mass production, more colourful than photocopying and with an aesthetic all its own. Artist Shannon Gerard broke out her silkscreening gear to make cool shirts and posters for her upcoming comic launch, and despite being crazy busy has shared her skills in this funny and detailed tutorial. Read on to learn how to print your own posters, shirts, or whatever you fancy printing on, and how the Virgin Mary and Spiderman join forces to help her out.
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Mar 142006
 

By Hamish MacDonald

Blood, sweat and glue.UPDATE:Hamish has started a DIY Book podcast!

Back in 2000, I wrote an article for this website about how to produce your own book. Things have changed considerably since then, both in the technology available to individuals and in the services available in the marketplace. It’s all good news for us independent publishers.

The original article was called “DIY Book Production.” Aside from being a clunky term, you now have more power than that: You can be your own press. I now produce my own books at home from start to finish, and in this article will explain what I’ve had to learn and acquire in order to do that.

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Feb 162006
 

Warehouses always make me think of the Ark of the Covenant.Distribution is one of the toughest nuts to crack when it comes to publishing. There’s a few reasons for this, one of which is that it’s boring. It’s hard to get excited about receivables, warehousing, and invoices. But good distribution has made it possible for me to make a living off my books.

When I started thinking about No Media Kings six years ago I thought through doing distribution on my own. I would have to write letters to all the bookstores in Canada, and ship out the orders myself. Assuming that they took it seriously enough to order, and I shipped out the books, they sold, and I followed up with an invoice, I then hit a snag. My invoice would naturally float to the bottom of the pile: those from distributors representing a number of books and publishers would get paid first. They had the leverage of not shipping out any more of their books (and a collection agency), while all I had was the threat of not sending out any more Jim Munroe books. So I discovered the strength-in-numbers value to being with a distributor.

Over the years I’ve discovered a few more things about getting your books out into the world. Let’s start with some general concepts of the book distribution business.
Continue reading »