I'VE just had a week away from the day job to get cracking on the Blood Psi stuff and have made pretty good progress. I finished the first draft of the story's second part yesterday and will now spend the next week tweaking and chopping it around.
I don't know how other writers do it but, for me, a first draft is never more than about 60 per cent of the way to the finished script. It's all about giving what you're writing a structure and hitting the plot points you need to in the allotted number of pages (in this case 24-25). It's in the second and third drafts that stuff like dialogue and panel descriptions take proper shape. You also become aware of plot elements that aren't really explained properly in the first draft and have to work out ways of weaving them into the story without having to rely on obvious exposition. After fight scenes, this is the thing I find trickiest.
*WHEN artist Keith Burns and I first discussed doing more Blood Psi, we thought it would take the form of a three- or four-issue mini-series. It's more likely to appear now as a graphic novel though. The main reason for that is the recent changes Diamond (the comic distributors) have made to their minimum order benchmarks. In the good old days, titles submitted to Diamond had to generate a minimum of $1500 in revenue for the company. That figure has now been raised to $2500 - a massive increase.
The implications for small publishers like myself are obvious - if low sales mean we can't get our books listed in Previews, we're pretty much screwed. I think I'm right in saying that all my books to date have exceeded the $1500 minimum but, in the new climate, expecting a four dollar mini-series by a couple of obscure UK creators to do $2500 four times on the bounce is unrealistic to say the least. Therefore doing Blood Psi as a 100-page graphic novel makes a lot more sense. If we solicited it for $10, on a 60-40 split in Diamond's favour, we'd only need 600 orders to hit the minimum benchmark; $12 and it's just 500.
Where all this leaves the raft of one-shots I'm submitting to Diamond this year I don't know. Tim Skinner is the most commercial thing I've published and boasts full-colour art from Dec so I'm hopeful that'll be picked up. Brothers is black and white but it's about superheroes and the art's gorgeous so that could go either way. Scoregasm is about football so that has about as much chance of being picked up by Diamond as I have of being picked up by Halle Berry.
So while I'm still determined to submit my stuff to Diamond and get it into Previews, I'm probably going to have to look at other ways of getting my books out there. One thing I'm going to do is check out Haven Distribution (www.havendistro.com) who, from what I can gather, carry quite a lot of indie comics stuff. I'm also going to look seriously at making my stuff available for download - either from the main Moonface site or through Eagle One Media (www.eagleonemedia.com), a company that already have many smaller comics publishers supplying them with digital content for download.
It's all a bit scary - worst case scenario is that I could end up with no US distribution for my comics. And on that glum note...