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The holidays are here…

Hey all!

If you haven’t already, please check out the White Worm Kickstarter page on Facebook for  more frequent updates (I post pretty often her, but even more there)!

Well, the cam isn’t working out like I hoped.  Does anyone have a suggestion for free live feeds that are pretty seamless, outside of UStream?

On the plus side, we’re staying on track, production wise;  we start the next week with almost a third of the book inked!  Granted, holiday obligations will slow the week down a bit, but after that, it’s smooth sailing.

I’ve gotten some (but not all) of the photos needed from backers for book reward purposes;  please send me a photo if you haven’t already!

Lastly, I’ll have some public appearance news for you (hopefully) in next week’s update.  Also, once some coloring gets finished, I’ll have a FREE TO ALL 8-page preview up on my site for viewing; I’ll keep you posted!

 

Lastly, I hope you all have  a happy holiday season, whether you celebrate Christmas, New Year, just got done with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or nothing at all!  Be nice, take it easy, and let me know if any of you need shout-outs or information passed along for help with anything!

MK

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Second Workweek Update

1.  Having connectivity/”freezing” issues with the webcam stream.  Not sure what to do.  Anyone have any ideas, or do frequent shots of the progress on the book cut it?  Let me know – you guys are backing me, after all!

2.  I’m working on the roughs up through page 14, and will hopefully have all of them inked by Monday.  I started at page 7 when I officially started on this part of the project, and I didn’t have a proper scanner/printer for 11″ x 17″ art board or a working lightbox until this week (which limited me to penciling and inking only at first), so, that’s not too bad… pagework will have to be ramped up, though!

3.  If anyone was wanting to know, I do some page 100% digitally, and I do some where the pencils and inks are totally hand-created.  This is not due to any other reason other than that some pages, where I need a massive perspective ruler that might even be too large for my relatively small drawing table or something similarly technical, make sense to be created on the screen, while others simply “don’t look right” unless hand-drawn from start to finish.  I know, I’m weird like that.  I WILL say that if there are any aspiring cartoonists out there, Manga Studio 5 is the way to go… and that’s an unpaid endorsement.

4.  I’ll be working here, 9-5, all this week.  I’ll be off Christmas Eve and Day (I’ll still be here… just not @ the drawing table those two days).  Next Thursday and Friday, though, I’ll be at work here.  I’m going to double check about New Year’s Day… may be working at the Crossroads Coffeehouse here in KC that day, but I won’t know until later.  Regardless, I plan on working New Years Day (what better way to start out the year than doing what you love to do?).

If anyone has any questions, comments, complaints, etc., send me a message!

Until next week,

MK

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First Workweek Update


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*Pictured – four pages either pencilled, inked, or in stages of completion, all started this week.  Not pictured: one digital page in the process of being inked.

 

All right!  We’re at the end of the first business week.  I’m up to page 12 (out of 75), and am hoping to have at least another five pages this next week.

 

There are times I’ve noticed connectivity issues with the UStream feed… still working on that.  If anyone’s had problems, please let me know.

 

Funds were made available about a week earlier than anticipated, so I went on a much needed supply run today for physical creation (artboard, pen nibs, lead, ink, etc.) and digital finishing (11″ x 17″ scanner for the artboard; since my backers are getting original art, I really don’t want to have to bend or cut the board to fit a small scanning bed).   Didn’t go crazy or anything;  just got what was needed (I’m cost conscious enough that I created a standing desk using cinder blocks, to give you an idea of how I run things in my home studio/office).

In any case, I’ll be plotting out pages, in terms of blocking/layout this weekend, and may even get a head start over the weekend, as well.  Anything I finish, I’ll certainly post either here or on Twitter/Facebook (any chance I get ahead of schedule, I’ll sure as hell brag about it, I can tell you!).

Most importantly, I just wanted to make sure you saw the stuff I’ve been scribbling on this week, so you know I’m on the up and up.  As work gets a little more finished onscreen, I’ll fix the webcam so you can see the screen (I’m a bit uncomfortable with people seeing my basic scribbles, but once things are mostly inked in, I’m more than happy to share!

Until Monday,

MK

 

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Day 1 is here!

Live-streaming as I type! Check me out on the Create-O-Cam page!

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Pre-Game Warm-up

Well, the vast majority of my current contract work is done!  The next two days are crucial.

 

Picking up my webcam today.  Once here, I’ll be setting it up and working out any kinks I have to work out for the live feed. Also, rearranging my office a bit to keep me as active as possible (should be working at a stand-up drawing table  by Sunday).

 

The live feed officially starts at 9:00 AM CST, and ends at 5 PM CST.  This will be repeated, Monday through Friday, until the book is done.  There will be a one-hour lunch each day (though not necessarily at the same time each day).  Any time I’m away from my desk, I’ll have a note there for viewers to see (out to lunch, etc.), so you know it’s just temporary.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will have no feed (and, most likely either New year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, not sure which yet, will also have no feed, or only a partial feed).  As I have my in-laws nearby, and my own family 200 miles away, sometime either during the last week of December or some week  in January, there will be a couple of days with no feed, solely to visit my own family for a late Christmas.  The last planned day with no stream is February 21, as I have an unbreakable engagement that day.

Other than that, it’s smooth sailing!  I figure I have, in total, 83 days to finish the art on the book, if I want to be done by the end of February.  The first 2 pages are fully complete, the next six need color.  That leaves 67 pages, start to finish, to be completed in 83 days, and the goal here s an average of 1 completed page a day.

 

For the first couple of weeks, however, I will most likely, solely be penciling (maybe inking a little bit).  The reason for this is that my scanner is an older model that only scans at 8.5″ x 11″, and the only way to get good scans of the 11″ x 17″ art board right now is to cut them in half, scan them,  and then reassemble the pages digitally.  However, as original art is being given away to Kickstarter backers, I don’t really want to do that;  I think my backers should have complete pages as rewards (call me crazy).  So, what I’m waiting on are various funds to come in (Kickstarter funds will be available in about two weeks, and I have contract payments coming in as well around the same time) so I can procure an inexpensive, ut reliable 11″ x 17″ flatbed scanner for the art (a special thanks to artist extraordinaire/all-around awesome guy Terry Beatty for the assist in helping me find a reliable, inexpensive solution!  Check out his site and his Sunday strip!).  I arranged for hardware/emergency budgeting in my Kickstarter budget, and this is only a sliver of that (I set aside some funding in the budget in the event of hard drive crashes or other, similar hardware failures, for extra unforeseen publishing expenses, in the event there was any unexpected delay where I needed more time to complete the book (like family health issues, personal illnesses like influenza, etc.).  As it stands right now, we’re looking to possibly have a little budget surplus (granted, that could change by the end of the process, depending on what happens in the next three months), but if we continue to have such a surplus, I will work out some sort of extra reward for all my backers (we’ll just have to see where it goes!)

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Project Update #5: SUCCESS!

WE’VE DONE IT!  THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN IS A SUCCESS!

 

It’s been a hell of ride, a little bumpy, a little exciting, a little sad at times, but in the end, everything came together, and I now officially have the happiest Thanksgiving ever!  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all of you, whether you pledged a dollar or a thousand dollars  (an extra thanks to my last investor, who was unbelievably generous!).  I would not be successful without all of you (and I mean that), and I cannot be more happy than I am right now.

The next three days are going to be brutal.  I have to:

 

1.  Finish up all existing contract work (I’ll most likely be done by tomorrow on all that),

2.   Get a head start on some pages I want to finish up, and

3.  Buy a  decent webcam for the live stream!

 

I will post links both on my own site (mikekeener.com) and on Kickstarter to the live feed.  It’ll be going on from 9am-5pm CST, Monday-Friday ’til we’re finished (barring any family emergencies or Christmas, but I’ll inform you of anything like that).  After that, it’s printing time, then shipping time, then convention time!  FYI, the vast majority of the feed will be silent (as I can’t afford to buy rights to play the music I privately own over a live feed),  but I will post playlists and whatnot when I can (as well as status updates on Twitter throughout the day).

And now, as it’s Thanksgiving Day,  I have to tend to sweeping and dusting the house, and then work on the stuffing.  I hope you have a good Turkey day,  and make sure to take it easy and be kind when holdiay shopping this weekend!

 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all,

Mike Keener

 

 

Posted in Kickstarter

Project Update #4: Final Week

NOTE:  This is a cross-post from the Kickstarter Update page.

 

This is coming a little over a day early,  as we only have seven days left as of 10:45am today.

We’ve done pretty well so far. we’re at or above 20%.  We have mixed  predictions on how we will fare:  Sidekick has us at 100% probability of success, while Kicktraq projects we’ll only make another 8% of the goal obviously, one’s wrong…. but which one?

I put up a pretty standard Twitter/Facebook update regarding the last week status this morning.  It’s going to be my last one until the end of the project, unless we get so close to being funded near the end that a last minute plea is well-warranted.

The reason for this is that I have noticed very little traction in my own posts (as I’ve been hitting it at least once a day for the past 20+ days, that’s understandable).  Few (if any) “likes” or replies have accompanied my posts for the past week or two (though a number of you have been reposting and retweeting, and, of course, I thank you for that, but more on that in the next paragraph).  My thought is that my posts have just sort of become a fart in an echo chamber (pardon the expression) that gets ignored at best, or banned for spam at worst (one subject matter-related group on Facebook in particular was pretty nasty and childish about it, but never mind them).  My goal is not to be annoying or irritating to anyone, and considering the repetitive nature of project-hawking, I think it would be better to just state my case and move on through the week.

I think where my success has been coming from hasn’t been so much from my posts, but rather from your posts and shares.  A lot of what I’ve raised recently came directly from total strangers.  I suppose it’s possible they were cruising the Kickstarter site and decided to fund me (about 35% of my pledges have come that way), but the vast majority of backers have come via Facebook or other direct links.

So, here’s my plea:  take the following link (kck.st/1irBnm9 ) and share it with whoever you think might be interested.  DON’T SPAM… just copy it and write a little post on your Facebook or Twitter profiles about why you backed it.  It could be that you’re a big comic fan, a big Cthulhu-mythos fan, a friend or family member who’s helping out… the ultimate reason’s interchangeable to strangers, but your enthusiasm drives this project, and enthusiasm is contagious!

I have enthusiasm in great big burlap sacks for this project, but as I’m the one doing the work, that’s not as important.  When I post about it, I look like a cold calling salesman, and very few people welcome that.  You – the backers, the readers, the collectors – you drive the project.  You’ve brought me further faster than I could hope for, and I am forever grateful.

Thanks to all of you,

Mike Keener

 

 

Posted in Kickstarter

Project Update #3: The Ancient Ones REVEALED!

NOTE:  This has been cross-posted from the Kickstarter Backer Update for this week, for your convenience.  -Keener

 

Hey all!

It’s been a hell of a week… in a good way!

We’ve passed our first $1000 (a HUGE milestone), gotten MASSIVE retweets, and, from what I have heard, good word of mouth!

I also decided to do 2 things, re: the campaign:  1:  remove limitations on the Kickstarter Special Edition packets, and 2. release a little info, re: the plot.  As much as I’d like to keep the basic plot I have under wraps, I have no previous longform work out there for people to see and pledge on that basis, so I felt it might be wise to let people know this will involve the Cthulhu mythos in a BIG way.  When writing the script, and looking for my own motivations, I found that mixing in the father of modern horror (Lovecraft) and the last (or one of the last) of the older-fashioned gothic horror writers (Stoker) seemed not only appropriate, but made the most sense for what  I had in mind.

As I write at the moment, we have to raise $5530 to meet our goal by Thanksgiving at 11:45am EST.  That means we have to raise an average of $460 a day (or just a have a few even more ridiculously big pledge days!).  Again, I’m advertising, hawking, doing all I can to get the word out, and a lot of you have helped immensely in getting the word out.

What we need now is a massive linkshare initiative.  If you’ve backed the project, believe in it, and want to help see it be successful, you need to help me (if you haven’t already) let as many people know about it as possible!  If you look under popular comics links as of right now, we’re in the Top 30 links.  That’s great, because it keeps us easy to find!  The more people visit, even if they don’t pledge, the higher in the listings we go!

I really hope this takes off.  Granted, being on camera for 40 hours a week at your own desk might sound like torture to some, but for me, I’m more than glad to put myself there for all of you; the people who believe in me, the book, and indie comics.  I salute you!

Now let’s get this bad boy funded!

MK

Posted in Kickstarter

Project Update #2: The Early Bird Gets the Worm

*Note: This is cross-posted at the Kickstarter update page.

Hey folks,

We’re at the end of the second week and… it’s not looking too good.

We had a hell of a start those first four days (and thanks to all who’ve contributed so far!), but it kind of tapered off after that  (it probably doesn’t help that the book isn’t a zombie book, either, as they tend to get pledges like hotcakes, but whatever).

By my figuring, we need to raise an average of $312 per day to hit the goal (there’s a little more time built in, but the last day of the project is Thanksgiving, and I imagine most people will be busy doing things other than coming to Kickstarter that day). That’s a bit, but it’s not impossible!

I’m doing everything I can to keep the project visible.  I’m paying for advertising, keeping a project page on Facebook (“Like” the page if you haven’t already!), and posting as frequently as I can without irritating as many friends and family as possible (and if you are irritated with my shilling, I apologize – rain or shine, it’ll be over come Thanksgiving day!).

What I need the most now is help from you – and not the monetary kind.  If you could, please share the project link with anyone you can – even if people you know don’t want it, they might know someone who is interested.  Also, any traffic I get, even if it doesn’t end in a pledge, helps keep me visible to the general public via Kickstarter’s “Popular” listings, which helps get me seen by even more of the general public.  If you know anyone who’s willing to give a retweet via Twitter, let me know – I would be most grateful!

Lastly, I would like to thank all of you for your support so far – you’ve been wicked awesome, and I’m proud to call you patrons and friends!

MK

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What a week.

anotherpage

As packed as last week was… I really don’t want to go through that again.  Or, rather, all at once!

On the plus side, we got off to a quick start of Kickstarter… raised 5% of the budget int he first 36 hours!  I got retweeted on the campaign by both Manga Studio from Dummies author and cartoonist Doug Hills and writer/artist Jimmy Palmiotti, as well as from a couple of Kickstarter-aggregating/based companies!  Not only that, but I made the “Most Popular Comics” list the second day in!

Aside from that, got some more penciling done this weekend.  Looking to either pencil or ink through today.  I think the idea of have 15 completed pages by Thanksgiving’s looking good (I’ll certainly have 10).

On the negative side… not going into that, because I don’t want any of you to think I’m trying to get sympathy pledges or anything, and in the end, it’s a bit private.

Point being…. it was a hell of a week.

As far as the campaign goes right now… I do need help!  I’m 20 cents short of being 6% funded, but I only have 22 days left to go!  That means I have to get another $6270 in 22 days, an average of $285 in pledges a day from now ’til then!

I’m doing everything I can… I have a Facebook ad campaign up and running.  I also created a fan page for the campaign itself (I encourage you to “like” and keep up there!), where I will be posting updates, images from my drawing table as I continue work, etc.  We’re up to 50 fans now, and I’d like to add a lot more to it!

Lastly, if you haven’t already,  please check out the campaign!  Even if you can’t (or won’t) pledge, do me a favor and click on the video to watch…. even that helps (as it puts me further along in the “most popular projects” list)!

Posted in Kickstarter