It’s been a scrappy, silly, winding journey to this point. I wrote the worst first draft of the very first monster in January, and also met the book’s illustrator, Elizabeth. In February, I suggested to Elizabeth that we consider working together on a longer project, possibly something book-length. In March, I ran off to Thailand to recover from a busy chunk of television producing, and to write. In April, we agreed on a reasonable number of monsters. In May, the first round of editors provided notes on the manuscript’s first draft. In June, we figured out a layout and a timeline. In July, I began sketching out the Kickstarter campaign as the drafts for the art were finished.
Now, halfway through August, the campaign for my first-ever illustrated collection is live.
By September 10th, we’ll know if the Monstrous Me campaign to get a print run of hardbound books was successful. If I should be so lucky, we’ll send the finished book out to the printer by the end of that month, and receive the copies ready to mail out by mid-November.
But enough about the past and the future. The only thing I really have a handle on is the Now, and my Now is about to get really monstrous.
To help show just how monstrous, here are a handful of monsters from the book (they’re not selfies).
Though the campaign will have been live since the night before, the first batch of e-mails and outreach goes out before dawn on the east coast. In order to answer any questions that you scallawags might have, I’m going to make like the Morning Slug and rise early with a full 8-cup Chemex of coffee and take on the questions and concerns as they come.
Before I can fully embrace my sluggish morning, though, I’ll have to do battle with a series of alarms. After spending a week in Mountain Time, I hope this fight isn’t too drawn out. To be safe, I’ll have three backups set, just like the Snoozer Sloth.
Despite a day’s vigilance over the newly launched campaign, my over-scheduling tendencies are in full effect. Some tasks, like taking the car to the mechanic, are meant to keep me from pressing refresh all day long. Others, like my picture book writing class, keep me looking forward and building a momentum that goes beyond a single project.
Through it all, I will feel ever more like the Startvaark, as Monstrous Me is full of starts (a book project!), firsts (Kickstarter!), and launches (a lengthy campaign!). In that way, it’s similar to the projects of past. I’ve never had problems summoning up the energy and ideas to bring comics, animations and temporary companies into existence. Where I struggled was shepherding them to a natural conclusion. Serial projects, like webcomics, puttered out when I couldn’t maintain self-imposed schedules. Companies faltered for a lack of serious partners, or an inability to pick a partner with complementary strengths.
Now, though, I have a manuscript written, the art is being finalized, and the Kickstarter is alive and, well, kicking. We have momentum on our side. Should the campaign raise the necessary $5,000 to get a limited, hardbound print run, Monstrous Me will be published before the year is done.
The hope with this post was to take a moment out from the animating and e-mailing and editing and pitching to take a few breaths. I believe this campaign will be successful, and that a long-held dream of mine to create an illustrated collection of stories will soon be realized.
Still, I’m nervous. As I was writing e-mails to old friends and coworkers and lost collaborators, I felt a twinge of nostalgia. In the past, I was naive and bold, and shared my work (‘work’ being an adult term for silly things like sheep-themed comics and short films about superheroes) often. Since college, I grew reluctant to talk about what I was doing in public settings, or share much of the process beyond a few tweets or pictures. I was happy enough to let those ambitions simmer, and the daily practice of writing and creating slow. I turned down jobs in line with this passion, because, I told myself, if I was really into writing, then I’d be writing more. Whether one should conflate or confuse work with passion is a point for a different post. The nerves, in that case, came down to believing in myself, and whether I could make something of my writing. Despite qualms or quibbles I may have had with past projects or opportunities, I believe in this one.
I’m proud of what this project has become, and I’m excited to start sharing it with you. Thank you for coming on this ride with me. Whatever happens, I know we’ll have fun.
I’ll see all of you monsters under the bed and on the other side.