Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Don't Get It

Sometimes I feel like I need to start a post with a disclaimer, and I guess this is one of those posts.  If you are one of these people, don’t take this post as an attack, because I honestly (as the title says) don’t get it.

I have a great friend in Lucky Dunbar, who has done the artwork for my stories and I hope he can continue to do so for as long as I need artwork for my stories.  BTW, visit his Facebook Page at LuckyArt.  But, as he continues to work his craft, he will be busy with other projects and I can’t expect to always be number one on his list.  So, I’ve been perusing DeviantART and finding other artists that I could use in the event Lucky just doesn’t have the time to get something done.

In my journey’s I have found a handful of artists that do some great work and their style fits what I am looking for.  For the most part, they aren’t too expensive.  If I want a character art, it costs X.  If I want a character and a background it is X.  If I want multiple characters, etc.  One artist has even gone so far as to show examples of what you would get for so much money, with the explanation that more complexity equals more money.  Very customer friendly, and since they only have certain times when they are available for commission work, I can assume business is good for these artists.

Then there is the, what I consider, not-so-customer-friendly artists.  You almost get the feeling that if you have to ask how much, then it’s too expensive for you.   

Now, let me make something clear, for those of you who are not familiar with DeviantART.  This is not a site for well known artists.  You won’t find Vellejo, Parkinson, Bell, or Kinkade hawking their wares (okay, that would be odd for a couple of them since their dead…bad examples, but you get it).  The artists found on that site are talented people who haven’t had the exposure.  Some want to be the next big thing, while others are happy with their niche in life.

So here we get to the part I don’t understand.  What is it about pricing your artwork that needs to be a secret?  Is it too complex for you to give the potential customer an idea of what they would spend if they worked with you?  Why do you shun the apparent model that other artists follow with their pricing structure?  Or, is it a case of “if you have to ask…”?

Look, I know there is some reasoning behind it.  You have a reason for not disclosing your pricing structure, assuming you have one.  But I have no clue as to what that reason could be.

Here is how it looks.  And don’t take this as an attack.  I am simply saying this is how it looks to your average customer with no training in business101.

You overvalue your work.

I am the average customer and that is how I see it.  I don’t see your art as better than the others.  In most cases, your artwork is on par with other people who are more than happy to provide pricing information.  Any guesses on which artist I will go to?

As I said, I don’t understand.  Perhaps you don’t overvalue your work, but because I don’t understand why you want to hide your pricing structure, that is how I see it.  Not only is that how I see it; that is how the average customer sees it.  The sentence “If you have to ask, it’s too much.” can be read from two different perspectives.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Time Isn't Always On My Side

Seriously.  Like never.

I have so many stories I want to tell.  I also have a 60+ hour a week job.  I am married to a wonderful lady who deserves every ounce of my attention.  I have a house to maintain.

As Book Two (Requiter?) plods to its publish date, I have begun Book Three. 

The artwork is near completion for Book Two.  The edits continue to filter in.  Soon, I will publish the book and move into marketing it (bleh).

I have been writing Book Three.  I have to write it while the story is still fresh in my head.  There is so much I want to get down before I forget it.  I really like how it is shaping up.

There is a short story sitting on my desk that needs the first few hundred words rewritten.  I wanted to publish this story months ago, but I received comments on it that I can't ignore.  The beginning of the story is just not on the same pace as the rest of it.  In my experience, it only takes a few sentences added, changed, or removed, to fix these problems, but since my brain has been tied up with the Drums of Rallinwar series, it has been difficult to address.

On top of that, there are two short stories that need to be written.  I have the notes for them, and there are just a couple of minor tweaks to make before they get written.

I have another short story that is almost complete.  I need to complete it and publish it.

And already, I have been considering the next book.  I have a story that I began a couple of years ago that will get written, but I have also been brewing a "fantastic" type story.  One of those with over the top fantasy elements.

I could lock myself away in my office for a week and not finish all the stories on my list.  I honestly get excited just thinking about what is next.  And the excitement only increases when I am told the manuscript for Book Two is in much better shape than Blood of Two was when i passed it off to the editors.  I mean, I feel as though I have improved, and it has been validated by those I work with.

I only hope you see it the same way when it gets published.

Time isn't on my side, but this is an exciting time for me.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Just Effing Smile

Most parents know how difficult it can be to raise children, and most of us have a list of things that would fall onto a list of parenting mistakes.  We all make them, regardless of whether you want to admit it.  Come on.  You can't go 18+ years and not make some sort of boneheaded mistake that you later (often the moment after it happens) regret.

I have three adult children, and I can tell you that most of those stupid mistakes are harmless in the end.  Yes, I know, there are some lopsided adults out there that want to blame their personal issues on a mistake their parents made.  After all, we are a nation of finger-pointers.

My children listed their favorite vacation memories during a Facebook conversation.  It included several memories that made me smile.  I am thankful, as a parent, that I could be a part of making those memories possible.  Somewhere in that top ten favorite memories list was a memory that makes a top ten list of my own; the top ten mistakes I made as a parent.

The kids were very young at the time and we had taken the tent and spent a few days in Missouri.  As with all of our trips, we had a blast.  It was on the way home, somewhere on a back highway in southern Missouri we came upon this old concrete bridge that had been closed.  It was an awesome looking structure, so we pulled over to explore a bit.

The kids were tired, which is most often accompanied by cranky in children that age.  Before we returned to the car, we decided the stop warranted a photo.  As mentioned, the kids were cranky, which in turn made mom cranky, which, as we all know, gets dear old dad cranky.  We were all cranky.

Of course, it is difficult to smile when you are cranky, and who wants a photo of cranky kids.  After what felt like hours of trying to coerce the cranky kiddies into a smile, and the cranky meter pegging out for all five people involved, it happened.

"Just Effing Smile!"

Yep, I said it.  I said it to little kids.  My little kids.  That memory has haunted me since.  Every time I think about it, I cringe.  What a horrible father!  I cussed at my kids!  To this day, I hate that memory.  Nothing I can do about it now, but it still bothers me, and always will.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this memory float back onto a Facebook page, and the kids were laughing about it.  One of their favorite vacation memories?

Wow!  My kids are messed up!  All I can do is effing smile.

Progress on the book:

I was hoping to publish book two today, but regretfully, this won't happen.  The delay is my fault, but now I wait for other parties before I can publish.  There is just a couple of days of editing to complete, once I get the notes back, and there is the book cover and the map.  I am waiting on others, but only because they had to wait on me.

At this point, all I can say is "soon".

I haven't been idle while waiting, I am already deep into book three.  Hopefully that one will happen according to plan.