I'm David A Byrne, not the Talking Heads guy, the writer guy. Churning out Comics and Novels, two universes that have collided for me, as I dive into the Self-Publishing world. Any questions? #AMA

David Byrne
Oct 25, 2017

Over the last year I've gone from calling myself an asprining writer (which doesn't exist, you either are a writer or you aren't) to self-publishing a novel and writing and producing a comic book that is currently on Kickstarter.  Now I'm running my first crowdfunding campaign; I've learned a lot and am an open book, so let's dive in and if one person can take away something from my experiences, I'll be happy!





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What inspired you doing that? 

Oct 22, 2:35AM EDT0

I decided to self-publish because I wanted to be in control of all the different aspects of my projects!

Thanks for asking!

Oct 24, 8:37PM EDT0

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self publish?

Oct 21, 5:29PM EDT0

This is tough one, thanks for asking it!

The first warning is to be ready for a lot of work!  Really, A LOT!

Seriously though, once you've written the novel and whether you've submitted it to publishers or decided to go straight to the self-publishing route there are 2 pieces of advice I think are crucial:

Make sure you have a professional cover - if you are a graphic artist great, do it yourself, if not, hire someone!  Deciding whether or not to read a book starts with the first thing people see and they do judge a book by the cover.

The other thing is hire an editor.  Your friends and family mean well, but unless they are professional editors, they just won't cut it.  You can only edit your own work to a point, then you become too familiar with what it should say and not what it does say.  So do yourself a favor and get that editor!

Oct 24, 8:32PM EDT0

Is there a certain type of persona who loves to read comics?

Oct 21, 12:26PM EDT0

Thank you for the question!

I don't think there is a certain type of persona.  I think if people realized that comics aren't all just superheroes more people fall in love with the medium.

There is something for everyone and they come in so many forms, digital, webcomics, graphic novels, and more.

Oct 24, 8:27PM EDT0

What is the difference in coming up with a storyline for a comic and for a novel?

Oct 21, 12:34AM EDT0

Thanks for the question Dan,

I take several approaches when laying out a story, usually a brief synopsis, a short outline, then a treatment and a detailed outline.  But I do this whether it's for a novel or a comic or a screenplay even.

To me there isn't much difference in coming up with the storyline.  Both mediums have their benefits and drawbacks, so the main concern is which is right for the story...

Oct 24, 8:25PM EDT0

What is the synopsis of your novel?

Oct 20, 3:08PM EDT0

Hi Mansoor,

My novel Shady Place is about a retired cop who moves to 55+ neighborhood in Florida only to find out his neighbor is the former mob boss he spent his career chasing.

The duo team up to solve a string a murders only they believe are happening, all while competing for the affections of the same woman.  It's mostly a comedy with a little mystery.

Oct 24, 8:20PM EDT0

How long have you been working in this field?

Oct 20, 12:53PM EDT0

I've been writing for most of my life, but until last year I was on the sidelines.  I had written a lot of prose and many screenplays, but I decided I was going to write and publish my first novel in 2016 and I finished it in November, then had it out to the world in March of this year!

Thank you for the question!

Oct 24, 8:18PM EDT0

What's it like to be a comic writer or artist?

Oct 20, 7:27AM EDT0

Thanks for the question!

To me, it's great.  The Couch is my first comic and I've booked a few comic conventions which are a lot of fun.

I take a lot of enjoyment from writing a story and putting it together, then seeing what my illustrator comes up with.  Talking about the work with people is enjoyable.

But it's not all fun and games, marketing is a grind, getting people to part with their hard earned money is not easy.  You're asking for a few dollars for something that is only 22-28 pages, but people don't realize how many hours of work go into even a single comic issue.

You have to do it because you love it, because the odds are you will never get rich make comics.  But I do love it, so I'll keep making them!

Oct 24, 8:11PM EDT0

If you had not pursued a career in publishing or making comics, what would you have chosen instead?

Oct 20, 4:04AM EDT0

When I was little I wanted to be a pro baseball player!

Unfortunately I still have a day job.  I currently sell real estate - I do appreciate having a professional that, while we are basically always on call, allows a lot of flexibility in my schedule.

The self-publishing world takes a lot of work and I'm relatively new to the game, so until I'm established enough I'll have to do as the old adage goes: "Don't quit your day job."

Oct 24, 8:16PM EDT0

Can you describe your daily routine?

Oct 19, 2:19PM EDT0

Thanks for the question Steeve,

Unforuntately like many other self-published authors, I still have a day job, so my daily routine starts with getting up and going to work!

As for writing and marketing, I try to be as responsive to message as I can during the day, then settle in at my computer during the evening to write and working on marketing.  Unfortunately, once you've written something and hit the publish button, the real work begins.  A lot of time has to be spent figuring out way to get the work out to the public and figuring out ways to get them to pay attention.

In an ideal world, I'd write 5 to 10 new pages a day, but it's hard if you can't do it full time.

Oct 24, 7:55PM EDT0

Are comics just for kids or are adults also interested in comics?

Oct 19, 1:36PM EDT0

Hey Alvin,

I think comics are more for adults than kids these days.  Once you get past the superhero books, a lot of the other comics on the markets have mature and adult themes.  One of the most successful non-superhero comics is The Walking Dead and that is definitely not for kids.

I think as an industry, a push to get more kids to read comics should be a priority.

Oct 24, 7:52PM EDT0

What type of comics are the most successful or promising in your view?

Oct 19, 8:58AM EDT0

Hi Makter!

Success is relative.  Getting your work out there and in the hands of as many people as possible is usually the goal of the indie creator.  Making as much money as possible is the measure of success for a big publisher like Marvel or DC.  Critical acclaim can be a great barometer of success as well.

To me the most successful and promising comics are those that focus on the characters and try to break the mold.  A lot of the big publishers focus on events to drive sales, but the smaller indie publishers put books out that are interesting and about things other than superheroes.

Telling a good story, with interesting characters, that's worth telling and isn't like everything else that's on the shelf, to me, that's a recipe for success.

Oct 24, 7:50PM EDT0

Where do you get your inspiration from, do you have certain places or activities that trigger your creative flow?

Oct 18, 10:33PM EDT0

Hi there Lynette, thanks for the question!

I've always been a dreamer, so it's no surprise that my ideas come from everywhere.  Some little tickle hits my brain and just grows and grows.

A lot my ideas start with the phrase "What if...?"  Then I drift into the possibilities.

I wish there was a more cut and dry answer, or I knew specifically I took great inspiration from one place or activity, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason!

Oct 24, 7:44PM EDT0

Has the style of comics changed over the years and how?

Oct 18, 7:42PM EDT0

Hi Toukir,

Comics are constantly changing and there are so many different artists out there that I'm happy to say the styles are incredibly fluid.

I think the biggest change is the introduction of digital art, where as every used to be done by hand there are a lot of illustrators and cartoonists creating their work 100% digitally for the web and even for print.

Oct 24, 7:33PM EDT0

Do your publications usually contain a deeper message for people or is it pure fantasy and fiction?

Oct 17, 10:38AM EDT0

Great question, thank you!

It really depends on the project.  I want everything I write to be entertaining, but I do think there is a place for deeper meaning and important themes in fictional work.

For example, my novel Shady Place revolves around a retired police officer in a 55+ community who ends up solving murders with his long time rival.  Ostensibly it's a comedic mystery, but there are themes of acceptance peppered throughout the story, particularly for the main characters accepting who they are in life.

I like a message that doesn't beat you over the head, one you don't even realize you're receiving.

Oct 24, 7:31PM EDT0

Why do most authors self publish and what is the biggest hurdle in self publishing?

Oct 17, 10:34AM EDT0

Thanks for the question Victoria!

I think a lot of authors self-publish because the process has become so easy compared to the past.  The only thing standing in your way is yourself, a little time and effort and anyone can publish a book now.

The biggest hurdle is really one that plagues a lot of people who use the term aspiring when they refer to their writing career - you either are or you aren't - so getting out of your own way and hitting the publish button and finally doing it.

Now that's just actually publishing and doesn't guarantee anything about quality of the product.

Oct 24, 7:24PM EDT0

What advice would you give someone who wants to make a comic?

Oct 15, 10:03PM EDT0

Thank you for the question Ivy,

I think the most important thing to do is understand the medium.  Comics are a collection of sequential art that tell a story.  It's unlike any other medium, but that's part of what makes comics great.

If you want to write comics it's a little different the illustrating.  Read a lot of comics, find and download comic scripts, figure out what you want your comic (or graphic novel) to be about, and check out Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics.

If you want to be an illustrator, draw a lot, study form, perspective, spend as much time on your craft as possible.

When you think you've mastered everything, you're just starting to learn.

Oct 22, 10:57PM EDT0

How long have you been drawing?

Oct 14, 9:46PM EDT0

Hi Brandon,

Thank you for the question - I don't actually draw my book, I used to draw relentlessly when I was younger, but now I spend most of my time writing and markteting my work.

My comic The Couch is illustrated by Matt Magill (www.ohjeezcomics.com) and the cover for my novel was created by Joops Fragale, a filmmaker and good friend of mine (386films.com).

I'd love to have the time to get back to drawing and hope to soon!

Oct 22, 10:52PM EDT0

Why did you choose to self-publish?

Oct 13, 12:07PM EDT0

Good evening, thank you for the question!

I alluded to in my response to Shilpa, the reason I chose to self-publish is the ability to maintain control over the product.  It's a hard and sometimes lonely path, but I really wanted to maintain control over what I create.

Oct 22, 10:49PM EDT0

What are advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing? 

Oct 13, 11:49AM EDT0

Hi Shilpa,

Thanks for the great question to start us off.  It's actually a really complicated question with answers that might differ from creator to creator.

For me the main advantage is basically control - when you self-publish you control every aspect of your work and don't have to worry about butting heads with a publisher, agent, or whoever may stand in your way.

You can also skip the query letters to agents and publishers and the heaps of rejection letters that even the most famous authors received along the way.

The disavantages are directly connected to the concept of being in control - you are in control of everything -meaning writing, editting, book design, preparing files, marketing, you name it.  You can hire people for the different steps and aspects (which you should outsource editting at the very least), but this can become costly.  If you want to self-publish and aren't proficient at one of these particular skills, you should definitely look to find someone who is.

Oct 22, 10:42PM EDT0
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