Tuesday, January 9, 2018

How to find artists, and biographies of artists I've found to be reliable.

I've been writing, and working to publish material for a little under one year (as of this writing).

I have had to research many things.  I've had to learn about promotion, software, social media, and marketing (I admit, I still have much to learn). 

One thing I haven't had trouble with is finding talented, professional artists. Let me be clear on that and state that I have had a wonderful experience with those artists who have agreed to work with me.  You can read previous entries on this blog to see more about my views on how to treat artists.

I don't get a lot of comments on my blog.  I get a good deal of messages about my blog though.  I get them through my social media channels and by email.  I suppose people don't feel comfortable asking "Hey, can you tell me where you found an artist that can XYZ?"  But it's really no big deal to find talented people with a good work ethic and to retain them.  It really comes down to two points:  be a decent human being (as a client) to your freelancers and pay them fairly. 

So, how do you find talented professionals?

Once you find art that speaks to you for your needs, identify the artist.  I would recommend checking to make certain that work is in fact, originally done by that artist and not an instance of someone violating copyright.  Find the artist, identify that person's contact points (online galleries usually have a contact point built onto them) and reach out to them for their rates. 

Once that artist replies, review those rates and make certain that the artist is within your budget.  If not, then tell that artist that you will keep their information handy, but that you can't afford them just yet but you would like to work with them in the future when finances allow.  Don't lie, don't try to gloss over things, just be honest.   If you can afford the artist, then hire them and you're off to the races.  It's really pretty simple.

But what if you can't find an artist, or you're concerned about their capabilities or reliability?  Well, you can always ask around to other writers and publishers.  It has been my experience that such communication is an excellent way to find remarkable talent.  Be professional in all such communications.  Don't try to casually poach someone's talent.  Just be upfront and honest in your inquiry.  Not all writers and publishers will agree to share such information, but most of the folks I speak to have no problem in helping their freelance artists find more work.

It is important to note, that it is in your best interests if the artists you work with have steady work.  After all, you want "your" artists to be able to focus on being artists.  Its a bit more difficult to get your commissions done when an artist has to juggle their art production around a day job.  If you can, help promote them. If you can, help people find them for commissions. Eventually "your" artists can focus on doing art as their main career.  This directly benefits you and if you don't understand how, message me and we'll discuss it.  (Seriously, no shame in that, message me and we'll go over it).

Another option:  Look into artists who are studying at accredited art institutes/colleges

Most of the artists I have utilized to date have studied and graduated from the Kubert School.  I can find no fault with these individuals.  That is not to say they are perfect human beings, but they are damn fine artists, and serious professionals, one and all (again, in my experience). 

Look into local art schools, check out their resources for student employment opportunities and for alumni listings. The Kubert School is also very active on social media, so you can find out information about that institution very readily. Use these resources for what they are intended for:  to enhance the employment opportunity of these students and graduates.  This makes for a vast pool of potential candidates for you to pull art from.  As above, be professional, be honest, and pay fairly.  If you don't, people won't want to work for you.  You have been advised.

Some of you will want more immediate access to talent.  To that end, I am once again going to point out that I maintain a list of biography pages for those artists whom I work with. I'll post that data below but I have this to say: These are professionals, they do NOT work for "exposure", they are reliable, and worth their rates.  Please do not waste their time with low ball offers and b.s. .

Thank you.

Links in the names will take you to the artist biography page I've built.  Links on those pages will take you to their individual online resources.  I have added comments for those artists who have already produced art for me.  A couple of artists on this list are in the middle of commission work for me and have proven their capability enough for me to be comfortable with publishing their biography pages.

 Lotus Blair 

 Nick Caponi

Kelsy Cowan

Rebecca Elisbet Coulthart

Fraggle (She's special)

Brian Lee (The Full Bleed Artist)

James Lee

Christian Martinez

Jake Ochoa

Phoenix O'Faery

Anthony Ojeda

Alexia Veldhuisen (samurai genius)

Zac Viola

Samantha Vogelsang

So that is my list.  If you need quality art, these are amazing professionals. 

I hope you will take from this entry what is intended.  Treat your artists well and it will benefit you in the long run.

Thanks again for joining me on my adventure into writing and self-publishing.

I hope to see you next time.

As always, your comments and questions are welcome (really, I mean that).

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Tarot Adventures, Book Two: Comet over Echo Rock Crowdfunding video

I'm launching the crowdfunding campaign on January 13th.

Tarot Adventures, Book Two: Comet over Echo Rock is a dark, gritty adventure for characters of 2nd through 4th level.

Contains all original art and builds on the story from The Draw of Glenfallow (but its not necessary to have played through that module in order to enjoy Comet over Echo Rock).

I will be providing links to the campaign on launch day.  I'll also be doing a live stream at 8pm EST via KickStarter live, where myself and several artists will be taking questions, talking about the Tarot Adventures, and having a fun time with the community.  So check that out and join in.  It will be fun.

Interested in the Tarot Adventures, but want a reminder?  Follow me on KickStarter (W.S. Quinton) or follow me here, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  I'll be posting about this through the week.

Thanks for joining me on this grand adventure into writing and publishing.
I hope you'll join me next time as well.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Respect your audience

Today I had a first time experience.

I received an e-mail from one of my KickStarter backers asking me to remove him from the email list I had built.  I did so immediately.

Now, some of you may wonder what is so weird about that.  Well, I built my list from asking questions in backer surveys, and asking people if I could add them to my email list for future notifications (my language was more precises in its word choice, but stick with me).

So I received the email back, as a reply to a seasonal greeting that I had attached information on coming projects to.  Personally, I have often received email from places I once wanted to be kept in touch with (web comics, podcasts, etc.)  Then after a while I would stop looking forward to such communication, and I would remove myself from their site or request that I be removed.  Usually it took a while to get off those lists.

I realized tonight, that it shouldn't have taken any time at all for me to be removed from those sites.  I also realized that I had acted in good faith with this backer.  I felt good about that.

While I hope that person will continue to support my efforts, he or she will not be receiving emails from me.  I respect that person's wishes.

The point I'm trying to make is this:

Often people are told that the key to directly marketing your products and talents, is to be able to reach to people directly.  Email lists are a valuable commodity then, as they represent people who have interacted with you before (hopefully have a positive experience).

The problem with that viewpoint is that it casts those people you are communicating with in the role of a commodity.  They are valuable to your bottom line.  That is a point I have to take a stand against. While whatever money you are making is probably important, the peace of mind of your audience is more so.  Always respect your audience. Even, and perhaps specifically, when a member of that audience doesn't want to be there anymore.

Don't try to hold on to people like they are treasure. Instead, treasure the people you hold onto, and be gracious to those who leave.

Now this isn't like a bad break up story.  No drama or anything like that.

In my emails to people, I include a message that basically says "hey, I put this list together from people who authorized me to do so. If I've made a mistake or you want me to take you off the list, just email to me and say so".  Its easy on all parties.

Now my audience isn't large, so yes I'll miss that one person.  But I'm glad that I stuck to my business ethic.  I'm proud of myself for doing the right thing.

I hope that in your dealings, you'll do the same.

Thank you for joining me once again on this fantastic journey into self-publishing.

I hope you'll join me next time as well.

Frankenstien Faktoria, by Angus Abranson

Good morning everyone!

If you haven't seen it yet, Angus has launched a project of his own on KickStarter!

Many of you know of Angus from his fantastic articles on En-World and his contributions on various social media channels about crowdfunded rpg projects.

The project looks really cool, with great art examples attached and all the details you want to know about a new rpg project. 

Lets all take a moment out of each of these next few days, and give this project some love and attention by sharing the link out to other, supporting this project, and showing our appreciation for a member of the community who has helped so many of us in our efforts to get our own projects off the ground.

Thank you Angus, for all you do!!!

Link to the campaign is below.  I hope you will all take a moment to use it and help get the word out.

Thanks everyone