Friday, April 6, 2018

Work, failure, success, and YOU! More art from "The Steel Road"!

Art from "The Steel Road"  African weapons chapter
Art by: Zachary Viola

About work:

I have an ordinary day job.

It's true.  I work for the courts during the regular day-time office hours.  After my day job work hours are done, and after the children are asleep, I work on things related to my books, games, and publishing efforts.  I do sleep, I promise I do.  I usually work on my writing and publishing endeavors, and the numerous small tasks that make them possible, until midnight. 

Some nights I say 'no' and I write while watching anime or YouTube videos.  What can I say?  I'm a huge nerd. 

As with most day jobs, I have small periods of my own time.  During these break times I am quite guilty of working.  I usually take my notepad and write things down that have occurred to me, jot down plot notes, doodle rough outlines, and otherwise add to my growing pile of projects I want to develop and insights into projects I am developing. A perfect example of this is that I wrote the first four paragraphs of the entry during my lunch break.

The key concept I'm trying to convey is that by working when you can, every day and at every opportunity, you can accomplish a lot.  Elon Musk once commented about working eighty to one hundred hour weeks as opposed to working forty hour weeks and how much more you can accomplish in that time.  (You can see a clip of that interview HERE.)  While I'm not going to recommend that you work hundred hour weeks, I find that if you devote your time and effort to your goal, you bring yourself closer to realizing it. I firmly believe that to be true.  I feel that I usually accomplish quite a bit so long as I continue to work each day, in as much a capacity as I can. 

For those of you who want to release your own novel, or comic book, or design and produce your own game, this work ethic is a must.  You have to get up and make your dream a reality, or it will forever remain a dream. 


About failure:

Failure is a fantastic opportunity for learning.  You can, and should, learn as much from a project that fails as you can.  What did you do wrong?  Is my idea something people are interested in? What could I have done to make the project successful?  Those are questions you should ask yourself.  Give yourself honest answers.  Don't be satisfied with what should be, dig deep and find out what is.  This is a key distinction to make, as it will reveal whether your projects are viable or if they are not. 

If your idea isn't viable, if people aren't interested in it, or if it isn't possible then you should look into what it is that makes it that way.  If a project can't be done at a certain budget point is there a way to refine your method to decrease costs?  If people aren't interested in it, why aren't they and what, if anything, can excite people about your idea?  If you project just isn't possible, is there a technology that you need to develop or adopt to make it possible?  Take a long hard look at the issues standing in your way and make a realistic appraisal of what it will take to bring your project to life.

A project's failing does not make you a failure. Please take a moment to digest that previous sentence, because it is very important. I have done a lot of research by reviewing crowd funding campaigns.  I have noticed an alarming trend where people who have their first campaign fail, don't seem to try again.  I say this is alarming because I do not belief that creative people are usually limited to a single idea.  If your project fails, do NOT be afraid to try again with a new idea.  Innovation doesn't come from stagnation, it comes from people who are brave enough to put forth new ideas.  Be brave, don't let the past control your future.


About success:

Having a successful project, regardless of how successful it may be, is a wonderful feeling.  I hope you have that experience in your life.  Success can be a heady experience, it can drive some people to see more and greater success while in others they may be content to bask in the wonder of it.  Which you choose to do, is up to you and your overall goals.  If you want to build a business, create value, and make an impact then I believe you must allow success to motivate you to new successes in future projects. 

Building on past success can also be a risk.  By way of example, let me cite my coming project "The Steel Road".  For that project I have high hopes that people will be excited by it, support it's KickStarter campaign, and that it will actually generate a bit of revenue I can use to help fund the initial costs of a particular pair of coming projects.  By committing those dollars earned to future projects I am risking that money.  Is it worth it to me?  It certainly is, because I am working to build a business that provides books for people to enjoy.  Investing money earned into more development is simply a basic principle of business, but one that carries with it the risk of loss.  It also brings with it the potential for success.  Examine both possibilities and determine whether you will dare the risk or not.

Success without ethical responsibility is not success at all, just greed.  This is a moralistic viewpoint, my own, and I don't expect everyone to agree with me.  My point is this: If you can succeed at your projects with a clear conscious, knowing you have acted ethically and in good faith, then you have nothing to fear if people question your product, actions, or development.  Be honest with persons in your efforts and you will find that your success is all the sweeter for it.  {I know I'm going to get flamed for this point and that is fine.  Comment section is below.}


About ART:

Art is incredibly important in the fields I'm working and developing for.  Comic books and role-playing games need art.  Card games and board games need art as well.  When you need art, you need artists.  Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it?

I've written previous entries on the artists I've worked with.  You can find my most recent such entry HERE!

With artists, please do understand that you are dealing with people who possess a valuable skill set.  While I understand the desire to find art at the lowest price available, I do not condone doing so at the expense of your artists.  Pay fairly, pay promptly, and be a good client.  You will, after all, need their services again in the future.  Build strong business relationships with your artists, you're going to need them.


About You:

Surprise!  Yes, this is about you.  You've made it this far in this short article about some things I am very convicted about.  I encourage you to develop your own projects.  Bring your own book, comic book, or game to the world.  Be responsible to yourself, be open and honest with your audience, create to the highest quality level you can, and enjoy the process!

Thank you for joining me on my adventure into writing, self-publishing, and game design.  I wish for you tremendous success and I hope you'll join me next time as my adventure continues.

I hope you will enjoy my coming projects, and I hope I will enjoy yours!


One last thing:

There is a really cool indie comic series, "Coronary".  It's creator, Ryan Burke, is running a Kickstarter campaign right now to fund the latest edition.  Check it out at the link below.

Note:  All art from "The Steel Road" is copyright(c) of Zachary Viola (Copyright dates 2017 and 2018) and is used under contract and with permission.  All rights are reserved. 

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