Business Development Part 0: Why Should You Listen to Me?

A column article by: Ace Masters

With the erratic schedule I have kept with this column, I have decided to revamp and refocus the column.

Originally the idea was for me to use this column as a sounding board to give tidbits and insight on the business side, and creation of, comic books, drawing upon my experience writing and publishing Masterpiece Comics, with opinions and comments on comics in general thrown in. Unfortunately, it has been the other way around, with mostly opinion and comment pieces with scattered "How To" pieces.

As of this moment that changes. This column will now focus on the business side of comics, and "How To" pieces thrown in when appropriate. Of course, there will still be the occasional commentary and opinion pieces.

In the last column I mentioned I would answer the questions: Who am I? What have I done? Why should you listen to me?

Who Am I?

I am Ace Masters, write, comic book creator and publisher, actor, poet, businessman. I am someone who doesn’t believe in limits and holds as truth that "Anything is possible."

What have I done?

I could give some long winding description of what I have done, but it would end up being more like a Bio then a column. In the interested of keeping this focused – as I mentioned above – I will limit to comics.

What have I done in comics? I have served as the heard writer for two small press – now defunct – comic book companies in which I wrote four titles and dozens of issues. But most importantly, and my greatest achievement, is Masterpiece Comics.

Masterpiece Comics is my company, in which I wrote and published the graphic novel Rushmore, series Fireblast and the mini-series Wild Boys.

Not a whole lot you say? Then consider this, how many companies do you see online promising their books and how they are going to "redefine" the industry and claim they are "the future." Now, how many actually ever get the books out?

Anyone, even getting one single book out and into bookstores, has achieved something.

Why should you listen to me?

There is nothing that says you have to listen to anything I write. But what harm is there to read and maybe learn something?

Everything I write will be based upon my experience, things I have done, what I wished I had done, what worked and what failed. In the course of publishing Masterpiece Comics, I did everything other than pencils, inks, colors and letters.

I handled all avenues of business: planning, distribution, promotion, licensing and more.

So, why listen? Because everything I write will be based on practical experience, honestly told with the intention of giving helpful advice.

There are for more aspects to publishing comic books than creating the book and releasing it. The problem is many so-called "creative people" fail to realize comics are still a business, and they ignore the business side of it for the "creative."

News Flash: Those types of people are NOT creative. A truly creative person realizes that the business side of any endeavor can be just a creative and stimulating as the actual creation of the product, i.e. comic book.

Not to mention that you want to give your title the best chance to succeed and be seen by the widest possible audience. This won’t happen if you ignore the business end.

So, now the question can be asked, why am I writing this and giving the advice? Very Simple: I love comics. I love every aspect from the business end to the physical creation, to holding a title in my hand and reading. I want the industry to flourish and move forward.

Starting with the publishing of this column, Wednesday, March 17th, come back every other Wednesday for new columns and hopefully more insights. There will still be the occasional commentary and opinion columns, but they will be published in between the bi-weekly columns.

In the last column I mentioned so-called "Baby Steps." These are really Business Development steps; they are what you should do BEFORE you start anything else. The next few columns will focus on these steps:

Step 1. Indentify
Step 2. Research
Step 3. Study
Step 4. Plan

The next column will focus on Step 1. Indentify.

Until then I will leave you with this burning question: Can you indentify why?

Ace Masters.

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