HB’s classification and why it is how it is

uploadWell, I know I was invited to do this Q&A but as I mentioned on my blog over at Deviantart I’m thinking of cancelling – 99% of the people have said no, they are not coming.

My feelings aren’t hurt in the least. I’m worried about a phenomenal waste of time sitting on the internet when I’m skipping one of those military wife functions to attend this. =^-^=

At any rate, I was surfing the internet a bit this morning and came across some Heavenly Bride reviews on Barnes and Noble. Now we know I try to avoid going to Barnes and Noble because the people over there review badly just for the sake of being mean. Or it’s by kids who expected HB to have super heroes and explosions simply because it’s an Amer-manga comic format.  I mean, it goes way beyond “I didn’t like this book” to people giving one star to another review they didn’t like – except that one star isn’t rating the review it’s rating my book. O_O And one of the newest reviews, I discovered today, called me out right a “bitch” and accused me of not finishing Heavenly Bride and starting up a new title. While giving HB five stars. -_-

To be fair, let me dedicate a paragraph to the rare Barnes people who reviewed fairly. God bless them. Like the person who slammed Heavenly Bride for only being manga-inspired in order to go into the “proper” meaning of manga, and how HB was mislabeled, etc. Or the other person whose review reads something like “adakjdf;alkjs;ldkjfaeorieure” – but hey. They gave HB five stars. LOL.

Heavenly Bride is a josei (or redikomi) Amer-manga. That is the proper term. It can be considered an original English language manga – which are comics originated in English and in the style of Japanese manga – but I feel it’s more of an Amer-manga, meaning it’s an American comic using a lot of manga elements.  It draws a lot of elements from manga, and if things read right to left on the page then it would all be pretty close. Manga artwork is not limited to the familiar styles we see on the shelves either. I’ve read manga – from Japan – with artwork very similar to Heavenly Bride’s. I’ve read manga whose artwork looked very American.

Manga is not defined by the art style alone, it’s just a large part of it because the artwork first was modeled after Japanese 9th century artwork. For example, not all of the eyes are big as some people think is essential for a manga – big eyes suggest youthfulness. It just so happens my characters are over 18. And the only reason why Japanese manga reads right to left is because that’s how the Japanese language is written. Some books coming from Japan have their artwork reversed so the book can be read left to right – because that’s how our language is written.

Heavenly Bride is a josei because it’s not an action superhero fest. It’s not a mystery. It’s basically a soap opera: josei means literally “comics for women” (even though we all know a guy can appreciate a good story as much as anybody). Usually a josei would center around a woman’s daily life, but Heavenly Bride is a science fiction romance. So the story flows in a soap opera type storytelling but has the odd feral creature to brighten your day. Maybe that makes it unique. Most likely this is why so many people find it boring.

Heavenly Bride is how it is not because I’m a great lover of manga. It’s because I grew up with Speed Racer and Robotech. Woody Woodpecker. Hong King Phooey. The Thundercats, Bravestar, and He-man. Years ago my artwork was heavily criticized by professionals to the point my artwork was ostracized because I draw a blend of Japanese and American style. That hurt a lot – their demand I change who I was not to improve my artwork but to conform to what they thought was proper.

But like it or not, my artwork is the product of cultural exchange. Manga themselves started as a result of cultural exchange. And the styles bleed into each other as things must do. I am 41 years old and I might even be one of the first true blends of Japanese and American cartooning styles as a result. Who can say.

But in the end, this is why Heavenly Bride looks like one but not quite and yet not quite like the other either. This is why it’s an American-manga comic. Or, “manga-inspired” if you simply want to avoid the drama.

By the way and for the record, I have not dropped Heavenly Bride to start a new title. 10 Confessions is simply a second project. Comic artists can and sometimes do make more than one comic at a time. =^-^=

Although I can verify that there are times I’m a real bitch. Just ask the hubby.

Freado – a review

Through my marketing explorations, I’ve discovered a website or two that claims to help you to promote your book. One such place is Freado.com. It looks snazzy and shiny. It will host a book giveaway for you. You can use part of their services for free, but you gotta pay for the really good ones. I’ve been a member there for a while now, but with this quest I realized I had to up the anty to get things going.

It’s got a lot of stuff, does this website. You can build games, crossword puzzles, join the forum, add a widget to your Facebook page. When it comes to online presence, this website is a boost and a half for your book. Believe me, you want an online presence for your book. Big name authors get that online presence a lot easier than us little guys. Their fans talk about them all over the place, where we gotta talk about ourselves. I’ll have to get into online presence for my third marketing quest post, though.

So I bit the bullet and paid a membership fee for The Life of Death‘s promotion with Freado. The comic market is pretty darn fierce as it is, so I figured if Freado was as good as they make themselves out to be I would see some results.  I didn’t buy the ultimate premo package, only the middle.

I got things like the ability to set up a landing page widget for my book, an automatic tweeter to tweet about my book for me ever so much amount of time, something to get Facebook Likes with, Forum access, Amazon alerts to monitor my sales status, a hosted book giveaway, my book being shoved in reading users’ faces, and the ability to get reciprocal book reviews. A lot of these came with the free package. All of these except for the widgets and the being shoved part I probably could have done myself. But, I thought, it will show my book to potential readers! And a giveaway is always good pr.

I’m offering 15 books.Only 3 people have asked for the giveaway and there’s only three days left. Meanwhile on Amazon, where I enrolled The Life of Death with KDP select, the book is for free until the 5th. It has had 40 downloads where it had only 1 by a long-time loyal fan before the promotion started. So essentially with Freado I’m paying money to try to give my book away for free, and that’s failing.

I don’t have a Facebook online presence, but even if I did the widgets would be pointless. People don’t normally go to your Facebook page. They go to their Facebook feed.

Twitter is also not necessarily that good of a marketing platform, simply because it’s oversaturated with people screaming for you to look at them.  How is anyone going to see your tiny little tweet past all that mess? I know I miss out on a lot. I’ve not seen a change in my book statuses because of Twitter.

And my blog here? Someone reads it, I’m sure, but not enough people do for the Freado widget to make much of a difference.

To Freado’s benefit, though, I also put a book giveaway widget on the Heavenly Bride page and no one has asked for it there either. Unless those three people were coming to me from Heavenly Bride – how’s that for a kick in the self esteem?

The only good thing I can see coming out of it is the ability to get reciprocal reviews on your own time. (Because joining a group is a time killer. If you work like me that will never fly.)

So I’m going to have to give Freado only three stars. It’s a social marketing platform that helps you to centralize how you’re marketing your book. It offers some shiny tools, but unless you already have a large online presence that’s not going to make much of a difference. And if you already have a large online presence, you probably don’t need the shiny tools. You would only need to mention what’s going on. Gotta love irony.

Yep. Three stars.