Kickstarter part 3, Wizard World Ft. Lauderdale

I’ve just come off of two back to back Wizard World Comic Cons (Nashville and Ft. Lauderdale) and am still battling some sort of Con Crud. Ugh. No fevers, just sore throat and coughing. Seems to be far worse in the a.m.

Wizard World Comic Con in Ft. Lauderdale was fun…but seemed to be light on attendees; not much foot traffic. Not sure if there was something else competing for folks or not. The Wizard crew was as efficient as ever and I got to chat with some cool folks including attempting to start some “charge for autograph” trouble with Neal Adams…but he didn’t take the bait! Haha Shared my spot (and hotel room) with the talented Joe Badon and had a blast doing so! Also got to meet Joel Adams in the flesh–I worked with him VERY briefly back during my Marvel/Ultraverse days.

But figured I’d get back to the Kickstarter thread and finish it up. The nervous feeling never went away, not during the entire process. I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough, even though I was emailing folks, posting updates to social media, getting on podcasts, etc. But that’s exactly what I did after finishing up the video—hit “launch” and I began to send out emails and contact bloggers and podcasters to see if they were interested in featuring the book.

Now that the campaign is over, I think I probably started contacting the bloggers and podcasters too late. I think the emails were fine because most of those were very personal and I didn’t really want to suddenly become a spammer with “I’m ABOUT to launch” one…followed by the “I’ve launched so please go support.” I dunno, maybe I should have. KS tells you that the most successful campaigns are those that reach 30% or greater during the first few days. We only reached about 20%.

No one pledged for the original art from Kyle Hotz or Joie Simmons, either, which surprised me. I think, though, that maybe not HAVING the art hurt. When I try one again, I’ll be sure to try to get the art.

In the end, we quoted too high a print run and for too many prints. Very few folks actually pledged to get the prints—which is news to be as I thought those would be popular, particularly based on what seems to be popular at the comic shows. I probably should have build the campaign around a much smaller print run (100 vs 500) and knocked out the prints…or reduced them.

I’m not done with Kickstarter, though, as I think it is a good tool for creators. Not sure what project will be next, but I’m actually kind of anxious for it. Citizens won’t be immediately relaunched as Joe has personal projects to attend to…so not sure what the future holds for the book. I really wanted it to be a full length graphic novel and not a shorter work…but that might not be in the works for it.

Okay, this is a little shorter than normal because I’m headed back to bed (writing this in the pm hours). Thanks for reading, y’all!

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Wizard World Nashville, Ft. Lauderdale and Kickstarter

Me and Mo!

Me and Mo!

Well, those of you who are regular here know this has been a hectic month for me. The sad news is that the Kickstarter to get Citizens off the ground was unsuccessful. I’ll talk about that some when I wrap up the whole Kickstarter blog entries. But—if you really know me you know that not all hope is lost. In fact, I talk with the uber-talented Joe Badon (artist for Citizens, if you weren’t paying attention) this coming weekend about what our next move is. I definitely want to see it happen, but as a writer in a very visual medium, much of it will depend on Joe’s interest level. I’ll have more to say about that next week.

New Cat & Mouse reader Billy and I compare guns!

New Cat & Mouse reader Billy and I compare guns!

More urgently, I’ll be at Wizard World in Ft. Lauderdale this weekend. You can find me (and Joe, too!) at D28 in Artists Alley. Come by and say hello, by some cool comics from us. We’ll even sign them! I’ll even sign them for FREE! (if you don’t get the humor in that, ask me at the show and I’ll explain it to you)

Captain Hammer approves of Krey!

Captain Hammer approves of Krey!

I had a great time at Wizard World in Nashville last weekend. Daughter Brittany was able to attend with me and we were hosted by the very gracious Kyle Saylors, who was wrapped up in a music video shoot when we arrived. Kinda cool!

I got to see some old pals: chatted with Howard Chaykin and picked up almost like it was just a few months since I’d last seen him. Danny Fingeroth invited me to participate in a few panels—and much fun was had. Got to see Ronnie Prudhomme, who was about 16 the first time I ever met him: wish I could dig up the picture of me, Steven Butler, Mitch Byrd and Thomas Florimonte at his dad’s store: Paper Gold.

Books by Sara Woolley and Myke!

Books by Sara Woolley and Myke!

I also got to meet some new folks: I was able to pick up some cool swag from Sara Woolley and Myke! (see the pic) Sara was my neighbor in Artists Alley and we were on one panel together (Writing Comics).

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a comic convention without some cool cosplay folks. You should note they proudly support my work—so you should, too!

(FYI, you can always click on the images to see them in a larger size)

Batfan Spiderman is fan of Roland Mann!

Batfan Spiderman is fan of Roland Mann!

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Kickstarter, Citizens, and Wizard World Nashville

This post will be shorter than I really mean it to be, but I want to get it out because there are only a few hours left in the Citizens kickstarter–which you can get to using this link:

I’ll get back to my entire Kickstarter thread, but regrettably I can’t get to it in this post…simply not enough hours in the day to let me do that. I will get back to it, though. The update is this, though: We’re not quite halfway to our goal. There are a bunch of you who read this (I know because wordpress gives me numbers!) and so I know there’s a bunch of you who haven’t pledged yet. So…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING ON? With your basic pledge, you’ll get to read a new story from me with really cool art from Joe Badon. Heck, I daresay (yes, I DARE!) this would be something you’d consider buying off the shelf. Only…it hasn’t made it TO the shelf yet–that’s where you and your help come in. And if sci-fi/steampunk isn’t your cup’o’tea, buy it as a gift. You know you can’t go wrong with it from me, right?

Okay, the other bit of news is that I’ll be appearing as a comic guest at Wizard World in Nashville this weekend. I’ll be set up at A-32 in Artists Alley Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be participating in two panels: Friday 6pm room 105, How To Write Comics, moderated by Danny Fingeroth; and then Saturday 5pm room 105, Beloved Villains, moderated by Genese Davis. So, come out and see me! Bring your books to get them signed, or better yet, pick up something new from me! Autographs are FREE!


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The Citizens kickstarter week 2

Okay, I said I’d blog about my kickstarter experience…so consider this part 2!

But before I dive in, I thought by now the bundle of nerves would be gone.

They’re not.

And we’ve got an entire week under our belt. But it’s also exciting at the same time. A good friend of mine who’d run a campaign before warned me this would happen. He was right.

So anyway…I mentioned the reward structure last week, but what I didn’t say was that it CHANGED several times. It changed based on the kind of rewards we could get. For instance, I was initially banking on (see what I did there?) convincing Joe to let go of some of the original art to offer as rewards. Problem is that Joe is a 21st century artist and all his work is done digitally! So, no stacks of 11 X 17 bristol board for him (which is the size and paper type comic artists general compose their pages on). That one tossed me for a loop. So we decided to ask some artist pals to help us out. I asked Kyle Hotz and Joe asked Joie Simmons, both of whom agreed to produce an original piece of Citizens art for the kickstarter campaign. That helped to give us two “high end” rewards (both of which I THOUGHT would be gone by now, but are oddly still available).

My last bit of restructuring came the day before launch. Literally. A couple of early feedback responses has suggested I had several reward tiers too close together—and I did. The tough part was figuring out how to move it around to make it work: we had prints, digital graphic novels, print comics all to get in. Ultimately, I had a few of them out of “order,” and when worked around, they actually fell into place quite nicely.

Next was creating the video. And this was probably the most challenging aspect for me. I mean, I’ve always worked in PRINT, even if that “print” is digital. I don’t mind talking or being ON video, but having to make and create it was something different altogether! So I recruited daughter Brittany to help me out. I didn’t want it to just be me sitting there staring at the camera for the entire pitch, so she recorded the audio for me in high quality, and then we added the images in, with me deciding to be “on” screen for the final bit (that image brought about a comment about my comic collection seen behind me! Ha). The final touch was also difficult to add, and that was layering the soundtrack (done by Joe) underneath the entire video. But once I got it figured out, it sounded great—or so I think. While it may sound easy here, trust me, that was the toughest part of the entire thing.

The other bit of imagery I needed—or felt I did—was the pledge images. Not every kickstarter uses them like I did, but I’ve noticed that many comic related campaigns do…so I chose to follow suit.

I created them using InDesign, and then exporting to jpgs.

Okay…run out of space already. More next week. And of course, if you’re reading this and you haven’t PLEDGED to the campaign, what are you waiting on? Kickstarter just gave us a STAFF PICK! So go help us out. Remember, you’re not just tossing money at me, you’re placing an order for a graphic novel!KSbackgroundwithextra

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It’s (a)LIVE!

Well, one or two of you will get that, but the Kickstarter I mentioned last week is now LIVE! That means, if you have not been to the page to look around, shame on you. Get there now!

(you can click here to get there)

Go on. We’ll wait.

Okay…so now you’ve at least seen it. Thanks. I hope you were able to back the project with a pledge. If you’re unable, I trust that you’ll share it and tell everyone you know to go support it and help me and Joe get the graphic novel made!

One of my pals asked me if I’d be willing to talk about the campaign…and I am, so I figured I might as well start now, since my next month will be focused on raising the money.

To begin with I’ll answer the first question of how did I choose Citizens? I’ve got several other ideas cooking, why this one. The simplest answer is that I thought it would be the easiest to make happen. Citizens is just me and Joe. My other working comic projects involve more hands, and while I trust those hands, it’s just like an engine with more working parts. I’m HOPING, of course, that the Citizens campaign will fly through with amazing colors, we’ll produce an amazing book, and then everyone will want more! I’ll have a kickstarter campaign under my belt and will feel more confident about maybe asking for a little more and getting more hands involved.

The next thing was how to decide how much money to ask for. That one, too, was pretty straightforward. We need to the money for some basic stuff: printing the book, packing and shipping the book (supplies and postage), and money for Joe to eat! The numbers are based off printing 500 copies of the book. THAT is our goal. Yeah, I get it might be a lofty goal for a kickstarter print run, but we feel if we can sell 500 copies (or close) through the kickstarter, it’ll take care of all the requirements. If we have to print more—then that means we received more pledges and that’s even better.

Once we had that, I actually began building the page on Kickstarter. It wasn’t until I started the process that I realized much of what I needed to do. So if you’re thinking of starting one, I recommend you go ahead and click “start.” You can save your progress and come back and work on it as you can. To me, that’s a really nice thing KS lets you do.

I already had some art from Joe, so I was good to go there with something to show. The “pitch” was pretty much written, I just needed to attempt to tighten it up.

What came next in was trying to figure out how to structure the rewards…that wasn’t easy, but my process included visiting a LOT of comic and graphic novel kickstarter campaigns, those that I’d supported and those that I hadn’t. Those that succeeded and those that failed (to try to figure out WHY they failed). I asked for help/suggestions from some and am VERY pleased to say that just about everyone I asked was incredibly helpful and forthcoming—which is part of why I want to try to do the same.

Okay…I’ll continue on next week. Before I go, I’m happy to report we had a great day 1 (thanks to all who helped make it that way!) and I’m looking forward to the rest. So whaddaya waiting on? Go pledge…and tell your friends to do the same!


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I’m counting on all of you!

CitizensProfilePicFacebookIf all goes according to plan, next Tuesday I’ll do something I’ve never done: I’ll launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to fund my new graphic novel, Citizens. In a word, yeah, I’m a little nervous about it, but I’m excited at the same time.

For those of you who don’t know about Kickstarter, it is one of the premier “crowd source funding” websites. (One of the other major sites is indiegogo, but I found there were more film projects there and more comic/graphic novel projects on Kickstarter) Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing deal. Which means, we either get all of the money we’re trying to raise…or we get none of it.

I say “we,” because Citizens is a collaborative effort with artist Joe Badon. Joe’s run several campaigns before and has been very supportive of all my nervous-nelly emails. He hasn’t come right out and said it, but I keep expecting him to tell me, “Chill, Roland. It’s all good!”

Some of you might be thinking: why do you need money? Just do it. It takes time to pencil, ink and color a graphic novel—and that’s what he’s doing. Which is really the lion’s share of the work. Yeah, yeah, writing it is hard work, too, but it takes me much less time to do it than it does those three jobs—and Joe is doing ALL THREE of them. He can’t just stop his life not get any money! How would he pay his bills? How would he eat? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

cover to the CITIZENS graphic novel

Seriously, though, I wish I could tell you I was independently wealthy, but that’s just not the case. If it were, I’d just “hire” Joe and be done with it. But then I’d still have to PRINT it and SHIP it…and that costs money, too.

So basically Kickstarter acts a bit like a “pre-order” system. We’ll crank up the campaign and then you’ll decide which “level” to pledge: each level comes with a “reward,” the focus being you get a copy of the Citizens graphic novel. So yeah, you’re pledging money, but you’re also getting something for that money…and you’re helping me and Joe get it done.

So, it comes down to this: I’m going to be depending on YOU to help us make it happen. That means, yeah, I’d like you to consider pledging—as a writer, I’m really hoping you’ll enjoy the story—but I’m REALLY going to count on your telling YOUR pals via your social networks to go pledge. Tell them you know me and I’m a pretty swell guy (most of the times)…and that THEIR cool factor is upped if they support one of your friends!

It should happen Tuesday…so expect to hear from me again. :)


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Really, it’s nearly August?

Been a while since I’ve been here. The good news is that I’ve been busy doing cool stuff! So I’ll try to give you the readers digest version here, and then longer later.


Citizens by Roland Mann and Joe Badon

So I’m happy to announce that Wizard World Conventions have added me to five—yes, that right, FIVE of their upcoming shows. They are: Nashville on September 25-27, Ft. Lauderdale on Oct 2-4, Greenville on July 15-17 2016, Raleigh NC TBD 2016, and Orlando Aug 5-7 2016. Yes, I’m very excited about these shows. I’ve never done a comic show in any of those cities except Orlando.

Others shows I’ll be at: Mt. Dora on Sept 19, Daytona Beach ComicCon on Dec 6, and of course, I’ll be presenting at the Florida Writers Conference on Oct 15-18. SO, mark those dates on your calendar and come see me.

AND, depending on how quickly we can get them done, hopefully there will be some new projects to show you. First and foremost, I’m … just … moments … away … from launching a kickstarter campaign for the CITIZENS graphic novel I’m working on with super talented artist Joe Badon. Oh, trust me, you’ll hear about it here when it happens. I’m told I have to “media blitz” when it’s happening…so, don’t hate me when it happens. Heck, I’m going to depend on YOU to help me.

Panel from an upcoming graphic novel with artist Deonna Herrold.

Panel from an upcoming graphic novel with artist Deonna Herrold.

In a really wild story of how they met, I started working with up and coming artist Deonna Herrold on a graphic novel. I’ll tell you that story later, but here’s a peek at one panel from a page she’s done. She’s all high-tech on the computer, but it’s been very cool to watch her process.

I’m also excited to tell you that I have two new graphic novels now available in either print OR digital.

KreyGN cover

Krey Graphic Novel

Krey collects the five issue mini-series published by Caliber Press, and


Demon’s Tails Graphic Novel

Demon’s Tails collects the four issue mini-series published by Adventure. So what are you waiting on? Click the links and go buy a copy!

I’m also working with a couple of other artists that I don’t want to mention yet for fear of jinxing the projects…it’s way early anyway, but I’m still pretty excited about the prospects!

Oh…and I joined a writers group again. First time in a long time, but I’m pretty stoked about it.

Okay, there’s the update. Until next time!


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