Three posts to the blog in one day? What is this sworcery?
Once again, nearing the end of my internet month and my bandwidth is low. Also, Penguin Host is shuffling servers this weekend, So I can’t post anything safely on Saturday and Sunday.
Roit, so, on with the thing. Brace yourselves, Inktober is coming.
The prompt list has been out a few weeks. But a gentle reminder, if you’re just trying to improve your skill at drawing and the Inktober list doesn’t work for you, no problem. There are other October-Inktober drawing challenges. For example Witchtober.
Feck those guys who bash Witchtober for being the teen girls Inktober. Witches are awesome, and if you want to draw them, go for it.
Hey, I love that. Octobit. For the pixel artists out there.
Need some blood splatter and zombies? No worries, Goretober has your back.
So, dust off your pens. Grab a sketchpad and get ready to get doodling.
Coming up with a great name for your characters is one of the hardest things to do as a fiction writer. The decision that’ll shape entire characters can often paralyze writers before they’ve even started writing a story.
Now, you may not want your name so bland, ordinary and pedestrian that they’re forgotten the moment the slip of the page. A good name, the right name, can complement or enhance a character’s personality. It can help a reader identify with your protagonist.
But, if you go too far the other way, creating a whacky or creative name, you can distract your reader. If it’s too far out of the genre or setting, a bad name can pull your character right out of the story. Too many similar names, and you’ll leave your reader playing a game of guess who.
So finding the perfect character names can be tricky.
Sometimes, you’ll know the name of the character before you know anything else about the story, set or plot. Other times, you’ll know everything about the character, right down to the colour of their underwear, except for his or her name. This course is for those times.
The course is broken down into three parts. For the first part of this course, we’ll be focussing on names from the real world. For the second part of this course, we’ll explore other genres. For the third part of the course, we’ll cover some naming conventions that cover both the real world and beyond.
So, I hope by taking this class, we can figure out your character’s name together.
How to choose your character names. Follow the link, hit sign up, skip anything that asks you to subscribe, and enjoy. Linky: https://skl.sh/30xrMHv
(The story thus far. This series runs until October, so check back, Monday to Friday for the rest of the tales. In October, we’ll have a new series to coincide with Inktober.)
The Fears face unfamiliar horrors with a familiar sense of humour, as we find them washing ashore on a stretch of islands in the lands in-between.
Black Sands is our current series, with new tales published five days a week. Monday to Friday. Check back daily for updates.
[frontpage_news widget=”10154″ name=””]
[frontpage_news widget=”10158″ name=””]
[frontpage_news widget=”10160″ name=””]
To be continued…
Check back every day, Monday to Friday in July, for further tales from the black sands.
Without Patreon, cups of ko-fi, Threadless sales and all the other links below, I wouldn’t be able to make you all groan every day and create series like this. So thank you, everyone, for all the support. May the groans and grimaces I cause give your face laughter lines and your scalp grey hairs. Thank you.
Turns out the techy problems I was having uploading to Skillshare were account based not internet provider-based. We assumed it was a provider issue as it’s been blocking random things for months now. I’m not banned, I have no payout problems and nobodies sure why there’s an issue.
So I have a temporary new Skillshare teacher account that will hopefully be merged with my old account at some point.
As a tester, I put up a 30-odd minute course on getting started on Medium.com. For those that don’t know, it’s a publication platform focused on writing. It’s for fiction, news, opinion pieces, blogs and anything else you can write.
It has publications you can submit to, or create yourself. A buzzing community of writers and readers. You can even join the Medium partner program and earn a few quid from your writing.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in, hit the link below, skip anything that asks you for payment, and enrol in the class. Once enrolled, it’s free forever. So if you’re interested, get in there quick.
We’re into the last few weeks of the Black Sands series of stories. Have you been enjoying (or even noticed) the stories being strings of 5 tales creating weekly narratives, creating an even longer series narratives? Was it worth it?
I think so. From a writers and readers perspective, I think the entire series has had a better flow to it. Revisiting similar themes and characters on a rotation cemented the plot quite well. Keep it sparse and replace events with ideas and themes. You can step into the story at any point and know what’s going on. Even if you don’t notice the ongoing story, the daily tales make more sense on their own. This week was a minor exception, there.
I certainly haven’t seen the massive dip in readership that Brass caused. For those that weren’t here during Brass, it was a single story across four months worth of posts. Every day had an episode number. It developed an insane bounce rate where people were finding the Fears on episode 67 and leaving because they’d missed the story thus far. Online serialized fiction always has that effect.
In other news, the art & GIMP course I mentioned last week, has of course been delayed. I’m having a mare with Skillshare. My 4g home internet disagrees with random things. At the moment, it disagrees with the upload page to Skillshare. If I have no luck this week, I’ll be looking towards Udemy or Linda. I haven’t used either very much, so need to look into the pros and cons of both platforms. I’d like all the upcoming tutorial videos to be in one place. Not YouTube before anyone says it, haha.
As always, if you love what I do and you’d like to support the Fears in some way to keep the groaners coming, you can buy me a cupp on Ko Fi. Buy my art and merch on Etsy and Threadless. Buy one of my books on Amazon. Subscribe on Patreon for as little as $1 a month or take one of my well-rated courses on Skillshare.
Jordan tweeted me today asking for some advice for a comic creator. I came back with a few suggestions, but one thing sticks in my head whenever creators, bloggers, writers, artists and even photographers ask me for advice. Aim to have multiple revenue streams.
The problem with having one revenue stream is if it ever collapses, you have nothing to fall back on. In addition to that, a single revenue stream is often limited. Even if you make it big time, how many t-shirts do you think you can sell per month? There are common-sense limits here.
So, in this post, I aim to give you some ideas on how I make a living from different revenue streams.
Print on Demand. The obvious starter. Tees, posters and phone cases on Society6, RedBubble and Threadless.
Books. Self-publishing is easier than ever. Try KDP, Smashwords or CreateSpace. Got a comic? Try Comixology.
Affiliate links. I know some people invest heavily in affiliate links, time and advertising wise and see a good return. I see maybe £20 a month from Amazon book links and Skillshare premium sign-ups. Though it doesn’t help I give everything away free, so, a pinch of salt.
Teach. Practice making videos, upload them to YouTube or Vimeo. See how you feel about them. Then get onto Udemy or Linda and start teaching properly and earning from your classes.
Stock images. Urgh, pennies. The pay for stock images is piss poor now Unsplash and Pixabay exist, but, there’s still a demand. Try Shutterstock.
Online product sales. Etsy for Americans, Folksy for the Brits. Make stuff, sell it online.
Digital products. Although Etsy sells digital products, check out Creative Market for selling your graphic designs and photograph packs.
Patreon and Ko-Fi. Ko-Fi is nice to have. People can tip you $3 at a time for your work. Patreon is also awesome. But if you want to earn from Patreon, you need to make it the main platform for your content.
Spec work. This shit is hard. I tried it, I hated it, I left it. But I know some people earn a living from Design Crowd, 99U and Fiverr.
Sponsored posts. Got a social network account or blog? Check out websites like Buzzoole, TBP or Brandbacker.
Write articles for websites. Every major website that takes submissions will have a submissions button at the bottom of the page. Keep an eye out for them.
Paper and digital magazines. Earning a living entirely on the net is hard as feck. So take it to real life. Photos, comic strips and articles required. Even if you’re a gardening blogger. Don’t just look at major magazines. Check out the little local circulars, too.
Freelance work in the real world. Photographers, ask car dealerships if they need a hand with their photos. Writers, they may want you to write something for their catalogues or websites. Artists, ask them if they want a poster designed. Visit your local businesses. Someone will need you for something.
Real-life teaching. Teach your skills in real life. One on one tutoring pays well. Ask your local craft shop if they’d like you to teach customers in-store how to use spinning wheels for a day.
Shows and exhibitions. Either get a stall to sell your wares or speak to event organisers and find out if they need someone. Photographers for event photos. Writers offer a write up of the event. Spinners, you’ll need the spinning wheel again and do some demonstrations.
Shows and exhibitions (part 2). Got a service to offer vendors? Beauty blogger visiting Afro Live or Hair? Visit first thing in the morning. Make sure to say hello to everyone on every stand and that every brand there has a copy of your media kit. Again, photographers, writers, artists, visit these events. Hundreds of potential clients in one place. Make sure they all know who you are, and what you can offer them.
Market stalls. Got a local Sunday market? I make more in a day at one these than I do in a month on Etsy. Sell prints of your photos, art, comics and books.
Phew, OK, obviously there are hundreds of ways of earning a living doing what you love. You are not just a writer, condemned to writing your blog and hoping for a book deal. Or an artist who can only draw comics and sell tees. You’re a creative. Get creative with your incomes.
If you have any other ways of earning as a creative, leave a comment below and help a fellow creator out.
Speaking for myself, I can’t earn a living entirely online. I need to get out into the real world to earn a living and I need to take incomes from different directions. It’s hard work. Certainly harder than a 9 to 5 and longer hours. For those that knew me a pre-Fears, you know how big that statement is from me. But I get to pay the bills doing work I’m always psyched about. That’s always a great thing.
Do you know what else is a great thing? This segue into all the great ways you can support me if you love this post and my daily stories.
You all know by now I plan things well in advance of doing them. The current Black Sands series runs until October, where there’s a series of one-off daily stories. Then I have Inktober. After that, I don’t know.
I’m still adamant I’m not going to use the 1,000 or so tales I already had written. The extended singular story of Brass barely worked once. I do not want to try that again.
I’m also conscious of my paper usage. I’m currently working on a set of pixel-art characters to drop in alongside scanned ink characters. So I still get to use ink characters on photos, but I’m not drawing hundreds of the same character. It would give my work more consistency and variation as I’m able to bring in new elements. As I’d been using independent graphics, it would allow me to get some basic animations in the video. Even a side-scrolling perspective shift would be visually more appealing than a static pic.
So the series after Inktober will hopefully follow the pixel art, Etta, shown above, alongside a hand-drawn sea-devil. It’ll only be thirty stories long but will be good practice for mixing different styles.
Hey, another thing we’ve been working on this month. One of the strangely popular things I did was a course on Skillshare for turning hand-drawn doodles into digital graphics (linky: skl.sh/2G40lMs ). I wrote a series of follow up courses covering subjects like poster design and turning photos into logos. As with almost everything I create, I’ll upload them free for everyone for five days on release before setting them to Premium on Skillshare. If you sign up to them when they’re free, they’re free forever.
I figure the first (well, next) one I should publish is a beginners guide to GIMP. It’s a 40-minute long free class that’ll give you a tour of all the main tools in the free image editing program, GIMP. That one will be free to everyone forever. No premium subscription will ever be required for that course.
You can download GIMP for Windows, Mac and Linux here (link: gimp.org/ ) and the first course should land next week.
Content creator hat on.
Hey, subscribe, follow, mew quietly at me on social media and you’ll hear about each course as they come out and you’ll be able to nobble them all while they’re free.
Content creator hat off, cleans hands.
Man, why does it still feel dirty doing that? Eh, let’s get a lil dirtier.
If you love the Fears, the puns, the groans and tiny terrors and you have any spare change, there’s a whole bunch of ways to support me and keep the stories coming.
If you don’t have any pennies to spare, that’s perfectly fine. Drop me a comment below and tell me how much pain I inflict on your households with my puns. Let me know how much damage I’ve done to your vocal cords, groaning at my punchlines. Keep me informed as to how much your friends and family whine when you relay one of my stories to them. The groans of “oh god, make him stop,” are like music to my ears.
Alsoooooo, I left Leo the Lioness on sale both on Threadless and my Etsy store last week. I’ll be taking them both off sale and putting the price back up tomorrow. If you’d like the Etsy print or Threadless tee, grab them tonight. (Etsy link: etsy.com/uk/shop/LittleFears )