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14 posts from April 2012

April 24, 2012

MoCCA Festival 2012

We're there, at table F1, with lots of amazing authors and copies of our new books from our winter season (also pretty amazing, I have to tell you).  How about you?

MoCCA Fest

Here's what we're doing:
(all signings are at our table)

(exhibits 11am - 6pm)

11:15: PANEL: Kids Comics -- with Jorge Aguirre, Giants Beware!
1:15: WORKSHOP: Checklist for a New Comic -- with Matt Madden and Jessica Abel, Mastering Comics
2pm: SIGNING: Jorge Aguirre, Giants Beware!
4pm: SIGNING: Joe Infurnari, Mush!
5pm: SIGNING: Derek Kirk Kim, Same Difference

(exhibits 11am - 6pm)

11am: SIGNING: Dave Roman, Astronaut Academy
11:15: PANEL: Young Adult Graphic Novels -- with Derek Kirk Kim, Same Difference, and sister-company guest-star Kevin Pyle, Take What You Can Carry
1pm: SIGNING: George O'Connor, Hades: Lord of the Dead
3pm: SIGNING: MK Reed, Americus

Looking forward to seeing you there!

April 20, 2012

Spacegirl Limericks


There once was a girl who had to save the world
After to a strange outerspace planet she was hurled
She tried her best
Her friends did the rest
At the end, the planet still peacefully whirled.

I love this book!  It's just super.  We're publishing a sequel in September, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl.  If you liked the first book, we recommend you check out #2 -- it has a giant cat friend for the giant mouse!  (Also there is a plot, which I will not reveal.)

April 17, 2012

First Second at TLA

Where in the world is First Second?

We're currently in Houston, setting up for the Texas Library Association show


It's my first time at TLA, so I'm very excited to be there, having heard nothing but good things about it.  Now I shall see for myself!

For all you attending TLA, we're bringing author Ben Hatke -- who wrote and illustrated Zita the Spacegirl, and its sequel Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, which (if the gods-of-mailing smile upon us) we shall have a limited number of advance copies of at the show.  Ben is excellent, and he may even do flips upon request!  Also he draws things.

Ben will be speaking at the Friday 8am Texas Maverick program, signing in the autographing area at 10am, and then talking to Texas teenagers after that!

Zita the Spacegirl is a candidate for the very prestigious Texas Bluebonnet Award this year.

We hope to see you in Texas!  We're at booth 1700, exhibiting with our parent company Macmillan. 

April 16, 2012

Give-Away: Mastering Comics


We've just gotten copies in the office of Mastering Comics, the companion book to Jessica Abel and Matt Madden's seminal comics textbook Drawing Words and Writing Pictures.  It looks great!  We're very excited about it.  And so should everyone else be who wants to learn more about making comics!

We're doing a give-away on GoodReads to celebrate.  You should go check it out!

April 13, 2012

Olympic Limericks


There once was a god who had all the power
Before him, his wife and children did cower.
Then one day he learned
Play mean you'll get burned
He was no longer the god of the hour.

This book is the first of George O'Connor's Olympians books: they start out good and only get better! 

April 11, 2012


A fantastic new book for young readers is now in stores everywhere: we are extremely proud to present GIANTS BEWARE by Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre. This is the first of an enchanting, extraordinary series. Don't deprive any young reader: order yours today!

And as a bonus which is already delighting young readers and budding cartoonists nationwide, here is a downloadable free GIANTS BEWARE ACTIVITY KIT! Please think of those young adventurers and print them a copy right away—they will thank you for it one day, when they publish their award-winning comics.

Download Activity Kit 3-21-12REV_Emailable

Seriously, young or old, here is pure reading pleasure between two covers.

"Fast, fun, and joyous to look at!" says Jeff Smith, author of Bone.

Fall 2012: It's That Time Again

Our Fall 2012 books are now up on NetGalley so that teachers, librarians, retailers, and media can download early pdfs for review. 

We're very proud of this fall season -- how could we NOT be proud of a season that has both giant cats and sumo wrestling, seriously? -- and we hope you enjoy our books! 

(as usual, any questions, send me e-mail: [email protected])

April 09, 2012

Self-publishing vs publishing with a traditional print publisher

There's a much longer post here, but I may never have the several hours it needs in order to be written well. But since this is something that comes up pretty frequently, I thought it might be sort of interesting/useful to put out some quick and dirty comparisons between self-publishing and publishing with a traditional print publisher from the point of view of the creator. 

(NB: I'm a publishing professional, so I'm not exactly the most disinterested party here. But I've tried to be as objective as I can. I'd be interested to hear if anyone spots me blithely revealing any egregious prejudices...)



Someone pays you (a royalty advance) right away, before you even sell a single book!

Services! You have people whose job it is to... edit, copyedit, proofread, project manage, budget and account for, design, print, warehouse, sell, distribute, market, and publicize your book.

Expertise! See above list. No matter how much of a go-getter/subject-matter-expert/hard worker you are, it's unlikely that you know as much about doing all of that stuff as the fifty people at your publisher who are working on your book. They're specialists, you have no choice but to be a generalist.

Moral support! You're not doing this alone. You are now the business partner of a company who has a strong incentive to want your book to succeed. This is a business advantage, but it also is pretty nice to know you're not alone in this crazy mixed-up business of giving birth to a book.

Shared risk! Guess what! If your publisher pays you an advance and then fails to sell more than 500 copies of your book, leaving 9,500 in the warehouse, who eats that loss? Your publisher! The only financial toll it takes on you is the fact that you will never earn a cent in royalties over the amount of your advance (already paid) and the fact that you may find it harder getting a second book deal. This is not an inconsiderable risk, however, which leads us to:



Your profits are your own! No more piddling royalties for you - you keep all the money earned by your book.

Business independence! You have ideas about where and how your book should be sold. You have ideas about how much it should cost and whether it should be in hardcover or paperback. Guess what: these choices are all entirely in your hands! Nobody is going to tell you what to do.

Creative independence! You have ideas about what your book should look like and how the plot should go. Without a publisher, the creative life of your book is entirely in your hands. You can retain the services of an outside editor, sure, but you definitely don't have to do what they say. Ditto design and art issues.

Self-reliance and community support! You don't need to worry about your project competing for attention with the 25 - 1000 other books that a publishing house is pumping out. You can baby your book all you want - after all, you're a publishing house with a publication list of one. Plus! If you succeed with your self-publishing venture it will be in large part because you (and you alone) have found and built an audience that has chosen to support you personally. That's pretty powerful.

Contained risk! If this venture goes belly-up and you're stuck with a financial disaster on your hands, the good news is, you've burned no bridges. You have soured no future deals. The loss is yours and yours alone, and will not change your chances (for the better or worse) of getting a future deal with a print publisher, if you decide to try that. It's also probably only going to improve your chances of succeeding in future self-publishing efforts, presuming you can learn from your mistakes.

April 08, 2012

Near and dear to :01...

Congratulations to First Second designer par excellence Colleen AF Venable and her partner in crime Stephanie Yue for their Eisner nomination for The Ferret's A Foot, the third book in the Guinea, PI series! We love these critters.


April 06, 2012

Revolution Limericks


Once in Iran there was a revolution
But it didn't agree with some's constitution
The people in power
Stayed in their tower
And no one yet has found a good solution.

(This book is really something unique -- a revolutionary book about revolution, set in Iran.  You should read it!)

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