Canister X Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 1
Writing and publishing for a living is a dream come true for me. Sounds horrifically cliché, that last bit, but the truth is it’s what I’ve wanted for about ten years, and the ability to not have to go to a 9-5 for even longer.
I look back at high school and all my friends talking about their plans for the future, what universities they were enrolled in, the profession they were aiming for—direction. I never had that. Sure, I had “direction” in the context of wanting to be a comic book artist for DC or Marvel, but in terms of the “how” I’d get there, I didn’t know. Not really. Something about commercial art, but nothing specific. We don’t have cartooning schools here, you see.
Oddly, there was a comfort in not knowing the precise steps but knowing I’d get there eventually. When most of my friends were cramming for exams, staying up ’til all hours studying for tests, aiming for the high marks—to be honest, I was more concerned with just getting by. Not getting by as in barely passing, but if I got a C, I was fine with it. The way I saw it, was aim for average and if you score better, you’ll feel like a genius. So there I was, kind of cocky, thinking, “Man, so glad I won’t have to bust my butt to get good grades just to get some job I don’t like.”
When I was a kid and I thought of what I’d be doing for a living, I didn’t have an answer. All I knew was that it’d be “something.” Maybe something at a desk. Writing on paper. Maybe signing my name on a few things, but not much else. In terms of what industry or specific job, I didn’t know.
Then I got into comic art in grade eleven and found out I could express my love of superheroes for actual money and not just as a fan.
It’s been a long road since then and I’ll tell you about it sometime when I post my memoirs here. I’ve already begun putting to paper my writing journey as a separate series of entries.
Back to the beginning: writing and publishing for a living is a dream come true, but it can also be a frustrating one sometimes, and remember that bit I said about not having to bust my butt? Well, I might not have done so academically, but I can tell you I’m working it hard every day to bring you entertainment, whether it’s my own personal books or the books of those I publish through Coscom Entertainment.
And so here we are, frustrated again because I’m writing this super long entry which is my second attempt at a monthly newsletter. I started Coscomment: The Next Generation a while back, before I was posting daily at www.CanisterX.com, the idea being that instead of maintaining a blog, I could just send out a monthly newsletter. Well, it turns out I could maintain a daily blog and have developed the habit of doing so, but I still also like the idea of a newsletter, one giant info session discussing everything from writing, to publishing, to cooking, to my day-to-day life and areas of interest not related to my career as an artist. Almost a brain dump of sorts, but with a little more structure.
It’s fun to just kind of ramble and deposit a large amount of information in one go.
So here we are, back to doing a newsletter.
The frustration? The pretentious statement of “always having something to write,” starting one project after another, sometimes not finishing what you start because, believe it or not, folks, a lot of writers have novels and stories that go bust on them and they dump them off into the nether regions of their hard drives, never to be seen or heard from again, remaining unknown to the general public.
And this monthly newsletter attempt is me yet again having “something to write,” and something to try and entertain you with, and if not that, at least keep your interest.
Hopefully it hits the mark.
Guess I just can’t shut up.
Been busy as all get out. This month alone I finished up Zombie Fight Night: Battles of the Dead, signed a deal with Simon and Schuster’s Gallery Books imprint; did all the tasks associated with that deal; launched a free online serial on www.CanisterX.com called Zomtropolis: A Record of Life in a Dead City; edited a book for Coscom Entertainment; did author royalties; have to get ready to send taxes before we head off on a short holiday; got a chunk of the Coscom catalog up on Smashwords.com; launched Animal Behavior and Other Tales of Lycanthropy by Keith Gouveia; arranged a book launch for Zombie Fight Night with a local bookstore; never mind all the other tasks that comes with being a fulltime writer and publisher (including a financial institution switch for the business after my current one really screwed me over). Yeah, crazy busy, but it needs to get done and I’m not complaining. Just feeling the burn, if you know what I mean.
My compost bin has been collecting various compostable items all winter. Of course they freeze during those months so not much happens rotting-wise, but now it’s all thawed and I’d say the stuff is around 80% ready. The problem is I only have one compost bin—and they’re not cheap: $30-$60, depending if you can get them on sale or not like we did—and if I keep adding fresh items to it every few days from our small kitchen bin, those new items have to start at the beginning of the process, thus slowing down the rest of it in terms of getting the stuff to the garden. Anyway, lately I’ve been leaving what’s in the bin in the bin, and any new stuff is in small plastic bags from the kitchen bin and sitting on our porch in a diaper box. That’s fine for a few bags of new stuff, but with the weather heating up, I don’t want bugs to start swarming around them or the neighbor’s cats tearing them open. I’m thinking a week or so I’ll bury the almost-ready compost from the main bin in the garden and let it sit for a few more weeks then plant, in turn starting a fresh batch with the stuff from the bags.
My current compostable items list includes (and I’m always open to suggestions for more items from other composters):
- fruit and vegetable scraps
- soft cardboard (i.e. egg cartons)
- yard clippings
- dryer lint
I admit I’m a latecomer to this—especially since I’m really not one to follow the trends and don’t give in to hype or do something because “everyone else is doing it”—but I seem to have an addiction to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and find myself having it play in the background on Youtube while I’m trying to beat Mahjong Dark Dimensions over at Arcadeboss.com. It’s catchy, and I try to counter that addiction a bit by viewing the Key of Awesome’s Lady Gaga spoof, “Lady Gaga: Bad Romance parody (feat. Lord Gaga) #6.”
Since Zombie Fight Night is so close to coming out as I write this, I’ve also been getting things ready for my local tour and am trying to get local media attention onto the book. I have nearly all the stores interested (still need to make a couple phone calls), but so far only have one event scheduled for May 20 at 7pm at McNally Robinson’s Booksellers. That’s okay. And just the other day I honed my idea to get the attention of those in the store during the event.
Zombie Fight Night: Battles of the Dead officially launched on Thursday, April 23, 2010. I’m very proud of this book because it combines two of my favorite genres: martial arts and zombies. This is my ode to B-fight movies. If you like action, zombies and Fight Club, you’ll dig this. It’s available at Amazon.com both in Paperback and Kindle, as well as via the usual paperback and eBook channels that I use.
Watched a Stephen King documentary on the 23rd as well, the one from A&E Biography called Fear, Fame and Fortune. Back when I started writing this was an important source of inspiration to me. That and American Movie. I own the King doc on VHS, which goes to show how old it is. I haven’t seen it in years. I could relate to a whole lot in there, especially the being poorer-than-poor part. The one theme that kept coming up during the documentary was Stephen King’s persistence at making a career out of writing.
And it’s true. In this game you need to push, push, push and keep going even when you want to give up. Even when others say you should give up. You have to. Persistence is what separates the aspiring writers from the real writers. Aspiring writers only want to write, whereas real writers actually write.
This is an industry that is based on getting things done. If you can’t produce then you’re out of the game.
Like I say around the Coscom Entertainment office, “Get it done.”
- A.P. Fuchs