The Inevitable New Year’s Post

Everybody does one of these, and a few people even read them.

To be honest, I’m not really putting this down here for readers, so much as for my own records — I’ve done something like this since I started blogging, and I like to go back and read them in later years, to see where I was, headspace-wise, in any particular year. So, without further ado:

2011 was one of those clich├ęd “roller-coaster” years — Low lows and high highs. At the beginning of the year, things were bad. Hella bad, as the hip kids say (or maybe not– being neither hip, nor a kid, I can’t be entirely sure).

The Borders closure gut-punched Adamant’s print revenues. HARD. I found myself struggling, in an ever-deepening hole. In desperation, I launched an “app-pricing” policy — every digital product from Adamant priced at $1.99. Long story short — it didn’t work. Slightly longer story: the RPG market is, I believe, not at the scale where that can work as intended. We peaked pretty quickly, and the sales cannibalized our traditional March sale. The realization that I hadn’t accounted for an increased release schedule in my initial estimations of apparent success meant that any gains were entirely illusory, and I’d left a ton of money on the table. The hole got deeper.

I’ll be very honest: I was very close to packing it in; closing up Adamant for good and getting some make-work job (tool booth or gas station attendant) for income while making the jump into fiction.

Half a year later, the situation was drastically different — a Hail Mary pass in the form of a Kickstarter for FAR WEST succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. Over 45 days our fortunes reversed, not only financially (although obviously that was a huge part of it), but emotionally as well (as sappy as that sounds). Over 700 people demonstrated their faith in us and their belief in the FAR WEST concept — and believe me when I say that after the lows of the first half of the year, that outpouring of support was perhaps even more valuable to me than the money.

Looking back at my plans a year ago, I’m disappointed that I didn’t launch the fiction or digital comics efforts that I’d announced as my goal for 2011. Those efforts were pretty much a victim of the “lost year” that stretched from mid 2010 until mid 2011. Yet when I look back at what has been accomplished this year, and almost all of it in the last six months, that does reduce the disappointment a touch. The launch of the FAR WEST property, the success of the Kickstarter and the splash we were able to make at the StoryWorld Conference, the signing of the BUCKAROO BANZAI license, the reception of the INSURGENT CREATIVE blog series– it’s been a pretty good year in the end.

Aside from continuing those accomplishments and delivering on them, my plan for 2012 is definitely to make up for lost time and get the fiction line started… and I think that I’ve learned my lesson about multiple resolutions, so that will be my only new goal for the year!

Beyond that, the biggest thing I need to try to keep in mind in 2012 is that I’m lucky enough to create for a living — people pay me for the things that I dream up. I don’t answer to any boss, I can’t be outsourced or laid off, and my future plans are my own to decide. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of stress — things fall behind schedule, the work piles up, and a thousand minor irritations masquerade as major problems. My biggest resolution of 2012 will be:

Take a deep breath, look around, and realize that my life is pretty damn great.

Happy New Year.

Advent of the Insurgent Creative, Day 25 – The End?

Insurgent Creative

Insurgent CreativeChristmas Day, and we come to the end of our Advent Calendar. I figured that not too many people would be checking this entry, busy as they are with the holiday, seeing family and friends, etc. So I decided that I would use this final entry as a summary of the entire series — an easily-linked-to page with all of the entries.

So there you go — One advent calendar down. So what becomes of Insurgent Creative in 2012?

Well, the response to the series has been great — obviously there are quite a few of you out there who are interesting in giving the Insurgent Creative life a try — so I will definitely be continuing in the coming year. I’m considering a few things, including the possibility of an Insurgent Creative podcast, a dedicated website, and more. I would love to hear your input, so please leave your comments below.

Thank you for reading this far, and here’s to a creative 2012.

Storm the gates!

Advent of the Insurgent Creative, Day 24 – Grab Bag!

Insurgent Creative

Insurgent CreativeWe’re down to the wire, folks, and there are so many more tools and tips out there. So today, we’ll do a holiday grab bag for you, looking at a digital delivery service, a wordpress media creation plug-in and a Flash game creation platform — each of these could easily have merited their own entry in the series, and are really worth checking out. It’s Christmas Eve, the family is gathering, so let’s not delay any more — here we go!

Anybody selling digital products should look into Payloadz which runs ecommerce and file delivery. Payloadz features secure file storage and delivery from their servers; integration with your site or sites like eBay; support for Paypal, Amazon Payments and more. Here’s a brief introduction video:

Powerpress is a free, open source media creation plug-in for WordPress (which I covered a couple of days ago). Perfect for integrating a podcast or vlog onto your site (using HTML5 audio and video players), adding iTunes-compliant feeds to your site, along with the ability to upload and update iTunes listings and artwork. PowerPress is developed and maintained by Blubrry, a media company and community providing tools and resources for media creators to measure, monetize, publish and host media content. No membership is required to use Powerpress, although it can also be used in concert with Blubrry’s other services (like Media Stats and Hosting).

Stencylworks is a platform that enables game designers to create iOS and Flash games without coding, by using their online library of functions and graphics (or via uploading your own). It’s available in a free “lite” form (which watermarks the final game, and does not publish it to the app store), and a pro version costing $149 per year, which removes the watermark, gives you access to private forums, and publishes your games to the App store. Plus, Stencyl is currently working on expansion into the Android market and HTML5 development (instead of Flash). A brief overview video follows:

What tools have you discovered that we haven’t covered so far? Please share via comments below! We’ll see you back here tomorrow, for our final Insurgent Creative entry of 2011. What do we have planned for 2012? You’ll have to wait and see….