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Dragon Arms 3 status update

Journal Entry: Mon Apr 2, 2012, 11:15 AM

Well, Dragon Arms series 3 is on the schedule! We are talking about the length of the series right now. I should have some images for you all in a couple of days. Something featuring a dragon. Yes, I hope that's not a huge spoiler for anyone. Right now, as the editors see it, the big problem is whether the market will support this series. The numbers haven't been great for me, and I've been doing other work since last year. There's no guarantee the sale will be good.  I'd love to get the word out there and make people aware of the book. I tend to think that promotion, awareness, and fan interaction are my (and A.P.'s) worst areas. If you have ideas let me know! I really do want this series to do at least as well as the previous two, and in this market that isn't a simple task. I know there is a market for fantasy, and for manga, it's just connecting w/ the right people.

I have plenty of ideas that I want to get to, and having this book do well for Antarctic would mean a lot. We need books that sell, and they don't seem to have much confidence in me right now, on any level. If Dragon Arms never returns after this, I want to at least end it at a proper stopping point. I know the market for manga isn't as robust as it was a few years ago, but it wasn't that strong when I started Dragon Arms and the numbers were really good. Every Con I go to, someone asks when
Dragon Arms is coming back, so I'm certain interest is still there, only time will tell.

In other news, Steamcraft is in the works. You can check the gallery for some pages I've uploaded. It's a lot of fun, I haven't had much of a chance to do a horror related title. Zombies don't count unless done right, which I don't feel I've done. I'm starting to get a better handle on the steampunk aspects of the book, but that will be up to the reader to decide.

I've a couple of titles I want to pitch, like Kawaii Demon. Maybe I'll ask for feedback once I have something more concrete.

I'll update with more thoughts later!

Thanks for reading.

Edit: In reference to the series title; it's actually Dragon Arms: Weapons of War. I probably should have just called it that in the original post. Thanks!

  • Reading: Tea leaves
  • Watching: My step.
  • Playing: The odds
  • Eating: The stuff dreams are made of.
  • Drinking: Bitter dregs
Skin by toonham (modified by Dhutchison)
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JayelleCartoons Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
It's been a hard time for all of us since at least 2009. I wish you the best, David. I sure hope Dragon Arms does well!
Dhutchison Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2012  Professional General Artist
We'll see. It's just going to take a lot of footwork on my part, and trying to get people to pick it up! I think the work will speak for itself, but I've got to get in front of readers. Thanks for the well wishes!
JayelleCartoons Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Please let me know how things go for you. The footwork has been the hard part for me. The comic industry has been really hard to figure out where to go next. I'm sure somebody will pick up your story. XD
Dhutchison Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2012  Professional General Artist
There are some good ideas here from everyone! I've been toying w/ doing some kind of stream for a while, so keep an eye out for that. I really like the idea of a contest! These will have to wait 'til Steamcraft is in the bag, though. Thanks, guys!
Wesflo Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Several of you have commented that AP should release DA as digital comics for iPad and the like. Go look at comixology, fellas, DA has been online for a LONG time. Yes there should be more of the other comics in the store, tell comixology. They have hundreds of comics that have been sent to them and comixology only occasionally releases them. Tell them with your $ that you'd like to see more digital books from AP and they may then put more up more often.
shaunC Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2012   General Artist
Well, I've been waiting a long time for this one. I used to grab alot of Ap's books back when you, Rod Espinola and Craig Barbier were on the publishers roster. Lately, it's just been mainly Fred Perry's works (Not that I'm complainign about Fred, Gold Digger's great) but AP need more creators to shake things up. (There were one or two artists that have contributed to the GD annuals/swimsuits where I think they should've been given a shot to be given some work)
I do wish J.L. Anderson would do more work for them but apparently she didn't have a good time working for AP for some reason...
randomizer9 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012
Right now the AP website is a storefront and not much else; there needs to be something more there to connect the creators with their audience. A blog linked from the main AP site would go a long way to giving people a connection to the company as a whole, perhaps have a different person post something each week.

Best of luck with Dragon Age!
TojiX Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012
Make your presence known in FB, also how about releasing digital copies for apps like the iPad and Kindle?
GilTriana Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I agree with the use of a subtitle over series number, the same tactic is used in novel publishing for fear of people skipping a purchase because the store ran out of a volume. Depending on how much lead time there is til the book(s) are to be released tactics to be tried could include:
-page or pinup competition for the fan base to be included in the book ( such a contest was recently done here on dA for TopCows' Darkness 100th issue/new game release.) it is an interactive event and even if you get a ton of folks just looking to get published buzz will raise awareness but don't put this too far ahead of the release it's all about momentum.
-lead in subplot/vignettes online or via iOS (last time I looked AP didn't have any particular appstore presence of their own.)
-in development blog nothing that really gives anything away but just a periodic "see its being" done with a bit of commentary, maybe a page progression from time to time or just notes,doodles and thoughts as the project moves forward.
-video presentation/ in progress stream alot of folks will do streams or video blogs of works in progress or lessons just to help raise visibility. Heck the company I work for focus's part of its sales point on technology for this very thing. Professional quality without a truckload of gear. We are even based in the same town as AP.
Well that's my two cents and most of it is what I have noticed, heard and discussed as I am still in the progress of building my own skills and projects.
Best of luck!
N8Dogg5k Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Don't worry I'm here for you D. Hutch!

I've always been a big fan of your work and I do agree that A.P. doesn't seem to do much in the ways of marketing their product lines. I'm amazed some days that A.P. having as many good titles as it does, is not more well known amongst the comic community. Past Ninja High School and Gold Digger (which even they are pretty small when you think about it) no one seems to know that you guys exist.

Amongst my own little social circle I do find myself dropping Fred's and your name as recommended reads these days for fun and quality titles. It is a bit of a shame though that A.P. also doesn't seem to want to do more original stories since the Pirate vs. Ninja days I fell all A.P. wants to focus more on doing is comics about internet memes and the like.

To hear that Dragon Arms is slated to be back in action makes me quite the happy camper. Beyond Gold Digger Dragon Arms was pretty much the only title I really got into. If anything else I would say just try to get word of mouth out and rolling. With tools like the internet being common place today getting people aware of something is a lot more do-able now than say 15 years ago.

You can do art rolls of the characters, maybe even just run a live-stream or two just to see if there is interest in your art in general. I've noticed lately that if people feel that if they have some sort of personal connection to a particular franchise they embrace and support it more. So just talking to people about it, or letting them witness some of its creation can form that emotional bond. Teasers also can do wonders as well as simply social networking like DA itself. Finding places to run a flash add can also do well, especially on high traffic sites that are relevant to your target audience. Granted, you'll have to spend some money for that, but sometimes you've got to spend money to make money. Now if only A.P. could do the same, guys like you and Fred would have an easier time with selling I think, and hell, maybe even have some lucrative deals on your plate.

How cool would it be to see Gold Digger as an animated series or Dragon Arms as a trilogy of films?
OptimusPraino Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Well, from what I´ve been getting lately in the market, it seems the "Graphic Novel" format is what´s taking the lead.

A black and white graphic novel may work better than a stand alone black and white comic issue, and it helps with international fans who might find buying each issue sepparately prohibitive due to shipping costs.

Not to mention that if you release it solely in graphic novel form, you´ve got it assured that its story will be told entirely, while a single issue miniseries has the risk of not seeing life past issue one.

Other things that would help, would be if it is never actually referred to as "Dragon Arms 3" since new readers are not into picking up something that´s not the start of a story. So, just "Dragon Arms: Cool Subtitle" would work better.

If we go with trends, having the living dead around somewhere in the cover I guess could work as a lil extra, but zombies by now may have been way too over exposed.

As for the promotion, awareness, fan interaction, etc, maybe something like facebook promotion, apps, special sales and such would help. Like, having a "Dragon Arms" sale where you can get all three series at once, that way people pick up the entire series, or special sales for the previous series by themselves.

Digital download releases for the previous series as single issues could help with the founding, after all, the costs for digital copies are WAY lower than print and it is a market that seems to be seeing a lot of expansion as of late.
Maybe even a free digital preview of the first issue will help with getting people hooked, so they know what they´re getting and with your art, it´s sure to hook tons.

Another idea would be an animated trailer you can post on youtube and share on social sites, like facebook, twitter, DA, etc would be a nice asset. Marvel and DC have done many of those by now. They´re not that hard to do and it helps to get people into the story quickly and without having them read anything.

Adding stuff linking your name to previous successful projets with media coverage like "Zombie Kid´s David Hutchinson" would hook more people as well.

Other than that, just dedicate yourself to the story you love, give it your best and wether or not it ends up selling in the end, you´ll have no regrets. Quality shows and Dragon Arms has it. Strong Female leads are very welcome by female readers, and it will surely be very welcome.

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Submitted on
April 2, 2012