Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

(click for larger version)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wormworld Saga lauches in France

wormworldsaga.fr is the new place to goe for French readers of the Wormworld Saga

I've already talked about the French edition of the Wormworld Saga here and there in older posts. Today can be regarded as the day on which the Wormworld Saga officially starts its adventurous journey into the Franco-Belgian market. Today the French version of the Wormworld Saga website has been launched:


So, now there are two Wormworld Saga websites which is quite an interesting development. Right from the beginning of the project my goal has been to reach an international audience with my story and to publish the Wormworld Saga in several different languages. With the amazing support from the fan translators and my volunteering layout assistant Ivan Berov (I can't praise him enough - by now I owe him at least one of my offsprings for all the chapter layouts he's already done...) this approach has branched out in ways I could never have imagined.
But of course there are limitation to how much content can be handled  in a reasonable amount of time by a small group of people. The Wormworld Saga website itself has always been in English and the special content of the Wormworld Saga App and The Attic only exists in English, too. There's not even a translation into my German mother language of these things. Everything - all the making of articles and author commentary - is created by me besides the graphic novel and it's just impossible for me to handle more than the English version of that content.

When Dupuis entered as the publisher of the French book edition of the Wormworld Saga we also talked about the digital version of the story and how we could develop it to support the printed version. I explained to them pretty much the things that I've written in the paragraph above: not even if they would provide translations for everything I wouldn't have the time to implement and maintain that content. That's when we decided that the only way to do it would be to branch of a French version of the Wormworld Saga website that would be completely maintained by Dupuis. And that's where we actually arrived today.

Louis-Antoine Dujardin and me at the French office of Dupuis in Paris
The new website brings some substancial advantages for the French readers of the Wormworld Saga. The most obvious one being that the whole website is in French language. More important, it features professionally edited versions of the French chapters. You won't believe the amount of typos and layout glitches that were fixed in the editing process! And the French readers can look forward to be able to access the special features of the Wormworld Saga in French language sometimes in the near future. The thing that I'm most happy about is the fact that Dupuis will keep access to the chapters free on the website. I actually hadn't expected that from a big publisher and I had already prepared to accept payed chapters as a compromise in exchange for the effort that is put into the website. But since the chapters remain free I can honestly say that this colaboration comes with absolutely no drawback for the fans.
As you can see, wormworldsaga.fr also comes with it's own design and feature set. When we first talked about the project I thought we might just copy the international website. But now that it received its own design, I'm loving the idea of a design competition between the two websites. I will have a close look at wormworldsaga.fr and I will definitely adopt ideas that work well for wormworldsaga.com (I really like that cover flow...).

Dupuis is on the children books fair in Montreuil now and is handing out the first info material about the upcoming book edition. I wish them a good time and hope that the Wormworld Saga has a great reception over there. I'm really looking forward to developing the French branch of the Wormworld Saga with the great team from Dupuis. Many thanks to Louis-Antoine, Laetitia, Mathias and all the other people involved.

And since wormworldsaga.fr has already revelead the covers of the first two French books I can share the cover illustration of book 1 with you! It's a custom version of one of the final panels of Chapter 3 and I really like how it turned out.



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Status Quo and Upcoming Chapters


Man, you haven't received a proper update from me for several months! I'm really sorry about that and I definitely owe you an explanation. The short version is, that the production of the Wormworld Saga currently is paused until the end of the year and before writing an update I wanted to gain some perspective on what happened and figure out how and when the project will continue. I have answers to these questions now and it's time to share them with you.

I've never told you much about the financial aspects of the Wormworld Saga. From the outside, financing the project must look like a pretty straightforward thing. I mean, everytime I've shared anything remotely related to money it normally incorporated a successful kickstarter campaign or a new potential revenue stream opening up. You've never heard about gaps in the cashflow or times when pure luck helped to continue the production. In other words: you've heard about the ups but never about the downs of this rollercoaster ride. If under the bottom line there was progress I figured that I just wouldn't need to bother you. Well, there's no way to give you a statisfying update now without shedding at least some light behind that curtain.

What happened

So, Chapter 5 was released in March. If you followed the production updates closely you've noticed that this was three months later than originally planned. Chapter 4 had been released in August 2012 and the reason for not starting the production of Chapter 5 right away were the launch preparations for the Wormworld Shop and the accompanying kickstarter campaign.
A proper shop had been on my wishlist for a long time and I figured that setting it up would be a good investment into the future of the project and that its launch would ultimately outweight the risk of delaying Chapter 5. However, chapter releases are my main source of income right at the moment. I receive payments from the publishing partners whenever a chapter is finished. Also sales in the app go up, as well as in the shop, due to increased traffic on the website. So it was a gamble - a new shop for a three months delay of the upcoming chapter.

When Chapter 5 was finally released at the end of March this year I had to realize that the money that remained in the budget would not have carried me through the whole production of Chapter 6. I had to think of yet another card to play. I researched that with a relatively small investment of time and money it was possible to offer the special content from the app directly on the website. My assumption was, that this feature had the potential to be embraced by the fans. A way to access the special features of the app without a tablet had often been requested. I spent four weeks and a couple of hundred dollars for a subscription software license to set up 'The Attic' and hoped that the initial signups would bridge the gap until the next chapter release.

This time I had gambled too high. The initial number of subscriptions stayed way below what I had hoped for. There was no substancial profit gained and the whole process had delayed the next chapter release for another four weeks. There remained a small chance though to get additional funds as the negotiations with the French publisher had advanced pretty far. However, for the time being I had no idea what they would pay and when.

I started the production of Chapter 6 and hoped for the cavalry to arrive in time but in late June I came to the point where I had to pull the plug and start to make some money through freelance work. I was pretty frustrated by the whole situation. The first time in two years I had to stop the full-time work on my project.

What's next

The good thing about low points like these is that from there things can only get better. In the meantime I have visited the Franco-Belgian comic publisher Dupuis in their Paris office. We had a great time forging plans for the French edition of the book and also the French digital version of the Wormworld Saga. Expect more info about that soon. Most importantly, we signed the long awaited contract and I was finally able to see what it will add to my production budget. Together with the German edition and my own digital revenue sources, over 60% of the production costs for another TWO chapters are secured. That's definitely enough to start with and I'm pretty confident that, once on the road, there will be ways to complete the budget. Chapter 6 and 7 are now scheduled for 2014 and are going to fill the third book.
 
So, the plan is now to produce the next two chapters in one big push. I will begin production as soon as possible which, due to my current freelance contract, will not be before January. In the meantime I'm going to spend some of my free time to finish the preliminary version of Chapter 6. I want to be ready to start right into the illustration work when the time comes. Needless to say that in my head I've constantly been working on the upcoming chapter and my feeling is that it will actually benefit from the additional time that I'm able to finetune it. I'm extremely looking forward to Chapter 6 as it will broaden the scope of the Wormworld and give the story a whole new twist. I can guarantee you that I'm doing everything I can to publish it as soon as possible. And now that we're all on the same page again there also will be updates more frequently.
 
In the last months I've received some emails from people asking if everything was ok. I honestly want to apologize for making people worry. Not communicating at all just wasn't a good idea. I had to figure out what this disruption meant for the project and I somehow stupidly thought that noone would bother if I kept silent for some time. I've often asked you for patience concerning my project but of course you can only be patient if you know what you are waiting for. I've learned this lesson now.

Thank you for your support!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lifesigns


After I've received a couple of emails in which people were asking if everything was alright with me I figured I should post at least a small update. Things indeed became mixed up quite a bit around here. It's too early to get into the details but I can definitely say that the production of Chapter 6 is delayed. There's going to be some important meetings in the next few weeks and after those I'll be able to make an estimation about the release of the next chapter. I'll also give a more detailed account of everything then. Right at the moment it's all a bit too complicated and there's also things that I just can't talk about yet.

I really appreciate that people care about my wellbeing and I'm really sorry that I can't write a more satisfying update just yet. I hope that everyone's enjoying the summer (at least in those regions where it's summer right now) and I'll do my best to prepare some excitement for the dark time of the year.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

RPC and Video Training News

Our cosy Wormworld Saga space at the RPC 2013
We've brought all products from the Wormworld Shop to the RPC
Note the little boy with the custom made 'Eyes of the Olynx' vest!
I made a drawing in each and every book that was sold!

The RPC Fantasy Award is the first big Award the Wormworld Saga  has won.

I thought I'd share some impressions from the 'Role Play Convention' in Cologne with you. It was a great event that was held in two large halls of the Cologne tradeshow center. My wife and I were invited by Tokyopop to join their booth with a small Wormworld Saga corner and we brought the full range of Wormworld Shop products with us. I signed books and had interesting talks with fans and other exhibitors. At Saturday night I attended the RPC Fantasy Awards stage show as the Wormworld Saga was nominated in the comics category. The book was awarded the first price which made me very happy because the price is voted by the audience. By Sunday noon we were sold out of all books the publisher had brought to the event which gave us a very good feeling when we traveled home in the afternoon.

In other news:

Video2Brain has published the first of the three new training courses that I recorded in April. The course is in German language. My English training videos have successfully migrated to Lynda.com and are available there from now on. Here are the links:

Monday, May 6, 2013

Welcome to The Attic!




Since mid-April I was working on a new section of the Wormworld Saga website and today I'm finally finished. I'm happy to announce to you:


I'm frequently asked if there is a possibility to access the special features from the Wormworld Saga App without owning a tablet device. Well, there hasn't been - until now. The video above gives you all the important facts about the new website and I've also setup an info page with more detail. Put in a nutshell, you get all the content from the app inside your browser only that you're not asked to pay a fixed sum per chapter but a yearly subscription fee instead.

I've been toying around with this idea for a long time now. Right after the release of the Wormworld Saga App I started to discuss a web version of the app with the developers because after a short time it was pretty evident that there were a lot of people who'd love to see the special content but just didn't own the neccessary tablet device to run the app. However, the additional investment wasn't something I could afford and I didn't want to start yet another kickstarter campaign for something like that.

It was in the end of last year that it dawned on me that it couldn't be such a big deal to bring the content from the app to the website myself. Exporting an Artwork and Prelim version was a straightforward thing and the author commentary popups weren't rocket science either (I found a free java script for that in mere minutes of online research). The artbook content was already formatted in HTML so it could directly be displayed in the browser. The biggest hurdle actually was to set up a system that would control the access to the special content on the website. I had really no idea how to do that.

And that's when I had my big breakthrough. I new how to bring all the content to the website and it was only the access management that was blocking my way. I'm running an online forum for over ten years now and a forum basically is nothing else than a system in which registered members can access a database to post comments. The forum software was a free script that I had installed back in the days and I figured that there also must be scripts out there that handle stuff like subscriptions, membership and limited access to content. And you BET there's scripts for that out there! The big problem actually is to find out which one of them is suitable for your needs.

I've spent weeks of research and nearly had settled on a solution when I stumbled over another system which ultimately became my script of choice. If anyone of you should be looking for a subscription system my recommendation would be amember from CGI-Central. It was easy to install, easy to configure (with very basic CSS knowledge and a little bit of trial and error that is), and the price of $170 (for the basic version) is really fair considering that you're getting a highly advanced system in which you can set up different products and maintain the user database (including payment processing, email messaging and everything). I'm really happy with the script and the costumer support (a part of the script caused an error on my server and a fix for that was provided within a few days).

Well, and now everything is up and (hopefully) running. Instead of having to make a big investment into a "web app" I only had to invest about 200€ and three weeks of coding to set everything up. I'm really curious to find out how many people will join The Attic. If you're already using the App there isn't a need to subscribe because you can get all the content inside the app for a fixed price and keep it for as long as you want. But for people that are interested in the content and don't have the means to download the app, The Attic is a great alternative. And it actually is a good deal because for the initial subscription fee of 9€ your're getting the special content of the current 5 chapters (which alone are worth 15€) and at least two more chapters that will be released within the next 365 days.

I'm also starting to think about stuff that would make The Attic even more interesting for fans but these things will have to wait. I've had enough of coding and scripting during the last three weeks and I'm happy to start my work on Chapter 6 now. God, I will have to create a TON of concept art for that chapter. Good for you to know that now there's a place to find it! :)


Friday, April 26, 2013

The Wormworld Saga featured in Spirou Z


The Belgian comic publisher Dupuis is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its extremely popular Spirou magazine by launching a digital version for tablet devices. Spirou has always been a backbone of Franco-Belgian comic culture and I feel extremely honored to be able to contribute to this new chapter in Spirou's history by having Chapter 1 of the Wormworld Saga featured in it.


Another exciting news comes right along this appearance: The Wormworld Saga Print Edition will also be published by Dupuis which means that  the french version will soon enter Europe's largest comic book market. I'm looking forward to all the new readers that will be able to discover the Wormworld Saga through these new channels!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Intermission in Austria


Last year, on Frankfurt Bookfair, I was invited to have a signing session at the Vienna Comix comic convention in Vienna, Austria. It was my first signing event on a comic convention ever and, as you can see above, my work was even featured prominently on the convention posters. It was really a great event and I was surprised how many fans I've got in Austria. My story even seems to be liked among the imperial troops from a galaxy far far away!


I really enjoyed the convention. I met and talked to great people and I even received a fantastic fan artwork:


Many thanks to ├ľnder Tasdelen for this wonderful original pencil artwork featuring all the main characters of the first 5 chapters of the Wormworld Saga. I'll keep it in a save place!

The convention issued a limited edition of 111 numbered prints of the last panel of Chapter 1 that were only available at that day on the convention:


I received 20 of these prints for my own disposal and created a special limited edition with Wormseal stamp that is now available in the Wormworld Shop as long as stock lasts.

Vienna Comix wasn't the only reason for me to travel to Austria. My friends from Video2Brain invited me to record new video training material at their studio in Graz. And man did I record! I spent nearly two weeks in the studio and my first task was to create a long comprehensive introduction to digital painting in Photoshop. In 8 hours this training will contain a detailed description of each and every tool that I use in the digital painting process and the techniques are later demonstrated in three illustration projects - a digital drawing (of a sailing ship), a colored digital drawing (a dwarf portrait) and a digital painting ("The White Palace on the Red Planet"):


The second big task was to produce a comprehensive video training about the creation of a comic page. For this training I had the idea to create a page from an imaginary "Captain Orion" comic. In 8 hours this training is going to show the complete creation of the page including rough composition scribbles, preliminary drawing, inking, coloring and layout of the word balloons:


And then, on my last day in Graz, I was able to record a very special video. My task was to create a painting completely out of thin air, without talking too much about my painting technique but concentrating on the creative process. I started with a completely abstract composition and discovered a scene that was hiding inside it. The painting that came to life in this video is "The City at Ruby Mountain" and you will hear me talking mostly about the story of that place that unfolds in my brain while I'm painting. This creative journey was completely documented in a 2 hours video and I'm really looking forward to it. The only downside to all that is, that the trainings were recorded in German language only. Right at the moment I can't say anything about possible translations.


Now I'm back home and before I'm going to start my work on Chapter 6 I will make another adjustment to the Wormworld Saga website that I've been planning for quite some time now. If everything works out like intended, it will be a huge thing. I'll keep you updated!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chapter 5 now available inside the app!


Finally we've managed to publish Chapter 5 inside the Wormworld Saga App. We're over a week late on this and I'm really sorry about that. I don't even want to bore you with the filthy details of our failure. Let's just say that the only way to make sure that a new chapter will launch simultaniously on the webside AND the app is to wait with the release until all the data for the app is ready and tested. This will mean that it might happen that although I might be ready to launch on the website I would need to wait with the launch until the app developers give their green light. I'm used to launch right at the moment when the last touches for a chapter have been done. This time we launched on Sunday and the last adjustments to the layout were done on Saturday so there wasn't much time lost. I anticipated the app launch on Monday which also wouldn't have hurt much. Well, the one positive aspect of a delayed launch inside the app is, that it gives me the chance to fix all the typos that the readers of the web version point out. It's not easy to update a chapter inside the app so we really have to make sure to find as many typos as possible before the launch. This might become a bit of a challenge if we launch simultaniously.

However, there it is - Chapter 5 inside the app. The Collector's Edition comes with a new artbook item that has added a new page to the artbook index!


"The Making of Chapter 5" features a gallery of color studies that I painted for Chapter 5:


And I've written up some info about my use of color schemes into which I've put particular care during the production of Chapter 5:


There's also a bunch of sketches in the article (Raya's room, the waterfalls, the transport ship...) and I've also gathered some info about the higher resolution that I produced this chapter in. So, it's a nice artbook item and as always it's accompanied by the artwork and the prelim version and the author commentary inside the chapter itself.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Chapter 5 - Call of the Worm Mountain


I proudly present Chapter 5 of the Wormworld Saga Digital Graphic Novel!

Go read it at wormworldsaga.com!

My first thought before the writing of Chapter 5 was "how am I ever going to fill a complete chapter with the few things that happen in this part of the story?" All I had in mind when I started to work on Chapter 5 was that we would have to see the Great Celebration and that Jonas and Raya would have to travel to the Worm Mountain. I already juggled all the stuff in my mind that would happen in chapter 6, 7 and 8 but chapter 5 was quite an empty thing for me. But then I started to realize that Jonas must have been in a horrible mental condition after the revelations of Chapter 4 and that I would have to give him a chance to express his feelings. And as I started to write the dialogs between him and Raya I found out how much there was to talk about between the two. In the end I even had to hold myself back because the chapter grew and grew before my eyes and without anticipating it, Chapter 5 became the longest chapter of all so far. I finished my work on it with the good feeling that Jonas and Raya are on the same page now and that they are prepared for the adventure that they are facing. 

There's also progress on my personal adventure as a graphic novel author. It's still a struggle to make a living from something that you're basically giving away for free. Fortunately there's a growing group of fine people that supports the Wormworld Saga and with their help my wife and I were able to fund the development of The Wormworld Shop, which is also officially launched today. We invite you to visit the shop and see if you find something that you like. We invested a lot of time and effort into the development of the products and tried to price them fairly. We're running the shop on ourselves without any middlemen so every sale will directly support the Wormworld Saga 100%. On a sidenote: customers from outside the European Union save 19% on every order because in these cases we're not accounting for VAT. 


You might also have noticed that I've made significant changes to the wormworldsaga.com website. My impression was that the website really got clutteres with all the text and flag icons and I changed the structure so that the chapter icons would be in focus again without anything distracting from it. I'd love to hear feedback from you. There's another important update planned for the next few weeks (something very cool indeed!) and so I would be able to take your feedback into account and tweek everything for the next update.

Alright, after the chapter release is before the chapter release! I'm hoping that you're also excited about the upcoming Chapter 6. I will start working on it as soon as possible.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Chapter 5, Final Artwork Completed!


I've just finished illustrating the final artwork of Chapter 5!

I can't really describe how I feel now. It's always such a weird feeling when there is no next panel to work on. For the last 3 months I've worked through the seemingly endless list of panels. This chapter was HUGE! You can see in the illustration above that it's by far the longest chapter of all. And I painted in in a higher resolution than the other ones (because of some HD goodness that's going to happen in the near future). And the illustration above does not even show the full height of the chapter because just before the last milestone I added 4 extra panels that I felt were neccessary. The interesting thing is that, judged by the working hours, this chapter wasn't much more work than Chapter 3. I worked  332 hours on the final artwork of Chapter 5 and  305 hours on the final artwork of chapter 3. That can mean only one thing - I've gotten faster!

Ok, there's still some stuff to do now which will keep me busy all week. The layout has to be done, the extra content for the app and a substantial website update has to be prepared. Yes, the look of the website will change considerably. I've got to do something against the clutter and visual noise that has built up there. and I've got to paint the cover illustration of course. But everything is under control now and I can savely commit to a final release date:

Chapter 5 will be released on March 31st at 10:00pm German time.

I thought it was a nice idea to set the launch date on Easter Sunday. It's a little bit like the Christmas launches that we had with Chapter 1 and 2. I soon will install a countdown on the website so that you can easily see when the time has come no matter in which timezone you are.

And I've got another announcement to make. Remember the kickstarter campaign that we launched with Chapter 4 last year in August? My wife and I have finished our work on the webshop that we funded through that and together with Chapter 5 we will finally launch The Wormworld Shop!

Now, that's going to be exciting. I really can't wait to get all this stuff online.

And although there normally are no preview images on the last milestone update, I've got a little something for you. The panel contains spoilers so I can only show you a slice of it.

Sunset at the River of Life

See you in a few days!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chapter 5, Milestone 4 reached!


Today I've reached the 80% mark of the Chapter 5 final artwork production. I feel happy to have reached that mark and I'm looking forward to the last 20% which will include some very challenging artwork for me. I'm super pumped about finishing this chapter now! The editing process for the German and English version is nearly finished and I've already done some important steps towards a new website design for wormworldsaga.com. At the side, my wife, my brother in law and I are busy doing the finishing touches on the new Wormworld Shop which we now plan to launch together with Chapter 5. There's a release date forming which I can't announce officially yet (there are still some uncertainties about it) but currently it's pretty save to say that we will see the release of everything this month. It's about time!

And here's the preview artwork of this milestone:




As you can see, our adventurers make camp and, sitting at the sunstone bowl, they find some time to talk. I always love these "campfire talks" in adventure stories. They give the characters great opportunites to express their believes and mental conditions (remember the campfire scene of "Indiana Jonas and the Temple of Doom"?). And there's a LOT for Jonas and Raya to talk about after everything that happend in Chapter 4. As a positive side effect, this milestone was about 20 hours less work than the preceding ones because in dialog scenes I can reuse a lot of artwork in the backgrounds as the camera switches back and forth between the characters.

Well, it looks like the next milestone update will happen at the finish line. Can't wait to reach that!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Chapter 5, Milestone 3 reached!


Slowly the finishing line for the Chapter 5 production comes into sight. A bit over 60% of the illustration work is done now. Before I start with the fourth milestone I'm going to work over the prelim and prepare an English version that I can hand over to the translators so that they have enough time to work on the core translations (English, Spanish and French) that will be published simultaniously as soon as the chapter is ready.

Well, not much more to say so we might just as well head over to the preview images of this milestone:

The journey continues on the river.
That's much more convenient than climbing giant trees! 
I enjoyed the work on the chapter tremendously so far. There's so much extraordinary artwork that I can't show you just yet because it would spoil a lot of the special events and locations of Chapter 5. But I'm also enjoying the more mundane little scenes like the ones above. I love travel shots and I wished I could do much more of them. I guess I could paint a whole chapter without a single word balloon - just impressions from the journey. Well, of course that would bore a lot of readers to death so I try to find a good  measure for incorporating these scenes.

Alright, on to the next milestone!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chapter 5, Milestone 2 reached!


It's time for the next milestone update! A little bit over 40% of Chapter 5 is now illustrated. Originally I planned to reach that point last Friday so I'm 4.5 days behind schedule right now. While that's not so good news it's noteworthy that the delay of the second milestone is not due to the extaordinary length of this chapter. It started one day short into this milestone because January 1st was a Holiday. Another day was lost because I visited the publisher Tokyopop in Hamburg. I consider that day a good investment into the future of the project though because I spent endless hours with the CEO of Tokyopop developing new ideas to bring the Wormworld Saga forward. Then I experienced a super frustrating Photoshop crash which destroyed the work of another full day. And last but not least I spent about a day to figure out a nasty problem whith Adobe's Creative Cloud service which inexplicably switched all the software I'm subscribed to into trial mode. So, while the delay is annoying, there's a good chance that the next milestones will be reached within the timeframes I scheduled for them (two weeks each). Well, if life doesn't continue to put obstacles in my way that is...

In the illlustration above you can see that I replaced the Christmas tree from the last milestone with the Ankal Aasha idol. The second milestone consisted mainly of images from the "Great Celebration". They were a joy to paint and the following preview panels represent only a tiny glimpse of what's waiting for you in Chapter 5:

The sun is setting and the inhabitants of Ankal Aasha prepare for the Great Celebration.
Jonas and Raya join the crowd on the townsquare.
Ok, let's hope that the next milestone runs a little bit more smoothly. I'm looking forward to it because it will lead our heroes out of the ancient city of Ankal Aasha and into ... the unknown. :)


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chapter 1 Available in 24 Languages!


The latest addition to the translations of the first chapter of the Wormworld Saga is the Arabic version. You might have noticed that I've stopped announcing each and every new translation here on the blog. I only do it  in special cases. Now, this translation No. 24 is special in that way that its flag is now filling the last empty spot for translations of the first chapter on the wormworldsaga.com homepage. There literally don't fit any more translations than that into that space. Ok, maybe I could squeeze a forth row of flags into there but it already looks very cluttered so I'm not going to do that. No, with the upcoming Chapter 5 I'm going to give wormworldsaga.com the redesign that it desperately needs. Not only because of the many translations but also because of the growing number of chapters. I won't spoil anything for you now but let me just say that in the future there can be an unlimited number of languages and the chapters will be presented much more prominently.

The Arabic translation is also special because it is the first translation for which we mirrored the layout of the Wormworld Saga:


It gives me a complete headache when I look at my work that way and you might just check the Arabic version out for this wonky effect.

So, my thanks you out to Khaled Al Sabouni for his translation work and once again to Ivan Berov who did a wonderful job solving this puzzle and providing the layout for the Arabic version of the Wormworld Saga.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Kick-Off


I wish everyone a happy new year 2013! I hope you all enjoyed the Holidays and those special days between the years where one starts to think about the events lying behind and the challenges waiting ahead. Just like last year, I'd like to kick this year off with a comprehensive overview of the Wormworld Saga project, where it stands and where it's heading.

First of all, the most amazing thing for me is, that during 2012 I was able to dedicate my whole time to the Wormworld Saga. I didn't have to take on any commissions in order to fill financial gaps. The only commissioned work I did last year was the variant cover illustration for the first issue of 'Finding Gossamyr' and that I honestly did for the pure enjoyment of it. Being able to invest all my time into the Wormworld Saga resulted in some great progress of the project. 2012 saw the publishing of Chapter 3 and 4, and the first images of Chapter 5. And I was by far not the only one working hard to bring the Wormworld Saga forward. It starts right of with my wife who dedicated most of her free time to develop the products for the Wormworld Saga Treasure Chest kickstarter campaign which was successfully funded just a few months ago. The good guys at Robot Media brought the Wormworld Saga App to the Android platform and a feature on Google Play attracted nearly 150.000 new users for the app in only one week. And then there's the incredible people of Tokyopop Germany who did a wonderful job converting the German version of the first three chapters of the Wormworld Saga into a beautiful hardcover book which had a great debut on last year's Frankfurt Bookfair. All these achievements wouldn't have been possible without the support of all those fans out there that were spreading the word, giving encouraging feedback, and supported the project financially by donating, buying prints, and supporting the Wormworld Saga on kickstarter. A very special 'thank you' goes out to the voluteering translators who have translated the first chapter of the Wormworld Saga into over 25 languages now and are continuing their work to make more and more chapters available in all these different languages. The very fact that most of these translations are already layoutet and published is due to the staggering efforts of a single man: my volunteering layout assistant Ivan Berov, who did the layout on ALL translations that were published in 2012. I can't even say how many translations that were and how thankful I am for his help. I'd like every single person addressed in this paragraph to know that your support means the world to me and that I'm seriously not able to express the level of gratefulness I'm feeling towards you all.

Being able to write these lines helps me tremendously to prepare for the challenges of this new year. My goal is to keep working full-time on the Wormworld Saga and to present you the chapters 5, 6 and 7 before the end of 2013. Together with Robot Media I'm going to offer an HD version of the story inside the Wormworld Saga App. And together with Tokyopop I'm going to approach publishers all around the world to make the book version of the Wormworld Saga available to you in as many languages as possible. These are the major goals for 2013.

The biggest challenge in reaching these goals will be to secure the funds for the whole year. I've never talked much about the financial situation of the project since its start two years ago. The last thing followers of the project might remember, was my pitch video for the Wormworld Saga App kickstarter campaign in early 2011. There I explained that my plan was to live from the earnings of the app as soon as it would be published. As far as that goes a lot of the fans are likely to think that the finances of the project are secured since the release of the app in October 2011. Well, that's not at all the case. Funding the last year was a pure adventure with a lot of luck and modesty involved. I won't go into the details just now because the first months of 2013 are already funded and I don't want to raise an issue before there actually is one. The app is generating money and so are the books. Foreign book deals might add to that. This month my wife and I will open up the Wormworld Saga Shop in which the fans will find lots of opportunities to support the project by buying merchandise and collector's items. It will be very exciting for us to find out how all these sources of income will develop and how far they will carry the Wormworld Saga. If there should arise a problem I will address it early enough in order to find a solution together with the fans of the project.

In the last few months I often wished that there were a point of security to reach. A point from which on I would not longer have to worry about the financial aspects of the project for at least some time. I guess I have a pretty naive image of the life of comic creators in my mind. I slowly start to accept that insecurity is part of the concept of an author's life. Something has to balance the advantages, right?

Alright, so let's get this year going! I didn't expect to make it through last year and it somehow worked out anyway. Why should it be any better this time? It's an adventure after all!

It's comforting to know that I'm not on my own on this one.