Well… Time for a confession.
For those of you who don’t know me: I’m Guy Hasson, CEO and head writer of New Worlds Comics.
I’m 43 years old. I’ve been a science fiction author, I’ve written and directed plays, and I’ve worked as a scriptwriter for a few years. And only after I created New Worlds Comics, at age 40, twenty years after the premiere of my first play, did I realize what has gone wrong with my career.
Apparently, I’ve done everything possible to tank any success I’ve achieved in the last 20 years.
Six months ago I was on the verge of doing it again with New Worlds Comics.
For the first time in my life, I realized what I have done. And I found it in me to act differently. For every bad choice I had made, I tried to make the right choice with New Worlds Comics.
I chose to not repeat the patterns ingrained so deeply within me.
I chose to do what’s hard. And I decided that comics, and New Worlds Comics, would be my last stand.
Here are the terrible mistakes I made and how I tried to fix them.
Mistake #1: Changing Direction Every Chance I Got
If you had met me as a teen or in my twenties, you’d have met a fireball. It was clear I was talented – I could write well in any genre, and I did, because I wanted to write everything, everything, everything.
But I would never stick to a genre or any medium. My first play was a drama for adults. My second was a comedy for children. My first book was hard SF for adults. My second book was an adventure for Young Adults.
Fans couldn’t cope with the changes. Every fan I’d gather along the way, I’d lose in my next project. With every premier or book launch I’d have to start gathering the fans from scratch.
Mistake #2: Disregarding Fame
Despite my best efforts, I did become a famous SF author at least in my native country, Israel, in my early thirties.
It’s ridiculous-sounding for a person to say he was famous and it’s always hard for anyone to really understand how people perceive them. So rather than give you the whole long story, I’ll share with you two incidents that symbolized for me that my status was better than I had thought:
When I was at WorldCon at some party, two of the big SF publishers, talking to a French SF publisher, suddenly looked at me and said: “Him!”
I said, “What the hell are you guys talking about?”
The French publisher said, “I asked who the top SF author in your country is.”
Another incident: It was award season again, and in forums people were begging to stop putting me up for awards. “Stop talking about him like everything he does is good! I’ve had it with Guy Hasson!” wrote one, among many, who immediately afterwards confessed he never read anything of mine.
I’ve learned that when people want to take you down because they can’t stop hearing their friends talk about how good your stuff it – that, also, is a mark of fame.
But then I took all that, and threw it away. I disappeared into film, working as a scriptwriter (writing SF and horror) for a few years, then writing and directing my own indie feature-length film.
I disappeared for seven years, and when I came back, I had been forgotten by all except the old generation and the publishers who were willing to publish my next two books. But the fans, with the momentum of churning out book after book, had vanished.
Mistake #3: The Work Doesn’t End When You Finish Writing It
I could work tirelessly and endlessly on a project. I worked on one theater show for 3 years. I worked my butt off to get the indie film I wrote and directed done and premiered.
But once a project was done: That thing in me that needed it, that needed to create it, was also done. The project didn’t interest in me anymore. I had done the thing that was important to me: created the art for art’s sakes.
I created a film, but never actually had the wherewithal to send it to festivals other than the one that had agreed to premiere it.
I created a theater show, written and directed two experimental webseries, published a new book – but after those things were done would not spend the months needed to promote them.
And so, without marketing, without my name being already worth something to many people, none of these things had a chance. They all died after their birth.
Mistake #4: If It’s Good, It’ll Spread Itself
As Bones would say, “I’m a writer, dammit, not a marketer.”
I’m a writer, through and through. In my eyes, I create art. Marketing was never for me. Speaking to the fans or to potential audiences was never my thing. Once something was done, I moved on to the next piece of art I could create.
And I always thought: If it’s good, it’ll speak for itself and will spread itself. One person will see it and be so amazed that it will spread.
But that almost never works. Not without a little fanbase to start with. Not without talking to your fanbase and letting them know what’s going on. Not without actually sending your stuff to venues where it could be seen.
You have to carry through with the work you’ve done. You have to introduce people to it again and again and again.
And that’s the precipice I found myself standing on – again! – with New Worlds Comics.
What’s Different This Time, with New Worlds Comics?
- I realized that for New Worlds Comics to succeed, I would have to do the hard work I never wanted to or could do: I would have to introduce people to the comics again and again and again. And I have done. For hours every day, for weeks and months.
- I realized I must never stop, or New Worlds Comics would never grow. And I haven’t.
- I realized that I must never turn my back on the fans that have gathered and the communities that are growing.
- I realized that I can fulfill my craving to always do something different by simply writing different series simultanously and being super original within every issue.
- I still think that fame is unimportant, but I realize it’s a tool that helps people find and read your next piece of art.
- I’ve stopped shifting directions in mid-flight.
- I will not disappear. I’ve realized that starting from zero in another medium, again, would just mean the same trouble all over again. Here I am. Here I stand. And here I give you the best writing and the best art in comic books today, whether it’s from me or from other writers.
Has Anything Changed?
Yes. The change in me has had a massive change for New Worlds Comics.
For our first 8 months, New Worlds Comics has had only 1,400 followers on Twitter. Since I made the change, we’ve had more than 1,000 new followers a week. Today we’re up to 17,000. Next week we’ll be at 18,000. By the end of the year…
People are talking about our flagship title, Wynter. Communities are forming. This website is steadily growing in popularity. Sales are way up.
We’ve got a weekly newsletter. We’ve got a podcast coming, taking a truthful behind-the-scenes look at how to create and grow an indie comic book company. We’ve got two more series coming out in the next few months: Time Warriors and the graphic novel series, Lost in Dreams – and another towards the end of the year.
Everything’s changed because I would not shoot myself in the foot again, and I would not repeat the behavior that has brought me this far.
Here I am. Here I make my stand. Here I’ll remain until the medical examiner takes my body away and checks it for signs of murder.
Will you take this trip with me?
Tell you what: Want to see what this is all about? Check out our flagship title, Wynter. It’s been called “The best SF comic book on the market today” by quite a few blogs. Check it out for yourself!
Then come back and stick around. There’s so much more coming.