magpies - a tale of two

The quite embarrassing video Pitch

Oh my… I knew this day would eventually come.
I really don’t like the idea of being recorder, as I’m not super fond of my Super Mario accent and I wave a lot, making it really obvious that I’m not some elegant ice princess…
Whatever. If I’m asking people to back my project I find it fair that I ask them directly and show them my face while I do it…

I love this girl so much!

Giorgia Pallaro was a student of mine, a couple of years ago.
I wish I could take credit for how cool she is, but she was actually insanely good when I met her, already.
She took my call to arms pretty seriously and she made and printed a bunch of flyers that she plans on leaving on the trains she rides.

This is SO awesome I’m completely flabbergasted

The Rad Referral Race!

Hey there!
We’re about 1/7 of the way and 1/6 of the time (yeah, I’m the kind of person who thinks in fractions) and while post producing a gazillion of pictures for a lookbook I’m working on, I thought of something.

I really think it’s amazingly cool that you people are being an active part of this campaign and I don’t think a simple thank you is enough.
Indiegogo apparently has a cool little thing that keeps track of referrals and lets me know when someone visits my Indiegogo page clicking on your link. And it also tells me if your friends contribute. It is explained in detail here.

The next step was, of course, setting up a Rad Referral Race!!!! (I’m also the kind of person who loves alliterations. No wonder I have no friends…)
This is how it works:

1. Make sure you are logged into Indiegogo.

2. Grab the code Indiegogo generates and use it whenever you want to link to Magpies: it’s right under the video! If you need to shorten it, you can use bitly, tinyurl, or your favorite url-shortening service.

3. Share! Share! Share! It can be a link on facebook, a tweet, a little review on your blog, a piece of paper passed under the table during math class to that guy you fancy. I’d say avoid scratching it with a key on your ex’s car, because I’m not sure you’ll get much referrals from that. Be creative, be bold, be awesome! (This, BTW, is my only advice on how to live your life as well)

(In this simulation she takes revenge by changing the link to her own Indiegogo referral link and winning. Way to go, sister!)

4. Each time a person clicks on your link and contributes to this campaign, we’re one step closer to turning Magpies into a real physical book and you, on the other hand, are a one step closer to winning the mother of all perks

If this campaign gets funded, the top person on the referral list will get:

• 3 printed copies of Magpies
• a Magpies t-shirt and a Magpies bandana
• a signed poster
• a whole page of original figurines
• The original mask used in the graphic novel (you can pick between Mr Tippletoe and the female character)
• A thank you skype call from yours truly
The BFF treatment: each week, for a whole year, I will write you via snail mail. You’ll get postcards, letters, photos, polaroid pictures, drawings, stickers, silly things. You don’t need to answer back, because I’ll keep writing for 52 weeks anyway, sending all my love your way. It’s kind of like having the harmless version of a personal stalker. It’s like being a rockstar once a week for a whole year!

here’s an example of the stuff you will receive in your mailbox

and here’s the photo of one of the masks

and here’s a frame from a video we’re shooting in which Ale demonstrates how happy people can be when they hold a copy of Magpies in their hands.

You could be this happy too.

Ready? Steady… GO!

Thank you guys! You’re all shades of awesome!!

This last week has been so crazy! When I published Magpies I probably expected it to be read by a bunch of friends who have been following my work over the years. And my mum.
Hundreds of people have downloaded the file and some of the response I got in the mail has been completely overwhelming.
The story is so personal and intimate, that I was afraid it would only speak to me, because I was the one knowing what the heck I was talking about.

Instead  some of the e-mails I received were filled with so much sheer understanding and love and passion and I was… floored.
Some of you shared your story with me and I’m so grateful for trusting me with your memories.
Then today we launched the INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN, to raise money for the printed edition.

I was expecting to start a bit slow and hopeful that people would start spreading the word in the first couple weeks: as I’m writing we have just passed the 1000$ mark and this makes it a step closer to reality. This is insane!

This day has been filled with so much happiness, my head might actually explode.
And I want to thank you all. Even if you can’t contribute to the Indiegogo campaign and just send a single tweet or pass the pdf file to a classmate in a cd you have burned in your room, you have my absolute gratitude. If we’ll be able to fund the print edition (I sure do hope so), it’s going to be because of you. Magpies is going to be your book as much as mine.


Got Magpies? Get Magpies!

November definitely knocked the last bit of summer out of the way and instead of being grumpy and sad, I feel all bouncy today, since Magpies is out of the box!
We are still waiting for the iPad app to be approved by Apple, but the no-frills digital version is up for grabs!
I’m a bit anxious too, because it’s always scary to launch a new project into the world, especially something that I’ve been working on for so long. But I do think it’s probably the best thing I ever did, and I’m proud of it. It’s like having a teenage daughter going out on her first date: you just wait home and hope you did all you could to raise her well and she doesn’t come home pregnant.
Like I know anything about raising kids.
Anyway, it’s out and it’s awesome and the best thing is: you get to decide how much you pay for it.

Does this mean I can get it for free, if I want?
Yup. Exactly that. Just type 0 and hit enter and you’ll be e-mailed a link to download the high-resolution DRM-free pdf.
It’s the whole graphic novel, not just a preview. And it’s under a Creative Commons Attribution- Non Commercial- ShareAlike License. So if you want to burn it on a cd and give it to your friends, I’m totally fine with it.
Obviously, you can totally donate a bazillion euros, if you happen to find them and don’t know what to do with it.

Isn’t giving stuff away kind of dumb?
I really don’t think so.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for putting a pricetag on my work, but I also believe getting rich by selling super-protected pdf files to people is not my way of doing things.
I really also do believe that if someone likes the story, he/she will be way more interested in having a printed copy to place on a bookshelf.
If you feel like helping, I’d rather share you the link on twitter, facebook or a public bathroom wall.

Wait, there’s going to be a printed copy?
Maybe. I’d love to self publish a small edition and we are going to launch an Indiegogo campaign on november 7th to cover the expenses. We’ll see how it goes.
But you get to read the whole thing before you decide if you want to contribute, which I think is great.

Why are you asking me for my data?
It’s a fiscal thing. Even if there is no transaction I still need to send you a receipt. And if there is a transaction I’ll need to pay taxes on that, and in Italy we need to file a receipt. My accountant is already banging his head on the table, I’m trying not to make it too hard for him.
Your data will only be used for this purpose. I won’t appear at you doorstep with a suitcase. Pinky Promise.

Allright, cut the crap, where can I get it?
HERE! I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think about it 🙂

App is loading!

Tonight we submitted Magpies to the app store! Now we just wait and see if they accept it. It’s a bit like slipping a note into your crush’s pocket and wait next to the telephone.

We also had a meeting with our printer to make sure all the estimates are correct before we launch the Indiegogo thing in a couple of weeks.

I still have an infinite to-do list, and I don’t see much sleep in my near future, but this was a big milestone and we’re so happy about it!

Loving the print test!

As soon as I finished Magpies, I decided to print a single copy on Blurb, as they have the exact format I wanted for the book and a very similar paper in their pro line (it’s the ProLine Uncoated Paper, in case you’re wondering. Such a beautiful paper).

I honestly just wanted it to check if the text was too big or too small, if the binding ate words, if there were things that needed to be worked on some more and if the color treatment still worked on paper. The kind of stuff you can’t check on a monitor.
I didn’t expect the feeling of finally holding it in my hands. It’s so much more than what I was hoping for!

Unfortunately, print on demand doesn’t seem to be a real option: printing that one copy cost me $95 (plus shipping and 4% tax rate) and I want to be able to sell it for 30 bucks, which I think would be a fair price for a 150+ pages long self produced graphic novel printed on really nice paper.
But we’re working on a plan, stay tuned! If that can’t happen, we’re still working on the iPad thing and a digital download option (stay tuned, we’re almost there).

If nothing explodes, mark november 1st on your calendar. The next two weeks are going to be insane 😀

Facebook page

As all of my friends and family members know, I don’t have a facebook account: I like not knowing what they are up to, so they can actually tell me when they meet me, and I am not a big fan of sneaky privacy policies changing all the time and bad interfaces. (I do have a google+ account, but I strongly believe it’s different).

Still, Ale convinced me a facebook page for Magpies would be a good idea, because some people prefer to keep updated there, while they exchange cows on farmville, rather than using an rss feed.
If this is your case, you can find the page here.
I promise I’ll try to keep it updated and I won’t ever post anything about the stuff I had for lunch. Unless it’s awesome, of course.

Working on the iPad edition

Today I’ve seen the first chapter of Magpies on an iPad, as Ale was working on the app.
He’s doing an amazing job and I really can’t wait to share it! I still need to work on some of the extra content that is going to be added to the final thing, but we really start to feel like we can see the finish line.

Step one will soon be done, and then we’ll start planning the printed version: I ordered a copy on blurb because I need to make sure it still works with the binding and everything can be read properly, but at more than 100 dollars for a single copy, print on demand is totally not an option.

In the meanwhile Nicola and Sara at Pholpo have finished the booktrailer, which is insanely beautiful and I’m dying to make it public, and Barbara Fiorio -a dear friend on top of being a published author with more than 10 years experience is dealing with press and publicity- is helping me figure out how to present the project once it’s ready. Apparently, just putting it out there and then pretending it never happened isn’t an option. Go figure.

This started as a one-man-band kind of thing, but the truth is I’m surrounded by an amazing group of people who are turning it into something I can really be proud of.

It’s the small things

Some things become obvious after someone else shows them to you.
When Nicola at Pholpo suggested I should use handwritten text rather than a font I wasn’t completely sold on it, until I actually saw a spread and the comparison became so evident it almost hurt.  It was like having an home cooked meal after a month of Mc Donald’s food.
Then Sara, Nicola’s studio partner, took over and kindly pointed out that I had been spending a gazillion hours building an insanely time consuming project… only to cover my images with text boxes. I couldn’t really see how that would make any difference, until she started emailing me the work she was doing.

I’m supposed to have a degree in graphic design, for duck’s sake, how could I not see all of that?
The possibilities are basically two:

1. The more I grow old the more stupid I become
2. I’ve been working on this project so much that everything is starting to become background noise.

I’d say a mix of 1 and 2.

The good thing, though, is that I surround myself with amazing people who make everything I do so much better. It takes a village, guys. It takes a village.
And now Magpies is done. Finito.

In the meanwhile, Alessandro has started working on the iPad version and if everything goes as planned, it will be out in a little less than a month. Then we will start figuring out ways to make a print run, because I think some things are just different on paper, but I like the idea that finally Magpies will be out there for people to read. People who are not relatives or friends.
It’s scary.