Before I can say anything about this great adventure called Ashcan Comics Pub. (ACP Studios), I need to tell you upfront: I 100% believe Ashcan Comics Pub. is a blessing. Starting ACP hasn't always been an easy experience, but it is worth it. That is why I am all in with supporting this team and dream.
Below is list of questions I've been asked and I thought I would drop them here. I hope you find this interesting. If you have a question, CONTACT ME.
What inspired the creation of Ashcan Comics Pub.?
I get asked this a lot. The number one reason I wanted to make Ashcan Comics Pub. was community. When I first started making Oath #1 in August 2018, I was soon smacked with the reality that making a comic is only the tip of an iceberg. Marketing and promotion lurked way into the depths and I was saddened to see the crashing waves of indie comics on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. I did not want to see Oath just come and go. And, I did not want to see other great works just come and go. So, I sought community and from there a team who wanted collaborate and make cool works. From there, Ashcan took form.
Does it take a lot of money to launch an indie publishing group?
When the Ashcan doors opened in December 2018, I had no capitol. I also had no other works to showcase other than the rough, first-ever comic I made, Oath 1. This is part of the reason I believe Ashcan is a blessing. I had no money or connections. All I had was a love for art, a passion to make stories, a desire for community, and social media... With hundreds, if not thousands, of posts and DMs (direct messages), Ashcan started to take root. I roamed the endless posts on social media and reached out to a lot of comic creators (writers and artists). I fumbled through numerous hazy descriptions about a creator-owned based publishing group that worked via licensing instead of exclusivity. To my surprise, I started hearing back from the writers and authors. Some saw the benefit or potential of what Ashcan could offer.
So, no. It does not take a lot of money to launch a publishing group. It will eventually take money to make bulk runs and achieve financial success. But, to start from the ground up, it takes tenacity and dedication more than it takes financial investment.
Why does Ashcan publish prose and comics instead of just comics?
Ashcan's commitment to publishing prose was an unexpected turn, but it has proved to be the backbone of Ashcan. In January 2019, after I had just started connecting with indie artists and authors, I made a post suggesting that Ashcan would publish an anthology of flash fiction stories about classic monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein, if 10+ people showed interest and collaboratively produced art and stories. This was the original Flash Fiction Force: a group of strangers who gambled on the efforts and skill-levels of unknown acquaintances on social media, who were led by an unheard of guy (Nate Lindley) who was creating an unheard of indie publisher called Ashcan Comics Pub... Once again, like I said, Ashcan Comics Pub. is a blessing.
Does Ashcan own intellectual property or require exclusivity?
No. This is the joy of Ashcan and what makes it unique. When Ashcan publishing a comic, it pays an upfront commission to the book owner and acquires a license to use the IP (intellectual property), but Ashcan never acquires ownership or requires exclusivity. Because Ashcan's biggest goals are to support indie comics and build an indie community, it does nothing to try and remove indie title from the creators who put so much love into their work.
Are you a participant in the monthly publications of Ashcan or just the CEO?
At my heart, I am a creative. I write and draw every day. In addition to spearheading the direction of Ashcan Comics Pub. and doing everything I can to promote this team, I contribute art and stories on a regular basis. I am in it to win it. Myrrom Galaxy: Oath is my largest and first major contribution to the Ashcan line-up, but I also have numerous flash fiction, short story, and art contributions. With several more comics and stories lining up, Ashcan has become my home and I am honored to work with this team.
What does running a start-up indie publishing group look like?
The best way to describe this is... You have to be ok with wearing many hats and working countless hours. If you start from the ground up like Ashcan did and literally have no team or hired help, you WILL be doing everything and it WILL be in addition to your normal work week... You have to want/love it. I was fortunate to be knowledgeable enough in art, writing, graphic design, management, and business (this was the area of my least experience and required a lot of homework/learn-as-you-go). I was able to chip away at all the tasks and not have to hire help.
I have to give huge thanks to Joey Tremblay, Travis B. Hill, Mark Pate, and Kenneth Brown. As Ashcan grew and the amount of work to be done grew, I did hit a breaking point. Ashcan almost dissolved twice. I had taken on more than I could handle and my family, work, and health was taking a hit. However, just before things fell apart, these guys reached out to me and offered to help voluntarily. Travis in particular stepped up both times and is the reason Ashcan still has a Flash Fiction Force.
Numerous people in the Ashcan team have displayed exceptional motivation, skill, and commitment. It amazes me to see how others have taken to this dream and call Ashcan their home. When others helped me hold this ship together, I knew Ashcan was building something meaningful - not only to me, but to the indie community.