As an emerging author, my studies into how to publicize myself, branding, and building a solid writers platform left me more than a little overwhelmed. I mean, I’m a writer – doesn't somebody else take care of publicity?
Perhaps that was the case traditionally, but so much is expected of new writers (self or traditionally published) it’s difficult to sort out sometimes. So, I put it on the back burner for a while. Then, my cousin (also the godmother of my now 2 year old son) announced her engagement – her very short engagement.
Immediately I panicked. My husband had recently lost his job and I had no income to speak of being home from work to raise my son. What do I do for a gift?
I used what I had – my knowledge of Carina and her soon-to-be husband AND my ability to write. Thus, “The Adventures of the Ivancic Superheroes” was born. I immortalized this favorite cousin and her beau as Superheroes... I mean, how many people can say they got that as a wedding present?
Since my muses were real people and the characters reflect a good 60% of their true lives, I decided to keep this as my overriding platform. All of the main characters: good, evil, and unaligned, are drawn from people I know or have known at some point during my life.
Let me tell you, it was a lot of fun calling and emailing all of my old friends and family to get their permission to use their likeness (both mentally and physically) as representatives in the ongoing battle of good vs. evil. Everyone said yes.
Now for the platform of the comic book...umm, series of short stories...no, there had to be a visual medium... I decided to create a Superhero Literary Comic Photo-digest. The visual appearance of the idea was key. My drawing skills are basic and I didn't have the time to become a part-time photographer, so I needed to find a happy medium: borrowing free images from online and manipulating them when necessary to help enhance the more literary series of short stories.
This was not easy. While I am well versed in the powers of Photoshop, I am by no means an expert. Many of the images I chose are ‘representative’ of the story being told and for important close ups I did my best to use or combine images of my muses.
In fact, it's become ridiculously time consuming but as I develop the website and work on world-building, plot and character feasibility I find ways to balance my time for each issue.
I built the premise for The Ivancic Superheroes around the old comic/TV show Mutant X and newer programs like Heroes and Alphas, then added the more modern twist of a DNA compatible computer virus to mix things up. And my super-villain is a downtrodden geek who wanted to mould humanity into his version of the perfect society. This evil mastermind had to be based on my younger brother! Stewie Griffin and Mr. Burns are echoes of the underlying potent evil that my brother was as an adolescent.
The time and energy I put into crafting this parallel word for two superheroes attending college drew me into character development more deeply than I expected for this ‘fun wedding gift.’ I delighted in expanding on the profiles I developed for the website under the headings: Heroes, Villains, and Unaligned. I've considered turning the series into a novella when it's complete.
Currently, I aim to post a new issue to the website once a month. What began as a simple wedding gift has grown my author standing, helped me to build my writing platform, and developed my brand. As I wrote it, I discovered a common theme on my stories: self-discovery and a personal quest for truth. The very foundation of these ideas has captivated me and I hope will entice my readers.
Melissa Moores, OCT
Growing up in Ontario, Canada, Melissa Moores was the only child of a single mom. She discovered her passion for the arts at a young age when she wrote adventure stories and read them aloud to close family and friends. She focused on the dramatic arts in high school which aided her understanding of character motivation in her writing. She majored in Theatre Production with a minor in English, and then she went on to teach both elementary and high school for 10 years throughout Simcoe County.
Melissa currently lives with her husband and young son in Bradford, Ontario. She keeps busy these days building a website to host writing contests, writing freelance, researching self-publicity for novelists, querying agents, and working on her first science fiction novel The Chronicles of Xannia: Time’s Tempest.