Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Publishing My First Book, by Alec Frazier and Autistic Reality

The cover of Without Fear: The First Autistic Superhero, by Darius Johnson.
In this entry I shall profile my journey so far in producing my first book, Without Fear: The First Autistic Superhero. You may find the website for my publications here, and you may find the Facebook page for the book here.

In my first semester in UB’s Master’s program in disability studies, one of the classes I took was Introduction to Disability Studies. For the final presentation in that class, I was required to do a literature review on some work of literature that related to disability. One of my favorite comic books is Daredevil: The Man without Fear. I will not spoil the literature review, but I will point out that it has a great deal to do with autism.

After I was done with my paper and my first semester as a grad student, I asked my advisor, Michael Rembis, whether he would know of any way to get the book published. He pointed out that as it was my first literature review for my Master’s, it would be difficult to get it published in a professional journal. He stated that there may be fan journals to publish it in, but that I would know more about that he would, as I am the comic book fan.

I have been a fan of comics since I was at least two years old reading Scrooge McDuck. At four, I got my first issue of Spider-Man. When I was living in Ithaca, New York, I was a member of the Comic Book Club of Ithaca, the oldest continuously active comic book club in the nation, and perhaps the world. In Buffalo, New York, where I currently live, I’m a founding member of the current incarnation of Visions Comic Art Group.

One of my very good friends, Emil Novak, Sr., is the editor-in-chief of Visions. I asked him if it would be possible to put my story in the next Visions Anthology. He informed me that unfortunately it was not the kind of work that would fit in with the rest of the work in the anthology. The work was originally a literature review, and it will stay that way. I was not expecting a physical publication; these days, it is far more likely to be published online. Nevertheless, I received a phone call a few days later saying that Emil had decided to give me my own book. It was this offer on his part that showed me what a wonderful friendship I had cultivated.

Initially, my assumption was that Emil would pay for the production of the book. However, he said that copyright considerations had made him wary of completely financing the production of my work. After checking with a legal expert, I was able to assure him that copyright would not be an issue. Nonetheless, he stated that I would have to pay production of the book. That was perfectly fine with me.
Preliminary Pencils of Tim Urich as a kid, by Aaron O’Brian.
One of the next steps was to commission artwork for the book. Emil promised to get some artwork for the book from some of his many artistically inclined contacts. The idea was to have four or five drawings. I stopped in one week, and asked whether or not he had drawings yet. He told me that we may have to go with stock drawings. In other words, he said we may have to go with drawings that had already been made for other purposes. I pointed out that I would much rather not have the book published if it could not have original art. I spent the next several hours rushing around looking for drawings from many of my artistic contacts.
Preliminary drawing of Daredevil in a heroic pose, by Jeff Perdziak.
One artist wanted to do an elaborate watercolor for $100 or more. I respectfully declined, because it was not what I was looking for. I asked Aaron O’Brian to do one of the drawings, of Daredevil in a heroic pose, and he agreed. In the middle of this, I received a message from Emil asking for short, immediate answers as to which drawings I needed done. It turns out that, without me asking for his help, he was going ahead and commissioning drawings for me. I would still have to pay for them of course, but I was ecstatic that he was able to pull favors with his contacts in the art world. In the end, we got Aaron O’Brian to do the drawing for part one of the book, of Tim Urich as a kid, we got Jeff Perdziak to do the part two drawing of Daredevil in a heroic pose, and we got artist Darius Johnson to do the cover. The deadline was tight, but they managed very well. I also asked Emil to make a PDF copy of the book, so that it could be made accessible to people with disabilities.
Preliminary inks of Tim Urich as a kid, by Aaron O’Brian.
While the artists were finishing their work, I worked on layout, formatting, and overall arrangement of the book. I rewrote the ending a little bit, did spell check again, added an acknowledgments section, and added my list of resources for the disability community, not all in that specific order. When the cover drawing came in, I mocked up a layout of the front cover. I also mocked up a layout of the back cover with a synopsis and my biographical information. The last change I made before submitting the book to Emil for publication was that I moved the biographical information including a photograph of myself to the last page of the book, instead of the back cover, thereby giving it more room.

Now the book has been turned in for publication. I have yet to pay for the publication and see the final product, but I am very confident that it will turn out well. I am very grateful to my wonderful friends in the comic art business for helping me get this book done. It by far surpasses my wildest dreams.


I have been informed by Emil that there is space for four illustrations, as I have planned. What is news to me, however, is that all four of the illustrations have to be on the cover: one on the front cover, one on the inside front cover, when on the inside back cover, and one on the back cover. I have since edited my mock-up accordingly, and sent it back to my editor, Emil Novak, Sr.

Update 2.0!

Emil Novak, Sr. has come up with a logo for me, and has put it on the cover of the book. He is currently busy working on layout of the interior of the book to send it to the publisher.
The rough draft mockup of the cover, art by Darius Johnson, general layout by Alec Frazier, and draft mockup by Emil Novak, Sr.

Update 3.0!

Emil Novak, Sr. came up with pricing options for me today, March 26, 2014:
#1. For 100 Books the total cost would be $225 for all printing and bookletting.

#2. For 250 books the total cost would be $517.50 for all printing and bookletting.

#3. For 500 books the total cost would be $995 for all printing and bookletting.
I asked him if 150 books was an option, to which he said it was and he would come up with a price for me. He got back to me and said that printing and book letting for 150 books would be $337.50, and that print turn around would only be one day. I stated that I would go with 150, and for each book I would levy a suggested donation of five dollars, except for students for whom it would be three dollars. The money I would make off of selling the books would go towards making back the money spent on publication and getting my business, Autistic Reality, registered with the proper authorities. I also requested that Emil put on the front cover the wheelchair logo and a notification that accessible format copies would be available upon request. The book is now in the phase where it can no longer be edited on a whim, and will shortly be presented to the publisher for printing. Emil should get the invoice for the publishing on Monday, at which point I will pay him the $337.50 cost for publication. I thanked him for making my dreams a reality, and he said, “All I know is, you’re one of Prof Xavier’s gifted mutants,” which has to be one of the biggest compliments I have ever received!

This blog posting is both the personal opinion of Alec Frazier, and the professional policy of his advocacy firm, Autistic Reality. If you oppose it, please screen grab it! We are very proud of this opinion!


Blue Sky said...

My friend, this very good news. I am always willing to help people of the alternative publishing scene, if it's music or art or writing. So tell me what I can do for you. Alles Liebe, uncle Al :o)=

Donald said...

Congratulations! It helps that you've been so attentive to the process, which is not unlike hundreds of small presses all over the country.