Jul 31 2017

Writing WIP Patreon Tier Created!

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I’ve added a new tier to my Patreon page, specifically for people interested in checking out my writing projects, including the Sky Pirates of Calypsitania and By Elves Abandoned series, plus whatever else I get rolling in the future.

Besides serializing the novel draft (posting a scene every week or so), I’ll also be posting items for feedback, looking for suggestions or ideas, and so on. If/when the novel is finally published I’ll make some kind of arrangements to reward Patreon subscribers who helped with it as well, but that’s something I’ll have to figure out when the time comes. XD

This tier is for supporters at the $3/month level. I believe that $3/month subscribers should start seeing the posts immediately (the first one will come later today or tomorrow), but you might want to edit your subscription to select the Writing WIP tier just in case.

Thanks as always, awesome subscribers! <3 REMINDER! All Patreon subscribers are eligible for commission discounts and early access to Suburban Jungle comics!

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Jan 27 2017

Commission Price Sheet 2017

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Commission prices by type and size.
(click through for full size)

Trying to make my prices a little more easy-to-calculate and a little less “pulled a number out of Buster’s shell.” 😀 Subscribers to my Patreon get a 5% discount.

When not at conventions, I can still sell the books and buttons but they’re easier to get through their respective publishers:

Books: http://furplanet.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=196

Buttons: https://snerksandquirks.com/

Enjoy! 🙂

-The Gneech

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Jan 10 2017

Creating a Dreamwidth-to-Twitter Crossposter

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With the recent decisions and actions taken by LiveJournal’s owners, many people are migrating their personal blogs to Dreamwidth, a “LiveJournal-like” blog that uses a very similar interface and can import existing LJ posts, comments, and settings to make the transition easier.

Unfortunately, Dreamwidth lacks some features of LiveJournal, including direct Twitter integration. But if you would like to have a script that will automatically post a tweet to your followers, there’s an easy workaround, thanks to a handy website called IFTTT (or, “If This, Then That”). IFTTT requires creating a free login, but is more than useful enough to be worth it.

The following steps assume you already have Dreamwidth, Twitter, and IFTTT accounts up and running.

Step One: Find Your Dreamwidth RSS Feed

Find your Dreamwidth RSS feed.A website’s RSS feed (short for “RDF Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication”) is a tagged XML file of posts made to that website, designed to make it easy for other services to “consume” the page.

Every time you post to your Dreamwidth account, your RSS feed updates, and that will be the trigger for IFTTT to send a post to Twitter. Most Dreamwidth styles have a button labeled “RSS” somewhere on your blog posts page. You can either click through the button, or right-click (contextual click) to find and copy the feed URL. If you can’t find it, try simply appending “/data/rss” to the end of your Dreamwidth account’s URL.

 

Step Two: Create a New IFTTT Applet

On IFTTT, go to the user menu on the upper right and select the “New Applet” option. That will take you to the “Applet Maker” screen.
Start a new applet on IFTTT.

 

Step Three: Choose the RSS Feed Source

Click on the blue “+this” link to choose a source, and from there click on “Feed” to select the RSS feed option.
The IFTTT Applet Maker page.

Select the RSS feed option.

New feed item trigger selectionThat will take you to the “Choose Trigger” page. Select “New feed item” to have the service scan for new post entries, and when prompted, copy and paste the RSS feed link from your Dreamwidth account (found in Step One) into the Feed URL field.

 

Step Four: Choose the Twitter Posting Result

Submitting the feed URL should take you to the next step of the IFTTT applet builder, giving you a prompt that looks like this:
 
"If (feed) then +" button
 
Click on the blue “+that” link to select your output destination, and then select “Twitter” as your action service.
 
Choose the Twitter output destination.

"Post a Tweet" selection and options.
 
This will send you to a screen asking what action you want to perform on Twitter. Select “Post a Tweet,” which will take you to a screen showing your various posting options.

A simple entry of “{{EntryTitle}} {{EntryUrl}}” will tweet the title of your Dreamwidth post followed by a link to that post, but you have several other options as well, including a timestamp (“{{EntryPublished}}”) or free text of your choice.

For my own Dreamwidth account, I entered “Dreamwidth: {{EntryTitle}} {{EntryUrl}}”, which produces a result like this:
My auto-posted tweet!

 

Step Five: Finish!

Finish your applet!
Once you have your tweet format set up the way you want it, click on “Create action” and you’re done! You’ll be given the chance to review your applet and make any final edits you might want. Once you approve the applet, it will go into the “My Applets” library. Then all you have to do is add a new post to your Dreamwidth journal, and your Twitter followers will be notified.

This same method can be used to create a wide variety of “cross-posters,” which is handy for anyone who runs more than one blog or other content creation service. The results may vary from service to service— different blogs have different methods of consuming and posting RSS feeds— but it is very flexible tool.

-The Gneech

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Jan 02 2017

SO. MUCH. STUFF.

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Fandom Guy loves you! And fish. He also loves fish.

Skip a week for the holidays, and suddenly I have a billion things to talk about! Let’s jump right in!

The Gneech on a surfboard shape with the title Bringin' the Awesome

So you remember I wasn’t satisfied with the “Three Lions and an Otter” motif because it was too close to M.C.A. Hogarth’s “Three Jaguars?” Sure ya do, it’s like the next post down from here. Anyway! I happened to be looking at my LinkedIn page and noticed a little thing I had dropped into my bio: “I’m all about bringin’ the awesome.”

Well… yeah. 😀

So that’s gonna be my thing. Expect a lot more bringin’ the awesome in 2017! The three lions and an otter are still there– they’re how I organize my workflow and my thoughts– but they’ll probably fade into the background a bit.

Commission Price Reorganization

My last price list update was in the summer and was pretty vague and incomplete. Pricing your own art is always tough– it’s kinda like a magic trick, and knowing how it’s done makes you forget the work and practice that actually went into it. I was told by a few artists I respect that I was undercharging, and I think it may have actually been hurting my sales, if the table at Midwest Furfest is an indicator.

So this is a heads-up, my prices will be going up a bit later this month, but they’ll also be more clearly defined, so it’ll be easier to look at what I offer, compare it to your budget, and decide what’s right for you.

“Learn To Use Copics” Sale!

Also! Part of my holiday splurge was to pick up something I’ve wanted for a while now: I bought myself twenty shiny new Copic markers, and I’m itching to learn how to use them! So in a week or two I’m going to open up slots for full-color real-media commissions at a crazy discount price, with the proviso that your piece will be a guinea pig for Copic practice, so the colors might be a little all-over-the-map. XD

Streaming Is a Thing!

The Gneech Streaming on TigerdileSo I have settled on Tigerdile as my streaming service of choice, and they’ve been pretty great so far. They’ve been responsive and friendly, and the site has a lot of nice features, with more coming in the new year. I’ll be streaming pretty regularly on Monday, Tuesday, and/or Wednesday nights, starting around 7:30 p.m. EST, working on commissions, the next comic page, or whatever else happens to be going on at any given time.

Phew! I think that’s everything for now? If not, I’ll let you know. 😉 Thanks for reading, and stay awesome!

-The Gneech

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Dec 19 2016

What Do You Do When You’re Branded?

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Fandom Guy loves you! And fish. He also loves fish.

As mentioned last week, I’m in the midst of something of a “brand overhaul,” which includes everything from my comics and art, to my novel writing career, to my business writing and graphic design efforts. Each of these categories need a slightly different approach, and I’m still banging out a strategy for that, but today I’m concentrating on the art end of things. Because this past week I set up a TigerDile streaming page, for which I needed some graphics to spruce up the place. To that end, I tossed together this banner image:

Three Lions and an Otter! Art by John 'The Gneech' Robey

Honestly? I like it. I like it a lot, in fact, except there’s one big problem, and that’s using “Three Lions and an Otter” as the central motif. It’s a handy model and I think there’s value in it as a touchstone for myself, but it’s not what I want to use for my “brand identity.”

As I took pains to point out when I first started using it, the idea was shamelessly stolen from inspired by M.C.A. Hogarth’s Three Jaguars. This is not a secret. In fact, it’s kinda the whole point. It was intended as a respectful nod towards a brilliant conceit. But what do I immediately get every time I reference “Three Lions and an Otter”?

“Say, are you familiar with Maggie Hogarth?”

“Y’know, M.C.A. Hogarth did something similar. You should check it out.”

“Have you seen Three Jaguars?”

Okay, world. I get it. Message received. XD

So I’m still casting about for a proper umbrella term to use for my “personal brand.” Don’t be surprised to see me “trying on” a few different ideas in the upcoming weeks! Some great ones I’ve seen over the years besides “Three Jaguars” include Michele Light’s Light Bright Studios, the OzFoxes, and so on.

I thought about simply broadening “Suburban Jungle” to reference the body of my work, with the original comic and Rough Housing simply being two projects flying under that banner, but I worry that might be too confusing. Those two projects share a history and a continuity, which random bits of furry art or whatever might not.

So… still chewing on it. I’m open to suggestions if you have any!

-The Gneech

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Dec 15 2016

Every Lion (and Otter) Has His Day

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Three Lions and an Otter

One of the purposes of identifying the three lions and an otter was they made handy touchstones for the tasks I need to get through with my writing and illustration. My plan was (and still pretty much is) that each of them would get a certain day (or days) during the week for their thing, to help me keep focused and on task.

Of the four of them, Content Guy requires the most time, because he’s the one who actually does the writing and drawing. On the other hand, Business Guy’s stuff doesn’t take as long, but it’s such a struggle for him that it feels like it takes forever. Fandom Guy loves what he does and is always having fun, but he has to focus his efforts on the days when people are most likely to be listening.

Muse never does anything directly. So she has no day… or it might be said she has every day.

Thus, assuming a five-day work week (which may or may not be a valid assumption), the week breaks down like so:

  • Monday: Fandom Guy! I haven’t looked into it recently, but for a long time the stats of websites made it very clear that Monday was the day people were most likely to check out links and want to be distracted from their day. So if Fandom Guy wants attention, this is the day to go for it. That’s why Suburban Jungle goes up on Mondays, and so when Fandom Guy has something to say, that’s the day you can expect to hear from him.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: Content Guy. Assuming nothing else gets in the way, these are the days our hard-working lion spends down in the pixel mines. Of course, this can also include work for Fandom Guy in the case of things like streaming sessions or posting commissions and the like. But these days are mostly for just getting the work done.
  • Friday: Business Guy. Last but not least, our frazzled number cruncher does his thing on Fridays, whether it’s paying the bills, keeping URLs up to date, booking convention hotels/travel, hunting down markets/editors to submit to, or updating merchandise availability. Why does he get Friday? So that at the end of a long day doing things for which he has little talent and less patience, he can kick back and have the weekend. 😉 He earns it!

Now given that the average page of Suburban Jungle takes me two days to draw, this means that Content Guy only has one day dedicated to business writing gigs, commissions, book writing and whatever else. But the sneaky trick here is that Fandom Guy and Business Guy rarely need a whole day each week, so Content Guy gets whatever they don’t use. Also, well, weekends are a thing. As the old saying goes, “Find a job you like and you’ll never work another day of your life.” I write and draw because that’s what I enjoy doing (and because I kinda can’t not do them), so as long as I have some time to spend with Mrs. Gneech and the kitties, “working” on the weekend is the opposite of a problem.

And on that note, I’ve got commissions to work on! Catcha later.

-The Gneech

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