The Walking Dave 10: Taking a Lesson From Stephan Pastis on Selling Your Art and Yourself

I taped this episode last week, but wound up using it for today because it was raining all day and night yesterday.

In this episode, I talk about an industry in its death throes as artists attempt to cobble a living together.

No, I’m not talking about traditional publishing (though I very well could be), I’m talking about newspapers, and comic artists. As someone who did comics for 10 years, I was both moved and depressed by watching the documentary Stripped.

I urge you to watch it whether you like comics or not because of some of the wisdom imparted by Pearls Before Swine artist Stephan Pastis (who I inadvertently called Stephen with an “e” in this podcast — whoops!), and what he had to say about making it as a creator today.

And his advice isn’t just for comic artists. It’s for anyone making a living selling themselves and their art.

I also talked about how the Penny Arcade guys turned the corner when they met their business partner.

This is a pretty art and marketing-centric episode today, but I think you’ll find some value in it.

In other news:

I still owe you a post about my favorite writer and homophobia. I want it to be awesome, though, so I’m holding it until tomorrow (Thursday).

Lastly, Amazon has the first two seasons of our zombie trilogy, Z 2134 and Z 2135, on sale today only for $1.99 as part of a Kindle Daily Deal. So if you haven’t gotten those yet, now’s a good time to do it while saving a few dollars. While you’re at it, if you’re in the US, you can pick up the end of the trilogy, Z 2136 (which will be available worldwide in 3 more weeks).

Lastly, at the end of this podcast I say I’ll be back on Monday. That’s because it was last week’s podcast I was originally recording for Friday. There will be a new episode this Friday, though.

And lastly (again) there’s a few minutes of dead air at the end of this one, so don’t wait around for an appearance by Nick Fury or something. When I say goodbye, you can turn off the audio. Or meditate. Whatever floats your boat.

Listen to The Walking Dave: Episode 10 below.

Or right click and save.


As always, thank you for reading/listening,



11 thoughts on “The Walking Dave 10: Taking a Lesson From Stephan Pastis on Selling Your Art and Yourself

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  1. Dammit I listened before I read the post. I waited and waited for minutes expecting a surprise appearance, not Nick Fury but like Brandon Sanderson or something. Meh!

    1. I’m confused by your comment, Nicole. Start paying graphic artists? Are you saying this in regards to helping support cartoonists? If so, I need to clear that up.

      Comics and hand drawn cover art are two different skills. I did comics for 10 years, professionally for three of those (5 if you count web syndicate as professionally). But the daily comics I’m talking about isn’t the same art style I’d use on our book covers. Otherwise, I would do it myself, or hire an artist who had the style I liked if it wasn’t mine.

      There are comic artists I would LOVE to see do a cover, but it would have to be the right project. And in most cases our dark horror stories wouldn’t be suited for a comic style cover as that isn’t the current taste/trends in cover design for our genre.

      In fact, we HAVE paid graphic artists to do our Inkwell covers when I didn’t think I could do the cover myself. Dark Crossings Collection and the forthcoming Threshold.

      However, I AM an artist. If I can do the covers we need, why would I outsource that? I LIKE doing covers. It’s one of the few times I get to put on my artist’s hat and I rather enjoy that part of the writing job.

      Even people we hire would use the very same resources we use for stock photos, and would manipulate them just the same as I do.

      But in a few cases, like with Unicorn Western or Guy Incognito’s books (which Sean writes), hand drawn WAS the way to go, and I wasn’t the one to do it because my particular art wasn’t fitting for those projects — something I recognized. So we went with outside talent in those cases.

      Hope I cleared things up.

  2. Hey, Dave :o)
    You definitely have to bring back your comics. Creativity breeds creativity. It will only make you more creative and more happy… and less angry… or happier about being angry! LOL
    And now, since you feel so strongly about needing to do it, you really must do it, so you don’t suffer negatively for not doing it. But I’m not telling YOU this; I’m just stating the truth of the fact (to have it out there in the world, empowering it) and encouraging/supporting your choice 🙂 DO IT ! ! !
    All four of my evil eyes want to see it >88-)

  3. Dave, I think the most important point on the subject of connecting with fans is this: there are hundreds, maybe thousands of times more KINDS of things to read, watch, listen to, etc, and you can generally get it all for cheap or free if you want. So, we creators have to build a connection with fans, give them that extra reason to spend their time and attention and some cash on our brand of stuff instead. That arena of connection is where the new style of marketing takes place.

    It’s amazing how much free content is out there; you can even game for free, when not so long ago being a gamer meant dropping $60 for a new game. Books, comics, heck, even action movies, you can get something for nothing. There are whole youtube channels dedicated to producing high quality fight sequences.

  4. Hi Dave,

    This is my first podcast that I am listening to… I think I can totally relate to having a regrets about not doing something I love. I am still trying to figure that one out… I have to try this walking podcast – it seems very cathartic and a good way to clear one’s head. I would love to read your comics. Really. I just signed up to get email notification for next time your post. Can’t wait… Thanks! 🙂

    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. The big thing about regrets (for me) is not to wallow in them and use them to fuel my desire to do the things I need to do. Hard to do (for me), but I’m working on it.

  5. About the Netflix-style of serving books to the readers:
    I don’t know if there’s any services in USA doing that, but here in Denmark, there is a service, that allows you to read all you want on your e-reader, for around $20 a month ( – in danish).

    Seen from my perspective, that’ll never hurt authors the least.
    This is the same kind of readers that borrows from the library. These readers won’t buy books. They want to borrow books. The often consume a lot of books, and many goes for their favourite authors, they have followed through many years. It could also be readers that have just bought their first e-reader, and am used to paying the normal $20-60 for a physical book (that’s the price here). I’m not sure how the authors get paid from the service we have, it must either be per borrowed book or a certain amount for a given period of time, that their book is available for the readers to dive into. They have thousands of books and authors like George R. R. Martin and Dan Brown. None of these two would give their books away without pay, so however they get paid, it must make sense to them.

    People like me, would never go for such a service.
    If I want to read free books on my e-reader, I can borrow them for free from our library. Or download free books from Amazon – there’s a shitload of them (not just funnelbooks, but stand-alone books too). I have some free books, but I really never read them, unless I’m especially interested in the author.

    So what do I read then? The books I choose to buy on Amazon. Written by authors I like. I’m not buying many right now, since I have a queue with around 10 books previously bought, that I want to read before I buy more. But I will continue to buy books this way, unless something dramatic happens, that will change everything. I love my Kindle. I love that the books doesn’t take up space in my overfilled apartment, I love that I can bring 500 books with me, everywhere I go (although I don’t go out much). Right now I’m not spending $20 a month on books, simply because I don’t have time to read them. But when I am spending money, it will be on books I really want to read, from authors I want to support.

    Hahaha – I’m rambling. Sorry about that.
    If this was TL:DR, then the short version of this comment was: Don’t worry about Netflix-services for books. The price should be extremely low, to even start to compete with the way we buy e-books now.

    1. Thanks, Anita. Sorry the comment got lost in spam. I’m not too worried about a Netflix for books yet. If and when it happens, we’ll try and find the best way to work WITH a system rather than against it.

  6. Hey, Dave, just wanted to drop you a note to mention that I really dig the way you think. I mean your thought process and the examples you use to back up your points makes a lot of sense to me.

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