What 7th Place Taught Me

We didn’t win the April Zuda contest with HydeBound. In fact, we rang in at a surprising 7th place, a travesty so great it broke the Zuda contest model. Okay, not really — although coincidentaly Zuda up and cancled the contest portion of their buisness right after the April contest was over. Many others have speculated as to why. As for me, I prefer to focus on the what; as in, “what now?”

Now that HydeBound didn’t win, what’s next? Thomas and I have discussed it and decided we will pitch the story to other publishers. It could run nicely as a monthly serial (although there WILL be a definite end in sight, lesson learned from the mistakes of BSG and Lost) or as one or more graphic novels. If we get no nibbles, we will go into the tank once more and work out our next move.

Rest assured, one way or another the story of HydeBound will be told.

Now, as far as the titular theme of this post: What, indeed, did coming in 7th place in a contest I had every expectation of winning teach me?

Short answer: that I did not write the pitch to win the contest.

I thought I did. There is little I’ve done of which I am as proud as those eight pages of HydeBound. I crafted those pages for specific effect, taking a risk in doing so that the artist wouldn’t be able to pull off what I intended. Of course, the finished product shows otherwise, Thomas being the brilliant fellow that he is. But my point is I thought I had a shot. The Instant Win was always the goal (where the Zuda staff just hands you a contract rather than putting you in the ring to fight it out) but I was very happy to be brought into the April competition.

But what I had done in crafting those eight pages was do my level best to sell the story to the reader, to convey everything I wanted before the last line delivered by Tupa, and to hook as many people as I could into wanting more of this story that I absolutely can not wait to tell.

And I’m okay with that.

Of course I wanted to win, and I tried to market the story; I looked for relateable angles, like making Facebook pals with anyone interested in Robert Louis Stevenson or Jekyll & Hyde, posting announcements on Soman chat forums as the story opens in Upolu, I asked advice of past winners (thanks, guys!) had flyers made up and posted, visited my local comic shops (who were surprisingly reluctant to deal with me) and of course let everyone I knew know what was going on. I even splurged on a little advertising on a comic forum (60k+ views, 15 clicks. Wow.)

And then I watched the front runners’ numbers climb at a pace I just couldn’t hope to match. And good for them – they figured out what they needed to do, and they did it.

So HydeBound wasn’t the perfect entry to win a Zuda contest, and I didn’t have a perfect plan for marketing it. That is a-okay. Along the way Thomas and I got so much wonderful feedback, and so many folks got to read and enjoy HydeBound, it was more than “worth it” to be in the contest.

Now I need to get to work on pitching HydeBound. Catch ya later.


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