Indie Creator Turns to Kickstarter to Fund Graphic Novel

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I recently had the pleasure of meeting indie creator, Michael Lagacé at Fan Expo Vancouver and was intrigued by his plans for a self published graphic novel, The Forever Maps. Michael, who is based in Vancouver, informed me that he was using Kickstarter to crowd source the funds necessary to produce his graphic novel and that his campaign was coming to a close. Upon my return to Toronto, I had the chance to catch up with Michael to learn more about The Forever Maps and his Kickstarter campaign. 
1. Tell us about The Forever Maps.
The Forever Maps is a story about how we can miss everything important when we go through life focused on one thing. It follows a man named John who is given a map, which leads him to another map, and another, and on and on. After some time, it seems that as long as he follows them, he never gets older; however, after it’s far too late, he realizes that when he stops, his age quickly catches up. By then he’s fallen in love and started a family, so he is continually forced to choose between living forever or having a life worth living, regardless of how long that may be.
2. How did you come up with the idea?
The idea for the story came from thinking about the consequences of immortality. Everyone has their own path in life, and we are all limited by time. If we weren’t limited by time, though, maybe our paths would be instead. Once this was in mind, incorporating maps seemed like the best symbolism.
3. What was it like collaborating with the artist, Todor Hristov on The Forever Maps?
Working with Todor is a dream. He’s creative, energetic, and wonderfully talented. From the first time I saw his artwork I knew I wanted to work with him. Every page he sends me just blows me away. He’s got a cinematic style that adds so much drama to every panel. I honestly don’t know how he does it, but I’m glad he does. I’m eager to see what he does with the rest of this story.
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4. You’ve decided to use Kickstarter to get The Forever Maps funded. What has that experience been like?
The Kickstarter process has been really inspiring! I got my first pledge from a complete stranger only minutes after launching, and I was immediately floored. It was so humbling to think that someone from across the world saw a glimpse of what we can do and got on board without hesitation. All our backers have been unbelievably supportive of the project, and it’s been a huge driving force for us. I can’t thank the Kickstarter community enough.
5. Aside from The Forever Maps what other projects have you worked on?
We’ve previously worked on a couple of briefs that are available for free on my web site, mrlagace.com. The Grave Train Robbery is about a group of bandits that unwittingly decide to rob a ghost train, which is never a good idea. The second is The Mad Trapper, which is based on a true story that happened in the 1930s in the Northwest Territories. It’s a piece of history that fascinated me, and I was compelled to adapt part of it into a comic.
6. After The Forever Maps is published do you have any other projects planned?
Definitely. After this project is published, Todor and I have a few other things we’ve been talking about. There’s a good chance that we’ll be collaborating on a couple other short comics to collect into a small anthology. Beyond that, we both have a lot of ideas, and we love working together, so I’d say the sky is the limit.
7. Do you have any advice for writers who are trying to find artists to work with?
Browse a lot of portfolios, look for strong sequential art. There are a few different sites that are full of amazing and talented artists, but you want someone who will be able to visually tell the story that you wrote. Their style should match the tone of your theme. If you like an artist’s work, tell them. Start a dialogue and see if you get along, because this is critical to a working relationship. Tell them about your idea. Start with just the fewest details, because you don’t want to waste their time. If they’re interested, they’ll ask for more. Expect to get turned down several times, and don’t take it personally. You want an artist who is as passionate about the story as you are, someone who will take it seriously. This usually means hiring a professional, which means you’ll need to pay them. Never expect an artist to be so into your idea that they will work for free, and again, don’t take it personally. As a writer in a medium that is centred primarily around art, you need the artist and they need a wage to live. However, if you do happen to find an artist that believes in your idea enough to work for royalties, cherish them!
8. For those who are interested can you give us some information about how to contribute to your Kickstarter campaign?  
If you go to www.theforevermaps.com you will be redirected to our campaign page. If you’ve never used Kickstarter before, it only takes about 5 minutes to sign up. For $10, you get a complete digital version of the book, and for $15 plus shipping, you get the printed copy. We’re so close to our goal right now, but we need all the help we can get. So check out our site, and if it’s something you’re into, please make a pledge if you can! Thank you!
Michael’s Kickstarter campaign for The Forever Maps ends .

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