Thursday, March 29, 2012

Big names in comic, fiction, and art industry, banded together by one man, publish Fables For Japan's disaster victims.

It isn't breaking news that Japan was hit hard by a 9.0 earthquake, tsunami, and three nuclear meltdowns.  If you are reading this blog, it is highly unlikely that you are reading about it for the first time.  What may be news to you, is that the disaster isn't over yet. 

An estimated 80,000 refugees from fukushima and surrounding areas are still in government issued "temporary" housing. Even a year after the disaster.  Read more about that here. That's just the refugees living in government housing, according to Wikipedia the disaster aftermath left over 300,000 refugees.

The assistance from the government, and Tokyo Electric Power, the company that owns the reactors, has not been enough to help these people get the medical, psychological, housing, financial, or job assistance they need.  Read more about that here.

It was by luck that I stumbled upon one concerned man trying to make a difference and move mountains on his own for the suffering peoples of Japan. His name is Jason Temujin Minor, a talented comic and 3D artist. If you haven't heard of him, you have probably heard of some of the comics and games he has worked on; from TMNT to Star Wars. Being moved to lend a hand to the people of Japan when the disaster first struck, Jason made a donation to the Red Cross.  At first he felt good about his donation, and the part he was playing in helping the victims. Then he saw a video of an entire village, on fire, and being swept away by the tsunami.  His small donation just did not fill the hole in his heart for what he saw. 

Jason is not a rich man, and was not sure how one person could make a difference, but he was determined to make that difference. In his search for how to help, Jason contacted a college student, Matt Funk, that was looking for artists to illustrate some short stories he had written. Matt intended to bind the stories and art into an anthology to sell and donate the money to charity for Japan. Jason volunteered, but due to logistical problems, Matt eventually called it off. 

Inspired by Matt's Idea, Jason decided to give another try at it. With Matt's permission, he picked up the project and all of it's challenges. Jason contacted many writers, and artists from all walks of the industry to promote his idea. His determination began to pay off as many industry big names began to show interest in his anthology. Here is a list of contributors. How many can you recognize?

First Book Contributors

Mark Badger Jeff Baker Anna Bron Leanne Buckley
Ross Carnes Christopher Clements Nancy A. Collins Federico Dallocchio
Nathanael Dodge Amy Evans Mathew Funk Joan Upton Hall
Kristen Grace Hall Mary Elizabeth Hall Phillip Hester Risa Horiuchi
Ryan Kelly Teddy Kristiansen Patricia Morse-McNeely Jason Temujin Minor
Stuart Moore Martin Pèrez Tom Peyer Eric Prince
Ayan Sengupta Gareth Sleightholme Leigh Walls Yao Xiao

Second Book Contributors
Carlos Cara Álvarez Andy Catlin Claudio Cerri Kourtis Charalampos (Babisu)
Mitch Cook Kristine Angela Demetrio Carolyn Watson Dbisch Mike Dubisch
Mathew Funk Vasia Glava Christopher Golden Keith Grachow
Joan Upton Hall Kristen Grace Hall Mary Elizabeth Hall Unnur Jònsdòttir
Achilleas Kokkinakis Khoa Le David Lloyd Pablo Marcos
Patricia Morse-McNeely Carol MacDonald Menchu Amy Mihara Jason Temujin Minor
Rebecca Minor Viktoria Piechowitz Neel Sawhney Andrew Segal
Gary Shipman Todd Shulek Gareth Sleightholme J.C. Vaughn
Shawn Wagner Mark Weatley Charles T. Whipple Charlotte Winroth

Third Book Contributors

To Be announced...

That's a pretty impressive list of writers and illustrators, but the content will get you hooked.  In the next few days, I will be writing detailed book reviews for both books. Strangely, even with such great support, paying for a bound book and hoping to make any money for the charity would create huge money, and logistical hurdles, and one of the many reasons Matt had given up. Jason decided to give it a shot as an e-book and set in motion the collection of artists, illustrators, and contributors.

Through incredible persistence and perseverance, Jason realized his project with the final construction of the first book on September 11th 2011. He put the book up for sale for $3.95, and announced it to the world! Even though he made a few sales and collected some money for charity, few people were buying the book compared to the supporters he had. After the second book was released January 9th, 2012 a lot of the hype for the book had subsided.  People weren't talking about it as much any longer. Charity sales were dropping.  There was still one more book to release but the support wasn't growing. He dropped the price to $2.95 and still nothing much changed.

When I found Jason it was the beginning of March 2012.  I was online searching for e-books to review for my websites and came across his.  I asked him if I could see a few pages of the books so that I could write an article about them on my blog and give his project some promotion.  I was pleasantly surprised when he gave me a free copy of both book one and two and asked me to promote it as much as I could.

I poured over the books, enjoying the stories and artwork and just delighted by the product overall. The writers and illustrators are first class, the stories are interesting and the entirety of both books are beautifully put together.  Even if it were $19.95, which is what this e-book should be priced at in my opinion, the value within the digital pages is worth every cent. I couldn't fathom why he was having difficulty selling these books.

After some thought, I realized what the problem was.  Jason was just one man promoting his idea.  He didn't have the marketing clout of a publisher necessary to promote this book and get noticed by enough people to really set it into sales motion. I encouraged into him that he would make a lot more sales for his charity if he could get more people talking about it on their websites. After some convincing, and willing to try whatever he could to keep his charity drive going, Jason joined an affiliate program.

It wasn't an easy decision for Jason. He had already collected $1,200 for International Medical Corps, doing a lot of work dealing with relocating the Fukushima evacuees and treating the psychological needs of the survivors (along with basic medical care.) Being in an affiliate program means he will have to give up a small portion of what he makes to pay the people marketing his book for him. However, the amount of marketing exposure he will get could really shoot his charity project into success!  His creativity, motivation, and care knows no bounds, and I hope everyone get's a chance to read this wonderful book and support his project.

To really show the people his idea, story, book and charities, Jason will be on the Grinning Studios Podcast April 2nd in an open interview to tell us all about it. The podcast will be available for download on April 8th. Comment on this post or send any questions you might have specifically to me in the contact me page and I will make sure they get asked in the interview.

I can't wait to talk to Jason and hear how this story progressed from desire to help, to fantastic e-book and beyond.  I hope you will join me in celebrating this creative, philanthropic adventure. Good job Jason, I admire you and though you don't call yourself a hero - and don't like it when other people call you a hero - heroes don't get to chose who calls them heroes. The victims get to choose, and as a first hand participant in the Japanese Disaster, I can tell you that you and the great list of people you have brought together for this production, are my heroes. 

Keep up to date on this and other events coming to Grinning Studios by Joining the mailing list. As an added bonus, anyone that joins the Grinning Studios mailing list will get an update on the release of the third book and more bonuses in the future, including information on how to promote your idea, tips and tricks for getting the word out and selling your creativity, and much more!

Stay Creative Jason Temujin Minor, It's Good For You.

Join the grinning studios mailing list here.

Buy Fables For Japan Here

Jason Temujin Minor's bio page.

Update 3/30/2012
I am writing a review for the contents of the books, Please look for it in the next few days.

I paid for my books today.  Both books. It was nice to get them for free, but now I feel legit.

Dear Steven,

Thank you for your purchase. Your Invoice ID is 3xq2dri4jrmj2oby8dwfdra0gs0wsk

You can download your order here:

We appreciate your support of Fables for Japan and sincerely hope you enjoy the e-books.

70% of the money from this purchase will be going directly to those affected by the March 11th, 2011 earthquake in Japan.

If you'd like to leave a comment or a review, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to post them here:

Follow our Facebook page:  and this Blog: to keep up to date with what's next for the Fables for Japan project.

Thank you.

Fables for Japan

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