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Friday, November 25, 2005

Art of Otaku Officially Launched!
While I did have a really great Thanksgiving, I have to sheepishly admit I spent probably 100 hours this week doing final edits on Art of Otaku.

I locked myself in my room and kept AIM off.

But I'm very happy, as look what I've accomplished!:

* Added much, much better internal navigation for Art of Otaku

* Incorporated commentary and trivia by Gail and her husband John

* Let beta customers upgrade to the final version for free

* Setup secure.velegant.com, an in-house payment processor complete with 128 bit encryption

* Setup a tracking infrastructure, so that we can start advertising Art of Otaku on a larger scale

We now have a better product and the capability to begin really pushing it.

As I've always said, my #1 goal with Art of Otaku is volume. I promised a royalty check to each of our artists if we hit 500 sales.

And I intend to get there.

Check it out: Art of Otaku

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Monday, November 21, 2005

An "Oh Crap!" Moment
I've been scrambling to add some last-second features to Art of Otaku.

However, given that the guide is over 850 pages, it's an absolutely monumental task.

It also involves a LOT of tedium. Copy, paste, copy, paste, copy paste...thousands of times.

So I spend 2 hours doing it.

And suddenly I have an "Oh Crap!" moment. I realized I was editing the wrong version of Art of Otaku!

UGH! I'm a computer zombie now, I guess I have to try again tomorrow...

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Art of Otaku Live
I spent about 9 hours today working on Art of Otaku.

I added an outline view, links all over the place, created the ArtOfOtaku.com page, polished about 30 new pages of tutorials, and uploaded everything.

What I wasn't able to do was get our secure credit card page to work properly. So I need some more time for that.

We're also going to try to get the CD out as soon as possible.

In total, Art of Otaku has grown to over 850 pages.

I'm truly exhausted now. If you didn't make the beta and don't want the CD version, just go to ArtOfOtaku.com and download away.

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Art of Otaku Update
It's going to be really, really tight to make the November 20th launch.

Like really tight.

We might have to delay it a little. And we won't be able to get the CD version done by the 20th.

Ah, the price of 'last minute changes.'

On another note, check out Gail's site (username: Panda). I always look forward to her posts.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Wow, Stressing and Loving It!
Just finished my interview with the Japanese magazine. I think it'll turn out great, there's even a picture of me with Porco Rosso sitting on my shoulder.

I also snuck in pictures of Gail (hope you don't mind!) and Justin's dog, Taz (our unofficial mascot).

Ugh, I have a business trip that leaves in 3 hours. It's 1:30 AM now, I'm going to be soooo tired when I wake up...

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Saturday, November 5, 2005

Art of Otaku Reviews
I got 10 new reviews for Art of Otaku. Rather than type them all out (it would take too long), here are the number scores they gave:

10, 10, 7.5, 9, 8, 10, 10, 10, 7, 8.5

Statistically, the average score is a 9, the median score is a 9.5, and the modal score is a 10.

That makes me happy ^_^.

Even better, of the 10 people, 7 said that Art of Otaku was "way better" than any other anime drawing book they've read.

And the remaining 3?

They said it was "better" than any other anime drawing book.

That makes me even more happy. ^_^

As a small bonus, I'm pleased to say that our artists have agreed to add a few extra tutorials before launch. Just a nice 'thank you' for how warmly the guide has been received.

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Thursday, November 3, 2005

Adam, the Japanese Pop Star
So a major Japanese PC/Internet magazine, with a readership of 250,000 people, wants to do a 100-question interview with me.

They have a monthly feature where they pick a Japanophile from overseas and ask him questions. Some of the questions are really ridiculous, like "what is your dream and what is your treasure."

I personally don't like this sort of attention. I'd rather focus on all the mountains of stuff here.

But hey, how could I pass up an opportunity to show off our network to 250,000 people?

Hm...I wonder how many times I can plug our various sites throughout it.

I can see it now:

THEM: Adam, what celebrity do you most resemble?

ME: Well...the people at OtakuBoards.com say I resemble Hiroshi Yamauchi, but James at myOtaku.com says I look more like Raul Julia.

THEM: What's your favorite color?

ME: Hm...tough one. ArtOfOtaku.com has a red logo, but theOtaku.com is more orange. However, I'll settle for blue, which is myOtaku.com's default color.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2005

So, So, So Exhausted
...Both mentally and physically. Today was literally insane.

But first, let me say that our beta run for Art of Otaku exceeded my expectations. Saying it was a big success is an understatement.

I had nightmares last night that its beta launch would be like the launch we had for Velegant Web Hosting. (Where a grand total of 2 people signed up the first day.)

So where do I begin?

First, I received about 100 emails throughout the day asking questions and making comments. About 40 of them asked why Art of Otaku wasn't free. I guess I can go into that in another blog post.

You can imagine me typing like crazy trying to keep up with them. Everytime I finished writing an email, I'd refresh my inbox and there'd be 2 or 3 more.

Second, PayPal chose this week to have a system-wide glitch in their system. This caused about 30% of the people who paid to get into beta not to receive their download links!

I was mortified. So on top of writing and responding to emails, I had to calm all our beta members down and send them replacement download links.

I had tested our system so much last night only to have a billion dollar company like PayPal screw up. *sigh*

Third, we received three "first glance" reviews today.

Reviewer A loved it and said she can already see improvement in her art. She gave it a 10/10.

Reviewer B said it'll be an amazing reference for her to have in the future and gave it an 8.5 / 10.

Reviewer C said she wished there was more on drawing your own poses/drawing clothes/and drawing animals. She gave it a "6 or 7" out of 10.

All in all, not a bad showing. You might think it's odd I'm showing you the third review, but I want to be as honest and transparent about the guide as possible.

Because today has stressed me out so much (I think I have wrinkles now), I'm going to take down the beta page sometime tomorrow. Then I can focus on the final launch.

So did anyone who visits my blog buy the guide? And, if so, what did you think?

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Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Holding My Breath
We launched our beta run tonight for Art of Otaku.

We invited the people who had enough enthusiasm about the guide to give us their email address.

We're giving them a very good discount.

The stakes are VERY high.

After all, if our most excited members don't bite even after being given the discount, it could mean five months of hard work down the toilet.

I'm holding my breath, I'll start breathing again when it's midnight tomorrow.

(You'd think I'd be used to these big launches by now, but I'm nervous as heck..)

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Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!
Last night James greatly magnified Art of Otaku's production value. If you're a fan of his designs, you'll love the guide's cover and artist chapter pages.

Also, snow fox did a fun Halloween teaser for ArtOfOtaku.com.

Most importantly though, we now have three reviews for the guide.

Dagger, our news editor, gave it above an 8 / 10 and said it kicked the competition's butt.

James gave it a 9.5 / 10 and says he can bring that number to 10 if he can improve the production value further.

And one of my harshest critics of all, my brother, gave it a 9 / 10. He doesn't even like anime, but says that he loves Art of Otaku. He's an art student and says that the guide helped him draw the best profile of his life.

Three great reviews by three people I love. What more could you ask?

Have a Happy Halloween! I'm going to try to have as much fun as possible tonight (Halloween is crazy in New York City).

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