What’s up comic fans! Do we have any aspiring writers visiting us today? If so, then this blog is dedicated to you. As I have mentioned previously, I am looking to create some comics of my own in the near future and have been doing research on how to do just that. During Comikaze this year, I attended a Self Publishing Symposium featuring Comic Indy Writers and Artists such as Joshua Henaman (Bigoot: Sword of the Earthman), John Hervey (Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury), Aleister Gilgrim (The Cemterians, Ferryman). I took extensive notes for myself when attending this panel and I am here this month to share them with those seeking to breaking into the comic business through self publishing. If you are such an individual, then read on!
The chair of the panel, (find name), broke down the process into steps. The first step is know where you are going. Are you looking to get picked up by a big name company, or do you desire to maintain full creative control of your work? This also includes goals like how many issues do you want to put out a year (is it digital or print), how many issues you want per series, and how much time do you plan to set aside a day to spend on producing an awesome product.
After this, you assemble your creative team. Yes, this means getting out there and networking! One site to start looking for artists is Deviant Art, which typically has individuals looking to get into creative projects such as comics. It is important to note that you must pay an artist for their time and need to have material already prepared for them to work on. This is a team effort, so schedules and ideals need to be discussed so that you can produce a comic you are both proud of. This can also be said for colorists and letterers. Other sites that can help you start networking include digital webbing forums, Facebook comic groups, PencilJack, and Meetup.
Next, you will want to get readers on board through crowd funding, like kickstarter and indy-a-go-go. (For successful endeavors, check out Sullivan’s Sluggers and Ley Lines comics.) For this, you need to do your homework and set realistic goals for yourself. Promising to produce too much in too short a time, asking for too much money when you have supported no one else, and having no material to share with perspective readers are some things you want to avoid before jumping into something like this. Also, manage your rewards. This means knowing how much postage and packaging costs (if you have physical items), knowing how much assembling a comic costs (again, if print is desired), and any other incentives you might provide. Kablam, Comix Wellsrping, and RA Comics Direct are some publishing groups to look into.
Following this, you manage your creative process. To do this you need to be consistent. Keep track of your projected time and original time to make sure you are working at an acceptable pace. Keltx is a software program that might be helpful during this creative process, as it helps with project writing. (I have recently discovered ComicLife myself, which includes a comic scripting format.) When you pitch ideas for crowd funding, to big name publishers, or to potential team members, make sure you have multiple issues “in the can,” as in finished. That way you present yourself in a professional and serious way. Find stores that are willing to take solicitations to get your work out there. Also, find a comic community and be a part of it. Support others, share important info, and get each in return! Till next month comic fans…
Lastly is marketing and promotion. This is where that community will come in handy as you blast not only your own social media sites, but can ask your new friends to do the same and generate buzz for your work. If you find yourself stuck with a bunch of copies of your comic that are just not moving, see what other self-publishers have done in the past and try again. The process takes time and effort, but if you are passionate enough to see your work come to life, it is well worth it.
Other tips worth sharing:
Comixology is a place to submit and publish digital comics.
Popular webcomics for inspiration: Remind, Mystery, The Oatmeal
Check out IndyPlanetDigital, Indycomicspro, and Wonderfunders.
Check out Space Mullet for more guidance.
Comixtribe is a place to get your scripts reviewed and workshopped, as is Comics Experience (though this one is a pay-site).
Get business cards, even if you are a writer.