9 Easy to Follow Steps on How to Publish a Comic Book
We live in world and age where comic books are becoming increasingly popular. More and more people are eager to write their own comic books. If you are one of them, you are probably looking for a genuine resource to teach you how to publish a comic book.
You have landed on the right page. Here you will learn how to contact the best comic book publishers available out there and how to publish your own comic book in a very short span of time.
For many generations, comic books have captured the imagination of both young and adults. Even though Marvel holds the monopoly in this industry, there are many indie authors who become successful with comic books. I am one of them.
However, I don’t want to give myself as an example of success. Instead, I want to tell you a true story about two regular guys just like you and me who took an idea and managed to monetize it. It all happened back in 1984, when Peter and Kevin came up with a truly great idea for a comic book.
Instead of looking for a traditional company to publish their new comic book, they tried the standard do-it-yourself route. To get enough money for the first 3,000 copies, they borrowed a fortune from Kevin’s uncle. They’ve also spent some of the money they had on marketing their comic book through printed ads.
Soon enough, these two guys started to get calls from distributors, retailers and publishers eager to promote their book for them. The first 3,000 copies sold almost instantaneously. In less than six months, they have already sold more than 150,000 copies nationwide.
By comparison with what Peter and Kevin have managed to accomplish, the best-selling comic in 2011 has sold roughly 135,000 copies, with 15,000 less than what these guys managed to accomplish more than three decades ago all by themselves.
You’ve probably guessed the comic book that made Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman two of the most successful entrepreneurs of the last century. It is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Because they managed to succeed three decades ago, with little help from publishing houses and marketers, you can also succeed today, especially as help is available at every step.
If you want to be successful selling your comic book, you need to find the best independent comic book publishers and ask them to help you out. However, before diving into the independent comic publishers industry, it is imperative to discover if you have truly created a comic book that will impress.
Here are 6 steps on how to format your comic book the right way.
6 Aspects to Consider when Creating your Own Comic Book
1. Determine your Goals
For starters, you need to determine the reason why you are creating a comic book. Do you simply want to build a large network of fans or are you in for some profit?
Your goal is very important, because it will decide the course of your comic book creation and publishing process. For instance, if you just want feedback for your comic and you want to establish a long-term relationship with your target niche, you should publish your comic book online.
However, if you want to give physical copies to all your relatives and friends and get your comic book into bookstores, you probably want to go with a print publication.
As a rule of thumb, it’s cheaper to start online by looking for inexpensive comic publishers, and then start selling print copies once you have built your own database.
2. Start with a Unique Idea
Everything starts with an idea. The better the idea, the more successful you can get. As a professional storyteller, you need to have the best idea possible in order to attain your goals. Thus, keep your notebook with you at all times. In case a great idea pops into your mind, you can always write it down.
Even a simple conversation with a good friend can become the catalyst for your new comic book. Always stay alert and look for the perfect idea for your comic book.
For instance, I have met with a good friend of mine 4 years ago at a cafeteria. Discussing our mundane tasks, he suddenly told me how happy he would be if he would be able to do several things at once. That’s how I got the idea for my new comic book – a character able to be in several places at once. Just imagine the fun he has when fighting his foes.
This is just an example of a finding the idea of your comic book. You can do many more things to find a great idea. For instance, you can have a trip to the Andes and think of a start for your comic book while taking in the amazing view. Of course, you can travel somewhere closer, to the Rockies or even to the hill close to your backyard.
3. Write a Script
Now that you have an idea and you know how you would like your comic book to look like, it is time for the hardest part, which is writing the script. One of the most common mistakes people make is thinking about selling and promoting their comic books without even having a script.
Always have a script ready before writing your book. The story goes first, the layout after. Before starting your script, have a solid outline in place. Include a beginning, middle and end, and also create a believable setting.
Writing a script could prove to be quite a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done something like that before. Here is a long and comprehensive guide that teaches you how to write a compelling and winning comic book script: http://chrisoatley.com/how-to-write-a-comic-book-script/.
4. Plan the Layout
Once you have a script in place, it is time to start drawing. Probably the most important aspect of planning your layout is to remember that you want to keep the reader interested.
At the end of each page, use a cliffhanger to draw your readers in and let them know that something unique is going to happen on the next page. However, when placing the drawings, do not forget to leave room for dialogue.
5. Draw the Comic and start Coloring
Whether you are working digitally or traditionally, drawing the comic could prove extremely difficult, especially if you’ve never done it so far. For starters, focus on getting your comic drawn. You can always perfect it during the inking stage.
The inking stage is where you start cleaning up your drawing and adding depth to each illustration. You can either do that all by yourself or hire an artist to help you.
In the coloring part, you need to use smart colors that can make a scene come alive. Imagine the confusion you would bring to your readers if your superhero’s eyes were red in one scene, blue in the next and yellow in the last one.
Probably one of the most overlooked parts when designing your comic book is the lettering and font aspect. You may have the perfect story and extremely good illustrations. But if your fonts and lettering is all messed up, not many comic book fans will be thrilled by your story.
Use fonts that complement your story. Here is a great site that offers the biggest collection of comic book fonts: http://blambot.com/. Browse through the fonts and choose the right one for you.
9 Steps on How to Publish a Comic Book
Once your comic book is properly formatted, it is time to find an independent comic book publisher or large publishing house and start your marketing process. Here is a 9-step guide on how to make your comic book famous.
1. Locate the Best Comic Book Publishing Companies
When it comes to comic book companies, you can keep your peace of mind. You literally have no reasons to worry, because there are dozens of comic book publishers out there waiting for you. Whatever the country you are in, you can find at least one comic book publisher in almost any country of the world. Here is a complete list of comic book publishers worldwide.
You can find the right comic book publisher for your needs by looking online, by going to conventions and expos or by browsing through comic books at a bookstore.
Most comic book houses hire artists and writers to work on existing projects, so instead of a publisher you might also find an employer.
2. Review the Submission Guidelines
Next, you have to review the submission guideline of each publisher. At this point, you should already know that each publishing house has different rules and regulations. For a flawless comic book printing experience, you need to ensure your comic book meets all the submission rules of the publisher.
In addition to the 4 major comic book publishers, namely Dark Horse, DC Comics, Image Comics and Marvel Comics, you can find tons of independent comic publishers. This list includes AdHouse Books, Blurred Books, Blank Slate Books, NBM, Secret Acres, Insomnia Press, Top Shelf Productions, Amaze Ink, Alterna Comics, Atlantis Studio, Avatar Press, Red 5 Comics, Studio 407, Time Bomb Comics, 2000 Ad Online, Allegory or Boom Studios.
There are practically hundreds of publishing companies out there, each with its different submission rules. Here is an article that lists most of these companies, together with book publishers, magazines and comic & cartoon syndicates.
For instance, while Action Lab Entertainment accepts only fully realized projects owned entirely by the creator, Aspen Comics is in the business of pairing creators.
3. Do your Research
Always do your research before choosing a specific publisher. While the submission rules might be easier to meet, some publishers do not worth the effort. Search on their sites, social media accounts, blogs and review sites to discover which publisher deserves your attention.
Once you find out the reputation of a publisher, determine its credibility and find out it has managed to help other comic book authors just like you.
4. Find Followers
Before you get your comic book published, it is wise to start building up a group of people who are eager to buy it as soon as it gets out. Create a private Facebook group and post regular updates about your comic book. Keep your fans up to date and they will definitely help snowball your marketing process.
5. Leverage the Power of Contests
To enjoy an even broader exposure, in addition to social media promotion, you should start entering in contests. Most individual publishers offer talent searches and sponsor contests. If won, these contests can establish your authority and credibility as a comic book artist.
6. Be ready to Write a Query Letter
Some comic book publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. In this case, you need to be ready to write a query letter, also known as cover letter. Introduce your work, highlight all of your accomplishments, mainly those related to the comic book industry.
Additionally, list the contests you’ve won, explain why your comic book is the best and outline the large number of people who are waiting for the official release of your masterpiece. Summarize your book and send a text sample.
Start telling everyone about your work. Selling is definitely not easy, especially if you do not have too many marketing skills. Luckily, social media makes things easier. Create daily posts, publish updates, create contests and upload new photos to spread the word about your new comic book.
8. Use a Self-Publishing Comic Book Tool
Fortunately, publishing your new comic book has been made easier thanks to the Internet. For instance, ComiXology has just released a new Submit distribution platform, which is quite similar to Kindle Direct Publishing.
This platform allows you to submit your work, which will be seen by thousands of publishers and potential buyers. How simple is that? I have personally used this tool, along with Barnes & Noble’s PubIt, and have found it exquisite.
The last step is waiting to hear from your publisher. This takes a minimum of one month, and can take up to three months. Your patience will definitely be rewarded.