I never intend to write a how-to book. I don’ t think of myself as someone who’s an expert at anything. But it turns out, I’m fairly darn good at a wide number of things, and that resulted in my current comic book series Sevara. I was able to teach myself how to pitch my script to companies, put together an art team, and raise money. So here I am, writing a how-to book. I’m writing it because I think that you should be selling your comic book idea if you’ve got some nagging concept banging around in there. You just need an instruction manual, and that’s what I’ve written.
So where do you start selling your comic book idea?
In the world of comics, your options are to write a single-issue comic book, a mini-series, an ongoing series, or a graphic novel. Publishers, distributors and comic book stores all want something different, which puts you as a writer in a difficult position. Imagine that you’ve just told someone about your idea. As soon as you finish your amazing pitch to a comic book company, their going to ask you, ‘is this a single issue, ongoing series, or one shot graphic novel?’ In the words of the great Admiral Ackbar, ‘it’s a trap’.
This is what happened to me a few years back. I didn’t understand the world of comics as well as I thought, and began writing a script for my comic book. I think I scripted ten issues. I then put those on the back burner and perfected one single issue, a zero issue, that I hoped to sell as a stand-alone story. When I approached comic book companies, it was a failure, and here’s why.
Making a single issue of a comic book is like making a TV show pilot with no series attached to it. No company will want to market a single issue, period. There’s no profit in it. And a single issue isn’t long enough to tell your whole story anyway. If you do produce it, readers will finish reading it in 20 minutes and search for the next issue. And because it takes months to produce a single issue of a comic book, you can’t make one issue, and then wait for the art team to start working on the next issue. Comic book distributors have timelines too. For both print and digital distribution, there’s a submission and approval process that takes months. So your #2 issue could come out a year after your #1 if you didn’t plan properly. That’s not good. By that time, the momentum of your #1 issue and all the press it generated is totally gone, and your readers have moved on.
This is all coming from personal experience. I’ll blog more about my journey as I produced Sevara. If you want to buy the book, go ahead and pre-order it now, it’s only $0.99 cents.