How to pitch your comic book to companies, and get found.
I’m not going to claim to be an expert, but as an indie comic book writer, I’m happy to share my experiences pitching my project to comic book companies and finding a publisher. I did it. It wasn’t easy. And I didn’t get signed with Marvel or DC. But my work is out there. It’s on ComiXology and Amazon and (very soon) comic book shops.
Many blogs start off by saying how hard it is to pitch your comic book or make it in this business, particularly for writers. Well, it’s hard for artists too. And for colorists. But hell, if it was easy, my grandma would have a monthly title in the Diamond catalog. It does take work. It does take hours. But there is a method. The pitch for writers is not a secret, but you do have to know how. It is possible. If you love writing and promoting, then keep reading.
About five years ago, I was sitting in a workshop about religion. We all have to admit, things are getting a bit out of hand right now, not just in the Middle East but all over the world. America, Europe, Africa – religious extremists are turning civilization upside down, and combating it seems to only make it worse. But I am a very religious, spiritual person to the core. It’s what keeps me going many days. And it drives a hot knife into my heart to see gruesome acts committed in the name of ideologies that promote peace and love.
My next thought was NOT ‘let’s pitch a comic book about that’. Honestly, it wasn’t. My background is in theater and photography, and my first reaction was to write a play. But the words of my theater teacher from Boston University echoed in my head. He had one golden rule, which was ‘don’t be boring’ (or ‘end with a song’ if its a musical). My work and life situation forced me to abandon the idea of a play, but as an artist and creator, I had to do something.
Stories move us. Stories help us understand how the world works. Stories teach us, scare us, and inspire us. If stories are so powerful, then I’m going to have to create a new story to combat the narratives that are driving religious conflict. I’m going to need a new hero. Thus, Sevara was born.
I had never written a comic book script, or even a screenplay or a novel, let alone pitched to companies. That was five years ago, and five years of research, editing, criticism and re-writes (the essence of writing is re-writing, remember that) later, I do finally know how to pitch your comic book. But I had some advantages on my side. My background in literature certainly helped with the dialog side of comic book writing. My Master’s degree in digital photography allowed me to understand file types, image formatting, and even to logo and web design. Hell, I did the color for the first two covers, and I’m not a colorist. But most important, I don’t sleep much. I read and research the internet like crazy. And when several people all say ‘do this,’ I’m good at following directions. I’m humble, I take advice, I take notes, and I get things done.
What that does for you the reader is give you access to my knowledge. I’ve already done the research, polished a script, signed contracts with an art team, and pitched my concept to comic book companies. And since I’m not an artist, my insights are primarily for writers. And I’ll be honest about how hard it is, how expensive it is, but also how possible it is as well. I’ll never say that you shouldn’t do something you love. You should always follow your dreams, always.
Five years later, my comics are on ComiXology, the trade paperback is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and I have a tie-in novel. We should be going to Diamond in a few weeks. It didn’t happen overnight, and it wasn’t a miracle. I didn’t hear back from most people I pitched to, and negotiations with one publisher fell through after months and months. But I learned a lot. Volumes in fact.
If this topic is of interest to you, please contact me, post a message, send a tweet, or otherwise let me know you’re out there. That’s the only thing that will motivate me to write more. I love to help. Writers always get paid after the fact, so I might as well offer my wisdom up front. I won’t give advice, but instead I’ll walk you through the steps that I took to get where I am. I’m not a millionaire, but I have a book out there.