Tag Archives: comics

Need help writing your comic?

Are you writing a comic book? Here are the websites and links that helped me. I adapted my play into a comic book by reading tutorials that others posted online. I love the internet!

But it all starts with the story. If you don’t have a story, you have nothing.

Perfecting your story

 

Robert McKee; I talk about McKee in depth in this book because I found this work extremely useful, I highly recommend checking it out: http://www.amazon.com/Story-Substance-Structure-Principles-Screenwriting/dp/0060391685/

 

Screenwriting 101 by FILM CRITIC HULK! on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Screenwriting-101-Film-Crit-Hulk-ebook/dp/B00H0NQE7S

 

HULK’s blog: you should seriously spend some time reading his blog posts, he blogs here: http://birthmoviesdeath.com/author/film.crit.hulk

 

Writing an episodic story; comic books are long form storytelling. Not many articles deal with this. Here’s one about TV storytelling: http://storyfix.com/the-key-to-writing-an-inherently-episodic-story-effectively

 

Sample comic book scripts; Scripts & Scribes has many other resources as well: http://www.scriptsandscribes.com/sample-comic-scripts/

 

Writing for comics, 5 rules by Joe Edkin: http://revista-comics.blogspot.com/2011/10/writing-for-comics-by-joe-edkin.html Joe’s web articles about writing for comics are fantastic. His site is down, but some of his tips are archived on other people’s blogs.

 

Outlining your comic book by Joe Edkin: Joe’s resources are the best there are, unfortunately his page is down. This is a saved snapshot of a page from his website about outlining and page breakdowns: http://archive.is/vWv5

 

Plot points; The Script Lab has lots of resources that are handy. Check out this page and many others for help with story and plot. You can see that the movies that have weak plot points tend to be weaker movies overall. Click on your favorite movie and look at the plot points. This will help you look at your comic book story: http://thescriptlab.com/screenwriting-101/screenplay/five-plot-point-breakdowns#

 

mtvU Sand In: Trey Parker and Matt Stone talk about getting rid of the ‘and then’ moments and making sure your story is full of ‘but’ and ‘therefore’: http://storyfirstmedia.com/storytelling-tip-the-principle-of-buts-and-therefores/

 

Dialog; sometimes I just get stuck on dialog. When that happens, I reread this article by Chuck Dixon. I can’t find it on his site, but it has been reposted here: http://apologiesdemanded.blogspot.com/2006/08/chuck-dixon-teaches-dialogue.html

 

How to give your character some flaws: http://scribemeetsworld.com/2012/screenplay-writing/six-things-need-fixing-definition-examples/

 

Making a good bad guy; Chuck Dixon has many worthwhile articles, you can start with this one and then check out his other posts: http://dixonverse.blogspot.com/2015/05/once-twice-three-times-bad-guy.html

 

Comic book scripting, 10 short and simple words of wisdom from Chuck Dixon: https://dixonverse.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/the-ten-commandments-of-comic-book-scripting/

 

From plot to script: Cullen Bunn always had the best posts about plotting and scripting. His site isn’t always working, but try this link or find him on social media: http://www.cullenbunn.com/process/plot-to-script/

 

How a comic book page works; this is a fantastic, must-read article about how panels work and how action takes place in comics: http://www.adamgeen.com/guest-post-the-write-stuff-writing-comics/

Selling Your Comic Book Concept: A Step-by-Step Guide for Creators

My book, Selling Your Comic Book Concept: A Step-by-Step Guide for Creators, is now on Amazon. I didn’t intend to write this book, it just happened. After I published my comic book, I had all this knowledge in my head. I felt I needed to share. Here are some thoughts about Diamond, who does the distribution for printed comics.

If you’re doing a comic book project, know the rules about Diamond before you jump in. If you don’t reach the minimum order threshold, you’ve just wasted a lot of money.

What’s the minimum order threshold? 

Diamond is going to put your products in an order book, called Diamond Previews, and send it to comic book shops. Previews Magazine not just an order form but a massive glossy-covered magazine that serves as the definitive guide to what’s coming to shops in the next two months. Customers can buy this magazine and place their orders by filling out the order form inside it. It takes them a month to set up your ad in Previews Magazine, and then they have to print and ship the magazine. That’s a month you’ll have to wait before the comic book shops get the order form.

Now the order form is in the hands of about 2,000 comic book shop owners and a few thousand customers. The shops collect the order forms and tally them. Those are the pre-orders, the guaranteed sales. They’ve got about 30 days to place their order, so that’s another month you’ve got to be promoting your book, and maybe the most important month on your calendar.

The problem is, if comic book shops don’t order enough of your book, Diamond won’t even place the order from you to ship the book.

That’s right, if you don’t reach a minimum order, your books won’t get ordered from Diamond. DC, Marvel, Image and Dark Horse don’t have to worry about this, but the little guys do. So all your work could have been for nothing if you haven’t been aggressively marketing to comic book shops and asking fans to place orders over the last two years. Even if comic book shops placed orders for your book, if the order is too mall, Diamond will cancel it. Years of work and thousands of dollars of your investment is now complexly down the drain. You’d better be marketing like crazy at this point, and marketing to the right people.

The comic book shop owners are the ones you need to market to. It’s your job to convince them to place a few orders of your #1 issue, because no one can subscribe to it and no-one will pre-order unless they read about it online and specifically tell the store owner to order it.

How many people are going to do that for your unknown comic book? If you have very loyal fans, maybe they’ll come out and order copies. But if you have no following, you’re in for a disappointment. If you have a publisher backing you, you might get your book orders in as part of a larger order. But an individual who only gets 100-200 copies of their book ordered is facing cancelation.

You’ve got to be marketing the retail shops aggressively to get to that minimum order.

Let’s say that you get 5,000 orders from across the country. Diamond will issue a call for you to purchase, and you’re now responsible for printing the books and shipping them to the Diamond warehouse.

I talk about this a lot more in my book.  Just hop over to Amazon and check it out for only $0.99 cents. http://amzn.com/B011M3I4XS

how to sell

Selling your comic book idea – why you need a publisher

Why does your comic book need a publisher? It really helps, believe me! If you’re selling your comic book idea or concept, it’s a good idea to be part of a team. Here’s why.

  • Distribution
  • Media attention
  • Reviews 
  • File and print preparation
  • Editorial services

In the world of fiction and non-fiction, we are at a point where finding an agent and having a publisher is becoming less and less important. Amazon and Smashwords have made it so easy to self-publish, and a host of bloggers and websites have made it so easy to promote your book, that you can be financially successful without an agent or publisher.

This isn’t yet true with comics. Digital comics aren’t at the point where they can fund the production of your book for an unknown author. ComiXology doesn’t have all the same features as Kindle Direct Publishing. A ton of novels on Amazon are only $0.99. For that, you get several days of entertainment. It probably takes 10-20 hours to finish some of these novels, depending on how fast you read. A single issue of a comic book only takes 20 minutes to read. They should be priced at $.25 cents. But ComiXology set the price of my comic book issues, not me. On iBooks, Kindle and Create Space, I set all my own prices.

RGB and CMYK – are you an expert?

Once your book is ready for print, it would ideal to have a publisher that is placing comic book orders with a printer on a regular basis. You don’t want to deal with RGB to CMYK conversion all by yourself for your first issue. For comic books, you’ll need a version for ComiXology, a version for matte paper, and other for glossy. You’ll be putting together individual issues and a trade paperback. Unless you’re an expert on layout, sharpening, color correction and printing, you should leave this to someone else.

The media attention is essential, and a good publisher will help you get this. Publishers will have much better relationships with bloggers and comic book websites than you will. It will be far easier for the publisher to get an article published or a video interview posted than if you try to contact these websites cold. You need to media to create buzz and get fans, get pre-orders at retailers, and probably get support for a crowdfunding campaign that goes beyond your friends and family.

You also want to have a presence at comic book conventions.

Going to these conventions is essential, but it would be a major financial investment if you had to book all the tables and booths yourself and pay for them out of your own funds. It’s much better if your publisher can have a table at these conventions, and you can split some of these costs with other creators. Plus, you can’t attend every comic book convention. Your publisher will attend as many as possible, and promote your book even when you can’t be there in person.

If getting your book into comic book shops is your end goal, you should work to get a publisher. But, getting your book into a comic book store is a challenge. Some retailers will order your book if it comes from a respected publisher that the customers like. If your comic book doesn’t get enough orders from retailers, Diamond will cancel the order, and your entire investment goes down the drain.

A good publisher will provide you with an editor.

Or at least give you a few more sets of eyes who can look at your work before it goes to print. You do not want your labor of love going to print with spelling and grammar errors throughout. If you have a publisher at an early stage, they can even help polish your script or look for problems in the story. At the very least, they could point you in the direction of an editor that they trust, one who understands the comic book business. You don’t want an editor who has never edited a comic book script before but is willing to give it a first shot. They’ll end up editing the grammar in your panel descriptions. A good editor, as well as the owners of the publishing company, will come at your work from the angle of seasoned industry veterans who know what works and what doesn’t. Their critical eye will help you develop as a creator.

I used combined all my experience from writing plays and novels, and my technical know-how from digital photography, and came up with a step-by step guide to getting your comic book idea off the ground.  Just hop over to Amazon and check it out for only $0.99 cents. http://amzn.com/B011M3I4XS

 

The book will be available on October 10, but please pre-order to get this low price.

how to sell