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Getting Published in Comics: A special guest addition by Molly Durst, online comic writer/artist/publisher (note: mature subject matter!)
Reviewed and approved by Tamora Pierce, October, 2006 - links updated by Cara Coville April, 2009
How do I get published in comics?
Let me start by saying that these two websites I'm about to list are the best resources for girls who are interested in comics:
These websites are for The Friends of Lulu and Sequential Tart magazine. They are both organizations which promote female readership and authorship in comic books. These two sites have tons of information, including book reviews, ratings of published material and support for artists and writers.
My general advice for getting started in comic books is, Don’t worry about getting picked up by the big publishers. Most of the major companies are looking exclusively for established talent. They are not a good place for new creators to try to break in.
There are a lot of smaller press comic publishers which are female friendly. SLG, or Slave Labour Graphics, publishes a lot of female writers and artists.But there are others...the Artist's and Graphic Designer's Market, which is published annually just like the Writer's Market series, has many listings for comic book submissions.
Also, if you want to break into comic books, go to the conventions. There are listings of local comic book conventions all over the Internet. It's easy to find them everywhere in the U.S. (Your local comic book stores will also post information about nearby conventions.) Most conventions feature panels where writers and artists give lectures on how-to's and how-not-to's.
Most small publishers DO NOT want to see your *idea*. They do not want a script without art or art without a script.
Standalone art, even if it is good, doesn't tell the publisher that you can create art sequentially, which is what they need for a comic. Most small publishers want to see a finished product. It would cost a small publisher money to hire an artist or a writer to collaborate with you, and they have limited budgets.
Every small press publisher with a web page will have submission guideline information on their websites that will tell you just what they are looking for.
So what do you do if you are a writer but not an artist, or an artist but not a writer?
You are going to need the other half. Meeting other people interested in creating comics will happen fairly organically if you visit con (convention) circuits enough, post an advertisement in your local comic book store for a collaborator, or join on-line news forums to meet people.
On working with a partner: If you’re working with someone else, remember this isn’t all your show. There’s a give and take. If you let your partner do some things her/his way, s/he should let you do some things your way if the partnership is going to work. Keep an open mind. Listen to what the other person is saying, and ask her/him to do the same for you. Remember that the final product will be different with every new partner. What usually happens is not that you get something that is half you and half the other person, but the creation of a third entirely new creator, when you work in partnership.
I prefer the one-woman-band method myself. Self publishing is MUCH MUCH more affordable then ever. If you have a decent home printer and desktop publishing setup, you can get cranking.
You can also publish very cheaply (or even for free) on the web. There is a fairly good listing of free hosting sites on this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webcomic
To sum up, my advice is...
1. Research - look around for female friendly publishers using resources like Sequential Tart and Friends of Lulu; talk to people; and visit conventions to learn everything you can.
2. Research some more - pay attention to those FAQs and submission guides when you send out your stuff to potential clients. They post them for a reason.
3. Create a complete work - find yourself a companion or do it all yourself.
4. Submit and/or self publish - well, that's self-explanatory, isn't it?
And good luck! Remember to keep trying – keep writing new material, keep practicing your art, keep trying new partners if one doesn’t work out. But just keep at it!
all site content copyright Tamora Pierce except where noted