Jan 18 2010

Do Comic Book Writers and Graphic Novelists Need Literary Agents? Probably Not

Published by at 12:38 pm under Getting Published,Publishing a Comic Book

I haven’t come across too many comic book writers that work with literary agents. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a literary agent for your comic book.

For example, Bob Mecoy wrote me that he’s sold several projects to DC Comics as well as many more to book publishers and their affiliates (such as FirstSecond, Three Rivers, Lerner, Aladdin, and Abrams ComicArts).

So, if you’re absolutely dead-set on selling to Marvel or DC, pursuing literary representation may be a strong option.  Marvel and DC do not accept unsolicited submissions. However, if you have an experienced agent, he may be able to use his own credibility to convince them that your comic book is worth considering.

Here are some other pieces of advice from Bob.

B. MAC: What are some of the most common reasons you pass on graphic novel and/or comic book submissions?
BOB:  Poor storytelling, telling a story that I’ve seen a hundred times before, telling a story “unlike anything you’ve ever seen” which is unlike anything I’ve ever seen because of a series of arbitrary choices, lack of understanding of the market, slavish service to the perceived market, lack of originality, lack of understanding of my taste.

B. MAC: How long does it take you to reject a typical script?
BOB: It takes as long as it takes. If there seems to be something here, I research the category, the writer and/or artist and the comparables or competition before making my final decision.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Do Comic Book Writers and Graphic Novelists Need Literary Agents? Probably Not”

  1. Patricia Welleson 23 Apr 2010 at 10:04 am

    My day job is writer. I have published 7 novels in the past and many other “things”. I need representation for my GREAT novella (20,000 words) comic book/graphic novel/film. I do not have a website nor an illustrator/artist as I understand the publisher makes this decision. Please contact me so I can send you my CV. I also
    have a novel, CHIC, (vintage fashionistas and everyone else, take heed!), 60,000 words, set in Chelsea -London, that is. Where are you? You sound sensible. PW

  2. B. Macon 23 Apr 2010 at 11:49 am

    Sorry, Patricia, but literary representation doesn’t work like that. Agents won’t come to the author, except for (perhaps) a mega-bestselling author. If you’d like an agent, I’d recommend taking your favorite novel and pitching it to a few agents you find through Agent Query. (As for the novella, I’m not familiar with the market for that. I’ve heard that novellas and short stories are hard to sell).

    When you do submit your novel, I recommend telling more about the plot and what makes it interesting. The only thing you’ve said about yours is that you think it is great, which doesn’t matter to editors and agents. (If you’re submitting it, you better think it’s great). It’s far more effective to be specific about what happens in your story. Please see our “Writing a Query” category for more details.

    “I do not have a website nor an illustrator/artist as I understand the publisher makes this decision.” In picture book publishing, publishers generally expect authors to submit without an artist so that the publisher can pick one they like. With comic books and graphic novels, not so much. Comic book publishers generally expect the author to pick up an artist before submitting the proposal. Dark Horse is the only exception that comes to mind.

    Also, 60,000 words would be a bit on the short side for an adult novel. 70,000-80,000 is probably safer.

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