Archive for January, 2010

Jan 03 2010

Nine Surprising Facts About Writing Comic Books and Graphic Novels

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

1. Marvel and DC Comics don’t consider unsolicited submissions. Fortunately, Optimum Wound has a useful list of publishers that do. If you’re dead-set on working with Marvel or DC, I’d recommend taking a job with them in some other capacity (such as editing, sales or marketing) and then moving laterally into writing.

2. Most publishers won’t evaluate a comic book submission unless it has ~5 illustrated sample pages. This means that a writer will usually need a professional-grade artist friend willing to work for speculative pay, a paid freelancer or the skill to illustrate his own work.  If you don’t know any artists and don’t have $500-750 for a freelancer, I’d recommend submitting to Dark Horse or another publisher that doesn’t require art samples.  However, if you can pull off a competent art sample, it will really help your submission.

3. Pretty much no one considers proposals for licensed works. Do you have an awesome idea for a Star Wars or Buffy comic?  Unfortunately, with licensed works, the publisher will almost always contact the writer it wants to work with rather than vice versa.  Additionally, when they need a writer for a major series, they will hire someone experienced and proven rather than an unpublished author.  Sorry. If you want to write for Spiderman or Batman, you need to establish yourself first.

4. Comic book companies usually buy the rights to the series and characters. In contrast, novel series are almost always creator-owned.  If you really care about maintaining ownership over your characters and stories, I’d recommend looking at Image Comics. Almost all of their series are creator-owned.

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Jan 03 2010

The Intern Takes on Book Promotions

The Intern provides some useful advice she got from her book promoter.

I’m a bit skeptical about some of the advice, though.  Is Facebook really the Holy Grail of online book promotions?  If you’re tech-savvy enough to handle WordPress or something similar, I doubt it. Facebook pages don’t handle search engines well and are not very customizable. Also, if you’re writing for a target audience older than 30 or younger than 13, I’d wonder about whether Facebook is actually the most effective way to reach your prospective readers.

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Jan 02 2010

Eight Facts About Writing That Surprise Prospective Novelists

1. Even if you get published, you will get paid much, much less than you can imagine. A 75,000 word manuscript takes 2000+ hours and typically sells for around $5000. That’s not even close to minimum wage, particularly when you consider the work you put in after getting published. If you plan on eating food more expensive than Kibbles and Bits, get a day job.


2. Most novelists don’t get their first novels published. According to a Tobias Buckell survey, only 35% of published authors broke out with their first novel.  This shouldn’t be too surprising–look at what you were writing 2-3 years ago. You’ve gotten a lot better, right? You’ll probably feel the same way about what you’re writing now in 2-3 years. It may take a novel manuscript or two to develop professional-grade writing skills.  (Keep practicing and you’ll get there!)


3. Novel publishing is freakishly competitive, particularly compared to English courses. In an English class, most of the papers will get A’s and the teacher will usually explain to everybody else what they need to fix so that they will get A’s. In contrast, publishers reject over 99% of submissions and the vast majority of submissions are rejected without any specific feedback.  Thanks for submitting–we enjoyed your manuscript, but not enough to tell you what to fix.  (By the way, if the publisher does tell you what to fix, you’re almost certainly on the right track.  Publishers would probably only spend extra time to write an individualized rejection if you had potential).

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Jan 01 2010

I won Evil Editor’s face-lift award!

Published by under Nonfiction Writing

My nonfiction manuscript for a book about how to write superhero stories won his yearly award. Thanks, voters!

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Jan 01 2010

2010 Resolutions and Recap of 2009

My resolutions for 2009 were:

  1. Expand SN to 500,000 hits and 1.5 million page-views. That didn’t happen, but I did end up increasing my hits by 100% and my page-views by 150%.   I’m especially happy about getting my bounce-rate from 59% down to 52%.
  2. Get a comic book published. It hasn’t happened yet but I think I’m at the finish line.  I submit in late February and anticipate the first round of responses by May.
  3. Finish writing the nonfiction book. I have finished the manuscript, but I think it’ll take me a year or two to get it published.  (I need to get some fiction published first).
  4. Work on my novel. I gave up on this, actually.
  5. Find a fulltime job. Got it!

My resolutions for 2010 are…
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