(with these five easy tricks!)
(I have taken this photo of the awesomeness that is TCAF from blogTO.)
If you are a comics-creating person, it is possible that one of your goals is to have publishers notice you! Because some day (perhaps now) you have a book that it’d be great if they could publish.
What are good ways to to make this happen?
There are a whole lot of ways to make noise on the internet. You can start a blog or a tumblr and post your comics art and your thoughts about cartooning. Or (more advanced), you could even start serializing your current comic online. There are a whole lot of people online who like comics, so it’s a really good place to be putting your comics work.
And guess what? Some of the people online who like comics . . are your potential publishers.
Get an Introduction from a Friend
So you don’t know any comics publishers . . . but your friend has a book deal! Check in with her about whether she’d be willing to introduce you to her publisher, or send her publisher your work. Fun fact: we first started publishing Gene Luen Yang because one of his friends, Derek Kirk Kim, recommended him to us.
The ‘introduction from a friend addendum:’ don’t know anyone who makes comics and has a book deal? Online (our last bullet point) or at conferences (our next bullet point) are great ways to meet people! And so is doing a degree program in comics. Your professors (and your peers) can have great connections.
Conferences may not be the best way to become best friends with publishers who are exhibiting, because they tend to be super-busy running a booth. But if you have a cool mini-comic to drop off for future reading (perhaps even with some energy-bestowing chocolate), those are always appreciated.
And if you’re exhibiting at a conference yourself, that’s a great way to get your name out there and to raise your profile — as well as to provide a place for any publishers who are attending the show to discover your work.
Mini-comics are awesome because they’re like a showcase of all your artistic and storytelling skills, in a small and portable package! And you can sell them for money, which may be helpful for you.
If you have some publishers who you’d like to be published with some day, mail them copies of your mini-comics with a short note (‘I hope you enjoy my latest — happy reading’). Or drop your mini-comics off with them when you go to a conference. Or pass them along when you see them at a bookstore event. The best way to show people how cool your comics are is to give them some comics — and then reinforce your existence by giving them new comics at least once a year so they don’t forget you.
One great way to make publishers aware of who you are is to have everyone else talking about who you are! This may seem like a complicated thing to bring about, but consider: if you’re making comics, there are probably some comics review websites you read. Why not write to them and ask them to review your comic? That gives you a higher profile (and may bring you more sales or readers) as well as attracting attention from publishers.
You can also get media attention from doing good things. Are you organizing a comics-related event for charity? Coordinating a campaign to bring more awareness of women in comics? Running a comics festival? All of those things raise your profile — and attract media — and also make you friends in the comics industry. So that’s like a one-two punch!
Getting publishers to notice you may seem complicated when you look at these bullet points laid out in a row. But when you really think about all of these things, they all will help your career as well as attracting a publisher down the road.
The best way to attract a publisher is to make good comics. And it all unfolds from there.