November 6, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Behind the Scenes

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(some long books we have published)

One of the things that we look for when we’re considering acquiring a graphic novel or signing up a new illustrator to work with a writer on an already-acquired graphic novel is their previous work.

Specifically: how long is it?

Making a graphic novel is very different from making a mini-comic.  An eight page mini is something that you can make in a week — or, if you’re very fast and very much in a rush, in a weekend.

You can definitely have super-insane crazy complicated mini-comics that are complicated puzzle pieces!  That are sixty pages long!  That are all screenprinted in five colors!  That take years to create!  But those tend to be the exceptions rather than the rule.  A mini-comic is something you can start on Monday and put away on Friday and be finished with.

A graphic novel is not something that you can make over a week, or a weekend.  It’s a project that will definitely take a year or two — or maybe (going from our experience) even five or six, depending on how fast you work.  It’s something that requires a regular, every day commitment from an author: you have to sit down every morning and make comics, or else the graphic novel won’t get done.

This is a very different experience from making an eight-page mini-comic.

When you’re making a graphic novel, you have to write a lot.  You have to draw a lot.  You have to do both those things all the time and then do them again the next day and the next day and the next.

If an author is used to only writing short mini-comics, gag cartoons, or occasional comic strips, this can be a very difficult transition.  Instead of making comics being something that can be crammed into the spare parts of your life, it becomes the thing that your life has to be crammed in around.

So one of the things we look for when considering graphic novel proposals or illustrators is: how long has their previous work been?  Have they made something that’s fifty pages?  How about a hundred pages?

If you’re a person who wants to professionally create graphic novels, mini comics are a great way to experiment, play with styles, and tell fun short stories.  But we also recommend trying your hand at something longer — a short graphic novel or webcomic that hits the 50 page mark.  That’s helpful for you in feeling out and getting used to what the typical schedule on these sorts of projects is — and it’s helpful for publishers because they’ll know you have experience doing something the length of the book you’re proposing.

One Comment on “ Writing Long ”

  • Sarah | November 6th, 2014 9:39 am

    This is good to know! I’m experiencing the “cramming life around a comic” situation right now and it’s nice to know that I’m not alone, haha.

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