grapWith improvements in drawing and printing technologies comes a variety of new opportunities for up-and-coming graphic novel creators to break into the industry. Although traditional publishing is still accessible for many creators, motivated and hard-working writers and artists can forge their own self-publishing paths.
Standing out in this crowded field requires creative thinking and innovation, especially if you don’t have any existing published works yet. Since working independently of literary agents and publishing houses gives you more freedom, you can try one of these ideas to make yourself unique.
Publishing your comic online for free will naturally drive down sales of printed copies. However, some authors deal with this problem by including lots of bonus content in each printed volume. Others will remove older chapters from their webcomic platform once they have published the chapters in print.
The best strategy for you will partly depend on your comic’s target audience, as younger tech-savvy readers are very likely to discover and enjoy comics online. Always keep hard copies available for readers, though, as many prefer to read a physical book to take a break from reading on screens.
Merging Genres and Themes
Popular genres like superheroes and detectives are still prevalent, but graphic novels have expanded to include more genres over time. Memoirs and contemporary dramas used to be uncommon, but they’ve gained popularity as readers look for books that don’t take as long to read. Plus, individual creators’ art styles can make stories even more sweeping and atmospheric, especially for romantic and emotional stories.
If you’ve struggled to find your niche in your art or writing, try experimenting with a mashup of different genres you like. Brainstorm with some themes you already like, but throw different settings or twists into it. Share a sample script with friends or fellow creatives for feedback, gauge interest, and then refine it further if they think it’s a good idea.
An individual bound graphic novel is usually a single standalone story or part of a longer series by the same author. In recent years, however, anthologies with several short stories have become popular.
These anthologies are usually tied together by a common genre or even a specific theme or prompt. Although there are typically content guidelines and a team of editors approves the submissions, anthologies allow creators to maintain as much creative control as possible.
New creators often use anthology publication as a launching point for the rest of their career, but experienced comic book and graphic novel artists may also publish in them. If you have an existing network of like-minded writers and artists, consider pulling them together for an anthology publication of your own.
Building an Email List
Although social media is stellar for marketing, email lists are essential to reaching the widest range of readers possible. Collect email addresses every time you attend a convention and keep an email list sign-up link active on your social media page or website.
Social media updates often get lost in the noise and sending out an email update about your new releases and pre-orders can boost sales significantly. You can also send out relevant updates about comic industry events or recent works you’ve read and enjoyed.
Graphic Novels for Kids
The public perception of comic books and graphic novels is that they’re for kids, but most modern comics are aimed at an older audience. Many of them have mature themes, even if they’re part of a famous franchise.
If your stories lean toward being more light-hearted yet still relatable, you may find that you’re the perfect candidate for creating comic books and graphic novels for kids. There’s also a huge potential market for educational series that takes science or social studies topics and make them more accessible for readers.
Comic books are popular among kids who are still learning to read and process pictures much faster than words. If there’s a subject or topic you take a strong interest in, consider creating a story around it to make your own educational series.
Getting Your Graphic Novel Ready
The traditional publishing process, which begins with a query letter to an agent or book publishing company, involves substantial trial and error and hands a lot of creative control over to a comic publisher. Self-publishing your graphic novel means you get to work on your schedule and keep all decisions within your creative team.
Whether you’re new to graphic novel publishing or are releasing yet another volume of your work, Comix Well Spring is ready to print your project to your exact specifications. We offer a full range of printing options in black and white and full color with multiple sizes and binding options.
We tackle large and small orders for everything from picture books to epic fantasy graphic novels. Please send your image files to us with our handy uploader built into the order form page and contact us if you have questions during the ordering process.