A few tips on selling your book to publishers
July 15, 2020
Over the last two years, I’ve been trying to find out as much as I can about pitching your project to a comic book company. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Have A “High Concept” Idea.
This is basically an idea that people are familiar with or can relate to BUT turned on its ear or with an interesting twist.
Pitch The Relationships/Backstory
Who the characters are and what they’re dealing with is much more relatable to people than the actual story, setting, or plot. To talk more about that in your pitch.
Have Your Own Voice
Don’t pitch a story using the latest, current hot genre because, chances are, everyone else is probably also doing zombies. Find that story inside you, the one that you’ve experienced yourself or feel passionate about. An authentic voice will trump another clichéd plot any day.
Have A Higher Purpose
Stand for something bigger than you or your book and make it clear that you do. Be it diversity, fighting bullies, or a belief in a brighter future. If you believe what another person believes it will reaffirm them. People are inspired and want to do business with people who have the same convictions. Buying is always an emotional decision.
Make Your Pitch Readable
Use short paragraphs in your pitch and query letter. Use bullet points and Sub-heads to make it easier to read. Have pictures. Do not write “query” in the email subject line.
Use Your Skills & Experience
If you’ve had an interesting career path outside of comic books, leverage it. Draw on it for your stories. And highlight any skills you can use to help produce and promote yourself and your work. No one wants to publish a creator who isn’t willing to pitch in in other ways.
Publishers like properties that can go across platforms. Not just TV and movies but also board games, toys, cartoons, coloring books, video games, and more.
Plan For A Trade
Try to plan out your series in 4-8 issue story arcs so that it’s easier to create a trade paperback. TPBs also have higher margins when you sell them at cons.
The Children’s Market
Keep in mind that this is the fastest-growing sector.
If You Post It, They Will Buy
If you can, publish online first and maybe even for free, to build a fan base. Once you have a big enough following, it’s a lot easier to get support for your crowdfunding projects and to get sales for your books and merchandise. Publishers love creators with lots of social media followers so mention that in your pitch.
Network For Depth
In any industry, networking is a must. While it’s good to have as many professional contacts as you can, it’s the few really close ones that will likely bear fruit. Every publisher and editor easily know a hundred creators who all need work. Be one of the few that they know well, like, and trust.
Do Not Skimp
Your pitch document should be as professionally put-together and as good-looking as you would make your actual comic book. Don’t just “type something up.” Make it stand out. Make it memorable. Blow their minds!
Get An Editor
Aside from editing your book, an experienced comic-book editor will be able to dissect your pitch and tell you how to make it better and more likely to get accepted. In fact, some of the above came from a few.
Why Should People Care?
This is something that Heidi MacDonald told me. Why is your book worth reading? Make sure you include it in your pitch.
I hope these help!