1. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Publishing a Comic

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by S-wo, Oct 18, 2010.

    I was thinking about getting a comic book published by a major publisher. Right now I know that the company isn't accepting submissions from writers outside of the company. I was wondering if it would be okay, if I tried getting the story published as a novel then try and get it published as a comic. Would there be any issues between the two? Would I be better off putting a hold on this story and working on another project?
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    The fact that you've published a novel won't get you much credit among a big comics company (I assume we're talking DC/Darkhorse/etc big here). You have a few options though. Write the script and find a willing agent (I haven't checked, but I'm sure they exist) to find a company willing to print it. Pitch it at a convention; most major ones have comic reps there, usually to look at artwork, but some will listen to a short pitch or look over a few pages of script, though there's a limit to how useful that will be. The best bet might be to find an artist on your own and produce the book yourself and then approach a publisher with it. Also, remember that like publishers in the novel industry, publishers have their own styles and personalities. Just because its a comic, doesn't mean you can expect any comic publisher to take it. The same amount of research needs to be done, and bigger isn't necessarily better, especially if what you're writing is a graphic novel rather than a serial comic book.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a comic book hasn't got a novel-length plot/storyline, so i don't see how you can write the same story as both a novel and a comic book...

    if you're really referring to a 'graphic novel' and not a comic book [which would have to be a series featuring a new and original superhero], then i can only see a graphic novel press being interested if the regular novel became a wild bestseller and the characters and story were marketable graphic material... in which case, the book publisher would have to allow it...
     
  4. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think most independent comic publisher that make it today and make a least part time living of it start out publishing on the web as a web comic, builds a fanbase and then self published.

    If the comic sells about 2000ex publishing houses begin to take notice.

    This is the impression I got from Writing Excuses podcast with Howard Taylor, and other gueststars in the comic industry.
     
  5. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Series comics can have an overarching story, but it would be across several issues. I think it could be done the same from converting from the novel to a comic, but there might have to be some things cut. It could tell the same story, but it'll most likely be shorter.

    Do book publishers allow that? I'm still trying to learn about comics and I was basically wondering if there would be some conflict between the book publisher and the comic publisher. I was suspecting that there could be some issues over rights to characters. If the novel version didn't do that well, but when they allow the comics to be made they sell pretty well. The book publisher might get upset that they let something very profitable get away and they might try to sue the comic publisher. They might just want to avoid a situation like that. Has anyone heard of a more recent comic book character starting out as a novel?

    I said recent because I know that characters like Dracula and Conan came from novels first, but there might have not been any rights issues since the books are so old.
     
  6. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    There are plenty of graphic novel adaptations of novels and plays, which is what it would be if you did it; a graphic novel adaptation of your novel. As far as I know, it hasn't been done for serial comics, but serial comics by unknown writers are completely unheard of, so the chances of it happening in that format are virtually nil anyway.

    But yeah, they are two distinct entities. If you had the novel published, you would need to get that publisher's permission to make an adaptation (the same way that you would need to get their permission for film rights). And it's completely within their power to say "no, you can't make a graphic novel".

    And all of this ignores the fact that novels and graphic novels are written in entirely different ways. If you look at any of the great comics of the past 50 years, its immediately clear that they would not work (as well or at all) as novels. The way they're written, structured and designed is for a specifically visual format. My concern would be that in rewriting it from a novel you would neglect the importance of that unique form. I say just write the graphic novel script, forget serialising it, forget writing it as a novel.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there can't be any rights issues if you have a good contract with the book publisher... it's up to you to see that you retain rights to other versions of the book, or at least have a clause in there that allows it to be done with an agreed upon cut going to the original publisher...

    if you don't have a good agent who's knowledgeable in such matters, you'll need to consult a literary attorney before you sign anything, to make sure the deal is what you want...
     
  8. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you want to write a graphic novel, do that. Don't write a novel-to-be-graphic-novel. Like others have said, they're two different media with different mechanics and if your story isn't written to take advantage of what's the unique strengths of comics, then the publisher will most likely ask "Why?"

    Also, the style of the artwork is what equals a novelists' style of writing -- without an artist on your side you'd be without a unique voice.

    If your strength is the written word then I'd focus on getting a novel done, and if it becomes a bestseller then a graphic novel publisher might be interesting in making an adaptation. I assume any author (bar those who settle for really poor contracts) retain the rights to their original story and characters.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    This isn't quite true...admittedly most of the greats draw their own comics, but there are a growing number of big names who only write. Alan Moore is the one that immediately comes to mind, but also people like Jeph Loeb, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman. All of those writers have unique voices that are evident in their work, even though they don't produce the art. But it is important to find an artist who complements your writing style, and most publishers won't do that for you.
     
  10. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's exceptions to every rule. But even someone as great as Neil Gaiman cannot make up for the lack of proper art. Have a look at the Sandman collection. The first quarter oozed with its own unique style -- although the actual craftmanship of the art wasn't all that good, it had a strong "voice" -- a voice that died completely once another illustrator took over for the later issues. It became near unreadable.

    Likewise, Alan Moore's masterpieces are as much credit to the artists that did the work. "Watchmen" wouldn't have worked as well with anyone else drawing it.

    EDIT: Related to the topic -- if you're not an artist yourself and don't happen to have an artist buddy who's the perfect match for your writing, the way into the comic business resembles that of a screenwriter more than that of a novelist. You'd submit scripts, perhaps to existing series or smaller publishers and then build up a name for yourself in the business. I can hardly imagine someone stepping into DC's office with a novel script under their arm and get a big, fat contract from that.
     
  11. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    These two things sound kind of conflicting to me. I'm confused.
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is there any chance at all to get a script submission accepted if you're completely unknown? I mean, do they read all submissions or just throw the unknowns into the bin right away?
     
  13. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I know. I was in a hurry, and answering two different things. One being the question about adaptation rights, the other being that I'd recommend writing your story for a specific medium and then worry about adaptations later. It'll likely need a complete rewrite for the new medium, similar to how novels are converted into screenplays. The script for a graphic novel resembles a screenplay in many ways and showing up with a novel script would seem misplaced.
     
  14. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't speak for all publishers, but I used to work as an artist/art director on Disney comics europe and the various unsolicited submissions we received for art and stories were always considered seriously.

    I do know that some publishers have different policies and state on their websites that all submissions are destroyed unopened, but I speculate whether that's just a safeguard against being sued for having "stolen" ideas from random submissions.
     
  15. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    I appreciate all the help. Wish I could get some more replies from others sites, but I'll keep on looking. I'm still not sure if I should continue this novel, stop and write it as a script, or work on another novel I was planning, but the advice here has helped me. Once again, thank you.
     

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