One of the most common questions among comic book creators is: "how do I get my comic book published?". I sat in on Brian Pulido's panel at the Santa Fe Comic Con to try and get those answers for you.
If you don't know who Brian Pulido is, he is a comic book creator who has been in the game since 1991. Over his nearly 2 and a half decades as a professional comic creator, he has published books for Megadeth, WWF, ICP, Halloween, The Mummy and Static X.
The ideas from his panel, "How to Publish Comics", can be summarized into three categories.
When you're starting to write a story, it is essential that you understand the marketplace that you are entering. You don't necessarily need to allow the market place to alter your course, but you should enter into it with realistic expectations.
It is definitely more fun to write about something that you are completely passionate about. However, if what you are passionate about is a very specific and unique story, before entering the marketplace, know how your book will fit into the grand scheme of things. Basically just have realistic expectations.
It should also be noted that it is impossible to forecast the marketplace. If you see that one year vampires are really popular, and you decide to write a vampire book to cash in on the trend, by the time you get to market with the story, the trend will have passed. That is no way to succeed in the comic industry. What it comes down to is: be true to yourself, be realistic about your books place in the market, and don't try to cash in on trends.
Finding the Right Team
Another hugely important aspect of publishing your first book is finding the right team. If you are just starting out in comics, chances are you will not be working with well established writers or authors right off the bat. Therefore, it's incredibly important to vet the potential partners. One of the hardest parts of starting out will be finding artists that are true to their word who will produce work in a timely fashion. You should not be afraid to try multiple people.
Make sure that you understand your Writer's/Artist's personality, commitments, hobbies, etc. Do they have a full time job? Are they a full time student? How committed will this person be to the project? All of these are important questions to ask prior to entering into a comic with someone. Let me share a story of Brian's with you.
For Brian's first book "Evil Ernie", he received submissions from 71 artists. He ended up trying out 12 of those artists, and ultimately all 12 failed in regards to quality or professionalism. When Brian says professionalism, he means (1) doing what you say you will do in the time that is agreed upon, (2) being honest about the time you will be available to work on the material, and (3) being in communication when things change. To simplify, it is finding like minded people to work with.
It is now completely doable to publish your own book. The way that Brian does this is by hosting the world premier on Kickstarter, and going directly to the readers. After the close of the kickstarter project, Pulido & Team are able to deliver the product within 5-6 weeks. The way that this team accomplishes this is by completing all the creative work prior to the launch, meaning they are only going to kickstarter to cover printing costs.
Currently Brian has a kickstarter for a book Zack the Zombie Exterminator, and will be launching another Kickstarter on November 2nd for a book titled La Muerta. Make sure to check out Brian Pulido's work.