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A guide to dealing with graphic novel publishers

This guide is written with new writers, artists, inkers and colourers in mind who wish to break into the graphic novel and/or comic book market.

Serious business

The first and most important point is that graphic novel publishers should be approached with the same level of professionalism as any other type of publisher. Do not make the mistake of thinking this is an easy profession to get into. Your work has to be of a extremely high standard and your idea has to be original.

The second tip is to do your homework

What genre does your idea fall into? Publishers tend to stick to particular genres such as horror, fantasy or tie-in graphic novels or comics. There is no point putting all your effort into submitting to a publisher who is wrong for your idea.
The best way to do this is to read other comics or graphic novels which are similar in theme to your own. Look who is publishing them and focus on those.

Third tip is more homework

Once you've found which publisher is the best to approach, you need to find out whether they are accepting submissions. Not all publishers accept unsolicited submissions and some don't accept any at all. Marvel and DC are not open to submission but both offer suggestions on their websites if you want to work for them.
Most publisher have a submissions page on their websites which will let you know whether they are currently accepting submissions and what types of submissions they allow.

Check the guidelines

The forth tip is to check how to submit to a publisher. Each publisher will have their guidelines on their website and they must be followed. Some publishers, such as Dark Horse Comics, will allow writers to submit scripts; however, others won't. Others, such as Image Comics and IDW Publishing, prefer proposals which will include examples of written work as well as art work.
Check what your chosen publisher will accept and follow it to the letter.

Useful links

Marvel Submissions: DC Comics Submissions: Dark Horse Comics Submissions: IDW Publishing Submissions: Image Comics Submission: Top Cow Submissions: This list is by no means exhaustive. However, it is a good starting point for those just beginning to research about graphic novel and comic book publishers.

Good luck

If you do your homework, choose the right publisher and follow their guidelines, then you stand a better chance at getting an offer. Of course, this is assuming you've got brilliant ideas and great graphic novel art.

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