Showing posts from 2017

Final release schedule coming this week...

TL;DR (summary) Weekly page updates will start on Thursday!

Details I had hoped to officially launch in August with scheduled page releases. However, optimizing the site and getting a good backlog of content together took a little longer than expected.

That said, I will be starting page updates this week! :) A new page will be posted every Tuesday and Thursday starting this Thursday, so expect to see much more of Cal and Riley every week! :)

I have learned a lot about putting together a site on squarespace. I will create a detailed blog on how I did it for any webcomic folks out there.


P.S. - If this helped, please support me by reading halfwing, thanks!

Should I pitch to another publisher or go the webcomic route?

TL;DR (Too Long; Don't Read AKA Summary): I decided to go the webcomic route as you have probably guessed from visiting :D
Details... Should I pitch another publisher? I initially just pitched Image Comics, because I felt halfwing fit in well with their current material (which I really like).

Image is famous for taking the same fee for all books and letting you retain many of the rights to your series.

Also, I follow Jim Zub and other creators that work with Image Comics, and they seem to have a pretty good relationship with them.

After my first pitch failed with Image, I had to decide what to do next.

Dark Horse Comics looked promising, but they don't tell you the splits (I assume then it is different for every series) and their legal agreement scared me off a bit. You have to agree that you won't sue them if they have series come out after your pitch that is very similar to your series.

I guess that makes sense from a publisher's point of view. They don&#…

Pitch Update...

I pitched halfwing to Image Comics a little over a month ago (details). As the submission page calls out, if they haven't responded in one month, you should consider your proposal declined (which means halfwing was declined).

As you might guess, I was pretty bummed. I even pondered hanging it up... but... I reviewed my Toggl reports, and I realized I have spent close to a 1,000 hours writing/producing halfwing. I don't want to just throw that time without something to show for it.

Also, I really believe I have something with halfwing. The story is coming along and the art is great.

... so... during the second week when I was the most down in the dumps (and I was sure if I hadn't heard by then, I wouldn't hear... which I didn't)... I started thinking about what's next.

By the way, if this has happened to you, let in all those sad feelings for a couple minutes (or days :D ) and then move on to what's next for your story.

Overall, don't get too down. You d…

Contracts with comic artist (from a writer's perspective)

If you are a writer planning to hire an artist to draw your comic, it's important to get a proper contract in place, so you retain all the rights to your story.
Where should I start? You will need a Work for Hire contract (also known as a work made for hire or WFH). This type of contract allows you to retain all rights to the created work and do with those works as you please (pitch, webcomic, etc.).

You are paying a worker (artist) to do some work (draw your story). Because you are taking all the risk (financial), you should retain all rights to it. After you find/hire an artist, getting a contract in place is the next logical step.

I spent a lot of time searching for a Work for Hire template contract I could use. There were a lot of good articles out there on how to put one together, but not many provided a dummy contract I could use.

Some websites actually did, but I read through the contracts and I don't think they were completely correct.

It's better to get a legitima…

Starting a company for comic writers... LLC or Sole Proprietorship?

After figuring out I wanted to write comics (graphic novels, manga, etc.) and writing several scripts, I knew I had to hire and pay an artist a proper wage before I had my comic.

... So... I knew I needed to start a company... maybe?

Why? Well, for one thing, you can write off loses on taxes which can help the first couple years. Also, if you ever start making a profit, you can deduct expenses before you pay taxes as well... and... well, I had heard I should start a business for this stuff, right?

I just had to figure out the structure for the business.

I am in the USA, so I had a couple options:

Sole ProprietorshipBusiness PartnershipLimited Liability Company (LLC)CorporationBy the way, the U.S. Small Business Administration has a great site to guide you through this.
I don't have any partners in my business and I don't plan on being a Corporation at this point (too big), so I threw out Partnership and Corporation.
That left me with Sole Proprietorship vs. LLC (Limited Liabili…

What comic script format should I choose for my comic? (Marvel vs. DC vs. movie style)

If you are working as a writer for a publisher, they probably have guidelines to follow, so you will want to match whatever they request. *cough* *cough* (They are paying you.) There is even a book on writing DC type scripts if you really want to master that format.

However, for creator owned comics, the choice is more personal. Write whatever format fits you best.

For me, I started off writing movie scripts in Final Draft after reading a ton of books on writing. My main goal was to improve my writing while getting some of the ideas in my head out on paper. After all, I needed to write 10 throwaway scripts before I tried to make something.

While I did this, I figured out the best movie style script format for me which was loosely based on William Goldman's style. I talk more about him in another post if you are interested.

By the time I was at about 10 scripts, I felt I had one that I could turn into a comic (halfwing). Now, mind you, the first major arc of halfwing was 280 pages …

How to pitch your comic book

How to pitch your comic I finally have my first issue in hand. Now what?

If you are going the traditional comic route, i.e., trying to get the comic picked up by a publisher, you pitch editors.

There are a lot of publishers out there, and it is hard to know which to choose (especially since not all will treat you or your work fairly).

Image gives the same deal to everyone (small or large) and has a good reputation, so I figured I would start there. I was also told it's better to target one or two publishers rather than shotgunning it.

By the way, make sure your comic fits the publishers, i.e., it is similar in style/stories to other comics they publish. Otherwise, you are wasting your time.

Before you start putting your pitch together, you should read through all of Jim Zub's pitch tutorials:
Here Comes The Pitch – Part OneHere Comes The Pitch – Part TwoHere Comes The Pitch – Part ThreeHere Comes The Pitch – Part FourHow Do I Break In? (more general) I also read a good post fro…

Hiring a letterer for your comic, manga, or graphic novel

Hiring a Letterer I wrote a whole series on finding and hiring the right artist to ink and color my comic, so I thought it would make sense to cover how I hired a letterer.

Hiring an artist to do the inks/colors took much more time/effort than hiring a letterer.
What is a letterer? The artist responsible for drawing the comic book's text (word balloons and sound effects). The letterer's use of typefaces, calligraphy, letter size, and layout all contribute to the impact of the comic (wiki).
Why hire a letterer? If you talk to any great comic artist/writer, they all emphasize the importance of good lettering. The letterer will improve your comic by optimizing the flow of readers' eyes through the panes via placement of word balloons and sound effects.

In other words, it is more than just slapping the dialogue in a bubble and placing it over text. There is an art to it.

If you still want to do it yourself, make sure you read up on it. I recommend Jason Brubaker's letteri…

Make sure your comic is print ready from the start!

Make sure your comic is print ready from the start! It's important your art (whether you draw it or you hire an artist to do it) is ready to print from day one. That way you avoid having to redraw pages because the DPI is too low.

Below is the checklist I use for my artists.
ChecklistAll art is in 600 DPIFinal files are in CMYK.tiff format That's it! :)
Let's break that down (just a little). 600 DPI That's 600 dots per inch. The more dots you have in an inch, the more clear the art when you print. 
Marvel and DC expect their pages to be 600 DPI as Jason Brubaker calls out in his MakingComics post, 10 THINGS BEFORE YOU START A COMIC OR GRAPHIC NOVEL.
You will be safe at 600 DPI (less you may have to redraw, more doesn't really make a difference to the eye).  CMYK .tiff format
Most printers use the color model CMYK vs. RGB, so it's better to have your final files in that color model.

The .tiff file format is very common and allows layers.

If you want more informa…

How long should it take an artist to finish an issue of my comic?

Comic timelines Now that you have gone through the concept page, it's time to start making issues!

By the way, if you haven't gone through the concept phase with your artist, I strongly recommend it (more info).
Mainstream pay vs. indie pay
From doing research online, I figured out if you are paying mainstream rates, you should probably expect your artist to finish an issue a month (roughly 25 pages).

However, if you are like me, you most likely fall into the category where you are paying something around indie rates. In that case, you should expect an issue finished every two months (ink and color).

You can add another week or so for letters, but for the art, expect two months. (By the way, you should include that in your contract.)

For more details on pay rates, check out my post on the subject.
First issue vs. subsequent issues One caveat... the first issue will take much longer and that is ok.

When I first started out, I expected every issue would take two months. After all…