Advice for aspiring comic artists from small press publishers (TCAF 2013 panel)

Michael-Deforge_Kickassannie

The small press panel at TCAF 2013 was interesting.

Lots of perspectives from the people at Secret Acres, Domino Books, Koyama Press, Grimalken Press, and Rebus Books. (At least that was who were on the bill. I arrived late and missed the intros.)

It was moderated by Adam Hines and Andrew Murray who manage the Guys With Pencils Tumblr.  (I’d not heard of them before, but apparently they live here in Toronto.) They were recording the panel, so presumably it is posted someplace, but I can’t find it. You can click here for the podcast billed as their TCAF review, but the first 15 minutes were boring and I lost interest so I haven’t listened long enough to know if they include any audio clips from the panel.

The panel, however, was engaging. Adam and Andrew kept it moving along. Annie Koyama had some particularly insightful advice. You should check out the Koyama Press site if you are unfamiliar with them. They publish Michael Deforge, Jesse Jacobs and loads more great indie talent. (The above image is by Deforge of the Koyama mascot Kickass Annie.)

The main takeaways:

  • It’s never been easier to get your work out there and start building a fan base. (The Internet has changed the game.)
  • Indie publishers have limited time and so their catalogue is very small. Plus it’s planned many seasons out so don’t get discouraged by rejection letters. If they answer you back, consider it a compliment that they took the time to answer you.
  • Blind submissions don’t often work, which goes back to the first bullet.
  • Some publishers have the means to get your book into the hands of sellers even if they don’t publish it. So if you can make your own comic (see #1), they might be interested in working out a distribution contract.
  • Plus you don’t even really need a publisher these days. Sure it’s a much bigger hill to climb, but I’m finding lots of interesting comics in unexpected places. (In fact, I recently found and bought a few comics on Etsy, which goes toward this point.)

(Time lapse of TCAF 2013 by Clive Sewell)

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