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Art of the pitch (Comics!)

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This is the Pitching Comics presentation I did at Staple in Austin (http://staple-austin.org) on 3/8/15. Some folks in the audience wanted it as a resource, so here it is! Enjoy.

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Art of the pitch (Comics!)

  1. 1. Art of the Pitch by Janelle Asselin
  2. 2. Art of the Pitch ✤ How to formulate a solid pitch ✤ Choosing a company to pitch to ✤ Methods of pitching ✤ Unsolicited submissions ✤ Emailing editors ✤ Meeting editors ✤ Contacting Marvel and DC ✤ Q&A
  3. 3. Writers! ✤ Prepare the following: ✤ Logline (1-2 sentences that sell your project) ✤ One-sheet (One-page plot description) ✤ Story outline ✤ One full issue script ✤ Intro paragraph for yourself
  4. 4. Loglines ✤ 1-2 sentences that describe your project to pull editors in. Think solicitation copy. ✤ Use clear, concise writing. This is not the time to prove how good your vocabulary is. The plot should be the most important point. ✤ Describe your lead character(s) + what their arc will be + what they’re fighting against + what makes your story unique (as best you can in a short bit of copy). ✤ But don’t try to tell the WHOLE story in 1-2 sentences. This is a tease! ✤ Practice writing loglines for different movies or comics you like - see if you can distill down the idea of successful stories into a solid logline.
  5. 5. One-sheet ✤ If you’re pitching an ongoing, describe your first arc in detail along with your more general ideas for what else will happen. ✤ Have a realistic idea of how long you imagine being able to tell a coherent story with this project (and if it’s only 6 issues or one graphic novel, say that). ✤ Don’t hold back - give the full plot. This should give the editor everything they need to know about your story.
  6. 6. Artists! ✤ Your writer will need to put together the written materials to go with your art. If you are the writer, you obviously have to do both! ✤ You’ll also want to prepare: ✤ At least 5 inked pages ✤ Possibly 5 colored pages ✤ 5 lettered pages ✤ Other art samples (5-10 pieces) ✤ Don’t forget cover samples if you want to do the covers for your book!
  7. 7. Choosing a company to pitch to ✤ Only pitch to companies where your project would seem natural. Do research before pitching. ✤ Also research the companies’ editors to know who works on what. ✤ Pitching to multiple companies via unsolicited submissions = okay. ✤ Pitching to multiple editors at a different or the same company = less okay. ✤ Know if you can financially handle publishing with the company you’re pitching to.
  8. 8. Methods of pitching ✤ Unsolicited submissions ✤ Emailing editors ✤ Meeting editors in person ✤ Sharing samples with Marvel and DC
  9. 9. Unsolicited submissions ✤ Follow submission guidelines TO THE LETTER. ✤ Only submit what is listed in guidelines (don’t submit 10 pages if they say only 5). ✤ Prep your materials by working with others to review them.
  10. 10. Emailing editors ✤ Pick up cards at conventions or you can often just guess their emails. A lot of comic companies just use standard email conventions like firstname.lastname@company.com. ✤ Email the editor who works in the genre you’re writing. ✤ Your email should include: ✤ If you’ve met before ✤ Who you are (paragraph mentioned earlier) ✤ Work they edit that you enjoy ✤ That you have a pitch you’d like to share (NOT the actual pitch). ✤ Signature with a link to your website, email, phone number, and social media (if you use it professionally).
  11. 11. Meeting editors in person ✤ Be respectful of the editor’s time. You’re probably meeting them at a con, which means they’re probably stressed out and exhausted. ✤ Try to schedule your meeting beforehand. Be very clear on date, time, and meeting location. Con floors often lack cell service! ✤ Bring printed pitch materials but ALSO have a low-res digital PDF of your pitch prepared. Email it to them right after your meeting. ✤ You can always meet editors at their company’s booth. Make sure you know who you’re talking to and what books they work on before trying to pitch, though. ✤ After panels is an easy way to find an editor BUT know they may be on their way to another panel or meeting. ✤ Prep a spoken presentation version of your one-sheet pitch. Should be clear and concise and play to your strengths! ✤ Be ready for any questions about your project! ✤ DO NOT try to pitch to editors at the bar! ✤ Bring your collaborator if you have one. Practice pitching together.
  12. 12. “Pitching” to Marvel and DC ✤ Like a few other companies, Marvel and DC do not accept unsolicited submissions. ✤ DO NOT send your pitch in anyway. It’ll be thrown out immediately and your name will be remembered. ✤ Just because you can’t pitch to them out of the blue doesn’t mean they can’t ask you to pitch! ✤ Submitting samples is where it’s at! Do it and do it often!
  13. 13. Sample tips! ✤ Prep a low-res PDF or collection of JPGs. Should total less than 1MB. ✤ Each file should include your name and email in a header somewhere. ✤ Credit your collaborators and be sure to be clear about what work you did on the samples. ✤ Sample emails should be similar to pitch emails to editors except you shouldn’t mention you have a pitch. Say you are available for hire and have a few ideas for their company’s properties. Don’t push the pitching thing. ✤ Most people at DC were hired not because they pitched but because someone liked their samples and they were offered a particular project. ✤ Remember to follow up!!!
  14. 14. Q&A!

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