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Breaking into Comic Writing

Updated on November 10, 2013

Breaking in by Editing... DMG ROCKS!

Eat for Your Life vol. 1 Copyright 2013 DMP Written and illustrated by Shigeru Tsuchiyama Translation lettering by Mike Rickaby
Eat for Your Life vol. 1 Copyright 2013 DMP Written and illustrated by Shigeru Tsuchiyama Translation lettering by Mike Rickaby | Source

Breaking into Comic Writing

I recently saw a Hub question about how to break into comic writing. Apparently I was over my limit for answers today so hopefully you find this Eric.

How would an aspiring graphic novel/comic book writer break into the field without an artist?

asked by Eric Newland

And here is my answer:

Hey Eric!

I know this is an old question, but I thought I might answer it anyway.

I'm the publisher for CE Publishing Group, and I have to tell you there are about twice as many aspiring writers out there as opposed to artists. Thus making pairing up with a art team all that more complicated.

The best way to get in is to win the lottery and have bucket loads of cash to share with the best art team that you can find. Cash talks basically. But I have to tell you it's not necessary, just convenient.

The other way is to pitch your project to a local community of which face to face contact with creators is by far the best condition to work in. But this is of course not always possible. So the internet and email is the next best thing. Find your art team on Digital Webbing (DWP or maybe Pencil Jack ( This is a tried and true method that everyone has used for years.

The problem with collaborations and "back end" deals (paid after publication profits) is that enthusiasm drops off and artists tend to drop out. But over the course of time you will find committed creators that make comics for the love of the craft and not necessarily for the $$$.

Having a strategy for publication of your stories helps to make your project more desireable for an art team. Here is a hub I wrote that may help you with self publishing efforts:

And I have yet another option that you may like to venture into. I am also a Editor/Letterer for a Manga publisher called Digital Manga Publishing (DMP). And while it's not original source writing, it's editing Manga that is being translated from Japanese and is a back end paying gig, but it does pay. And it's a resource for getting professional comic editing credits that will help greatly with your comics writing resume.

If you (or anyone) are interested you can check out the Digital Manga Guild which runs all of the Manga translations for DMP. They require an Editor's test to qualify to become a DMG Editor (or translator or letterer for that matter). Many writers lately are also lettering and this is a great place to learn. By having the capabilities of Lettering you will be able to expand your talent offerings to give you more areas to break into comic writing

Additionally, I would highly recommend writing ABOUT comics too! There are a bajilliion comic review sites and podcast sites just begging for comic news and content. I can name dozens of writers that thrive in comics by having a mainstay of comic reviewing and commentary.

What ever you do... Keep writing!

Your Friend and Fan,

Michael Rickaby
Copyright 2013 CE Publishing Group

Prose and Speculative Fiction

OK... My brain can't stop working...

Another method for Writers to break into comics is writing Prose. Yes, it's rare, but some publishers take 2-4 page prose works for their publications. Like CE Publishing does for instance... We take prose submissions for our MEGABOOK anthology and for some of our other books. We do not pay, but exposure is great in this anthology

And here's the REALLY cool part. These prose works can make you money additionally by submitting them to Speculative Fiction magazines. These print and electronic publishers will pay by the story or sometimes by the word. Here are a few of my favorites:

Analog - This is the root of all spec fiction. The biggest and the best. Hard to get into, but worth the effort.

Raygun Revival - Currently on hiatus but an amazing magazine.

Mindflights - A christian based fantasy fiction magazine. They pay .005 cents per word $5 min, $25 max per story. I had a cover on one of their past issues:

Here is a list (kindof old, but still good) of speculative fiction publishers by pay rate.

If you can't make it into a higher paying publisher, try several different places. Until your story is accepted and contract signed, submit everywhere and take the best offer. Some spec publishers do not have exclusive contracts, and others do. But they all have time frames and then you can shop the story to other publishers.

And here is another cool thing... Artists can submit to spec fiction magazines too! And there is a host of needs that each different magazine needs for their different themes and artwork usages.

Start small and work your way up! Any form of Limelight exposure for your writing is great!

Good Luck Writers (and Artists)!

Cool Spec Fiction Cover!

By Mike Rickaby
By Mike Rickaby | Source


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