Getting Started in the Industry

Advice on getting started, or breaking into, the comics industry. Whatever it takes.

Josh wrote:

“I am a senior at West Virginia University getting my degree in English Literature with an emphasis on creative writing. I have been a longtime fan of comics and am trying to work my way into the industry.”

Josh —

You’re probably best off starting out by coming up with your own properties (characters and stories) and pitching those to publishers. If no one bites, find an artist and publish them yourself for a while to prove your ability to write and meet regular deadlines (both are equally important). This industry is small enough, that anyone who’s good at what they do will be noticed and move up the food chain to better-paying and higher-profile jobs.

Here’s submission guidelines for some of the major and mid-size publishers:

It can be a long road to get established, and very few people make more than a decent living just creating comics themselves, so you’ve really gotta love it for the sake of doing it if you’re eventually going to be successful. That said, comics are a great medium for storytelling, for both their relative cheapness to produce, and the few hands required to do so.

Another important step is to attend your nearest comic convention, introduce yourself to editors there, and then follow up the next week with your actual proposal. (Ihardly ever hand anybody anything important at a comic-con — things get tossed in a pile and lost or forgotten about.) But meeting people face-to-face is important for them to remember who you are when your work comes to them, and also for getting lots of valuable advice on the writing and submitting process from those who’ve done it.

The San Diego Comic-Con in July is the nation’s largest convention, and the same organization also hosts excellent smaller cons in San Francisco in February and April. Wizard Entertainment puts shows in LA, Philadelphia, Chicago and Texas. There’s also big cons in NYC, Charleston and other places around the East coast, including one in Virginia coming up in March — — Google and I’m sure you can find many more.

Hope this helps! Best of luck.