Hey everyone welcome how to write a comic book, the series for anyone interested in how to write comics. In part 1, we spoke about how you need to know your ‘why’ before you even begin. In this part we’re going to go through all the items you should have in place before you begin.
But before you start putting everything together you will essentially you will need to know…
What it is that you want to achieve at the end of the process?
So what is it you are looking to have as your end deliverable? Are you looking to make
- a digital copy – this will be sold on websites like Amazon as a Kindle book, on Comixology as a CMX-HD format, on Apple or Google bookstore or on your own website.The advantages of this is that there will be no upfront printing costs and that the reader gets instant access to your work.I would suggest (and I know having made this mistake a few times in the past) go test the market with your digital copy before investing time and more money into figuring out how to get a printed booka) into the world and
b) to get a distribution deal for it.
- a physical copy – this is the heavyweight of the three options, and I understand why you want to make a physical copy of the book, I’ve done the same too.
Perhaps you feel that it’s not a real book unless you have a paper copy of the book that you can physically hold in your hand.
That’s perfectly fine and acceptable, I get that, there is a way in which you can do this without setting you back thousands of [insert your currency here] and that is using Print On Demand (POD), which essentially only ‘prints’ the book when it is actually ‘bought’ on a website.
If you do decide to print a bunch of books you’d be looking at offset printing, which to achieve a reasonable unit cost you will be looking to print several hundreds of books, and I don’t care which currency you insert in here, that’s going to cost in the thousands magnitude.
Before you even consider doing this (as I want to save you a lot of money and heartache), do you know how many are you looking to print?
What are you basing that number off?
I would suggest you establish the demand for your comic book before going for a large offset print job.
When I say establish, I don’t mean guess, I mean actually get people to commit to buying the book before hand.
So how do you do that?
Well first you can set up a mailing list on your blog, where you ask people to sign up to purchase the book, when you hit critical mass then you send off that offset job to meet the demand – remember to add in the postage cost and make sure the revenue you collect at least meets the cost of printing and delivering.
- a web comic – this is where you publish it on your own blog/website.You can either do this for free or set up a subscription for people to see your comic.Generally the free version is the most prominent and oftentimes you’d be more likely to make a certain portion of the entire comic book/graphic novel free – this would be so that others can discover your comic book and then go onto buy either the digital or print version of your book.
What’s your plan on how to write a comic
Great now you know your end goal you can start to work backwards and formulate a plan. This essentially is the ‘how’ part of the process.
You are going to need a plan of how you are going to achieve all of this, essentially start to link all the items that logically go together.
Here is a list of the elements you need to have in place in order for this to happen – I’ve listed this in the order you should do it.
- a log line – a line or two (max) description of the idea; if you can’t distil your idea down to a couple of sentences then you are going to struggle both to pitch the idea and to write a full script
- a synopsis – a one page synopsis of the the story, note this is not a chronological listing of the events in the script; doing this step will help you iron out the various issues in your script, see if it works – and most likely people will agree to read a synopsis, as that will only take a few minutes (people are very busy nowadays), if they like the synopsis then they will then want to invest their time into reading the whole script
- a script – formatted to a comic book format; if you’ve done the two previous steps properly then this step is easy and will be great fun because you’ve ironed out all the issues beforehand
- an idea of your budget – hint I learnt the hard way, asking people to do it for free won’t get the project moving, you need to put some money into this
- an understanding of the different people you need to have in your team
- concept artist
- letterer colourist
- layout artist
These are the bare essentials, I added some optional extras which if you have time to create will help shape your project and help get the right team to do the job
- an area online that you can refer people back to – ideally this should be your blog
- some art style guides – show your collaborators that you have done some ground work before hand
- character guides – get to know your characters ahead of time and put some adjectives around the characters
- mood boards – what kind of moods are you looking to achieve, a dark eerie mood or an sci-fi futuristic look
Be sure to check out the rest of the series of how to write a comic book.
In part 3 we are going to learn about the script, how to write it and how to make it flow.
In part 4 we are going to learn about the team, what the team should look like and how and why to pull a team together.
You can see all my writing articles in the writing section of the blog, and while you here have a look around – do also hit any of these social share buttons below.