Have you got graphic novels inside you, just bursting to find a home? Then this is definitely for you. Twenty years ago, Janna Morishima began her career in publishing as the assistant to creative director David Saylor at Scholastic. Two years later, she co-founded the Graphix imprint with Saylor and editor Sheila Keenan, to publish graphic novels for kids, and helped to bring Raina Telgemeier and Jeff Smith's Bone to its inaugural list. That line has gone on to become 40% of the US bookstore market for comic books. In 2007, she left Scholastic to helm the Kids Group at Diamond Book Distributors, where she worked with publishers like Marvel, Oni, Image, and Dark Horse and helped launch Francoise Mouly's Toon Books. Since then Janna's reputation has grown, as the kind of agent who can get a graphic novel sold, so there may be a few more this time. Earlier this year, she launched Janna Co., a literary and illustration agency specializing in children's and YA graphic novelists and visual storytellers. Bleeding Cool reported on two of her recent sales, Andi Watson's Punicorn being sold to Clarion, and Shauna J. Grant's Mimi & Penelope to Scholastic. and Debbie Fong's debut graphic novel Next Stop to Random House Graphic.
In two weeks' time, on Saturday the 25th, she is teaching a half-day course on helping people figuring out how to pitch their graphic novel to both agents and publishers alike. Pitchcraft! is a half-day workshop focused on helping you understand all the ins and outs of pitching a graphic novel, and what you need to focus on when pitching your work, promising to deliver the following;
- A clear understanding of what agents and publishers want to see in your pitch, and what you need to prepare
- A downloadable checklist to ensure that you've "checked all the boxes" for an effective pitch
- Live critiques of multiple pitches so you can see in real-time how an agent evaluates submissions
- An extensive Q&A session so you can ask Janna your questions directly
- A live exercise where you'll write/refine your logline (one sentence pitch)
- Tips for special cases: author-only submissions; team submissions; international submissions, etc.
- A dedicated student forum where you can share your pitch to get feedback from the community
The early bird cost for the workshop is $65. The price goes up to $78 at 8 am EST on Tuesday, Sept 14th. You must be a member of Kids Comics Unite before registering for the workshop, which is free to join. And Pitchcraft! is free for Kids Comics Studio members. There are also three spots available for live pitch critique sessions with Janna, offered on a first-come-first-serve basis and we anticipate they will sell out quickly, for an additional $40. You can watch the video pitch for Pitchfest! and the schedule for the day below…
- 12 pm EST, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021
- 12:00 pm EST Workshop Lecture: Everything You Need to Know About Pitching Your Graphic Novel
- 1:15 pm EST Live exercise: crafting your logline/one sentence pitch
- 1:30 pm EST Q&A session
- 2:15 pm EST Break
- 2:30 pm EST Live critique session
- 3:30 pm EST Wrap-up
- 3:45 pm EST Workshop ends
- A full replay of the event will be available for one month after it concludes.
When launching her agency, Janna stated "As much as the graphic novel industry has grown over the past decade, it has the potential to grow as much or even more over the next 10 years. We are seeing more and more different types of stories told in comics format, and at the same time, comics easily cross entertainment media boundaries and are impacting publishing, animation, gaming, and technology alike. Most importantly, we can see the tremendous fan enthusiasm for the form in the seemingly unstoppable growth of comics conventions and festivals aimed at every niche audience imaginable." Without those conventions or festivals right now, Jenna has found a virtual solution that everyone can take part in.