As an aspiring writer of all things creative, it's natural that I would attend a panel entitled, Writers Unite: Pitching Creator Owned Comics. Jim Zub (Wayward, Samurai Jack) moderated the panel which consisted of Marguerite Bennett (Butterfly), Greg Pak (Action Comics, The Princess Who Saved Herself), and Charles Soule (Letter 44, Death of Wolverine). They started the panel off by sharing their stories about how they got started in the industry, which began with all of them stating how they always knew they wanted to write. Charles Soule vigorously stated that "he decided" he wanted to be in comics, and he made it happen.
Moving forward they talked about building your work. They urged everyone to start small and work on simple smaller stories, before longer more elaborate projects. Charles Soule suggested writing one page stories about specific things, like a rainy day, a fight, or a date. Greg Pak, having a background in film, shared his experiences about making short movies in film school. Marguerite Bennett talked about the class she took with guess who? Scott Snyder! While in college, she said she learned a lot from Snyder, and he actually provided her gateway into the comic book world. Jim Zub added his experience with building an audience by a daily webcomic that he did for himself as an escape from his day job at the time.
Zub stated to the audience,
"write something that means something to you, because it's hard to fake something that you're not passionate about. You'll produce better work that way."
Soule talked about having "authority" in your projects.
"Readers can feel when you write with authority."
He continued to explain that when you write about the things you know and layer in other things, your projects will be more developed.
They briefly touched on collaboration, and how you have to consider that the entire work will be judged, right down to the lettering. From there they discussed pitching. You definitely have to ask yourself the question, "Why should a publisher choose your comic over someone else's?" So you have to be extremely organized and sum up your ideas into a short, concise pitch. I was very happy when they shared their own pitches, because it gave the audience examples of how short and to the point they actually should be.
Jim Zub told the audience to "treat this like your career. When it comes to creative efforts, sometimes people forget it can be a job, and they forget about professionalism. Prove that you can make consistent professional quality work, before you expect someone to pay you."
The panel came to a close with the topic shifting to things that the creators wish they knew before. One of those things, is how accessible the industry is now. There are tons of resources that you can go to on the internet to learn about pitches, scripts, contracts, and agreements. Zub and Soule specifically have things on their own websites/blogs. Networking is more important than ever, and it is easier than you think. It takes commitment, but it can be done.
"Make friends, support their work, and they will support your work. The best thing that will sell your work, are other respected creators saying it's good."
The panel told the audience to make sure that you appreciate where you're at, and enjoy the process. Don't compare yourself to other people. Instead give yourself credit for your own progress. Overall, I found this panel to be incredibly informative, helpful, and fun. It's always nice to sit in a room with a bunch of creative like minded people!
Christine Marie is a Staff Writer at Bleeding Cool, and bibliomaniac with a love for all things creative. She hopes to one day be a Superhero/Disney Princess/Novelist. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @AWritersWay or on her blog writerchristinemarie.wordpress.com.