Do you dream of publishing your own comic? Many fans would love to create their own comic, but don’t know what steps to take to get started. The good news is that the process of creating a comic is quite simple.
Comics are more popular than ever, in part due to the success of the Marvel and DC Comics movie franchises. Creating these pieces takes a lot of work, but making comics is a true passion for some dedicated authors.
You are reading: Self publish comic books
In this article, I’ll use the term comics, but the same process applies to creating and publishing graphic novels. graphic novels are generally longer than comics and have more complex stories.
regardless of length, you’ll follow the same steps to create a graphic novel or comic book.
4 routes to publish comics
There are four different ways that comic authors publish their comics. each option has its own pros and cons, so the right way to post really depends on your unique needs.
launch a webcomic
webcomics are one of the easiest ways to get into comic book publishing. most webcomics are more like the comic strips you’ll see in the newspaper than an actual comic. webtoons are similar to web-based comic strips, but are arranged vertically, not horizontally.
It’s usually less work to create a web comic, so they’re a great way to get started in comic publishing. you can build a following, and when you’ve created enough small comics, you can combine them and publish them yourself into an anthology.
pros and cons of creating a webcomic can include:
- pro: they are much faster and easier to publish than a traditional comic.
- pro: webcomics can build up a base faster because they’re easy to share on social media.
- con: webcomics are usually short, so it’s harder to tell a complicated story unless the comic is serialized.
- con: There’s a lot of competition in the webcomic space, so it’s hard to stand out.
publish your comic digitally
The next step of a webcomic is a digital version of a comic. With the rise of e-readers and smartphones, digital comics are more popular than ever.
There are also some great platforms to get your digital comics into the hands of readers, like Amazon-owned Comixology. amazon even has free software to help you download your comic on kindle.
The ins and outs of digital comics include:
- pro: usually cheaper to produce than a print comic.
- pro: you don’t have to deal with the hassle of having to print them.
- pro: readers can buy them anytime and read them instantly.
- with: some readers prefer to have a print copy of the comic on hand, and if you don’t offer your comic in print, they may not read it.
self-publish a print comic
It is also possible to self-publish printed copies of a comic. Self-publishing your comic can be a great option if you want higher royalties and more creative control.
Here’s what to keep in mind when printing your own comic:
- pro: you have a physical copy of your comic for readers who prefer them.
- pro: comic collectors want print copies, not digital.
- pro: Readers can support local retailers if their comic sells in stores.
- with : Depending on the length of your comic and how you want it printed (binding, paper quality, ink quality), it can be expensive to print a comic. money can be an even bigger factor if you have to pay to print lots of copies up front.
- con: if you don’t sell all your prints right away, I’ll have to find a place to store them.
Money can be a big issue for self-publishers of comics, especially if print-on-demand options like kdp or lulu aren’t right for your project. some comic book authors use crowdfunding like kickstarter to get money to print a large number of copies.
go the traditional publishing route
You can also choose to go the traditional route and work with a publisher. many smaller independent comic book publishers accept submissions directly from authors.
pros and cons of traditional comic publishing:
- pro: You get support from your publisher and don’t have to go through the comic creation process alone.
- pro: your publisher will cover the costs of producing your comic book.
- advantage: your publisher will already have distributors lined up, so you don’t have to worry about getting your books on the shelves. stores.
- con: If your idea for a comic is out of the box, you may not be able to find a traditional publisher for your book.
roles in publishing a comic
Creating a comic is a big project. There are many different roles that comic book creators play in the development of their books, and some choose to hire help to fulfill those roles and tasks.
Others, particularly self-publishers without a huge budget, will decide to do almost everything themselves.
The roles involved in publishing a comic are:
- writer: Comic writers write all the dialogue and other text in the comic, called a script. they often come up with the story of the comic as well, although occasionally, a creator will hire a ghostwriter to write the script.
- editor: nobody wants typos in their books, comics authors included. editors will look for typos, grammatical errors, and may even look for issues like continuity issues. you may also want to have a proofreader review your final draft.
- illustrator: illustrators work from the writer’s script to make the sketches that become the images of the comic book. then, they ink the sketches on the panels of the book, creating the black-and-white outlines for the graphics.
- Colorist: Colorists take the illustrator’s sketches, polish them, and turn them into a finished work of art. most colorists work digitally, using programs like adobe photoshop and illustrator to add color to black and white line drawings.
- letterer: letters add text to graphics of the comic book. most comic artists digitally write comics on a computer using stylized fonts.
- formatter – During formatting, everything is combined into a single file that can be sent to the printing service for your printing. or distributed digitally.
- advertiser: If readers don’t know about your book, they won’t buy it. advertising is a fundamental task for the creators of comics. you can choose to hire a publicist or do the advertising yourself.
Although you could try to fulfill all of these roles, you should at least find an external editor. it’s hard to look at your own writing critically and easy to overlook the mistakes you’ve made. professional editors are trained to look for mistakes and will improve the quality of your comic.
the 7 steps to publish a comic
Are you convinced that you want to create your own comic?
These are the 7 steps you must follow to publish your comic:
- write the script
- draw the panels
- ink and color
step 1: write the script
what is the first step to publish a comic? the first step to publish a comic is to create a story. Many comic books start out as short stories that grow and evolve into something more.
once you have your story, you create an outline and then write your script. the script contains the dialogue and any other text that will appear in your book. the script can also include general descriptions of what the illustrations should show in each panel.
step 2: storyboard
Storyboards are the first link between the script and the comic panels. they are rough sketches that help the illustrator understand what should be drawn on each panel of the book.
step 3: draw the panels
The artist will then go in and draw the comic panels based on the storyboards. these are very rough “pencil” sketches that will be perfected in the next step.
step 4: inking and coloring
The inking process takes the preliminary sketches and turns them into black and white drawings, making edits or correcting any mistakes made in the sketches. then the colorist takes those outlines and turns them into full color panels.
step 5: letters
Once the panels are illustrated, it’s time to label them. the lyrics are almost always done digitally in software where the script and the panels are combined.
step 6: publish
The publishing process begins with the layout of all the pages in a file using software. most graphic designers use adobe indesign for this step. once the book cover and interior are set up, the designer saves the files in a format that the printing or distribution service accepts, usually a pdf.
Files are sent to the print service you are using if you are making paper copies. Common printing services for comics include Lulu or KDP Print. Then, you’ll send digital copies to whatever book aggregators you plan to use, like Comixology or KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).
If you’re producing print comics, you should also consider sending them to diamond comics distributors. diamond is the largest comic book distributor in the united states and the best way to get your books to comic shops.
You can also choose to formally copyright your book. Although most creative works are protected under the digital millennium copyright law, it may be a good idea to file paperwork with the government to get the copyright to your comic.
how do i publish a comic on amazon? publish a comic on amazon by submitting your completed comic to kdp and comixology. other comic book printing services like lulu offer direct integration with amazon.
how do i publish a comic on kindle? you publish a comic on kindle by uploading your book to kdp. Using software like kdp’s free kindle create can ease the process of submitting your comic to kdp.
step 7: promotion
books don’t sell themselves; You will need to constantly promote your comic if you want it to turn a profit and get your work out into the world. It’s helpful to hire a book publisher if you have the budget, but you can also do the promotion yourself.
When you launch your book, you can use strategies like press releases or launch teams to build initial interest. the launch is all about building momentum and creating a great foundation for future marketing efforts.
after its launch, you still need to constantly promote your book if you don’t want your sales to stagnate. If you need help with promotion, check out my favorite books for book marketers.
tips for creating a comic
here are some tips to help you create a better comic:
- Take your time: It’s tempting to rush through your comic when you’re really excited about the project, but it’s worth paying attention to the details. make sure you have a great story and high quality graphics.
- Hire an editor: Editors are worth every penny you spend on their services. you can also hire a proofreader for your finished book before you upload it for distribution.
- get your own isbn: If you publish with kdp print, you can get an isbn when you submit your book. however, they can make your book seem buff to some readers. buying your own isbn is a good idea and makes it look more professional.
- check your formatting: sometimes the formatting breaks when a book that is designed for print becomes in digital format. be sure to double check your ebook format to make sure your comic looks the way you want.
- don’t forget to include an author bio!: make sure to include an author biography at the end of your book. Your bio is a great place to mention other books you’ve created and include your website so readers can keep in touch.
Comics Publishing Cost Breakdown
Depending on how much you want to do yourself, you can end up paying a lot or very little to produce your comic. Here are the average costs to hire a freelancer to help create your comic:
- Screenwriting: $10-50 per page
- Editing: $20-$60 per page
- Penciling: $50-$150 per page
- Inking: $40-$120 per page (some artists will ink their own pencil drawings at a reduced rate)
- Coloring: $30-$50 per page
- Lettering: $10-$20 per page
How much does it cost to publish a comic? It costs between $130 and $200 per page to publish a comic if you hire a freelancer for each step. that number does not include the cost of printing the comics or advertising.
how will you publish your comic?
Publishing a comic is a lot of work, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. The good news is that there are many options to publish your comic. Whether you self-publish or traditionally publish your comic, you can make informed decisions about how you’ll create it.
Looking for more information on book publishing? see more articles and learn how:
- cost of publishing a book
- choosing a pseudonym
- writing a description of the book
With these tools in hand, you’ll be ready to publish your comic and bring the action of your scheme to your readers. Cheers!