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  • Comic Book Self Publishing: How to Create and Sell a Great Comic

    comic book self publishing icon
    Digital Printing, Self-publishing

    Should you consider comic book self publishing? For many authors, a love of comic book superheroes and their exciting adventures inspired them to write comic book content they enjoy. Or maybe you are an aspiring author, ready to publish your first book with your sights set on learning how to write and sell comic book self publishing.

    Because comic books have been a beloved genre for decades, and their readers love the action, adventure, and bright colors common in comics as well as the fantastical worlds the characters inhabit, they are an attractive type of book to write. If you are considering writing and selling your own comic book self publishing, some basic steps can take you from dreaming about your comic book hero’s world to becoming a published comic book author.

    Comic Book Self Publishing: Do Your Research

    The very first step in making and selling your own comic book self publishing is to learn about what other comics are out there and what makes them successful. Even if you are already a well-read comic book fan, doing research specific to your goal of making and selling your own comic book self publishing is key to your comic’s future success.

    • Popular vs Classics: Review the current popular comics to see what readers are buying right now. But be sure to take a look at the classic comics to see what characteristics keep readers coming back to these stories and heroes to learn what makes a great comic. If you already know what type of storyline, hero, and world you are interested in writing, focus on learning as much as you can about that genre so you can see what your future potential readers love and like to see in their comic book stories and characters.
    • Demographics: As you narrow down the genre of comic you want to write, look at who is the target reader for that genre. Understanding the demographics of who might buy your new comic book self publishing can help you make the right decisions in the story creation, how the book looks, and how you market it.
    • Design: Study the format, graphics, and overall design of popular comics in your genre. Knowing what readers are used to seeing can help you develop a comic book self publishing that will feel familiar enough for them to try out without standing out in a way that makes your comic appear too different from what they are already reading.
    • Pricing: Take note of what popular comics are selling for so when it comes time to price yours, your price will fall in line with what potential readers are already used to paying.

    Character Creation for Comic Book Self Publishing

    Next, to make comic book self publishing content you will need to decide on the main character. A familiar-feeling character that isn’t a clone of an established hero or villain is easier to design once you have researched current comic books and their characters. Then, decide what makes your main character unique and create a backstory for them so readers can understand their motivations in the story. Think about the world(s) they live in and how that will impact their character and storylines.

    Develop the Story for Your Comic Book Self Publishing

    Now it’s time to write the plot of the story. Create an arc that includes setting the stage to introduce readers to the hero, the backstory, and the setting. Then present the conflict or problem the main character faces as well as the resolution. Consider the big picture of what happens to your main character as well as other major and minor characters throughout your comic’s story. And don’t forget to include interesting comic elements like a nemesis that builds tension and creates excitement in your main character’s storyline.

    Storyboarding Your Comic Book Self Publishing

    Once the story has been developed, the next step to make your comic book come to life is to transfer it onto a storyboard. This roughing out of the visual depiction of the story helps writers choose how the reader will see the story come to life. Each page of the book is blocked out, and authors determine the structure of each page and what scene, characters, and dialog will go on each section of each page.

    Storyboarding is the first time that the author’s story takes the shape of a comic book because content and visuals will be plotted out on each page. The storyboard is also where the author notes on the storyboard when a character speaks, thinks, or there is a title or other text. Storyboarding can be done by hand or with a digital template, but the end result should be a full representation of the story, ready to move into production with an illustrator.

    Make Comic Book Content in Two Ways

    The storyboard is the rough draft of the comic that is ready to be turned into a book with classic comic book frames on each page and illustrations of the story. Authors can choose to move into this phase either by hand or digitally.

    • A professional illustrator can hand-draw each page’s illustrations to match the content requested by the author on the comic storyboard. While all original comics were drawn by hand, today authors who have the artistic ability can create their own illustrations or hire a professional illustrator to bring their concept to life.
    • Many authors choose to create comic book content digitally. Professional graphic designers can develop digital art today, and this type of creation often provides authors with some flexibility in the creation process since digital designs are much easier to change once created than hand-illustrated designs.

    Add Text to Your Comic Book Self Publishing

    Once the visual elements of your comic are finished, it’s time to add the text to each page. The text can be created by engaging the services of a professional hand letterer or by using a software program. Your comic will use at least three types of text throughout the book.

    • Thought Bubbles allow the reader to see what a character is thinking, and they are critical to moving along the plot by revealing a character’s motivations, fears, and ideas.
    • Conversation Bubbles are used to tell the reader about actions that don’t happen on the page of the comic. Characters tell each other about events or activities to fill in the plot actions and reveal more about themselves and their own character to the reader. Comics also use sound impact bubbles like Pow! Bang! or Crash! to indicate actions.
    • Narration in a comic is relatively minimal, but these text blocks can provide a large amount of information in a small amount of space.

    Prepare to Print Your Comic Book Self Publishing Project

    When you are satisfied with the draft of your comic, be sure to pick a title that will interest potential readers, and design eye-catching cover art with the aid of a design expert so readers will want to look inside. Select the binding for your comic book so it will be durably constructed and appear like other comics in your genre.

    Many comics are bound with saddle stitch binding that uses strong stitches (staples) on books with a self-cover. And don’t forget to partner with a printer who can digitally print your comic book self publishing project like Dazzle Printing so you can order the right number of books in your comic’s first run.

    How to Sell Comic Book Self Publishing Content

    When your comic book returns from the printer, ready to get into the hands of your readers, you should already have a plan in place to sell it. Comic book self publishing can be sold in three main ways.

    1 Local comic stores sometimes agree to offer authors space on their shelves, but they usually take comics on consignment rather than purchasing the book outright. When a store sells a consigned book, the profits are set aside for the author.

    To encourage more sales, authors might want to see if a marketing flyer for their new comic can be displayed or provided as a giveaway to potential readers. Put a QR code on your flyer to link directly to social media, an author or book website, a landing page or a retail sale page to give readers more comic content, to build interest and to encourage sales.

    2 Online sales can be set up by selling your book directly through your own website or by linking it to online retail outlets.

    3 Conventions and other group meet-ups are excellent places to market your book and sell comic book content. Create flyers to hand out or host a booth to introduce your book to your target audience. Readers love to meet authors, so take advantage of any in-person events you can attend to promote your book, introduce your new comic characters and build your fan base.

    Get Social

    Don’t forget to snag a social media handle on the big platforms for your book, the main character or even a series title to connect with fans online. Use your social media presence to connect with your readers as an author as well as direct potential readers to locations where your comic is available for sale. Consider using hot platforms like YouTube or TikTok to reach an even greater audience.

    Use your new status as a published author to talk with comic fans about their favorite heroes and villains, and when appropriate, let them know your new comic is one they should check out too. But remember that writing and selling your comic book should not be the only topics you discuss on social media because fans and potential readers love to get to know writers and other comic fans, too.


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