‘Fast Forward’ is the title of the first ‘Retros’ collection which prints the first 240 pages of the webcomic in handy, easy to carry book form. I really, really, really want this book to be published. I have attempted to get ‘Uptown Girl’ published in the past, but my efforts were extremely halfhearted. After the first graphic novel came out in 2010, I sent it to probably a half-dozen publishers and that was it. I never shopped the books that came after, either. With The Retros, I wanted to get serious about it.
I spent a lot of time creating what I think is an attractive and fun pitch package and researched a lot of publishers. I asked some friends to take a look and offer feedback and I actually listened to them and made changes that they felt would make it stronger. I made many revisions over many months until I was finally ready.
I identified twelve publishers that I would submit to. There are many more comic publishers, but some don’t take superhero comics, for example. Reading guidelines for a publisher is a must, and it helps narrow the potential publishers down as well. Over the course of the last four weeks, I sent my book to all of them.
This morning I submitted ‘Fast Forward’ to the last of them. So, that’s it. In the words of Optimus Prime, “now all we need is a little energon, and a lot of luck”.
I will keep submitting this book as I hear of other publishers, but for now, I’ve done what I can. All that’s left is to wait for the rejection letters or, if I am feeling optimistic, a bite. Or nothing, nothing is an option, too. Many publishers will only respond if there is an interest, so it’s likely I won’t hear anything from anyone.
I have heard back from one publisher who passed on it, however. When I compiled the list of potential publishers there were a few that would be a dream to work with, but not likely to pick it up. The top of the list was the one who followed up with me, so it’s not surprising they passed on it. Getting rejected stings a little, to be honest. I received the email at work and it kind of put a cloud over the day…but it passed. It did make me want to rethink everything about The Retros, though. I looked at the format of the series and I wondered if it would be better as a comic book as opposed to the four panel, comic strip grid. I considered redoing the book in a different format for about a week but decided to keep the series as it is. Even if I changed formats, the likelihood of finding a publisher will still be nigh impossible, so I may as well keep the series in a format that I want to work in. I like the four panel grid, it works well as a webcomic and the simple format allows the comic to be updated as often as it is.
Ultimately I will likely be self-publishing the book, and future books, unless there is interest from one of the other eleven publishers I sent the book too.
I am happy that I did this, though. I followed through on submitting the book which was not something I’ve done in the past as thoroughly as I should have.
So, what’s next? The timing worked out really well as I am now ready to start shopping The Retros newspaper comic strip. My submission is completely written, drawn, inked, scanned (thank you Ben!) and lettered. My pitch is finished and, like the ‘Fast Forward’ pitch, I have asked a few friends to take a look at it for their feedback. I’ve identified six syndicates to send this to, and I hope to start sending this out by the end of September.
I feel that the strip is a stronger submission than the book, but it’s even more unlikely to find a syndicate than it is to find a publisher. But in the words of Lyle Lovett, “What would you be if you didn’t even try? You have to try.”
I did want to share the four ‘Sunday’ strips with you. Let me know what you think:
After I have exhausted this list of syndicates? I am not sure. Possibly a Retros pitch to a animation studio? Maybe. Probably. Again, that is even a longer shot than a publisher or a syndicate, but I keep targeting higher mountains, don’t I? I’ve also started thinking about what I want to work on in 2018. 2017 was about daily paintings and honing my skills there, but will I do next year besides The Retros? I’ve two ideas I am considering but I need to get through this year, first.