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The Top 10 Ways To Impress an Editor

When Mr. X. asked me to guest blog I was glad to step up. Seriously, the idea of having a huge captive audience for a week was almost irresistible. But what to write? The answer came to me at once...

For the aspiring (web)comics creator there are articles and advice aplenty on how to make comics. And yet, despite all this well-meaning information, I have often felt that something vital was lacking; something that would convey the real emotions inspired by a job thoroughly done. To correct that, I have compiled the following list. It's full-to-bursting with professional experience and the emotions those episodes stirred within my own black heart. It cannot fail, I am sure, to inspire the right-thinking, would-be comics creator on to dazzling new heights of personal achievement.

 

The Top 10 Ways To Impress an Editor

1. First off, please let me know (in detail) just how ignorant you are of me and of the kind of work our site showcases. Nothing warms the cockles of my editorial heart quite so much as seeing a wildly unsuitable submission that has been addressed, “Dear Sir/Madam.” And while you’re at it, make sure I know that you would have subscribed and gotten familiar with us, but that you are soooo poor, you just couldn’t manage the three bucks/don’t have a credit card/live in a cave without the internet/couldn’t see your way clear to pass up that last double latte. And really, if we wanted you to be familiar with our site, we’d offer free samples or something.

2. If you think your work is sub-par, please, by all means, feel free to tell me about it at length. I can’t hear enough about how the submission I am spending my valuable time reading is “not your best work” or that you, “can certainly do better”. No really, trying to sell me on your work while calling it shit, is endearing.

3. Be sure to let me know about your lack of commitment to your work. I, for one, am absolutely riveted when I hear aspiring creators tell me that they’d love to be part of my team, but that they won’t be able to update during the summer because, “That’s when my family goes camping and besides, I do all my work during boring math class and anyway, and also I won’t be able to get any paper or pencils because, ya’know, school is out and I can’t raid the supply cabinet.”

4. Speaking of supplies… Ignore those folks that insist that you use quality materials. Hey! You’re poor, remember? Besides, I hear that notebook paper is every bit as archival as Bristol board. Who cares about a few (dozen) erasures anyway? And I hear that those college ruled lines add character and a sense of devil-may-care edginess to a series. Besides, if I want crisp, clear linework, it’s my job as the Editor to fire up the Photoshop and finish your work for you… right?

5. Forget about originality or thinking for yourself. As with all Editors, I want the most derivative drivel out there. Hey, if a story/set of character types was successful once, (or a dozen times) why deviate from that model? Please, send me only that which you have lovingly traced… er, “homaged” from Sailor Moon and/or Teen Titans. No, really! The more, hackneyed a concept the better! Stale jokes about college life? Bring it on! Endless one-liners about what dorks gamers are? Tell me more! I have an unlimited capacity for pain and there’s a head-sized crater in my desk top to prove it!

6. Sure, I post a submission guide, but I don’t really mean it. So go ahead and blow it off. After all, it’s not like I can tell if you’ve read it or anything. It’s not like that’s actually the first leg of the weeding-out process.

7. When composing your proposal, please, be sure to include a rambling paragraph (or twelve) containing every last detail of your characters’ lives, thoughts, hopes, dreams, blood type, derivation and cosmic essence. This is what I live for! A concise and well thought missive that keeps to the facts and presents your series and characters in a professional manner? Bah! I’d so much rather read about how your main character is a manifestation of your soul-self and that you “don’t believe in plot”. Hey! I could read that shit till my eyes bleed!

8. You are a rebel! You are an innovator! You are so cutting edge I could shave my legs on your very aura! I want, (nay, crave) to know these things! Your art is organic and free-flowing, unfettered by such plebian concerns as anatomy, scale or perspective. While you’re at it, why not toss in a few words about how drawing classes are “a waste of time.” Because, come on, it’s not willful ineptitude, it’s a stylistic choice.

9. Language is a fluid, ephemeral thing. The “King’s English” is so last Tuesday. So prove to me how “down” you are with the hip kids and be sure to litter your communications to me with emoticons and the very latest chat-speak. Who cares if I can’t read it? That only proves just how very on-the-edge you really are! Because nothing says “serious professional” quite like a dribbling mass of illegible, literary diarrhea, punctuated by the occasional blast of self-important ass gas. LOLZ!!111111!!!

10. And finally, when meeting in person at, say, a convention, I would simply love it if you were to excitedly rush to show me your portfolio (or tell me your webcomic idea) when I am obviously in the middle of a conversation with someone else! Better yet, interrupt a conversation, ask if I review portfolios, the completely dismiss the idea of submitting your work to my site, because you just realized that my table wasn’t the one you were actually looking for. Bonus points if you fail to apologize! While your at it, go ahead and pile your crap on top of my carefully laid out table display! Knock things over! Watch my head explode! Now that’s the way to make an impression!

HAWT.

Tim  Demeter's picture

I try and impress creators by wearing a low cut shirt.  Â

Tim Demeter
does a buch of neato stuff.
GraphicSmash

Clickwheel
Reckless Life


Tim Demeter
does a bunch of neato stuff.
Clickwheel
GraphicSmash
Bustout Odds

And high heels ... yeah,

And high heels ... yeah, we've noticed!

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Two way street?

Or what about 10 ways for an editor to impress a creator? Most of these would probably apply to print publishers more than web collectives but, having worn an editor's hat for a while, I'm well aware that there is a shared guilt here and it's wrong of editors to criticise creators without first owning up to their own sins ...! Here are seven for starters:

1. When you receive a submission you don't intend to accept, please don't reply. Even a courteous one line e-mail would obviously be far more than the creator is expecting and could cause heart failure. It is, after all, a self-evident truth that a failure to respond is entirely due to the weight of submissions received and not the fact that the publisher just doesn't allocate sufficient resources to the submissions desk.

2. Please do reject submissions, irrespective of quality, for trivial breaches of the submission guidelines like putting contact details on the left rather than the right hand side of the paper. Creators fully understand that the job of a submissions editor is not to discover the next best seller but to reduce the size of the submissions backlog as quickly as possible. Any creators who breach those trivial technicalities, therefore, are obviously trying to help by giving the editor an excuse to reject the submission before reading it, thereby saving him/her a huge amount of time.

3. Be consistent. Always reject submissions which are dissimilar to those already on the books on the grounds that they do not "fit" with your existing line-up. Similarly, always reject submissions which are similar those already on the books on the grounds that you already have several other titles in that style/genre. Only by applying both of these rules rigidly will the creator be left in no doubt that, actually, you don't want submissions of any kind.

4. Please remind readers regularly that you met the creators of Title X at a recent convention or that their work was recommended by someone else already on your books. Creators will find it reassuring to know that you are rejecting their work while accepting other submissions of inferior quality because - as in all walks of life - success is more a matter of who you know rather than how good you are.

5. If you can't find any reason to reject a particular submission, please do refer it to someone else before accepting it. There is always a chance they might spot something you missed.

6. Always give precedence to inferior work by established writers and artists over superior work by unknown talent. New creators love to see those who have already made it being give a free ride while their work languishes in the slush pile.  It gives them something to aspire to.

7. When criticising a submission for poor spelling, grammar or construction, please do include a few deliberate mistakes of your own. It will lessen the blow if the creator is led to believe that his or her command of English is at least on a par with yours.

There you are - from someone who is delighted to no longer be sat in the editor's chair - seven golden rules for would-be editors! Anyone care to bring it up to 10?

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

10 ways to impress an editor

I felt kinda jerky so I changed this comment to this:

I saw an editor a few months ago and he told me that it was great and that he would totally publish it... if it wasn't in color because they're a small company who only does black and white.

 Now, I researched a few companies before deciding who to talk to and went with them because I felt like my comic matched what they put out more than the other companies that were available. But... but like... I did not research enough.

 

Lesson learned -Â

 

<a xhref="http://www.kiwisbybeat.com" target=blank>Kiwis by beat!</a>

17. Be familiar with the

Scott Story's picture

17. Be familiar with the editor: Refer to them as bud, dude, chick, whatever. Make them feel at home by divulging personal details, like your use of narcotics or what you think about various political parties and religions. Ask them how much they earn, gross and net.

18. Use Lots of Hyperbole! It's the best strip ever! My story is perfect! Everyone will be floored, knocked out, and hyped by what happens next!

 19. Argue with the editor when they give you advice, make a request, or say no. Nothing says 'winner' like telling an editor that he's wrong! They will totally respect you for standing up for yourself and calling their judgement into question!

20. Make your comic look better by trashtalking everyone else's comics: I mean, really, all those other comics are rubbish, right? The editor should know this.

http://www.komikwerks.com/comic_title.php?ti=117

Um.Did anyone mention that

Al Schroeder's picture

Um.

Did anyone mention that if the editor DOES give constructive criticism of the concept, to ignore it altogether since the editor obviously "doesn't get it"??

(I've never tried out for Girlamatic, but T. Campbell gave me some excellent advice when I tried out for GRAPHIC SMASH, and I hope he knows I appreciated it and tried to learn from it.)--Al

Al Schroeder III of MINDMISTRESS---think the superhero genre is mined out?

Think there are no new superhero ideas?

Think again.

 Al Schroeder III of MINDMISTRESS---think the superhero genre is mined out? Think there are no new superhero ideas? Think again.

Me Too

Sean C's picture

I've got my Super-Sailor Metroid story ready, though I just have some rough sketches and the intensive character bios. It's not my best stuff, but you should like it. I'm hiding in the bushes outside your house. I thought that might be a more creative touch. If you reject me, I shall blog about it to no end!

P.S. - You don't mind if it's wide-ruled paper and not college-ruled, right?

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. See my stuff at http://www.cuteninjagirls.com

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. My brand new comic: http://cain.bombsheltercomics.com

CHOP! CHOP!

L_Jonte's picture

In the bushes? Look mister, if you're gonna lurk you're gonna work. Now pick up those clippers and get busy. Â

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

...

Shishio's picture

Wow, thank you so much. Now I know exactly how to taylor a submission to Girl-A-Matic.

One-liners - Updates Every Friday

Of course!

L_Jonte's picture

Ahh... my work here is done.Â

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

Lisa has won teh interwebs

The William G's picture

Lisa has won teh interwebs today. :D


I WIN!

L_Jonte's picture

 WOO! GO ME!

 

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

Eric Larson took my lunch money.

Tim  Demeter's picture

I totally got pantsed at a con by Eric Larsen way back in the day.Â

Metaphorically.Â

Tim Demeter
does a buch of neato stuff.
GraphicSmash

Clickwheel
Reckless Life


Tim Demeter
does a bunch of neato stuff.
Clickwheel
GraphicSmash
Bustout Odds

Of Course there is the RARE exception to the rule...

Sean C's picture

I will agree with Joey and Eric that there are a couple good stickmen and sprite comics, but in the context of submitting sprite comics, my main point was the possiblity of legal issues that not too many people on the net seem to be aware of. Copyright infringment is rampant, blah blah.

It's not very likely that those rare exceptions to the rule will come to an editor's table, though. For one, they're extremely rare, and two - a lot of the successful ones will either self-publish collections at some point or will just do their own thing with their comic, and not rely on something like Graphic Smash, Modern Tales, etc.

You really did have a good experience with Mary Jo Duffy, Joe. I haven't heard many, if any, stories like that before. I have heard of a few brutal reviews from Eric Larson, but that's about it. But, you really have to be prepared for that if you submit to Image.

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. See my stuff at http://www.cuteninjagirls.com

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. My brand new comic: http://cain.bombsheltercomics.com

my failed girlamatic pitches

EricMillikin's picture
Hey Everyone --
Lisa: Did you really have to post all the details of my failed girlamatic pitches? Not only have you publicly humiliated me, but now everybody is going to steal all my half-formed ideas that I stole from everyone else. Of course, they'll probably just pitch them right back at you, which will be my sweet revenge.Â
SeanC and Joey: There are of course exceptions to every rule one could make up -- great stick-figure comics, great notebook-paper comics, whatever. 98% of most anything is crap, 99.999% of notebook paper and stick figure comics are crap, but 99.999% of all stick figure artists thinks they're in the .001% that isn't crap. I'm not sure how to deal with this -- telling people who make notebook paper comics that they ought to stop? Telling them to study the masters until they make the best damn notebook paper comics ever?
Also: When I was in high school I used to send Marvel Comics unsolicited pitches for stories where I'd radically redesign half their major characters and then kill off the other half. I probably broke every one of your rules, Lisa. Man, I wonder if they've still got those on file? I wish I did, because I'm sure they'd be hilariously bad to look at now. Also, they were probably some of my best work.

--------------------------

Fetus-X is the greatest comic in the world.

--------------------------

Fetus-X is the greatest comic in the world.

It's good to be da Queen

L_Jonte's picture

[quote=EricMillikin]

Â
Lisa: Did you really have to post all the details of my failed girlamatic pitches? Not only have you publicly humiliated me, but now everybody is going to steal all my half-formed ideas that I stole from everyone else. Of course, they'll probably just pitch them right back at you, which will be my sweet revenge.Â

[/quote]

Eric, I look forward to more half-formed, stolen pitches from you, and your further humiliation. I adore you more than words can say, and to prove it I promise that I will buy a new set of high heels under which to grind you to a wibbling paste.

*smooch*

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

Eric Disassembled

Tim  Demeter's picture

[quote=EricMillikin]

When I was in high school I used to send Marvel Comics unsolicited pitches for stories where I'd radically redesign half their major characters and then kill off the other half.

....

I wonder if they've still got those on file?

[/quote]

On file? Dude, I think they made it the basis of all thier event comics for the last couple years. Go get your dime!

Tim Demeter
does a buch of neato stuff.
GraphicSmash

Clickwheel
Reckless Life

Tim Demeter
does a bunch of neato stuff.
Clickwheel
GraphicSmash
Bustout Odds

When I was eighteen I

Joey Manley's picture

When I was eighteen I submitted a script to Mary Jo Duffy, who was the assistant editor (under Archie Goodwin) of Marvel's Epic line at that time. She actually called me to tell me to keep plugging away, that I was obviously talented, though not ready for Marvel, and so on. At the time I was crushed, and I hated her. Now I worship at her feet, because she totally didn't have to do that, and it was an amazingly kind and generous thing to do -- my first professional book deal, seven years later, was part of a sequence of events that started right there, with the generosity of Mary Jo Duffy.

Which reminds me:

14. Do not expect any editor to be as kind to you as that. They will not be.

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

rejection letters

EricMillikin's picture
My high school correspondence with Marvel was generally greeted with form rejection letters, which was exactly what I expected. I did once or twice get a hand-written critique, which was above and beyond the call of duty for whatever poor editor had to wade through my high school era super hero pitches.
Although, now that I think about it, even then I probably followed all of the rules laid out here -- I knew what type of material the people I was pitching to published, I bothered to get their submissions guidelines and followed them, etc. Which probably brings us to:
15. Even if you follow rules 1-14, and your idea is a bad one, you will get rejected. Don't worry; you'll come up with a better idea some day.

--------------------------

Fetus-X is the greatest comic in the world.

--------------------------

Fetus-X is the greatest comic in the world.

16. The editor is not

Joey Manley's picture

16. The editor is not infallible, and reserves the right to reject your brilliant masterpiece, only to regret his or her actions later in life. It happens.



Joey

www.webcomicsnation.com

You forgot to add something to number 12, Joey

Sean C's picture

...Be sure to surround yourself with ass-patting friends from Livejournal or MySpace who think your work is "teh god" and who will always support your delusions. That's the right way to develop as an artist.

Oh, and don't forget number 13...

13. Stick men and sprites are just as legitimate as an original comic idea. Sure, the images may be the intellectual property of others, but why should a simple thing like copyright law interfere with YOUR ability to make money. It's even better when you use Mega Man or Final Fantasy sprites since no one has EVER really done anything with them. As for stickmen, who says you can't portray dynamic and expressive characters with just a few lines and a circle? (Or circles, in the case of female characters) If the editor can't appreciate stickmen, then they just don't get you.

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. See my stuff at http://www.cuteninjagirls.com

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. My brand new comic: http://cain.bombsheltercomics.com

On 13: Well, yes and no.

Joey Manley's picture

On 13: Well, yes and no. Order of the Stick is damnably great, despite (or maybe because of) the stick figure art. There are other examples. I'm being serious here for a minute.

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

Ever since Tycho brought

djcoffman's picture

Ever since Tycho brought it up at SDCC, I'm still wondering if GIRL-A-MATIC is a machine that produces girls automatically. And if so, is there a switch or something to calculate the "BITCH" level??

You guys will be RICH if there is!

"No Drama" Except for DJ

[quote=djcoffman]

Ever since Tycho brought it up at SDCC, I'm still wondering if GIRL-A-MATIC is a machine that produces girls automatically. And if so, is there a switch or something to calculate the "BITCH" level??[/quote]

It was set to 15, and recalibrated to 11 after I was produced.

I don't think you could've dropped Tycho's name with a bigger thud, DJ, and speaking of: does he know you drop his name in vain?Â

Efh off-- I wasn't "dropping

djcoffman's picture

Efh off-- I wasn't "dropping his name" -- he said that on a panel discussion in front of a packed room of people. So, instead of stealing the joke, because I thought it was funny, I thought I'd give a tip of the hat to where it came from.

If I really wanted to drop his name, I'd say JERRY HOLKINS IS MY NEW BEST INTERNET FRIEND.

Now, run along and play dressup and pretend to be a REAL editor of any kind, and pretend VERY hard that it actually matters to the world.

Tycho called Lisa Jonte a

Joey Manley's picture

Tycho called Lisa Jonte a bitch on a panel at San Diego?

Amazing.

I'm sorry, I guess I'm just confused. We've had our differences (I'm fairly certain he hates my greasy grimy gopher guts), but he's always seemed articulate and witty when I've seen/heard/read him, and when he wants to insult somebody, it's always more entertaining than *that*. That doesn't sound like him at all. It sounds like, well, you.

Amazing. Wow. I guess I'll have to go to San Diego next year to see all the action for myself.

Thanks for letting us know that Tycho called Lisa Jonte a bitch on a panel in San Diego, DJ!

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

Hey asshole-- don't put

djcoffman's picture

Hey asshole-- don't put words in my mouth. I said Tycho made the joke about GIRLAMATIC sounding liking a machine that produced women.

It was ME who added the bitch part.

How about this one Joey? If you're running sites like this, be a bit more professional in the future. You want to stir shit up with me, fine, I'll bring it to your door, but I'll also shut you down in the process.

Yeah, figured as much. I

Joey Manley's picture

Yeah, figured as much.

I think I've made my point.

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

yeah.. get back to your

djcoffman's picture

yeah.. get back to your "hard work"

Thread Closed

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Really guys there's no need to turn this thread into a dramariffic insult-fest. We were doing fine staying away from seriously lamming others until... well now we're not.

And, that's the last word on this thread folks...Â

____

Xaviar Xerexes

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

The gun that shoots girls

The William G's picture

You know, if there were a gun that shoots girls, I'd set it for Lisa and Lea and aim it right at my heart... *swoon*

@--->---

@--->---


For your own safety, never

L_Jonte's picture

For your own safety, never come within arms reach of me.   Lest you find out what "bitch" level really is.

Today's public service announcment was brought to you by the letters "B" and "itch", and the number "Bite me".

 

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

Ladies and Gentlemen... or

djcoffman's picture

Ladies and Gentlemen... or well, LADIES... I introduce you to an "editor" you never want to submit to.

Sigh.

There's no need for

Joey Manley's picture

There's no need for that.

Bitches of either gender are very easy to identify even without our patented technology.

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

Bah! I live for drama!Â

L_Jonte's picture

Bah! I live for drama! I'm ready for my hate mail Mr. Demille!Â

 

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

Also, you forgot a few! 11.

Joey Manley's picture

Also, you forgot a few!

11. Make sure you don't submit any actual comics that might conceivably go onto the website you're submitting to. Instead, link to a DeviantArt portfolio containing numerous one-off static sketches. Better yet, just show the editor no artwork at all! If you have a story idea, be sure to keep it a secret! It's the editor's job to extract this information from you.

12. If rejected, no matter how nicely, you must take special care to add the editor, and the website, and anybody associated with it, to your Permanent Enemies list. Flame him/her/them/it at every opportunity, in every venue. Hound them with your righteous fury! Of course, you should never, ever mention the reason you hate them -- just make stuff up. That way, if they ever bring up the fact that you were rejected from their site, it makes them look like mean popular kids being snide at your expense! Bonus points if you hound them to the point where they let this fact slip. This is a sure way to build a professional reputation and secure gigs in other venues -- because competing editors and publishers never talk to one another in private about their experiences working (or not working) with cartoonists. If an editor or publisher sees you trash-talking one of his/her competitors, that's bound to win you bonus points, because, like you, all of their hearts are filled with hate and jealousy, and they cherish the idea of working with someone who causes as much trouble and controversy as possible!

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

We could SO make a book out

L_Jonte's picture

We could SO make a book out of this, you know.Â

 

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

eep.

Tim  Demeter's picture

What have I gotten myself into?!

heh.

Tim Demeter
does a buch of neato stuff.
GraphicSmash

Clickwheel
Reckless Life

Tim Demeter
does a bunch of neato stuff.
Clickwheel
GraphicSmash
Bustout Odds

See also

This intersects with HNtRaC a bit.

Funky. I had no idea that

L_Jonte's picture

Funky. I had no idea that existed!

 

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

-Lisa Jonté
___________________________
Artist, Writer, Flibbertigibbet, Editor
http://www.Girlamatic.com

>>Funky. I had no idea

>>Funky. I had no idea that existed!

And after all, that's step one. You're well on your way to getting this article on there!

Who needs an editor anyway?

Joey Manley's picture

Who needs an editor anyway? You snotty snots at Modern Tales had better wake up to the real world of webcomics asshole. Nobody needs you and your elitist insecure business model.

Um. Wait.

Sorry, I was channeling somebody else there for a moment.

Loved it! Funny!

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

Easy there!

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Hey there/now! Let's not stir up unnecessary drama for Lisa on her first post. Didn't you see the sign on the cover art this month? :)

 

____

Xaviar Xerexes

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.