At the Los Angeles Festival of Books this morning, The Walking Dead creator and writer Robert Kirkman shared pitching advice for aspiring comic book writers.
Using the Image Comics submission guidelines as his main example, he urged writers to find an artist to work on the pitch–drafting a short sample of the comic to accompany the pitch.
Kirkman (pictured, via) urged pitch writers to be “succinct,” a deceptively simple point: “Nobody wants to read that pitch. Everybody wants to find the next new comic and publish that, but nobody wants to spend their time looking for that. The Image Comics submission guidelines (which I’m most familiar with, so I’ll use them as an example) says to do five pages of your comic and a one-page synopsis.”
Kirkman continued: “If you can do a paragraph synopsis that does the job that a page would do, then you are ahead of the curve. If you can do an interesting three page story instead of a five page story, the you’re ahead of the curve. If it takes six, do that. Do what is most interesting, compelling and engaging.”
He added: “A lot of people will write a script for the issue and only send in the first five pages because that is all they have drawn at the time. If those aren’t the interesting pages in your comic and they don’t clearly show what the premise is and what the comic is about in an entertaining and engaging way, then don’t send those pages.”
He concluded: “Try to make your book as original as possible, but not too weird. I mean, that’s very important. Don’t do something that’s already on the racks. Nobody wants to read another story about a barbarian that’s like Conan or a superhero that’s like Spider-Man. You have to have some kind of hook.”