Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Putting Together A Graphic Novel Submission Package

Hi all!

Someone recently asked me what materials I needed to put together to show my graphic novel to editors, so I’m going to cover that in this post. I want to point out that I don’t think there is an exact way to do this.  Basically, you just want to convey your vision as completely as possible. For me, that included a completed manuscript and a 20-page finished-art dummy (in pdf form.)

Pacey Packer: Unicorn Tracker is a middle grade novel for grades 4 - 6.  The manuscript is about 22 pages long, and that turned out to be roughly a 120-page graphic novel.  It’s really important to know what age group your story is for. That will have a lot to do with how many panels you can put on a page and how much text.  (Not to mention the tone of the story and how your characters will speak and think. But that's writing. This is more about formatting.)

This is a page of my manuscript.  

Again, there are different ways to format a manuscript like this.  I like the TV script way of centering the characters name and putting their line of dialog beneath, but that would have taken up an extra line. So I went with the more economical way of putting the character’s name on the left, tabbing in, then adding the dialog. Art notes are indented about 3 inches in.

I wasn’t sure if I was expected to pencil in a whole dummy when I started.  I couldn’t really find any finite information on this. One site said I should have character sheets like this one:

Character Sheet from Pacey Packer: Unicorn Tracker by J. C. Phillipps

(My agent didn’t feel that was necessary for our submission, but I recommend taking the time to make these. It's good to know what your characters look like from different angles, and you should do at least one that has all the characters standing in a line-up so you can be consistent with size.)

Really, what I wanted to do, was show the way I break a story down into panels, how I use the page turns to build tension, and draw a few different locations so editors could see how I envision the art. Here’s a page.

Page from Pacey Packer: Unicorn Tracker by J. C. Phillipps

I opted to go with black-and-white.  Color printing for a 120-page book would be very expensive.  I figured if a publisher wants to buy it and make it color - great!  But I thought it would be best to show them a cost-friendly version first. (The more you can think about production and marketing, the better.)

Also, you have to pick a size.  I just went with my gut, knowing full well that the dimensions would probably be changed.  And they will be. But you have to start somewhere. I would recommend finding a graphic novel that is similar in age and subject matter to your project and looking to that as a format guide.  

So that’s what I put together.  Then I sent it to my agent and he sent it out to publishers. (Also, if you have an agent, they can help a lot in this process. It's their jobs to know what editors want to see. So always check with your agent.) 

Thanks so much for stopping in!
I’ve taken a week off from Pacey to get ready for a big art show in town, Celebrate West Hartford.  I’m sure I’ll have some pictures to share next week. (I fear Saturday will be rainy and gross.  Arg.)

Have a great week!

1 comment:

jet said...

Thanks for sharing your process. Nice to get an inside look.