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Old 08-08-2007, 03:22 PM   #46
ampersand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cylisderrens
Do you have any new links for 2007?

I just want to know who's looking.
http://calebmonroe.com/creator-services/ is a decent source of information. And there's always Zuda
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Last edited by ampersand; 08-08-2007 at 03:22 PM. Reason: spelling mistake. OCD. Not a good mix.
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:08 PM   #47
Caleb Monroe
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ampersand: thanks for linking to my site before I could.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Nordling
I think there is too little conversation in the trenches between editors and writers about company goals and personal goals.

Clear communication remains important to me. Sometimes it's less important that we agree, and more important that we understand the point of view from the other side of the desk well enough so that we have a foundation for building a relationship on a project, or with each other, or simply deciding to move on.

--Lee
I remember you as being very polite and encouraging in your inquires about Redchapel when I saw you at WWLA a couple years ago. I appreciated it. Thanks for getting in on this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMadGenius
I'm glad I came across this topic because I just sent a proposal to Dark Horse this week. Has anyone had any success pitching to Dark Horse? They appear to be the "big fish" in terms of accepting writing proposals without artists attached. According to their submission guidelines I shouldn't expect to hear anything unless they are interested in the project - which is going to drive me crazy for, what, 3, 6, 9 months?? I don't know if my heart can take it!!
I haven't had a personal success pitching to Dark Horse yet (though the above-mentioned meeting-an-editor-at-a-con-and-being-asked-to-send-something-in has recently worked for me with them), but Drew Melbourne chronicles getting ArchEnemies set up there in his Think Like Tomorrow column:

The Secret Origins of ARCHENEMIES - part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:40 AM   #48
thestranger
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Back to the self publishing

We (803 Studios) have been self publishing since 2004 when Chuck Brown and I got together to publish our first anthology. The following is a (so sorry for this) LONG run down of the On demand printers we've worked with.

I have printed with Brenner, (the now defunct) Prenny Printing, Comixpress, Ka-Blam and SIPS.

The first two were offset printers and if you're printing (and selling) less than 2000 books, the per unit cost is WAY too high to do any real distribution.

But in the on-demand field...

COMIXPRESS: I've heard stories of bad customer service, but I haven't had any customer service complaints (barring that stint in 05 when they went dead for 8 months because they were so back logged... being why I had to print with Prenney). The guys at Comixpress have worked with us to get us our books on time each time. I do make sure to email them before I make my order and double check that I can get my book in time (and I also email during the process again to ensure on-time delivery, but anyone who simply sends files to a printer and then just sits on their thumbs kinda deserves to be pushed to the back of the que - squeaky wheel and all). With quality control issues, I sent a book up to Comixpress with the wrong, low rez files, and they emailed me asking me about it. I realized the mistake and was able to change out the files. I will say that QC is as much the publisher's (your) responsibility as it is the printer's. GET A PROOF!! Their color reproduction on my covers (my interiors are black and white), I would put at #2, but some of my studio mates rank them as #1. Their interiors are clean and crisp. I like the way they turned out. The blacks are rather shiny, but digital printers have this effect. Their turn around time sucks if you've got a tight deadline. But if you're planning at least 2 months in advance (and kinda stay on your contact there), there shouldn't be any problems. I had them running late on a book that was submitted 2 months early, and they made sure to overnight me my books. Their store is great in user friendliness, but I have historically had to wait at least 2 MORE months to have my books show up in it after I've been delivered my books. You have to stay on them to make sure that, if you're doing multiple books, they ALL show up under your publishing company. Their perfect binding is GREAT as well though I've had reports of ONE book (of a 300 print run) breaking and falling apart. Said book was opened regularly to that person's story that was included in that anthology so I'll not hold that against Comixpress.

KA-BLAM: I've heard stories of amazing customer support here (including from one of my studio mates), but I've never experienced it first hand. I've actually had one of my book orders just slide through the cracks and NEVER come. I was never billed for it even though it sat in the que for WEEKS awaiting payment and it was ultimately never printed. I emailed and emailed and didn't hear back from them for a few months. Ultimately, I got in touch and had to re-order the book. Their color production (on covers that I've printed through them) is at the bottom of the three on-demand printers. I got faded covers every time. But Chuck Brown's Trench Coats preview book he had for SDCC from them looked GREAT and it was full color throughout. Granted, I didn't have a comparative book from the other printers to put beside it. Their black interiors aren't as clean (in my experience) as the other guys and their interior covers don't seem to be able to reflect a TRUE black where as Comixpress' was pretty pitch. Their turn around time is amazing when compared to Comixpress and they've come through in a pinch for Chuck a few times. Kudos there. And they have a convention presence so you can actually MEET the people there. Their online store is a little more difficult to maneuver than Comixpress', but they have your book in the store BEFORE you get it in the mail. But you have to stay on them, just like Comixpress, to make sure all your books are filed under your name. I've only printed one book perfect bound through them and one of my pages was completely distorted. It was to be printed horizontally, but somehow got turned 90degrees and distorted without a single email coming my way. Still a little bitter about that.

SIPS (wedocomics.com): Based in Canada, SIPS has the one thing the other two seem to lack - an actual PHONE NUMBER!! Their customer service is second to none. They treat on demand as respectfully as their offset printing. I feel like, when I work with them, I'm working with the same caliber company as Brenner and Quebecor. I have had some email issues where some of my random emails won't go through, but I can always call if I don't hear back within 24 hours. I love their printing quality and color reproduction the best of all 3 (though some of my studio mates would put their color covers just below Comixpress) but the interior covers are still weak on blacks. Not as bad as Ka-Blam, but still not as crisp as Comixpress. What they don't offer: Unlike Comixpress and Ka-Blam, there is no per-unit cost reduction to put their ad on the back. Rather, there is a 10% overrun they send you up to 50 books which does lower the per unit cost. Their price is actually pretty comparable to Comixpress (with a back cover ad). Their ad is gaudy and I actually don't recommend putting it on the back of your book. Comixpress seems to be the only one that is tastefully delivered (IMO). They ALSO don't have an online store. You place your orders and they ship them to you (or wherever you want them to go). They guarantee turn around in 72hrs after you approve a proof. They can mail you a hard copy or you can get a pdf file for free. If you're not sure about your file set up, pay for the hard copy. Shipping can be a bi-otch. Since it's coming from out of the company, unless you pay through the ying-yang for over night, you may have to wait up to 10 days for the books to get to you. Of course, that with the proof and the 72hr turn around is still faster than Comixpress and is on par with Ka-Blam. They do offer perfect binding, though I haven't experienced that with them yet. Their cost is a little higher on this than Comixpress or Ka-Blam, but if you throw their ad on the back, the overrun will bring this down lower than the two. But, without the online store, you'll have to go through the hassle of setting up your own, keeping an inventory, and handle shipping. I've read somewhere that if you print with them, Dimestore will carry your book in their store, but I haven't had ANY good experiences with Dimestore's store.

So that's my two cents about on demand though it's more like $3.50. Either way, when you're looking to set up your files for printing, unless they've taken it off their site, Comixpress has the best how-to set up for print files. So read that over thoroughly (print it out and keep it).

Last edited by thestranger; 08-09-2007 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 08-09-2007, 01:20 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caleb Monroe
ampersand: thanks for linking to my site before I could.
No problems! Although you should know that I'm thinking of stealing your "Flash Fiction Fridays" idea for my Livejournal
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Old 08-09-2007, 10:19 PM   #50
Caleb Monroe
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You should. Let's flood the Internet with speed capsules of new stories and new ideas!
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Old 08-10-2007, 03:34 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Nordling
Thanks, Raven & Richard (& Knockedoutpanzer, who posted while I was writing)!

I think there is too little conversation in the trenches between editors and writers about company goals and personal goals.

Clear communication remains important to me. Sometimes it's less important that we agree, and more important that we understand the point of view from the other side of the desk well enough so that we have a foundation for building a relationship on a project, or with each other, or simply deciding to move on.

--Lee

PS. I don't recognize the "Raven" or "Knockedoutpanzer" monikers, but I'd be happy to get back in touch. (You, too, Richard, whom I do remember, and fondly.) I'm at lee.nordling@gmail.com.
Lee,

Platinum's (evidently) ill-fated romance anthology was my first-ever attempt at submitting something to a comic book publisher. Barbara Kesel gave me great feedback on my pitch for a story called "By The Southern Grace of God." Ultimately, it didn't make the cut, which was a great disappointment to me.

But the thing is, that whole experience was so positive for me -- even down to the official rejection email from you -- that it encouraged me to keep working on my goal of writing comic books.

That was early 2006. So today, I've had my first-ever story published in the Sequential Suicide anthology early this year, and this fall, I'll have my first and second stories published in Negative Burn. And I'm working on stories for two anthologies coming out next year.

And the pitch I sent in for the romance anthology? I haven't been able to get that story out of my head. So in about a month, once I finish the two scripts I need to complete ASAP, I'm planning to go ahead and write that up and get a wonderful artist by the name of Mario Cau to illustrate it for me.

And hopefully, in the next few months, "By The Southern Grace of God" will see print in the pages of Negative Burn.

So, after all that long-windedness, I guess what I really wanted to say was, thanks! Even though my romance pitch was rejected, the positive feedback I received was enough to encourage me to stick with it.

Elton
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Old 08-13-2007, 04:24 PM   #52
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Smile Thanks for the interesting info

All: I am at the early stages of starting up my own publishing company. (I guess really the pre-stages, as we are still deciding on a log). I just wanted to tell everyone thanks for being so open. It is a great help to get this information before falling down over the same issues. I hope we can keep up this form and push the issues to the forefront so we can continue to learn as a collective instead of repeating the same mistakes.

Justin
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Old 08-13-2007, 06:55 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thestranger
I've read somewhere that if you print with them, Dimestore will carry your book in their store, but I haven't had ANY good experiences with Dimestore's store.
For the record, I ended the deal with SIPS for many reasons.

Our distro system is still in an infancy stage. But we have grown a lot over the last year, and the Small Press Idol books all did decently.

There are still a number of structural/navigational things we need to do to get that really going well.

We appreciate those who have helped us learn and experiment over the years. For those that have had "BAD" experiences...we're always open to comments. But there hasn't really been much success for people who just send in a book and expect us to sell it for them. Distribution systems don't work that way. Ask Diamond.
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:07 AM   #54
thestranger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AIPman1
We appreciate those who have helped us learn and experiment over the years. For those that have had "BAD" experiences...we're always open to comments. But there hasn't really been much success for people who just send in a book and expect us to sell it for them. Distribution systems don't work that way. Ask Diamond.
Yeah, I wasn't talking about book sales through the site. With the small press idol books, I had to try for days (I think I tried to jump through the registration hoops 6 times) before I was able to actually purchase the two books I wanted out of round 4. I brought it up to the creators whose book I was trying to buy since this affected them more than me, and they told me that mine was one of many complaints to that effect. The store just wasn't very user friendly in that instance. Not sure if there have been any coding overhauls since then.
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:15 AM   #55
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Congrats, thots & thanks

Congrats, Elton! I'm thrilled that you took the experience on that anthology as a learning one.

I think writing, especially at first, is like hitting a baseball: succeeding one time out of three can get you in the Hall of Fame.

I know that sounds glib--it wasn't intended to be a fortune cookie--but the bright side is that our failures aren't as public as striking out in front of 50,000 people.

I remember hitting the age of 30 and feeling an overwhelming sense of frustration that I might never get into one of the comics industries; I worked as a production artist, designer, and art director. Did a lot of ads, kept cartooning, was involved in a SoCal pro comics society, CAPS. Eventually, Mark Evanier recommended me as a packager/editor for a series of comics that packed out with the Masters of the Universe toys. (Yep, we're going back nearly 25 years now.) Soon after, I got a job as the art director at the LA Times Syndicate. Three years later, Disney hired me away to write comic strips...and so it began.

But when I was 30 it sure didn't look like I'd ever get the chance.

We never know where our opportunities lie or what experiences make way for the next experiences.

There's no road map except perhaps constantly looking around for the sign that reads: You are here!

Thanks for the kind words, Devin & Caleb. I know that if you keep it up you'll get where you're aiming, too!

--Lee
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:54 PM   #56
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Hey Lee, are you still accepting submissions? And if so are characters from other companies acceptable, working on a Marvel proposal with a buddy of mine and would love to see what you think.

Its in the early stages atm and dont have any actual pages as of yet, just lots of character designs and roughs for the pages... just wondering for future reference. You seem to be getting rave reviews from people and Id like to get some of that gravy *winkwink*
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:57 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meathawg
Hey Lee, are you still accepting submissions? And if so are characters from other companies acceptable, working on a Marvel proposal with a buddy of mine and would love to see what you think.

Its in the early stages atm and dont have any actual pages as of yet, just lots of character designs and roughs for the pages... just wondering for future reference. You seem to be getting rave reviews from people and Id like to get some of that gravy *winkwink*
In case Lee doesn't get here for a while: why would he take the time to look at a property neither he nor you own? it's not a cost effective, and any publishing of it would be illegal. that's the bad news...the good news: with few exceptions, any script can be Un-Marvel-zied with a little effort.
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:06 PM   #58
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Accepting submissions?

Hey, Meathawg!

As Jim/Kep suggests, it doesn't make sense for me to review submissions you're planning to do for Marvel, DC, or anybody else's characters. His time-related reason is a good one, but more importantly, any advice I give (beyond the basic) is going to be my interpretation what another editor may or may not be interested in. On the other hand, it does work as a writing sample.

That said, my favorite writing sample is the pitch.

If somebody can write a good pitch...and that means writing a compelling well-compressed story with an evocative use of language and interesting abreviated characters with strong motivations and arc, well, that's my idea of a good start, and then we'll see where the process of developing outlines and scripts goes from there. If somebody's a good writer, I'll know it at the pitch stage. If the pitch isn't there, then some gentle prodding and tips usually helps it get there, too, so the pitch isn't even make or break.

But it IS a great place to check out somebody's writing chops.

As far as accepting submissions, well, check out my site at the-pack.biz. We've got a ton of stuff in development...but NOT for the Direct Market...so understanding the difference between what works for the trade (bookstores) and the Direct Market is imperative. Hint: superheroes don't work for the trade...though well-known brands like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, etc., can work for the trade. (There's a much longer discussion here about this that I wish I could get into, but my emails are long-winded enough as it is.)

And yep, Kep speaks the truth; if you've got a great superhero concept that undercuts or expands the genre, go all the way and create it from scratch or in a way that's evocative without being an "homage." Watchmen is the perfect example of this. AstroCity's another.

Now, your idea may be perfect for what Marvel is currently doing (or will be doing by the time you can get somebody there to review it)...and if you know somebody there/have an in, by all means explore that option...but if you don't, well, best way to get noticed is to get stuff published that they'd pay attention to.

(This is how Bendis and Brubaker ended up there: create a body of work that gets their attention.)

And this doesn't say you shouldn't write your Marvel script, as long as you realize that getting them to read it may be as hard as it was to write...or harder.

Just a few rambling tangential thoughts. If you want to write me off-forum at lee@the-pack.biz, feel free.

We're not opening our doors to open submissions yet; we've got some ducks to still line up, but I'm happy to chat.

Hey, Jim! Let me know what you're up to these days. It's been a while.

--Lee
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:47 AM   #59
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What a great resource
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:21 AM
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Old 12-06-2007, 06:44 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thestranger
We (803 Studios) have been self publishing since 2004 when Chuck Brown and I got together to publish our first anthology. The following is a (so sorry for this) LONG run down of the On demand printers we've worked with.
I am so grateful for this rundown you've written up! I've got a few projects in development and looking to POD for convention stuff. Thanks so much!


Also, in regards to Avatar's guidelines, is there a list anywhere that shows which characters are owned by them and not creator-owned? It's a bit tough to figure out and their website isn't very friendly in that regard.
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