Earlier this year, I began a line of inquiry regarding the comic pitching process. Comparing the submission guidelines from an array of comic publishers, I identified the grouping of materials which satisfies the greatest number of publishers simultaneously. I then interviewed dozens of creators and submission editors about their experiences with the pitching process looking for trends and areas with the greatest potential for improvement. I followed that up with larger surveys to see if the data collected through these interviews was a good representation of a larger creator community. This all lead to the production of Octal.
Octal is a curated catalog of comic pitch packets. Each packet consists of a mock cover, creators page, 8-page pilot, design page, and one-sheet proposal. ( Templates are provided for all materials. ) We currently have the submission editors at 14 comic publishers subscribed to receive and review the packets featured in Octal and I fully expect that to double by the completion of Volume 2. While the true litmus test will be seeing a comic go from pitch packet to publishing contract, a couple of the creators featured in Volume 1 have already reported publishers reaching out to discuss their proposed comics further. ( Not bad considering Volume 1 wrapped less than 2 weeks ago. )
Similar models exist in other visual arts fields. For example, in the fine arts, ‘Artist Catalogs’ are curated catalogs of artist bios, links, statements, show proposals, and sample works sent to a mailer of curators, galleries, museums, and art centers. The benefit to the featured creators is that Octal offers structure for presenting their materials and then puts those packets in front of a mailer of publishers. The benefit to the publishers is that all of the featured packets are complete, produced by the team being proposed for the book/ series, and curated to maintain a quality standard. An added benefit to both is that by publishing the packets in the catalog format, you forego the need for most releases while also minimizing the liability involved in reviewing and handling previously unpublished works.
Since each packet is built around a pilot story, Octal also functions as a comic anthology while providing first looks at potential series. The goal is for copies sold to readers to offset the cost of production and promotion so the catalog can continue without the need for entry fees. Octal Volume 1 is currently available through Drive Thru Comics. It has also been submitted to Comixology but as many of you know their review process can take a while, esp that takes a while to process, esp for the first issue/ volume. Octal Volume 2 is well already underway and will tentatively be complete by Spring.
Or you can contact me directly via e-mail:
If you’re a comic editor or member of a publishing staff and would like to either subscribe to receiving free copies of Octal or be sent a copy of Octal Volume 1 to review before subscribing, email email@example.com with the subject line: ‘Octal Mailer’.
If you are a creator and would like to have your pitch packet considered for a future volume of Octal, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: ‘Octal Submissions’.
Questions? Fire away and I’ll respond to them in the comments below.