If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you’ll know that I often post links to useful information on how to hone your writing/drawing skills. =D Now that you’re finally done, it’s time to move on to the next stage. Here are a few steps that you can take in order to make the world know of your existence.
Don’t worry if you’ve yet to do something you think you can show the world, because no unpublished manuscript is a wasted effort. And remember, there’s no absolute shortcut. You have to be prepared to spend lots of time on your book, be it formatting or marketing.
There are three ways to doing this.
NUMBER ONE: You can approach a publisher/agent (agents are mainly for writers/mangaka can approach publishers directly) in hopes that you can impress them enough that they’ll take on your book. But this method requires large amounts of patience and persistence. Your synopsis must be outstanding enough and well-timed to attract a publisher.
No matter how groundbreaking you think your story is, chances are you won’t be able to get your foot in a publisher’s front door because they have so many queries to look through. Not to mention the current market forces (sparkling vampires, anyone?) that are in play at the time you submit your query.
NUMBER TWO: If you decide to take your chances and self-publish your work, you could approach a printer. Minimum print runs in Singapore tend to be from 1k-5k or so. Before you approach the printer however, you have to make sure that your book is properly formatted and edited for errors. It would be most embarrassing if readers were to spot a mistake that could have been avoided.
Writers can use a software known as Scribus (free) to format their writings while mangaka can use software such as Manga Studio (trial version only). To ensure that your work is error free, enlist the help of a keen-eyed friend.
A good editor should be able to spot spelling, grammar mistakes, sentence structure etc. The same goes for manga editors, who are responsible for checking if the story runs smoothly, paneling is immaculate in addition to the usual grammar, spelling mistakes etc.
In the meantime, you’ll have to decide on the cover of your book. It’s easier on mangaka in a way because they can draw their own but for writers who don’t have an artistic bone in them, you could either hire someone to do the cover for you or source for royalty free pictures.
The most important thing is to remember that books are indeed judged by their covers. If your cover is not attractive (or looks cheap), no matter how wonderful your story is, people will overlook it.
One example of a not-so-impressive book cover that I always like to use: No money, No honey! =x I have nothing against the content, I just don’t like the cover enough to pick the book up.
NUMBER THREE: If you’re broke like me, then publishing it online is the best way to go about it. E-books are the rage these days. Manufacturers such as Kindle have developed E-Readers for digitally-inclined people. E-book clubs have sprang up all over the place and people are talking about e-books all the time. With such odds in the e-book’s favour, it is indeed a good time to have an e-book in your name. A good website you can go to is Smashwords.
Smashwords enables your book to be read in different formats so it appeals to a large variety of readers. However, you will have to read their style guide to ensure that your book is completely free of any formatting. You can set your e-book as free or any price you determine BUT remember that you’re still an unknown at this point. Setting your e-book for free may contribute towards gaining a steady readership in time to come.
Smashwords also lets you create coupons that you can distribute to selected readers in order to entice them. They can read your book for free and in return, perhaps, promote your book to their own circle.
Another site you can consider is Lulu and CreateSpace. They not only print on demand but ship the books to your readers as well. They’re not so much for mangakas however so I’ll recommend you to set up a website to display your work. There are many websites that offer free hosting so take your pick from websites like WordPress, Blogger, Webs etc.
Mangakas who have done so include Anninhell, By moon alone etc.You can also read up on how to go about hosting your own webcomic. If you google webcomic hosting, you can easily find hosts such as:
(info from Webcomic Hosting)
Publishing on the internet is attractive because it involves smaller overheads and it reaches more people across the world more effectively. Where there are search engines and the internet, you can be sure that people can access your webcomic easily. Provided effective marketing is done, which I will talk about in my next post. =D