If you, too, are thinking about taking this step for your project, I have some advice:
- If you can, talk to other creators about it. I talked to multiple people that I knew had experience with publishing prior to taking this step. It really helped demystify things, and honestly took away a lot of the pressure. It also helped me figure out which publishers to approach in the first place.
- Make sure you're using traditional publishing for the right reasons. I'm pursuing it because I want CosPain to have as wide a reach as possible, and I simply don't have the publicity and marketing ability that a publisher can afford me. Getting picked up by a publisher, however, is NOT my goal in and of itself. They're just a means to an end, which is getting CosPain out to more people.
- Make sure you've given self-publishing due consideration. If my aforementioned publicity skills aren't a concern for you, then you may have what it takes to self-publish. The comic industry in particular is comparatively DIY-friendly, and it's easier than ever to fund your comic through crowdfunding. Even if you don't plan on doing this, there's a chance finding a traditional publisher will fall through, in which case understanding the process might give you a fallback option. Just know that you'll need to do a lot more than just draw the damn comic.
- Consider whether or not you want an agent. Agents are a bit of a contentious issue in indie comics. Some people see them as valuable promoters and negotiators, while others see them as middlemen that take a chunk of your profits. I'm more on the former side and am seriously considering getting one, as that "chunk of your profits" isn't as big an issue if they're able to negotiate far larger profits anyway. If you do seek representation, one rule I have come across is that you should only work with an agent that makes money when you make money. No retainers, no ongoing fees, etc. Just a percentage off of whatever you make.
- Don't be scared. It's a big step, but you got this. You're awesome.