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It being the 21st century and all, we have decided to expand our submissions policy to include digital submissions! Now, not only can you forgo the self-addressed stamped envelope as long as you include an email address, but you can send us your submission through email.

Don't go crazy yet, though. All of our other submission guidelines still apply, and there are some specifically for digital submissions:

E-mail Submission Guidelines
When you send a submission by email, please make your cover letter the body of the email and include all the material (except the self-addressed stamped envelope) in one PDF file that is no larger than 10 megabytes. (Please don't email us to ask how to make a PDF. There are tutorials online.) Do not send more than one attachment or direct us to a website to see your comic. Send your email and PDF to submissions@slgpubs.com.

This is going to be on a trial basis for now. If I find that I'm overwhelmed by submissions and can't reply to them in a timely way, we might have to go back to accepting only mailed submissions. (We will, however, continue to send replies to submissions by email.) So please follow these instructions to keep the option available to everyone.

I was motivated to try this out not only to save paper, but to get a wider variety of submissions. (I'm hoping it will cut down on the frustration of crazy packaging, huge print outs, and envelopes full of stickers, as well.) I expect it will also increase the number of submissions.

With that in mind, I'd like to remind everyone that I am still very much against comics in which women are only there to be victimized plot devices. The premature demise of Minx has not convinced me that girls and women do not read comics; I am more certain now that we need comics that appeal to girls and women, and that it will be up to independent publishers to provide these, since a major publisher like DC will not give a line of books for girls time to succeed. We will not be able to, as comics creator Rivkah suggested is ideal, pay $55,000 dollar advances (I just about choked when I read that figure -- that is more than most indie editors makes in salary, I'm sure, and it is common wisdom that large advances are responsible for a lot of problems in the traditional publishing industry), but we will do our best to get graphic novels into the hands of those who want to read them, as well as those who didn't know they wanted to read them.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 2nd, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
I really hope this doesn't go as wrong as I think it might. ^_^;

Also, $55,000? You passed the 'almost choked' along to me.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)
I'm venturing forward with much trepidation! But I'm excited -- there's good stuff out there online, and since I can't chase it all, maybe this will make it easier for people to show it to us.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
I hope so. I got my fingers crossed for you.
Oct. 2nd, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC)
that is pretty exciting! I expect your inbox will become horrifically bloated though! haha. I'm working on my comic, SLG is one of my favorite companies. Once I get some stuff thats good enough together I'm going to submit. *slaves away at ye olde drawing board*
Will anyone from SLG be at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda this weekend?
Oct. 3rd, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
I'm excited. I keep having to stop myself from checking the submissions inbox.

We're not going to be at SPX, though I'm not sure if some of our eastern seaboard artists will be attending.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)
I do want to point out I was speaking specifically about larger publishers who wanted to take on a major initiative in order to reap greater rewards on an industry-wide scale, not indy or small press who work at the grassroots level working subtle but often more dynamic changes. I ran a small fiction novel publishing company for two years (before starting my pursuit of comics) and never did we offer advances (and found plenty of amazing writers in spite of it), but we did pay 10%-14% of gross sales (that's gross, not net) with no holds on returns, no administration or "office fees", and were paying out royalties within six months of publication. It was a straight-forward model that worked and made both us and our authors happy, but it isn't a model I'd use were I a major publisher expecting extremely quick turnaround or an expectation to hire the best of what's out there to do a major push on what I would expect to be a global line.

I would love to know specifically what you mean by large advances being responsible for problems in the publishing industry, however, and what you mean by "large". If I'm producing a book a year, $55,000 or so seems like enough most anybody can build a decent life on (pay for a car, a house in a decent city, raise kids on, etc), and color me critical, but it seems any mid-size to large publisher will do whatever they can to make sure they never ever have to pay out royalties if they can help it. Small publishers are different because IMHO, there's more dedication to actual creators . . . but I would never trust a major publisher to ever do more than try to get as much profit out of their creatives as they can by paying as little as they can get away with . . . and loopholing their way out of everything else. The only way a major publisher will gain my trust is by putting more up front instead of giving my promises of later (because I've been screwed there before as have many creators). But, as always, that has to be earned on my end as well, and a creator does that by showing their publisher that if they pay that kind of money, it better as HELL be well worth it!!!

I'd love to hear whether you agree or disagree, though.

Sorry to go off topic of your main post, but I felt the need to put that statement in context so that people don't think I advocate bankrupting small and indy publishers! THAT goes against everything I believe in! Small and Indy publishers have as much of a place in publishing as the big guns, and I believe the techniques and approach are so wildly different between the two as to be incomparable. Please never think that I would expect small publishers to act, create, or market there books the same way as a large publisher, nor do I expect them to offer the same set of benefits to their authors. That would be suicide for every local label out there. I love and support small and local businesses. And I don't want anybody to every believe I would promote something that went against those beliefs.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC)
Completely agree with your point that a writer or an artist deserves to make a living, and that if one book a year is the maximum output, they should be able to survive off of it. But as I just posted on your site, the average advance for a novel is just $5,000. Some authors get more. Many get less. No one can live on that paltry amount of money.

The suggestion that big advances have caused problems in the publishing industry is absolutely correct, but it's not on the five-figure range you mention. It refers to huge six- and seven-figure advances paid to celebrities and politicos for books that did not end up selling well. (99% of those were probably non-fiction.)

Think how many copies of a book a publisher must sell to recoup a $55,000 advance. You're looking at 50-100,000 copies. Most books are lucky to break the 10,000-copy barrier. Until that changes, or until the publishing industry is willing to support books in a way that *makes* that happen, bigger advances aren't going to happen.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
Right -- I wasn't clear at all in how I put it, but I was trying to say that for us to pay someone a $55,000 advance would be equivalent to the seven-figure advances that larger publishers have paid.

Unless you're a big name novelist you cannot expect to make a living from books. When I got my MFA, we had a whole class devoted to how to get money from writing things other than novels or stories or poems. Some students got upset about that because it carried the implication that we would not be able to make money from our creative work and were failures before we ever started. I wanted to tell them to shut up. That is the reality. Writing columns for Publishers Weekly isn't as romantic as being a Lady Novelist, but it gives me a little money while I send out my novel to agents and write another novel, another short story, hoping that I get picked up somewhere while I'm still young and attractive and marketable, though I'll never be as young and attractive and marketable as a Zadie Smith or some other fiction world darling. Zadie Smith, superstar novelist that she is, incidentally, still seems to do a lot of work writing columns for newspapers.

I've gone off far on a tangent here.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
I'll refer you to a New York Magazine article, "Have We Reached the End of Publishing as We Know it?": http://nymag.com/news/media/50279/ Large advances mean that publishers can afford to publish only known authors or to chase a few new authors that they hope will be the next big thing.

The large advances it refers to are six or seven figures; I was kind of facetiously equating a $55,000 advance from a smaller comics publisher to that kind of advance from a Random House or Harper Collins. Moreover, I was kind of making it clear, just as our sub guidelines do, that there's not often a lot of money to be made here, so an expectation that might be appropriate when you're dealing with a larger publisher are not appropriate here.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 06:56 am (UTC)
Assuming that a book in this instance is written and drawn by one person, and is at least 100 pages, the $55,000 isn't that far off current standards for larger publishers, and is less than some publishers I have worked for.

Though perhaps unrealistically high page rates are part of the problem, rather than the solution. Personally, I prefer the percentage of sales based pay structure. Also, I don't believe in advances. Why should I get paid for work I haven't done yet?
Oct. 3rd, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
"Why should I get paid for work I haven't done yet?"

So you can afford to *do* the work.

Most advances aren't paid before the work is done. If a book is sold unwritten, the creators might get 25% up front, another percentage when the book is turned in, and the last amount of the advance when the final edits are completed.

Since a book can take a year or two to come out after it has been completed and turned in, and advance is necessary if a creator hopes to, you know, stay alive long enough to enjoy any possible income from the book's sales.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
Once a book has been complete and turned in, it's no longer an advance for work not done. So the scenario you describe there is not what I was talking about. I did not say that a person should not be paid until release.

Yeah, the first book can be a challenge, but hardly impossible survival wise. After the first book, you work on the second while living off the money from the first. And so on.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
Traditional publishing is getting a wee bit hurt from the advance model, though they're shelling out tons more than $55,000. And page rates, I think, have more than a whiff of work-for-hire about them, so I don't think they're appropriate for creator-owned projects.

And an aside that does not apply to you: I've heard cartoonists point out how long it takes to write and draw a graphic novel, and how are they going to live while they do it, but you know what? That is what prose novelists do. The publishing industry might decide you're the new face who they can market, but they probably won't, and you're going to be out a couple of years or more of writing a novel and looking for an agent or publisher. I wrote a damn book while I was working full time and going to school full time, and I might never see it published. If you're doing comics or a graphic novel, you don't even have to finish your book -- publishers want a script and a few pages, but if you get interest, you can finish your book in the full knowledge that someone has agreed to publish it. Novelists who don't have multi-book contracts don't have that security. Is it fair that it's so hard to make a living from one's art? No. But that's the way it is. You have to earn it.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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