Many new authors make the decision to self-publish their novels instead of going through the hassle of doing so through a publishing company. Self-publishing offers plenty of advantages. For example, a self-published novel can be released on your own timeline, and all creative decisions will be in your own hands. Traditional and Indie authors of graphic novels often choose to do the same.
The general processes for a graphic novel self-published author and a traditional one are similar. Yet key distinctions include formatting and marketing, among others. Whether you embark on this journey alone or with professional editing services, this guide will walk you through the steps of self-publishing your graphic novel. You should know about securing a copyright, deciding on an ideal format, and managing the cost of self-publishing. And don’t forget about marketing your graphic novel to its ideal audience!
When you’re getting ready to self-publish your graphic novel, you should consider copyrighting it to protect your intellectual property. In the United States, you have the right to apply to protect your original works of authorship. This copyright protection means that only you have the right to replicate, adapt, and circulate your work. Here’s what you need to know about copyrighting your graphic novel.
So you’ve taken the time to create original graphic characters, art, and plotlines for your graphic novel. Now you should copyright it to ensure that no one else can take credit for your ideas or distribute your work without your consent. Only you will have the power to decide if others can use your work. Copyrighting your graphic novel will give you the right to take legal action against anyone who violates copyright laws. Even if you aren’t sure you’ll run into legal issues with your graphic novel, always be prepared for every scenario.
If you’re solely responsible for every aspect of your graphic novel, including the text, art, and color, then the copyright is solely yours. However, you might have collaborated with an artist or cartoonist who brought your words to life. Thus, you should have a written agreement regarding the rights each of you have to the graphic novel. A written agreement will help you avoid conflict with your collaborator in the future, especially when it comes to profit sharing. Some authors choose to draft this agreement with an attorney. Without an agreement, copyright law will likely deem you joint authors. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and your collaborators.
Technically, even if you don’t register your work with the copyright office, you automatically secure a copyright when you create an original work. Experts recommend registering your work in case of any legal action you might want to take regarding copyright infringement. You may also choose to register your work simply to have a public record of the copyright. That way, you’ll feel more secure about protecting your intellectual property.
Authors can register their work through the United States Copyright Office. All you have to do is submit an application form on their website, send in a copy of your graphic novel, and pay a registration fee. If you decide to self-publish your graphic novel exclusively online, you may submit an electronic copy of it to the Copyright Office. If you decide to publish physical copies, you will be required to send in one physical copy.
There is no formula to indicate exactly how to format your graphic novel. The best option is to approach it from the perspective of a potential reader. You should make sure that the text and images make it easy to follow and understand the plot. These formatting decisions also depend on whether you’re illustrating your graphic novel yourself or if you’re collaborating with an artist or cartoonist.
Whether you are collaborating with an artist or illustrating your graphic novel yourself, you should decide what type of comic script best suits your work. If you write a full script, you will write your story page-by-page, also describing the art and actions taken by your characters. If you choose to write a plot script, you simply write a story synopsis, and the art is created separately, either by yourself or by a collaborator.
While many people believe graphic novels and comic books are the same, they have some key differences. A comic book tends to be much shorter than a graphic novel, and part of a larger series. Graphic novels are more likely to be standalone works with a beginning, middle, and end. Ideally, a potential reader would not need to have any background information before reading your graphic novel.
If you choose to publish your graphic novel as an ebook, you will need to consider formatting the pages in a way that will be adaptable to different mediums. Potential readers might read an ebook on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, so you will need to ensure that you curate a reading experience that will be adaptable for each of these platforms. Many graphic novel authors choose to hire services that format their work for them.
Once you have completed your graphic novel, you will need to choose a platform for self-publishing. If you self-publish on a website like Amazon, you’ll need to make use of its tools and processes. The Internet offers plenty of resources for creating files compatible with these websites. For example, Kindle offers a comic creator tool (called the Kindle Comic Creator) to help you format a graphic novel that can be uploaded directly to Amazon. Make sure to check the different requirements for physical books and e-books.
Self-publishing will undoubtedly save you a large sum of money when compared to traditional publishing. However, if you want to publish a quality product and distribute it to a wide audience, you will need to invest some money in professional services with expert knowledge in publishing.
In many cases, specifically on the Amazon website, self-publishing can be free of charge. The Internet provides you with a wide range of options concerning pricing. The best option is to decide on a budget for yourself, and then research self-publishing websites that provide services within your price range.
You should also consider the costs of printing your work. Graphic novel printing can differ from traditional printing, so make sure to print through a service that is experienced in printing graphic novels.
The amount of royalties you earn will depend on the publishing website you choose, and the format you choose to publish your graphic novel in. Generally, the royalties received from an e-book will be greater than the royalties received from a physical copy. To give you an idea of pricing, if you choose to publish on Amazon, you might be able to earn up to 60% royalty on a paperback and up to 70% royalty on an e-book.
If you want to self-publish your graphic novel, it is crucial that you hire an editing service to help you produce a polished final product. Editing is one cost that should not be avoided, as it might make or break the success of your graphic novel.
The cost of editing services can vary greatly. The most important thing is to find a credible service that has expertise in the type of novel you are publishing. Some services charge anywhere from thirty to sixty dollars an hour. Whether the service you choose charges hourly or based on word count, the total cost will ultimately depend on the length of your graphic novel. Some services, including Elite Authors, offer discounts if you purchase them in bundles. You may also want to consider investing in services that offer assistance with cover design and formatting. Your book cover is one of the first things potential readers will notice about your work, so you should make sure it looks enticing and professional.
Once you finish your graphic novel, you should consider the best ways to market it to your target audience. Whether you’ve produced a product for children, teenagers, or adults, the internet offers countless options to spread the word about your graphic novel. A traditional publisher generally handles marketing for its clients, so choosing to self-publish means that you should tackle content and other marketing on your own or with hired help.
Even before you bring in experts to help you promote your graphic novel, you can promote it on your own effectively. You can create a website for your graphic novel that features enticing details to attract potential readers. For example, you may use the website to post previews of your graphic novel or to share any relevant news or reviews regarding it.
Online forums are also an excellent place to generate excitement for your graphic novel. Platforms like Reddit offer you the option to find communities of people that would be interested in reading your work. Try making a post promoting your graphic novel, commenting on other posts, and suggesting it to potential readers.
Social media provides you with endless options to promote your graphic novel. They’ll help you generate excitement and gain readers in unexpected places.
If your graphic novel fits the young adult genre, try promoting it on platforms popular with teenagers, like Instagram, Twitter, or even TikTok. You may need a large following to get attention on Instagram and Twitter. But a TikTok video has the potential to go viral even if you’re completely new to the app. Make sure to utilize hashtags on all these platforms, as they make it easier for people to find your posts.
Older audiences are more likely to be active on Facebook. If you think adults might take interest in your graphic novel, try creating a Facebook page for it, and make as many posts as you can to attract attention. Facebook might also be a useful tool for promoting a children’s book. Since children typically do not have their own social media accounts, you can market your children’s book to their parents. Whatever social media platform you use, enlist the help of your friends and family to spread the word about your graphic novel.
Podcasts have become a hugely popular platform for people to promote their artistic endeavors. Millions of people listen to podcasts in their free time. Appearing on one to speak about your graphic novel could generate some interest and increase your sales. Like everything else in the digital age, it is possible to create your own. However, it may be easier to appear as a guest on a well-established podcast.
If this is your first time self-publishing your work, it may be unlikely for a popular podcast to reach out to you about appearing as a guest. Try reaching out to podcast hosts to ask about appearing as a guest. Or try to contact third parties that could possibly connect you to a podcast host. Look for podcasts that typically feature an indie author like you.
If you choose to a hire a service to help you with marketing, you might have a better chance of reaching as many people as possible. Professionals with experience in book marketing will have useful connections and methods of generating interest for your graphic novel.
Now you have a better idea of the actions necessary to self-publish a graphic novel. You’re ready to take the first steps to make your dream a reality! Tackling these steps alone can be intimidating. But you always have the option to hire affordable professional services that will help you create a quality product and increase your book sales.
Elite Authors provides editing, cover design, formatting, and marketing services at affordable rates, individually or in a bundle. Whatever option you choose, self-publishing your graphic novel is a completely attainable goal.