It just takes a lot of hard work, patience and support. Plus, talent, luck and money. But you got this! Keep writing!
I will not lie to you friends, I have never published a graphic novel. I’ve never even had anything published. I have merely undertaken the mission of writing the story for my hopeful graphic novel. This post is more about crushing your ego and forcing you to reconcile that nothing — not one thing — comes easily. Ye! Cheap thrills and easy living do exist, but often the best things are worth pouring forth your sweat and blood, and money.
I started writing a graphic novel last summer in June, 2017. I went into the project with a rough idea of the story’s trajectory, and with a handful of characters and plot ideas, I set out on an adventure. And it was not easy, by any means. It’s been hugely fun and rewarding, crafting this world and writing these character’s stories, but it has been and still remains to be a difficult task.
Now, you might say, Joe, I know it’s hard, but there’s gotta be an easy way, you said it was easy. And I would say, sure there is. If you want to make meaningless art with no actual substance, there’s always a way. Maybe you start a comic with a small undeveloped idea, and it gains traction, you will have to put forth effort at some point in order for that project to grow and continue to be successful. Writing and drawing is art, and art takes work!
Do something you love and never work a day in your li– It’s still work! Work is work, and art is work when you make things from nothing, from imagination, from experience.
I’m not going to try and tell you how to do this, because I still haven’t figured it out, but I will give you some tips I’ve found that have helped me out, so far. Also, I am the writer, not the illustrator, with practically less than zero dollars towards a budget. I’ve managed to get things started with production and I do have a plan, thanks to some awesome people who gave me a roadmap to a potentially successful crowdfunding campaign, depending again on the amount of work I put towards it. Which goes to show you, there are so many moving parts to publishing a graphic novel, let alone writing it.
What I have learned in my process, so far.
First tip, understand the idea of each character. What does this character represent and how does it fit into this story? If you find yourself struggling to find a place for that character when you are in the process of planning or actively writing, cut them out. Kill your darlings. Now you know what that means.
Next, try and comprehend the message of your story, or at least embrace the journey you’ll take while trying to understand what the point of your writing is, especially if you’re just jumping in; stream of consciousness-like. Creativity comes in many forms, and benefits from certain boundaries, once you understand how to focus your ideas into actual material.
Make realistic goals. I have a full time job, so I have to schedule writing-time and creative-time within my free time. With this graphic novel project, I planned to write the story and dialogue for one issue every week. This allowed me to accumulate a large amount of the story over a 3-4 month period. Some weeks I was even able to write two issues in the same amount of time.
My biggest tip, especially for those who are writers and who want to see their projects drawn and created through the talented hands of illustrators, letterists, colorists, etc. Pay them! You can’t do this for free and by yourself. Unless you have snake-oil salesman-like charisma levels, you are going to be hard-pressed to find anyone who is going to dedicate work hours towards a goal that may or may not pay them any dividends.
Please stay tuned as I plan on publishing my graphic novel along with writing on my journey crafting and self-publishing my graphic novel(s).