3 Easy Steps On How To Publish A Graphic Novel That Will Amaze Readers

If you’ve got a manuscript for a graphic novel but you’re not sure how to get it published, this article is for you.

Below we’ll walk you through some simple steps to help you move from where you are now to having your very own graphic novel published and available for the world to read.

Understand that graphic novel and comic creators invest a lot of time and energy into the creation process, and the work doesn’t stop when you’re finished writing and illustrating.

How to publish a graphic novel

There are two main publishing routes – traditional publishing and self-publishing

These days, more and more graphic novel creators are choosing to self-publish their work. The self-publishing process is much faster than the traditional route, and even though the former is more labor-intensive than the latter, your hard work will pay off.

Of course, publishing with a traditional publisher offers you the support of an established reputation, improving a potential reader’s impression of your work when they first discover it. 

Still, with the right approach and clever marketing tactics, you can improve your reach significantly by going solo.

How To Publish A Graphic Novel

Self-publish your graphic novel

First things first, if you want to publish your very own graphic novel, then you need to finalize your manuscript. 

You simply cannot publish a graphic novel and expect any kind of success if your manuscript is rough and unfinished.

Considering thousands of graphic novels published by established and independent publishers regularly, there is no room for careless mistakes.

1. Work with an editor

When you self-publish, you need a finished manuscript to get started on the publishing process. 

Traditional publishers allow for back and forth feedback mechanism between publisher and author, making ongoing edits until the manuscript is ready. If you want to self-publish, you need to prepare a completed manuscript. 

As such, it’s wise to seek the help of professional editors

Before you try to publish, hire freelance editors or a professional editing team to carry out important editing tasks on your manuscripts, such as line editing, copy editing, and developmental editing. 

Editors will check your text for grammar and spelling mistakes, tone, voice, and consistency with the theme.

One of the benefits of self-publishing is that you’re not on a deadline. 

That means you can send your work out for editing and continue to do it until you’re happy with the finished piece. In contrast, when you work with a traditional publisher, there is usually a strict deadline.

2. Avail of professional designing and formatting services

Some professional editing services will offer design and formatting in an overall editing package. 

Design and formatting are essential for any type of book, but perhaps none more so than a graphic novel. These image-based novels rely heavily on the visual narrative, so images, panels, and scenes must be well-formatted and pleasing to the reader’s eye.

If you want to create and distribute print copies of your book, a professional format will help to make sure that the printed version of your novel looks good. 

Panels, page layout, and the book cover will be assessed and improved so that your book stands out among competitors as a professional-looking book worthy of purchasing.

3. Choose print or e-book

Now that your manuscript has been thoroughly edited, designed, and formatted, it’s time to begin publishing. Here you decide on print or digital (you can choose both).

E-books are a popular publishing option for independent authors. New and seasoned authors can use online self-publishing platforms such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or Apple Books to upload their books to online retail stores with relative ease and little-to-no cost.

How to publish a graphic novel online

Amazon’s KDP is one of the easiest methods of self-publishing digital comics and graphic novels.

To begin, simply download the Kindle Comic Creator tool and use it to prepare a graphic novel for upload. If you’re unsure how to use this tool and maximize its benefits, work with a professional formatter who knows the ropes. 

This first stage of the process is all about preparation. As mentioned above, preparation includes text editing, design and formatting, and quality assessment. When preparation is complete, you’re ready to begin publishing.

Sign in to KDP and create a new title. Fill in the required details, including:

  • Book title.
  • Author name
  • Book description, meta-description, tags
  • Relevant categories

Understand that the categories you choose will influence your reach, so the more, the better. With all the details filled in, you’re ready to hit publish.

Post-publishing, you still need to market your book. KDP offers excellent promotion tools to help you share your work with a broad audience, such as their 90-day exclusivity program accessible through KDP Select. 

Book promotions, free downloads, and suggestions help readers find your book.

How to print your graphic novel

You’ve poured your heart and soul into creating your very own graphic novel. As such, you want to hold a physical copy. 

Still, printing costs can set you back if you want to reach a broad audience with your work. 

A standard novel already costs so much. Graphic novels, given the color and other visual requirements, cost so much more.

Many self-published authors today use the print-on-demand services offered by online self-publishing platforms. 

For example, when customers want to buy your book on Amazon, they can opt for a printed copy. They do not receive a copy that has already been printed but a copy printed specifically on their request. 

POD saves you a lot of money because printing costs are charged to the customer upon purchase of your book. 

Work with a reliable printer if you print copies for physical distribution. Do diligent research on printing services in your area. Ask questions, check online forums, and read reviews about printing services that have an established reputation for graphic novel printing.

You also need to choose your preferred print specifications. 

Comic books typically follow standard specifications (6.625″ x 10.25″), and many graphic novels are published with the same specifications. 

Still, there is room to play. Since graphic novels are stand-alone entities, they can deviate from standard dimensions per the author’s stylistic preferences.

How To Publish A Graphic Novel

Graphic novel vs comic book: What’s the difference?

Graphic novels and comic books are not the same. Graphic novels are more in line with the traditional novel, while comic books are an entirely separate entity.

What is a graphic novel?

A graphic novel structure mirrors a standard novel, wherein the story contains a beginning, middle, and end. However, graphic novels are heavily image-based and use text in bubbles.

Several stories feature in the world of the novel with an overall narrative to carry the reader. Readers witness character development, themes, and in-depth dialogue and narrative.

What is a comic book?

Comic books are serialized storytelling wherein comic book creators continuously create new scenarios and adventures for their characters. 

One comic book is usually part of a more extensive series, wherein the current issue is related to the previous, as will be the next. Comic book writers typically publish weekly or monthly, unlike graphic novels that can stand alone.

Conclusion

Publishing your own comic book, graphic novel, or manga is no easy feat, but with patience and commitment, it’s entirely possible. 

The hard work that goes into the writing and illustrating deserves to be acknowledged by a diligent publishing process that gets your work seen and appreciated by your target audience.

A well-formatted, aesthetically pleasing graphic novel can earn you a loyal fan base. With fans, it’s easier to achieve success with later published work. 

Take time to make your graphic novel the best it can be by investing in high-quality editing and formatting services and learning as much as possible about self-publishing so that your work reaches as wide an audience as possible.

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