Advice from Brian Smith

 

During our September meeting, Brian Smith, a former Marvel editor, freelancer for Nickelodeon, and creator of Stuff of Legend and Intrepid Escapegoat, came to talk to Pronto Comics. He offered advice on breaking in, staying in, small publishers, conventions, promotions, and good city colleges to attend. His advice was well received and Pronto was lucky to have him.

On Breaking In

Put your work out there.
Constantly network cause you don’t know where it will take you.
You have to make people aware of your work.
The more you know how to do the better.

On Submissions

Send a letter first, a query letter.
Physical, snail mail letter is best.
Be specific in the editors you send it to, don’t blanket the company
Breaking in as a writer is a nightmare.
They won’t read a pitch, but they will read a comic.

On Staying in

You constantly have to prove yourself.
Everyone is only interested in your last project.
When you’re working with other people, just do your job.
Don’t overstep your role and dictate.
Give your artist things they like to draw.
Be easy to work with, do your best to walk away when it’s done.
Editors are involved, but are hands off.
They’ll help you generate ideas and connect the dots.

On Process

Not-so-good ideas can have merit, if executed well.
Find good, honest sounding boards for your ideas.
As yourself, “Is it as entertaining as something I can buy at a store?”

On Drawing Craft

Life drawing will lead to everything else.
Draw what you see, use books and life drawing sessions
Always look at original art when you can.
You will see more then what is in the original comic

On Work Ethic

Go to work, even if you don’t feel like it.
If you can treat it as a 9 – 5 job, that’s half the battle.
Time is more valuable than money.
If you can put the time in, everything else will fall into place.
You’ll figure out your schedule as a freelancer.

On Publishing

Self publishing and small publishers are a good way to go.
Start with small publishers.
Small publishers are more personal and hands on.
Digital is a good way to go.

On Stores

Free Comic Book Day is huge for small publishers.
Develop relationships with store owners.
They can help recommend you book to customers.

On Conventions

Pick the conventions carefully for what you want to get out of them.
San Diego is a massive show and a tough show to work.
N.Y. is similar, but there are more editors.
Smaller shows are better.
Hero’s con in Charlotte is good, so is Baltimore.

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