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05/04/06:
Added 3 reviews of the Sandman series under the Neil Gaiman section.
 

06/04/06:
Here you will find Neil Gaiman's and Alan Moore's bios. Mangas like Naruto have been listed, more to be added.


 

 

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How To Write Graphic Novels

If you are interested in producing your own graphic novel or novel period, then you might find some useful information and resources here.
 

Writing...


Writing is hard enough. Writing a novel is harder. Writing a graphic is the hardest! Well, that is my warped logic anyways.

First, you have got to ascertain your talent. We are all good at something, it could be that you are very artistic and creative or that you have a knack for numbers and facts. Do you want to be the writer AND the artist or do you just want to draw? Maybe you would just like to write (like me) because you have a fantastic story in you but you just cant draw to save your life.

The best way in this case is to find a partner and pool your talents together. Creating a graphic novel is rarely a one man show. Most importantly, as a WRITER, you must start honing your writing skills and let people critique your work. The more criticisms the better! Look for criticisms and embrace them for they will always spur you on and help you your skills. Do remember that you cannot please everyone.

There are several resources listed below that would do good to help you find out more about writing your own graphic novel. As I am typing this, I am currently working on an E-book where I introduce some solid concepts on website monetization and income. It is nearly completed already.

It is totally unrelated to graphic novels but I suppose it does involve an element of writing and creating here. What I wanted to say was that I would have NEVER would have completed it if my friend hadn't introduced me to a writing guide called "NewNovelist".

Publishing...

Where do you submit your work after you have completed your grand masterpiece? Fret not, I have a list of places where you can go publish your works after you are done. Another place to go is this website.  Here are some useful tips on publishing.
 

  • Formatting. In what type of format must you submit your work? What if you have changes? How do you submit cover art, author photos and other information? What about ISBN numbers? You would have to decide on which platform you want to do your work from the very start.
     

  • Editing. Are the books edited or proofread and are there fees charged for editing or proofreading? What experience do they have? You might consider using the editing service or hiring a freelance editor to proof your work for you prior to publication. Editing is a must if you want to make sure your first graphic novel goes well

  • Promotional Benefits. Does the publisher promote its authors? Does it contact the media for you? Does it have a media contact list or a mailing list where you can announce your book? How does the publisher feature its most recent releases? There is nothing wrong with this approach, but be sure you know what the company's policies are so that you aren't disappointed. You would probably want to take charge and do your own marketing, whichever it is be sure to research your target market carefully. I will include a 'promoting your graphic novel' below.
     

  • Book Covers. Book cover graphics are a real draw at bricks-and-mortar bookstores; It is more so for graphic novels! Very often, it is the cover art that draws the reader and like them have an idea of how the artwork would look inside. So do invest some time, effort and money to get a top drawer cover for your graphic novel.
     

  • Introductions and Accolades. Whom do you want to find to write a introduction or synopsis for your graphic novel? It is best if you can maintain a website for your book and link up with other first time graphic novelists. Subscribe to Novel Ideas Newsletter and we can link you all up. You should then review each other's work and give a honest assessment. Submit your works to some local newspaper in your area. Have them appraise it for you. Accolades are a very good persuading factor.
     

  • Book Price. How much will your GN cost? How much will readers have to pay for your GN? Do all your calculations carefully beforehand. Do you want to sell it online? Or sell it through bookstores? Or both? Look after and mull on the price you want to sell your graphic novel, it is after all, where your money comes in from.
     

  • Retail Partners. Who do you want to partner with? If at all. Does the publisher have agreements with Amazon.com, BN.com and/or Borders.com? What price do readers have to pay for your GN at these retailers? Is there a discount or promotional discounts available? What is the lead time to customers? You have to take a lot of factors into consideration here. Establish a good relationship, and you will find that they are more then willing to help promote all your GNs, future and present.
     

  • Online Selling. If you are promoting/selling your GN online you will have to answer a few questions. How does the publisher promote its books? Does it have a bookstore on its website? Is it highly visible or hard to find? Does it get much traffic? Does it have a bestseller list? Does the bookstore have secure online ordering? A great online bookstore is essential, especially if you are sending people to the website to get your Graphic Novel.
     

  • Sales. Will you have access to sales information? How often is it updated? This is especially crucial if you decide to do your own marketing. You need to get those statistics and find out which is the most effective form of advertising for you.
     

  • Networking. How many other Writers do your know? What about artists? Freelance or otherwise? How many bookstore owners do you know? Get opinions from friends, newsgroups, writer's groups and professional organizations. Their point of views can throw some light into many things. Establish useful contacts in the industry and community, start making little inroads. Subscribe to our Novel Ideas Newsletter and build your network. If you are an independent Graphic Novelist and have a website, I can do a feature on you for free on the newsletter.



Dialogue

One of the most important things to get right in a graphic novel is its dialogue. It is through dialogue that you give life to your characters and through dialogue that your tell your story.
This article I found from the web describes what you can do to practice.

1. Find a comic book or collection of comic strips in which the visuals appeal to you. Choose work that has at least one character you would like to write about (but you are going to make this character your own, so select by visuals only; you may want to pick a character that looks like a character you have already created). Also consider using work you are unfamiliar with; this will make the exercise a little easier. You'll need a comic in which more than one character speaks.

2. Photocopy the comic or strips (you'll want at least a few pages -- a whole comic's worth would be useful) and blank out all the text, captions as well as speech bubbles.

3. Re-write the dialogue as if the characters were your own creations. Don't try to use the characters as created by the writer, but pretend they are entirely different people. Try to give each character his or her own way of speaking -- given enough dialogue you should be able to tell which character is which just by what they say. You may have to be careful about exaggerating the differences between characters' speech at first; the differences should mostly be subtle.

4. If needed, re-write or add any supplemental text such as captions, monologues, or whatever else the work may call for.

5. Notice how the visuals of the comic effect any possible interpretations of what is happening. Did you find it difficult to make up new text? Think about what this means for text without pictures (short stories and novels). How can you create visuals using text only? What might gestures and actions interspersed with dialogue add to the meaning of the dialogue and/or to the progression of the story?

6. Using your re-written comic as a guide, re-write the scene/story again, this time in short story format (in other words, as text only). Keep in mind the things you discovered about the effect of visuals, of gesture and action and facial expression (and whatever else), on dialogue and meaning. Add some of these things in as you write.

Notes: It can be difficult to write new dialogue for existing characters in an attempt to turn them into different characters, especially if the existing characters are ones you are already quite familiar with. However, this exercise can hopefully illustrate two things: first that every character -- every person -- has their own way of speaking, even if the differences are extremely subtle. Changing the way a character speaks changes the character. Second, this exercise should show you that the things happening at the same time as dialogue -- action, gesture, expression and so on -- affect the interpretation of the scene. They may change the meaning of the dialogue, or the understanding of the character, or any number of other things. Experiment to see how small changes affect stories.
 

Promoting Your Graphic Novel

There are some ways in which you can promote your GN. They need not be costly. One of the best and cheapest ways of advertising is via your local newspaper. Start from your community. Ring up the reporters and see if you can work something out. Get them to review your GN. Look at the classifieds section. It is also a cheap and relatively effective form of advertising.

Explore Adwords. You can choose the locations which you want to target and also set your daily budget. The beauty of this is that the visitors would be highly targeted. Meaning they are the visitors that you want! These visitors are much more likely to buy and read your GN then anyone else. This has to do with keyword bidding, as you bid on specific keywords that users will search on Google. Say 'buy graphic novels online', and your ads appears whenever someone searches for that term.


Resources

A much cheaper prospect at honing your writing skills. Learn from a professional editor and writer how to avoid the most common mistakes that will brand you as an amateur. Costs Just $12.95.


A book that I bought myself from clickbank. If you are serious about writing a proper novel (or graphic novel for that matter) AND if you have some money to spare you could get this. The "NewNovelist"

Submit your novels for publishing

10 things you can learn from Harry Potter

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating A Graphic Novel. This is the definitive guide.

Creative writing for teens

Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel : Everything You Need to Know to Create Great Graphic Works
 

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