Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Anthologies and rejections 

Over the last few years I've done a lot of stories for local comics anthologies, but I'm thinking I'll give it a rest, at least for now. The main reason, which is a good thing, is that I have other things to work on.

Today I got back a rejected 2 pager I'd submitted to Going Down Swinging, which is doing a comics special issue. The cover letter is nicely detailed and the submissions process was transparent and well-flagged from beginning to end, so my only major regret about this rejection is that the piece is in a weird format (which will make it difficult to use elsewhere). So far, this year I've also had rejections from HA! magazine (also with good feedback and communication) and Gestalt Comics.

This is one side of the Australian comics coin. The other is that I've submitted a number of other pieces to local small press comics - all of them a lot of work - and these have been extensively delayed in seeing publication (if at all).

The combined effect is that plenty of time and effort has been expended on material that isn't seeing the light of day, at least in the short term. I really can't justify that, given all the other commitments in life right now.

On top of that, there are comics that actually see print, but I don't seem able to get hold of a copy myself (if any comic publishy types happen to read this - contributor copies are a good policy - particularly when there aren't many contributors!).

Maybe at some point I'll do an anthology of my own stuff - I've had a few people ask for this - but it can be expensive and fiddly, and being alone in a book doesn't really hold a lot of appeal for me (I like anthologies). Probably, it would be better to collect some of my ongoing serials together, but I wouldn't hold your breath :).

In any case, I will be drawing, just adopting a slightly different approach to what I do and where I submit it.

I'm sorry this hasn't worked out for you. It's too bad. Perhaps this is something you could return to later, when you have more time and inclination. Good luck with your other work!
I have heard similar tales a fair few times this year, and while I would certainly encourage anyone to keep submitting to paid opportunities like GDS I am rather on your side with the shunning of the small press anthology.
Thanks, Aravis and Greg (and David!).

I don't want this post to sound like I'm primarily bagging small press anthologies - that certainly wasn't the intention! In fact, I co-edited The Ink #3 (with Tonia and Aaron), so I fully support these books as a way of getting work out there and building up exposure.

In fact, some of the worst non or bad communication issues I've had have been with some really professional organisations.

The main thing about payment is that it tends to indicate that the contracting body will actually publish the work. Most of all, it maintains the expectation of payment for work, which helps keep us all in business.

The small press vibe is different - it's a way to get work out there in a (generally non-profit) context where people will read it - very important for the artform. It's also a great place for anyone starting out to hone their chops towards professional work: there are quite a few local comics artists who had their first piece published in various issues of The Ink.
We love the industry, but it still frustrates us how Aussie publishers work, even twenty years after you and I wrote/drew strips for REVERIE.

I tend to see comics/books/films here in Australia like the Kobiyashi Maru Test from Star Trek. Trying to get ANY decent work up and running in the local market, or even getting paid a wage for it, is like a Catch-22.

You know, your work is of a standard you WOULD do okay in overseas markets.

The situation becomes winnable when we look outside Australia for our success.
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