I got my book “Short Ghost Stories” back from copy-editing! Amazingly enough, there weren’t that many grammar mistakes! The joys of learning to proof-read. There are a few tweaks here and there, so I’m going to spend some time fixing these, and then putting the book out on the 1st August!
- This is part of an on-going blog series called “Being a Professional Manga Artist in the West“. The Table of Contents is here.
- Meanwhile, my comics-prose stories “Short Ghost Stories: The Man with the Axe in his Back” will be on Smashwords on the 1st August, 2014. Check it out if you like “The Dreaming” – this ebook is $4.99, but will be on discount for $2.99 until 31st August, 2014!
Part 3c: Where can a manga-style comic artist find an agent?
I suppose you’ll ask me where to find an agent for your manga-style comic. I’m afraid there are only a very small number of literary agents who represent graphic novels in the book world, and my own agent isn’t taking on any new clients. You don’t need an agent to get published though, and I would always point out that while it’s a convenience, it’s not a must.
(Besides, my agent told me a few years ago that due to the steep decline of the manga market in the US, publishers have openly stated ‘NO MANGA PLEASE.’ Unfortunately, this means that even if you do manage to find a literary agent, the fact that you’re a manga-style comic artist may mean there’s not much money to be made by taking you on. Sadly, you can’t blame them because it’s a business, and agents need to eat too.)
However, things can change at any time, so don’t take my word for it. The one constant in life is change. Same goes for publishing.
Part 3d: Warning – Unscrupulous Agents and Scammers Exist
Lastly, I want to mention that agents don’t represent all your work, and shouldn’t represent everything you do. Your contract with your agent should never state that they represent the entirety of your output, because as an author, you still have the right to negotiate particular contracts on your own. (I hope I don’t need to mention that it’s best to get a fully qualified legal professional to check out said contract before you sign it. It’s a bad idea to sign things you don’t fully understand.)
There are some unscrupulous agents who will try and represent all of your output, and you need to be careful of them. The majority of agents are well-meaning, ethical people, but as in all industries, there are unscrupulous individuals looking to rip-off naïve and ill-informed creators. This is especially important, because there are no laws governing literary agents – it’s a completely unregulated industry. If some spat happens between you and your agent due to an agency agreement that you wilfully signed, it can be very hard to gain any sort of legal recourse.
Either way, getting an agent to take you on can be tough. It should be tough, since the agent will now have to spend time selling your work, and that may or may not pay off. Beware the agent who (a) asks for money upfront, and (b) is eager to take you on without thoroughly checking out your work. I’ve already said that proper agents never ask for money upfront, but more importantly, publishers also measure the respectability of an agent by the quality of the writers/artists they represent. If an agent takes on every Tom, Dick and Harry they meet, then that agent’s respectability is suspect, isn’t it?
Next Wednesday, I move onto actually getting a publishing deal! Yay!