I’ve been getting asked quite a bit about pitching to an editor, agent, or publisher. There’s no standard way to pitch in comics, but there are certain elements of your book that should be included no matter who you’re reaching out to.
I’ve melded my own personal way of pitching with Jim Zub’s method (from his post Here Comes the Pitch and other educational posts by him). Feel free to change it up to be whatever you need, but this is my go-to way to make sure I have everything that I need for telling folks about my story idea.
Keep in mind that what you need for a pitch can vary from editor to editor and from publisher to publisher. For publishers that have open submissions, they’ll typically list what they need from you right on the page. Make sure to follow the instructions and include everything that they require to give your pitch the best possible chance for success.
This is everything you’ll find in the pitch doc here (but scroll down under it for a downloadable Word file):
TITLE (OR WORKING TITLE*)
*Always include a title as opposed to UNTITLED PROJECT or whatever. The title can be changed later but it’s important to have something in place here.
Short 1-2 sentence synopsis of your story. Basically, this is the elevator pitch.
A lengthier description of your story. Essentially, this should be like something you would see on the back of a book. Ideally 2-3 paragraphs long. You REALLY want to entice readers (aka editors) with this.
One of the biggest components of any pitch is your character section. This is a breakdown of the major characters that we’ll meet in the story (or first arc that you’re pitching if you’re looking to create an ongoing series). You not only want to include a little bit about each of the characters, but discuss the emotional arc or journey that each of them will be going on from start to finish.
If you sometimes pitch solo as a writer (this happens more typically in the book market), you may want to include a Pinterest for each character so the editor can get an idea of what you’re going for and visualize it without art.
Give a rough page count of your story, if you’re looking to pitch an OGN. If you’re looking to pitch a monthly series, give an estimate of the number of issues for the first arc and what your overall idea of how many issues it would take to do a wrap-up of the full story.
Also including comparable titles is helpful here too (ie. Oh My Gods! is for fans of Lumberjanes, Percy Jackson, Raina Telgemeier, Clone High, etc.). What audience do you visualize your book being for? MG? YA? Adults? Make sure to add this in.
Give a chapter by chapter (or issue by issue) breakdown of what will happen. Include spoilers – you need to let people in on what will happen and how it will all pay off and be satisfying. Aim for each chapter outline to be anywhere from 1-6 paragraphs long, and summarize it all as concisely as possible.
If you have concept art, include it. If you do include art, you want to make sure that you have character concept designs. If you have preview pages* of the story, include those too. If not, it never hurts to mention what you envision for the art and list a few artists whose style you think may work for the book when the time comes.
*if you’re going to include preview pages, keep in mind that the recommended 6-pages don’t have to be the first 6-pages. Use 6-pages from your script and story that best represent the overall vision and tone of your project.
Not to be included in the pitch itself but prior to submitting something to an editor, agent, or publisher, make sure that you have collaboration contracts and agreements figured out in advance. Figure out the ownership, money division, etc. if you do get an offer. Make sure to have that talk upfront so there are no surprises down the line.
UPDATED ON: AUGUST 18, 2021, originally published January 7, 2019.