One of our favourite things here at Pipedream Comics is when we get sent a copy of a new digital comic to review and it introduces to a fantastic new artist, writer or group of characters that we’ve never heard of before. But for anyone out there who is wondering how to go about submitting comics for review, here is our quick guide to what to do.
1. Be enthusiastic about your comic
If you’re not passionate about your comic, then why should we be? Give us a brief synopsis, details on the creative team and any unique selling points. This way we can get a rough idea of what the series is about before we start reading. Plus, if you have an interesting story to tell then we might be interested in doing an interview or profile piece as well, and if the synopsis sounds really cool then it might even leap to the top of our ‘To Read’ pile.
2. Tell us what it’s called
This may seem like an obvious one, but always include the title of your comic in any email communication – don’t just send us a message called ‘Comic for review’. This way we can find your series when we are tracking through our email as well as starting to make sure the title is becoming embedded in our consciousness so we are already thinking about it when putting together our review schedule. (This works especially well if you have a pun-tastic or sensational title, so why not shout about!)
3. Where do we get it from?
Don’t forget to tell us where to buy it and how much it costs. If your comic is available from a major outlet like ComiXology or DriveThru Comics, then that’s perfect, but if not then we don’t want to have to search the web to try and find where to buy your comic from – just send us a web link! Even if it’s from your own site. We’re lazy, and so might be our readers, so the less research we have to do to find where to buy your comic the better!
(Please also include UK and US or international prices. We are a UK-based site and that is our priority, but we love hearing about comics from all over the world, so just let us know how much of our readers’ monthly comic budget it will take up to buy it!)
4. We prefer PDFs*
Who doesn’t love a PDF?! After all it’s a file format that’s designed to work on PCs, Macs and tablets without any compatibility problems. If your book is made up of hundreds of individual pages then combine it together into one lovely PDF document and we are much more likely to get an overall idea of how the book reads rather than sifting through 30+ image files!
* (NB: there are exceptions to this rule, as webcomics may not always be suitable to be placed into PDF form or app-based comics might not even be able to be exported like this. We’re also happy to accept CBR or CBZ files too.)
5. Call your sample the name of your comic
Remember what we said about making sure we know what the name of your comic is?! Well this is just as important for review sample files. Don’t give it a handy acronym that only you know (and certainly don’t called it ‘comic.pdf’). We need to know what your comic is called and what issue number it is, if its part of a larger series. We need to be able to find the file when we download it, so why not keep everything nice and logical!
6. Size does matter!
PDFs should be compressed down to a reasonable size (10-15MB for a standard 22 page issue) as it not only means it takes less time for us to download, but it also takes up less space on our computer hard drive and reviewers’ iPad. Reducing the file size of your PDF without losing quality, depends on the program you are creating them in. Adobe Acrobat and Preview on the Mac all have options for reducing file size, while there are also a ton of great free apps online which will help you out.
7. Put your comics in the cloud
Once you’ve got your PDF, don’t just send it to us in an email. Different email servers have different file size limits, and our Inbox only has so much room! (Plus, there’s always the risk it might get caught by a spam trap and never make it). So why not put your comics in the cloud with services such as Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. This way you can just send us a web link.
You can also put multiple issues in one folder in the Cloud and send us links to a whole series with one email. And if you want to send out older issues to reviewers then you can easily get access to them without mailing them out again or worrying about expired links from sites like WeTransfer or HighTail.
8. Covers, Screenshots and press kits
These aren’t essential, but again they make our life easier if you have them (especially for interviews). At the very least make sure a version of the cover is available – again, at a reasonable size, we suggest 800px wide at 72ppi and in RGB colour space. This is where having a cloud storage area works as you can either create a folder, or upload a zip file full of assets to send out to people
For screenshots, include half a dozen images from the opening pages of the comic. Don’t worry if you don’t include any spoiler-filled pages, we won’t hold it against you. For press releases include a Word or Text file with a synopsis of the book, availability and contact details, similar to the ones in your initial email.
9. We can’t guarantee a review
Please don’t get offended if you submit a comic for review and it doesn’t get covered. We will look at everything which gets sent to us, but sometimes what you have produced might not be suitable for our site, or we just might not be able to fit it in to our schedule. We will endeavour to acknowledge all communications and will consider everything, as we appreciate that you have gone to the effort of making a comic in the first place, and that earns our admiration at the very least!
10. Make it good!
The best way to get your comic reviewed is simple: make it really good! There is nothing we like more than reading something amazing which no-one else has yet to discover. So make us want to share it with the world!
As well as making sure your story is the best it can be and the art leaps out of every panel, remember to give a bit of consideration to the look and feel of the whole product. A good comic can be made to look amazing with a slick presentation, and this doesn’t just mean colour it in Photoshop or make it look like the latest flavour of the month book from Marvel and DC! Give it a proper look and feel, considering the whole reader experience. You’re creative people, so be creative!
And please, spell check your lettering – there is nothing more frustrating than reading a great book that is packed full of typos!
So once you have considered all those things then I can hear you ask how on earth do we actually submit a comic to you for review, well that’s simple – just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we look forward to hearing from you!