Your Name: Mike Schneider
Name of Program: Octal
Position in Program: Editor/ Publisher
Website for Program: www.OctalComics.com
The 7 Octal Program Inquiries
Please Explain what Octal is all about.
Octal allows creators to pitch their comics to dozens of publishers at the same time! Comparing submission guidelines, we identified the overlap where the least material will satisfy most comic publishers. We then worked with submission editors to produce templates that will guide creators to a succinct, editor-friendly presentation.
The resulting ‘pitch packets’ are collected into a catalog. Since each packet is built around an 8-page pilot, these volumes read like an anthology with bonus features. They are sent to a mailing list of comic publishers, who have subscribed to review the featured proposals. They then reach out to the creators if they’re interested in discussing the proposed comic further.
Why was Octal Started?
Publishers vary as widely as artists and writers. They each bring different things to the table and ask for different things in return. The best publisher for your comic is often a matter of compatibility.
The process of tailoring your pitch and submitting it to one publisher after another can be exhausting. The same is equally true for submission editors, who must wade through the slush pile of incomplete and incoherent proposals. Guiding creators to an editor-friendly presentation and sending a short stack of proposals to a bunch of publishers makes that process more efficient for everyone.
What are the Costs associated with Octal:
There is no entry fee for creators or subscription fee for publishers. Since the volumes can be read as an anthology, sales to readers offset the cost of production. An added benefit of making the catalog available to the general audience is that it slashes the liability involved in publishers handling previously unpublished works, collectively saving over 300 pages of submission agreements per volume, and readers/ reviewers making their voices heard can help to prove a story’s audience.
Your packet materials must be produced by the team of creators you’re proposing for the book or series. Whatever costs you incur during the production of those materials are on you but that’s true of pitching in general as it’s your comic. The terms are fully non-exclusive so you can still pitch your comic elsewhere with the same materials and the pilot stories ( if not included in the book ) are often used to promote the first issue’s release.
Octal can also be used to pitch print editions of web and digital comics, reprints of previously (self-)published comics, English translations of foreign language comics, etc. In those cases, some to all of the packets components may be satisfied with previously published work.
So Far, what is the Proven Success Rate?
All of the featured creators have received feedback from submission editors, more than half have gone onto further talks with one or more publishers, and a quarter of the pitches have already locked down series contracts with others currently in negotiation.
How does one Apply to be part of Octal?
Templates and a Manual which breaks them down with tips and guidelines are posted on OctalComics.com . We also have a production group ( facebook.com/groups/OctalComics ) where creators have access to editorial feedback and group critiques throughout their production. Submissions are sent via WeTransfer.com to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Are there Limits to what you will accept and if so What are those Limits?
As mentioned, beyond original book and series proposals, Octal welcomes pitches for print editions of web and digital comics, reprints of previously (self-)published comics, English translations of foreign language comics, etc. Nearly any comic can be pitched through Octal.
For now, all packets must be in English ( though this may change in the future ), pornographic comics will not be accepted at this time ( because that’s largely a separate market with its own publishers ), and non-hosted anthologies can’t be pitched through our current packet ( as they tend to lack an overarching plot, reoccurring characters and settings, and/ or a consistent team of creators. )
While this should go without saying… the packet must be complete, coherent, produced by the team being proposed for the book/ series, and held to a basic quality standard.
What is the Success marker for Octal could it be to one day become a publisher itself? Or is Octal simply about awareness?
Octal’s primary goal is to make pitching a bit more efficient so more creators can launch into their own books and series. As an editor, I’ve found that the production group doubles as something of an editor’s portfolio and creators who feel my assistance helped them improve their pilots are more likely to hire me onto their launched books or series. That symbiosis means Octal can be sustained with relatively low sales. For now, we’re hoping to continue growing our mailing list and ramp up production to a point where we’re putting out 4+ volumes per year. If we can reach a point where it would be sustainable, I’d like to bring on additional editors and possibly translators.
We’ve recently launched a companion series to Octal. Readymade ( OctalComics.com/Readymade ) is an anthology of previously produced comics that I’m co-editing with former DC Comics writer/ 1First Comics editor, Bill Williams. A lot of open-call anthologies cut great submissions due to length or fit and even when you’re selected that book may fall through or fall flat. Creators also produce shorts to sandbox new ideas and techniques, pitch comics to publishers, as part of a crowdfunding campaign, or just for the heck of it. All in, there’s a ton of work that could use a(nother) chance to connect with an audience and room to grow from digital to print to their own books/ series if they do. Rather than choosing a theme and calling for submissions related to it, Readymade welcomes submissions of all genres, styles, and subjects then looks for common threads that can tie those stories together.
Please take a minute and give our readers the elevator Pitch on why they should be excited to be part of Octal:
Don’t ‘just self-publish’! Don’t ‘just’ do anything! Far too much effort goes into a comic to not weigh your options first and pitching is how you find out what your options are. Octal is simply a more efficient way to do that. It’s free, relatively easy to use, and in no way limits you from pitching elsewhere on your own. You decide what’s best for your comic. Let us help you field your options.