Late last week, I emailed my proposal for Punch-Up to several of my friends, for proofreading purposes and so that they might too be able to bask in the glory and genius that is me and whatnot.
I received any email over the weekend from my good friend Justin Shady, who was one of the folks I sent my proposal to. Justin has had a decent number of books published over at Image Comics (Heaven, LLC., Bad Ideas, The Roberts, and the upcoming all-ages book, Missing The Boat, out January 28th –go buy it!), so I figured he would be one of the best people to go to for advice.
In he email, he told me to call him and he would give me his opinion of my proposal. I got a hold of Shady a little after eight o’clock last night,while I was still over at Abby’s with Michael, and this is what he said:
I have a strong proposal. I have a strong story. I have a strong writing style. And I have a really fucking strong artist.
But our book isn’t going to be picked up.
He told me that my book – rounding out at 260 pages – was too long and Image would never go for it. He told me that Heaven, LLC. was much longer when he originally pitched it and he had to fight to get the 144 pages that the book ended up topping out as.
144 pages. That would mean I would have to cut out, like, half of my book. There goes any characterization, character development, the carefully-constructed love story all out the window.
Or I could try and release it as single issues and collect it into a graphic novel later — if our book actually sold – but the reason I went with the OGN format was so you would have to wait a year to read one complete story. Also, most new series don’t last three issues before they wither and die away. But, as an OGN, you have an entire story in one book; a book that would definitely sell better that way than as a monthly.
And to turn the book into a monthly now would mean I would have to rewrite the entire fucking thing!
We talked about other publishers I could submit the book to. He told me that length-wise, my book should go to Top Shelf, who published a nearly 600 page book called Blankets. However, Top Shelf doesn’t exactly deal with the “guy who gets beaten up for money” genre. They’re a little too high class for that kind of thing.
So I have an Image Comics story in a Top Shelf Comics-sized book and neither company is likely to touch us.
Justin told me that he would email his editor over at Image Shadowline and get her opinion on the subject. He asked, “If someone who had never done a book before pitched a 260-page OGN to you, what would your initial reaction be?”
And her reply was: “It would be rejected.”
I’m still going to send my proposal to Image and Top Shelf and – what the hell – Oni Press, too. Couldn’t hurt.
And if they all turn us down, I’ll send to a few other smaller publishing companies. And if they turn us down, then, fuck it. We’ll make it a webcomic or apply for a Xeric grant or sell my immortal soul to the fucking Devil himself.
This is my fucking book and you will read it one way or another!
Your friend (and part-time lover),
Boom Boom Storm Cloud
PS – Yeah, I know I sounded all determined and kick-ass up there – and I meant everything I said about submitting the book and resubmitting and the deal with the Devil and whatnot – but, just between you and me?, yeah, I’m really fucking nervous and scared about this rejection shit. I just want to tell stories. All I’ve ever wanted to do was tell stories.