Hey, all. If any of you know me, you know that I’ve had side work here and there I’ve been offered via friends or through my blogs. I wrote for a time for itcherMag.com, and also for badsequels.com. I also did some work for IDW comics, though it ultimately didn’t pan out. I thought since some time had passed that I would share one type of job you can find through comic book companies, occassionally – which may give you a foothold in the industry eventually if you try hard enough. I was going through some personal chaos at the time, so my work for IDW only lasted about a month before I had to concede. But I thought it was worth noting the difficulty in even one page of professional writing – as a sort of cautionary tale, but also as a sort of “Hey, here’s an experience you could have as a writer”. Most people dismiss writing as being very easy and that any schmoe can do it. Anyone can write, but not everyone can write well.
My story begins with my first e-mail encounter with the woman in charge of the project. She’d assigned me to write what they call a “one sheet” for a comic book series called Winter World. The perks were getting to read lots of comics for free, as well as receiving payment upon completion. Though the pay was low, I decided to give it a shot for the fun factor and experience alone. After some initial e-mails, I sent in my first draft of my very first “One Sheet”.
Not too bad, right? Wrong. Every written project needs several drafts before it’s accepted – and as a writer, I accepted this fact. This initial submission was made after I waded through several issues of the comic book and I felt I pretty much understood what the draw was to the title.
So, with my first draft out – I waited patiently for it to come back to me. When I completed the initial first draft and sent it in, it was finally sent back a couple of days later with corrections. Here’s what that looked like:
Okay. Not too bad. Understandably, they wanted the theme popping up front in the first paragraph, and then a bit more detail in the middle, and then a stronger close on the whole thing. I worked hard on the next draft when I could (I was working full-time at my regular job) and sent it in a couple days later, confident that I had cleared up some of the concerns. I sent it back, and it looked like this:
This one, I wasn’t 100% sure about. I felt that initially, I had covered the “theme” missing in the first paragraph, and I’d fleshed it out some. I added some more filler that was missing, and I was proud of my “fallen snow” line. I waited patiently for the return copy, confident that there wouldn’t be much else to do, if anything. After all, it was a “one sheet”. In the meantime, she had me fill out a W-9 form, which was a huge pain in the neck to find and print out and fill out, and eventually mail.
After another couple of days, she got back to me with the edited version.
Wow. I was disheartened, and because I was working a full-time job and not able to fully invest (because the pay wasn’t great in the first place) I eventually had to bow out after another couple days of working in frustration on what was meant to be an easy and fun job. Nothing is easy and fun in the writing world. Writing on your own can be pretty fun, but writing is still work – and hard work, at that. And after all that work, I wasn’t even paid because I didn’t actually complete it to fruition. I did get to read the comics (which were excellent, by the way…think Walking Dead meets Day After Tomorrow) but in the world of freelance writing, nothing is for sure.
I would love to do more comic book work in the future, and I have (I help edit a French comic book called Rage: Bane of Demons) but sometimes you have to know when you’re not the right fit. Maybe they’ll have something better for me in the future. Until then, I’m going to keep putting myself out there to get side work, and I will use all my failures as lessons.