Every Friday, I volunteer at my son’s business – Comic Rocket. I’ll write more about that later, but first I want to talk about something that will be more pertinent to book authors and creators of graphic novels.
What I do when I volunteer at Comic Rocket is look at web comics and try to rate them for appropriateness using the movie rating system of PG, R, and NC-17. As was mentioned in the letter of recommendation I posted in yesterday’s blog, my background equips me to help figure out age ranges for books and at my volunteer job I am learning to do that for web comics.
In order to figure out ratings, I have to read a fair way into a comic to be sure something that starts out relatively innocently doesn’t suddenly change, so I am getting to know the comics out there. I am excited to talk, today, about the web site of one web comic/graphic novel that can help writers of graphic novels in particular, and books in general.
reMIND by Jason Brubaker is a web comic/graphic novel that he wanted to turn into a coffee table book. According to his web site, he works at Dreamworks Animation in Visual Development by day, and at night he puts on his cape and doubles as an independent graphic novelist and self-publisher. He and his collaborator, Christopher Kosek, have put together a really wonderful set of articles on taking a graphic novel from idea to printer. You can find the articles at http://www.remindblog.com/making-graphic-novels/.
One of the things he writes about is proofing before printing. With a graphic novel, it’s not just the words that need to be proofed, but also the colors, pagination and content. He used a printer in Asia because they will still do the proofs on paper and send it back and forth to be approved. Seeing it on paper helped him catch more things that needed correcting than digital proofs would have.
His article reminded me of a conversation I had last month with a printing broker I know, Bob Smith (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/bob-smith/13/a11/771). Bob has been in the business for 30 years, and he knows the specialties of printers all over the world. I saw Bob at the monthly meeting of the NW Association of Book Publishers. In trying to explain to me what a printing broker does, he grabbed a book that he was involved with and demonstrated to me that it had a binding that could lay flat when you open it. He said if someone comes to him and says, “I need a book with a special kind of paper,” or “I need a book with a particular kind of binding,” he knows the right printer somewhere in the world for the job. As the daughter of a retired printer, this sounded impressive to me.
I originally titled this blog “Steps for putting together a graphic novel” but it occurred to me that much of this information works equally well for books. Jason self-published his “coffee table book”, but I bet there’s some good information in his articles for those going with indie publishers too.