This article originally appeared in Strangehaven issue issue #10, November 1998.
Just before this issue went to press, I received the second issue of a neat small press comic called Floid, accompanied by a letter from its creator Adam Jakes in which he apologises for sending it to me. It seems that he was overly concerned by my “no submissions” disclaimer in my indicia, which is actually only there to dissuade artists and writers (well, artists mostly) from sending me huge wads of photocopies of their superhero strips in the vain hope of landing a job here at the gleaming marble halls of Abiogenesis Press.
Obviously if these people had done any kind of research apart from downloading a mailing list from the internet, they would have realised that I’m a self-publisher and have neither the time, money or interest in publishing other people’s work. Unfortunately, I haven’t even got the resources to be able to return their work promptly (or at all), and it bothers me that they guys are wasting money on colour photocopies and stamps by blindly sending out these samples. But I guess that’s their problem.
What really bugs me are the thoughtless idiots who use the internet to e-mail me large numbers of high resolution image files of their artwork. In the UK, we have to pay for even local telephone connection, and not having ISDN, it can take me a hour or more (no exaggeration) to download some of these portfolios, completely tying up my computer and busting a hole through my work schedule.
The most surprising thing to me is the very high standard of art in almost all submissions sent to me by whatever method. But If you’re sending off samples, have the sense to do a little homework and at least find out the name of the person or department you’re submitting it to, and decide whether they would be interested in actually publishing your kind of material. For those of you who like the idea of sending submissions by e-mail, at least have the courtesy of an initial e-mail to find out if the publisher would be prepared to review samples in that way.
Unfortunately, those who this message is aimed at are least likely to be reading it. But if you’re like Adam and have the gumption and initiative to actually self-publish your own work (even in a crude photocopy format) then, I’d really love to see it. “No submissions” does not apply to you and I never turn down the offer of free comics. But if you’re looking for a detailed critique of your effort and answers to a extended list of questions, please understand my time is very limited and you may not get a personal reply.
What I am considering is a publishing answers to budding self-publishers’ queries here in Strangehaven, assuming I receive any more. But always remember that there are as many solutions to self-publishing as there are self-publishers and my opinion is no more valid than anyone else’s. But for those who want it, I’m prepared to give people the benefit of my experiences.