Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Anthology Game

Welcome to the one-month anniversary of C-Log.  (I've decided that blogs are like babies.  Cute in their infancy but probably won't make that big of an impact or pay their own rent until they are old enough to go to college.) 

NEXT WEEK I'll have a guest blog by Meredith Li-Vollmer, a risk communication specialist for Public Health - Seattle & King County who spearheaded the project Comics 4 Health Coverage.

Title page in-process for an anthology
submission due later this month.
THIS WEEK is about my experienced with seeking publication in comics anthologies.

I'm excited to report that it can be done.  Since the cold Seattle night that I decided to Google "Comics Anthology Submissions," I've had five stories selected for publication, with two more under consideration.

I feel good about the chances of the pending submissions because I researched the anthologies thoroughly and feel my art fits well with what the editors are trying to do.

Which is the sweet spot - the fit.

There are not a lot of open calls for comic book anthologies, period.  Of those, a high percentage of them are for genre fiction, mainstream horror and/or manga themed publications.  That's great, if that's the kind of work you're making, but my stuff is more in the autobiographical vein.

So, I did A LOT OF RESEARCH.  And this is what I've found:
  • Again, there's not a ton of open calls for submission out there.
  • Some of the best ones I found were buried deep in the editor's blog (so keep digging!)
  • Many calls for submission are out-of-date.  I have an embarrassing story about making a comic for an anthology that was already published.  The story has a happy ending, because the comic is being printed in another journal, but you can bet I triple-check dates, now.
  • There are at least two lists of open calls that seem to be current and relatively accurate.  They are kept by Cloudscape Comics out of BC and Indie Ladies Comics.  

My super-secret weapon for taking over comics by 2015.
After a few months of submitting to anthologies, I began keeping a spreadsheet.

This is a practice I started after missing the call for inclusion in Dirty Diamonds #5, which I really REALLY wanted to be in, but am not, because there was just so much time left until the deadline.  And then I forgot about it.  And then the deadline passed.

There is actually a second page to the spreadsheet, which lists stories after they get published, so that I have a record of my publication history.  Why so organized, you ask?  Because in my past life, as a poet, I got grants, publication, residencies and the like, but never did anything with all that good stuff.  My peers were getting book deals and performance tours and I was working as an arts administrator and not making a case for myself as an artist.  I feel that I squandered a lot of creative capital. 

I don't know how many shots you get at doing what you love, but I'm not going to waste it this time around.  Both the research and the spreadsheets have been helpful in getting my stories out there and have even led to inclusion in invitation-only anthologies.

I'll keep posting about this topic as I learn more and come across new developments.  If you are aware of any other resources that would be useful in the quest for publication, and care to share them, feel free to email me or post in the comments below. 


  1. Great blog post, Noel! Thanks for sharing your valuable, hard-earned knowledge and wisdom. And boy, that title page to "Shipyard Espionage" is looking mighty fine!

  2. Thanks, Paul! Shipyard Espionage is taking FOREVER.

    I think I'll circle back to anthologies in two weeks, to talk about the paid vs. unpaid anthology issues, and such. I don't think the information is pertinent to well established comics creators, but it's worth bringing the discussion "on line."