Help for artist/writer publishing GN from prison.?


New Member
May 11, 2024
I am trying to help a friend publish his graphic novel. Would you all provide me with advice on what needs to be done? He is producing a finished product on paper but needs my help interfacing with a publisher and others. I have lots of computer experience but little money. Questions that come to mind.
1. Does he/I need to copyright his work and when?
2. What publisher will take his finished product and do final editing, marketing, printing, and sales etc ...? His is a graphic novel that is directed towards adults, apoplectic, science fiction, fantasy sort of fiction. Mostly in picture form with hand lettering. Publisher name and contact info?. He has roughly 160 pages already and plans 4 or 5 more releases.
3. WHAT do I need to do? I will receive batches of 8x11.5 pages in the mail. I can purchase an inexpensive flatbed scanner for less than $100 to get color copies into the computer.

So far I looked at DarkHorse and they want 6 pages and various other documents in attachment form on an email. I can do this. I can come up with 6 jpg images for them but how to package them together is a question?
I also took a quick look at FantaGraphics and they want a hard paper copy of his work. I could visit Office Depot and use their color copier and my own printers to produce what they require.

I need a plan to succeed as they say. I am going from a graphic novel on copy paper to a finished graphic novel on a store shelf. I want a todo list that gets me there. Any help is appreciated. Money is very limited and he is quite good at his artist/writer tasks.

I asked chatGPT what copyright was and how to publish a GN, and this was the response. It's probably not entirely relevant but might give you a hint on next steps

Understanding Copyright​

1. What is Copyright?

  • Definition: Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution, typically for a limited time.
  • Purpose: It aims to encourage the creation of art and culture by ensuring creators can profit from their work.
  • Protected Works: This includes literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as books, movies, music, and software.
2. Key Aspects of Copyright

  • Automatic Protection: Copyright protection is automatic upon the creation of a work, as long as it is fixed in a tangible medium (written down, recorded, etc.).
  • Duration: The length of copyright protection varies by country but often lasts the lifetime of the creator plus an additional number of years (e.g., 70 years after the author's death in the U.S.).
  • Exclusive Rights: These include the rights to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, and create derivative works based on the original work.
3. Registering Copyright

  • Not Mandatory: Registration is not required for protection, but it provides legal advantages, such as the ability to sue for infringement and claim statutory damages.
  • How to Register: In the U.S., you can register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office online or via mail by filling out the appropriate forms and paying a fee.

Steps to Publish a Graphic Novel​

1. Creating the Graphic Novel

  • Writing the Script: Develop a compelling story and dialogue.
  • Storyboarding: Create rough sketches to outline the visual flow.
  • Drawing the Art: Illustrate the panels, ensuring high-quality, finished artwork.
  • Lettering and Coloring: Add text and color to the drawings.
2. Preparing for Publication

  • Editing: Review the content for errors in text and visuals.
  • Formatting: Ensure the graphic novel is formatted correctly for print or digital publication. This includes setting up the layout, margins, and resolution.
3. Publishing Options

  • Traditional Publishing:
    • Submission: Send your manuscript and sample pages to literary agents or publishers who accept graphic novels. Research submission guidelines carefully.
    • Contract and Rights: If accepted, negotiate the terms of your publishing contract, including rights, royalties, and advance payments.
  • Self-Publishing:
    • Print-on-Demand (POD): Use services like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or IngramSpark to print copies as they are ordered.
    • Digital Platforms: Publish your graphic novel as an eBook through platforms like ComiXology, Kindle, or your own website.
    • Crowdfunding: Use platforms like Kickstarter to raise funds for printing and distribution.
4. Marketing and Distribution

  • Building an Audience: Use social media, a personal website, and participation in conventions to build a following.
  • Distribution Channels: Distribute through bookstores, online retailers, comic book stores, and digital platforms.
  • Promotion: Engage in promotional activities such as book signings, interviews, and collaborations with influencers in the comic and graphic novel community.


Understanding copyright ensures your rights are protected, and knowing the steps to publish a graphic novel can help bring your work to a wider audience. Whether you choose traditional or self-publishing, the key is to create a high-quality product and actively engage in marketing and distribution.

I appreciate that this is a very "cheap" answer to your question, but maybe it gave you an idea on next steps. Good luck.
You used a dollar sign in your question so I'm guessing you're in the states. Here's the link to the copyright office in case you didn't google it in the time since I posted the above answer: CopyrightAgency

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