On Submitting Books to Us at Conventions
(In which I talk about something that is neither a food nor an event. Craziness!)
(photo ganked from here; thanks, Library of Congress!)
In a short sentence?
Don't do it.
When we exhibit at a convention, there will probably be two people at our booth at a time. One of them will be making change; another of them will be selling books. (These actions have slight variations; staff may at times be running signings, talking to our authors, discussing upcoming books with teachers, librarians, and booksellers, or falling over in exhaustion.)
Those are our convention priorities. We just don't have spare staff -- or spare space -- to spend an adequate amount of time reviewing portfolios, reading submissions, and just comprehending the content of an entirely new book that has just popped up in front of us and would like to be read and potentially acquired.
However! If you are a person who would like to submit a book to us, there are things that you can do at a convention that are useful to you. Here are some suggestions.
1. Come over and tell us you like our books. (Hint: if you don't like our books, you should not be submitting your book to us.) Everyone at First Second pours more than forty hours a week into making the books we publish the most awesome things possible! We always appreciate people coming to tell us that we like them.
- 1a. When you're back home, write us an e-mail. 'It was great to meet you at Convention X, thanks for talking to me about Book Y! I've got a project I'd love for you guys to take a look at, here is information about it.'
2. Come over and buy books from us. That is like #1, except with financial improvement for us. (Please also tell us you like our books while buying books from us.) Repeat step 1a.
3. Maybe you've never heard of First Second before, but you've just spotted us at a show. You've got a project to submit; what do you do now?
- 3a. Take a look at the books we publish BEFORE you talk to us. Does what we're doing look like it's along the lines of your project? If the answer is no, submitting to us is probably not in the cards for you.
- 3b. Buy a book from us. If you'd like to submit something to us, please read at least one of our titles first. (Also acceptable: tell us that you're buying a copy of our book from your local book or comics store. As long as you're reading the books, we don't care who you buy them from!)
- 3c. Ask. Ask if we have time, and then ask for more information. A good start to talking to us about a proposal is something along the lines of, 'I've just heard of First Second, and your books look great! I'm a writer/artist myself; I'd love to hear a little more about your company if you have time to talk.'
- Hint: if there is a line of ten people in front of the booth, that is not the best time. You don't even need to ask if it is.
- Hint2: If you tell us you're a writer/artist, that enables us to give you the correct kind of information about what rights we give to our creators, how our editorial process works, etc. -- instead of information like how to set up a sales account with us, how we age/grade our titles, which we would give to teachers, librarians, or retailers, but which is probably not useful for you.
- 3d. And, it's back to step 1a again.
4. Bring us a mini. We all love comics; that's why we work at First Second. If you have a small thing that is a good sample of your work and also is awesome, we'd love to take it home and read it. (Please note: minis are not submission packets, six-hundred-page unbound manuscripts, business cards, or anything else by short comics works.)
For more about our submission process, take a look at our FAQ page. Read the blog posts in the links for optimal data intake!
(This post follows the New York Comic-Con, at which no one gave us a new mini. What's up with that?)