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Russ Burlingame @russburlingame
, 17 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
One of the biggest sources of frustration I hear from small-press folks is that they have difficulty pitching their work to bigger outlets like @comicbook, CBR, Bleeding Cool, etc. There are a lot of variables and I can only speak for myself, but here are some thoughts on it...
For a lot of us, comics are our passion but they are not the news items that advertisers are pounding down our doors for. Small press publishers doubly so. This means that you will be unlikely to have a reporter's undivided attention unless you/your book really grabs them.
With smaller outlets that want to build a more credible library of original content, interviews and first-look stories are awesome. As outlets get larger, smaller publishers are competing with not just the Big Two comics publishers but TV, film, videogames, etc., for those slots.
This is NOT to say that I/my coworkers/other pop culture writers do not want to talk to you about your book, or talk more generally about small-press comics. Most of us have at least one small press book in our "best-ever" list and KNOW the best of the best is not all superhero.
The things I always tell small press folks when they are pitching me:
1) Be persistent
2) Be patient
3) Use e-mail
4) Be professional
You would be utterly shocked (actually, probably a lot of you wouldn't be, but I digress) how many people struggle with these basic ideas.
1) Be persistent: As noted above, you will almost certainly not have my full attention, if only because if I am giving a low-visibility book my full attention for more than about an hour, my bosses will wonder what I am smoking. You will likely have to come back more than once.
2) Be patient: This is more like 1a, really. You will have to e-mail me more than once. If you become enraged by this, I will likely check out. If you go on an entitled Facebook rant about it, odds are very good you will lose me. UNDERSTAND where others are coming from.
3) Use e-mail. I have a company-provided e-mail that makes it easy to reach me. I give it out to anyone who asks, and while I usually try not to put it in an unsecured social media post, it is pretty easy to find. Reaching out to me on social media reduces your chance of a timely
response by about 80%. I get a LOT of unsolicited pitches on social media, and it is difficult to discern signal from noise. Moreover, it would be near-impossible for me to respond to them all. And if you pitch me on LinkedIn? I won't see it for weeks. sorry.
(That last one happens a lot.)
(Like, A LOT.)
4) Be professional. Have somebody who is not directly involved with your project (ideally: not involved in comics at all) look at what you are sending to the press. I cannot tell you how many solicitations I get in any given month where I can't tell you what the project is about,
...or where the website/crowdfunding link is not in the message. I get things with no imagery ALL. THE. TIME. It's the internet, guys. And it's comics. Both of these things should say, in a very commonsense way, that if there are no images there is no story.
Professionalism also crosses the streams with patience. If I don't get back to you for a few days, I will absolutely not mind a friendly e-mail asking me what's up. If it's a couple of weeks, you are entirely justified asking "is this ever goign to happen or should I move on?"
But multiple resends of the same thing without commentary/updates/personalization, escalating negativity, calling me or my outlet out on social media for "disrespecting" you -- these are not things that will make you MORE likely to get attention.
Similarly, a press release issued as a JPG will almost certainly be ignored since it is not something from which the details can quickly and accurately be copied over. Messages riddled with broken links or poor spelling/grammar will immediately throw the quality of your work into
question. Also: carpet-bombing everyone at the same outlet with the same, non-personalized message is unlikely to get you a response from anyone. Co-workers talk. We will all hear that we all got it and everyone will assume somebody else will handle it.
tl;dr: you want to get coverage for your book. Reporters need content and want to provide you with coverage. Make it easy for them, don't be rude to them, and understand that the economic realities of the situation mean that you cannot be everyone's top priority.
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