Research, Research, Research: What if Diamond Rejects You?A column article, The Burning Mind by: Ace Masters
What if Diamond rejects you?
You are waiting with baited breath and hot sweat. It’s been weeks since you sent that package in to Diamond and the phone call hasn’t come yet. You go about your normal life as best you can, but in the back of your mind the waiting eats away at you.
Then it comes. Not a phone call. Not a contract in the mail. Instead you receive a form letter from Diamond informing you that they have decided not to carry your title at this time. The letter may give you some reason - economy, state of the industry due to the economy, they don’t think the artwork is strong enough, etc - or they may decline explaining why.
Usually there is no detailed explanation given.
After the anger and dejection you will feel subside you have a choice to make: give up, or march on.
Giving up would be easy, many people do. Some people believe that if something fails – even once – it is not worth doing. For others failure up is never an option.
I am a firm believer in two mantras:
- If you at least try, you have never failed.
- There is no such thing as failure; there is only a learning experience.
Case in point: My graphic novel Rushmore. The first time Rushmore was submitted to Diamond, I got the dreaded rejection letter. I regrouped, found a new artist (Nichx) and re-wrote Rushmore. The original version of Rushmore - by a different artist - was scrapped and Nichx redrew Rushmore from an updated script.
A year later Rushmore was re-submitted, and guess what - I got the call. Rushmore was in Diamond, followed by my other titles Fireblast, Wild Boys and Full Moon Craze.
You only fail if you give up. A rejection from Diamond is not the end unless you let it be the end.
If you have decided this is it, you’re done. Your choice. Your journey is over, no need to read further.
"Failure is not an option" is a powerful mantra that drives many people. If this is you and you have decided to march on, you have to decide what the next step is. There are still a few paths your can take.
Re-Submit: If Diamond gives you feedback and a reason for the rejection, look at it. Study and absorb what they had to say. See if any of it is relevant. If you decided it is, make the changes and re-submit.
If Diamond didn’t give you any feedback, then turn a critical eye to the work yourself. Is there anything you want to change or improve? If so, make the changes. Do the re-write it needs, re do panels or pages, slave over every aspect of your title, even if it means starting from scratch. Once done, re-submit.
The worst they can do is reject it again.
Alternate Distribution: Try to find some alternate distribution other than Diamond. Diamond is the biggest boy on the comic book block worldwide, but not the only one. If Diamond passes, especially after a re-submit, try Haven Distributors, which used to be Cold Cut International.
Another alternative is Indy Planet, who are not a true distributor nor do they deal with brick and mortar retailers, but they are on online option to get your books out to the public.
If your title is a graphic novel, you may have other options available. Some traditional book distributors are open to graphic novels. Do some research on those distributors and submit your titles there.
At the same time, Barnes and Nobles has a submission program that allows publishers to submit straight to them for inclusion in their many stores or on their website. This is worth looking into.
Convention Circuit: A common alternative for a number of creators. Go to conventions, get a booth and try to sell your comics. A number of people do this. However the success ratio varies widely and this is very risky as many conventions have high table and set up cost.
Web Comics: Redo your comic as a web comic with a dedicated website and present it online. The product gets out to the public and you can potentially sell ads space and even print trade paperbacks in the future.
Submissions: You are set on being a publisher, but Diamond hasn’t worked and perhaps the other paths have not panned out, or you just don’t want to deal with the hassle. You can always take your submission package and shop it around to established publishers (Dark Horse, Image, etc). If one of them picks it up, guess what? You’re in Diamond!
These are only some of the alternatives available to you, and are perhaps the best ones. Do your own research and see which of these paths - or other ones – are right for you. Also keep in mind that none of these are exclusive.
You do not have to take just one of these paths. If you are so inclined you can do all of them, or pick and choose the ones best suited to what you want to do.
If Diamond does passes on you submit to Haven, while doing the convention circuit and get your title on Indy Planet, while at the same time take the chance and submit to the Barnes and Noble submission program.
Even publishers in Diamond still explore many of these paths; however – with the exception of conventions – they do so as a secondary option to Diamond.
Diamond may be the ultimate goal if you want to make the biggest impact and reach the furthest audience, but they are not the only game in town.
The good news about going one or more of these other paths is you can always come back to Diamond. If you find some level of success in an alternate route, you can submit to Diamond again, now with a track record that could persuade them to give you a few minutes of their time.
One thing to always consider, no matter what the path, getting your book out to the public is only the beginning of your journey.
Now, let’s say that Diamond does call you, the contract is offered and you get what you want: Distribution through Diamond. Now you have to ask yourself:
How best can you use Diamond?