Matthew Manarino, writer for Panel Bound, had time to interview Archaia’s Editor Rebecca Taylor. Every publisher has a specific type of book they are looking for and Rebecca is there to decide first and foremost what will work for Archaia. Here is a glimpse of the submission process and what gets comics through the door at Archaia.
The first thing I look at with any submission is the art. We work in a visual medium, so both art and story have to be strong. From a selfish, timesaving perspective, art is the quicker of the two things to judge. I can tell within a few minutes if the art meets the standards of quality and fits the style of our company’s library and vision, whereas story and writing take longer to dissect.
If a project does have art that blows me away, or even just intrigues me, however, the next thing I look at is the story pitch. A good pitch or treatment will give me a sense of what the book is about, what the target audience might be, what potential trans media opportunities the book could support, and whether the writer has a good sense of structure and storytelling. If all that is there, I’ll move on to actually reading the script, or go back and really sit down with the sample pages and get a sense for the writer’s style on the page.
When you receive a submission, what usually grabs your attention the most? Is there anything that causes you to instantly deny a submission?
Working at Archaia, a company that leans towards books that have a unique creative voice, my interest is instantly piqued by projects that have a very distinct art style. When I open a project file and my first reaction is, “Well, that’s different!”—Those are usually the ones that get my attention. That freshness is something that I look for in story as well. Projects that come at me with a story I’ve never seen before, those are the ones I gravitate towards, especially if they also have a well thought out structure.
In this day and age, also, stories that have trans media potential are a big plus for any company from a business standpoint. Being the innate book and comic nerd that I am, that’s never the thing that pulls me, personally, towards one project over another, but as an editor who has to consider the business side of a creative industry, it’s definitely something I look for.
The only thing that causes me to instantly deny a submission is if it’s about superheroes. Archaia does not do superhero stories, no matter how amazing they might be. It’s one of our bedrock rules and we stick to it!