GET YOUR COMIC BOOK REVIEWED
Updated: Jan 24, 2020
After an ungodly amount of hours, poured in over who-knows-how-many months, you made a comic book. Well done! You should be proud of yourself.
Unfortunately, your job can't stop there. You now have the daunting task of getting the word out about it. One way you can do that is by getting your comic reviewed. Read on, you beautiful stranger, and I'll tell you how you can do just that.
HOW DO I GET MY COMIC REVIEWED?
Assuming you self-published, or your comic was made by a small-press publisher, you may have to do more heavy lifting when it comes to getting your comic reviewed. Luckily, there are people and websites devoted to reviewing indie comics, like yours. I'll list a few at the end of this article.
Usually, you can simply send them a tweet or an email asking them if they would like to review your comic. Most of the time, they'll say yes!
It's that simple.
Often, the files are pretty large, so creators will host them on Google Drive or Dropbox and send a link. That works just fine for us. (However, you'll want to make sure to limit their access so they can't delete them by mistake!)
And don't worry too much about selling your comic. You want to talk confidently about it, but this isn't a pitch. Let the work speak for itself.
*Pipedream Comics also has great review guidelines if you're looking for a second opinion or a simpler list.
WHAT IF I EMAIL A REVIEWER BUT DON'T HEAR BACK?
If they don't respond, don't lose hope. Most of us review comics on top of our day jobs and everything else going on in our lives. If you have the time to spare, give it a week, then try reaching out again if you still haven't heard anything.
Sometimes, silence is a way of declining the opportunity and avoiding conflict. It's not great, but it can be difficult to tell someone that the project that they spent so much time on isn't up to a quality that they would recommend to others.
There are so many comics out there, a lot of reviewers prefer to review comics we would recommend to others instead of spending time writing a negative review.
Other reviewers may be honest and give you feedback. It's up to you to decide to take their notes or leave them. Just because someone's a critic, it doesn't mean they're an expert, and it doesn't make them right.
8 IMPORTANT THINGS TO GIVE YOUR REVIEWER
When you're asking a critic to review your comic, there are things that help us do our job. At bare minimum, we need to see the comic, and we need to know who the creative team is. But if you truly want to take advantage of the review, you'll utilize more than a few of the checklist items below:
Your comic. DO NOT ASK US IF WE WANT TO REVIEW YOUR COMIC. Please just assume we do and attach it as a single PDF to your initial request for review email. Many of us do this in life's margins, for free, and it can be difficult just to find time to email someone back and say, "Yes, I'd like to review your comic." Sending it in your initial email saves everyone a little time, and is very much appreciated. Also, the "PDF" line above is bolded because many of us, ComicBookYeti.com included, share review copies with writers through services like Google Drive or Dropbox. When each page is its own separate PDF, things can get lost. When you send a link to your webcomic instead of a PDF, it can sometimes be "out of sight, out of mind" because it doesn't appear with the rest of the comics on the Drive/Dropbox. Sending it as a file type some devices can't open without special programs, or sending screencaps in Microsoft Word, also comes with its own problems. Attaching as a single PDF under 1GB will make just about everyone happy.
The full creative team and their roles, especially if not listed in the comic itself (Ex: Matt Ligeti – Writer, Creator, Comic Book Yeti).
Your elevator pitch (One or two sentences about the comic).
More detailed information about the comic (where the story is going, what it's about overall, what comics or other popular media it's similar to, when it will be released, what it will cost, if there are past issues to read and links for those, any awards it's won or been nominated for, the press release for the comic, if it had one.
Trigger warnings for the comic. Some readers and reviewers need a content warning for sensitive subject matter. These include Rape, Sexual Violence, Graphic Sex, Murder, Graphic Violence, Suicide, Self-Harm, Eating Disorders, Weight-Related Issues, Homophobia, Racism, Transphobia.
Got a webcomic? Pick a day/entry as the final one for your reviewer, like the end of a story arc. It makes it easier to review a story when there's an ending of some kind, and helps define what part of the comic was critiqued for anyone reading the review later on.
Your deadline. If you have a Kickstarter running or your comic hits shelves by a certain date and you want the review out before then, tell us! Please include the date of release/launch and when the campaign ends. Please list any embargos. Provide pre-order codes and FOC dates. We try to prioritize reviews with sensitive schedules but do not always have the time to track this information down. Include links for active campaigns. Many of us review many comics at a time, and deadlines help us prioritize.
Where people can buy it (Is it digital only? Can they order a print edition, or do they have to ask their LCS? Does it have a Diamond Code?)
Art (ex: a .jpg of the comic's cover, approved image(s) to show interior art, any videos or other PR-worthy media)
Information about the creative team (What other projects may creators want to plug? Is this anyone's first comic they've made? Is this someone's first time acting as writer, editor, letterer, etc? Were you or your collaborators inspired by any media while making this comic? Do they work a day job? What is it? Are there other fun facts, like someone once won the lottery, or something?
Who reviewers should contact for interviews or more information, emails, Twitter handles, or other contact information.
FORMAT FOR SUBMITTING A REQUEST FOR REVIEW
If you just want something to copy and paste into an email to a site or critic, you can use the format below when submitting your request for a review. This info's important for us to get a full grasp on the project and properly report on it and the creative team behind it. Without it, creators may not get credit for their work, reviews may come out too late, or interested readers may not be able to find your book, to name a few repercussions of a lack of information. Also, some critics simply won't review comics without a lot of this information. Including the below will help ensure your comic has the best chance of earning media coverage.
Here's the format:
TITLE OF COMIC:
WHERE PEOPLE CAN BUY/CROWDFUND IT:
WHEN IS IDEAL FOR US TO POST THE REVIEW?:
CREATIVE TEAM (everyone who worked on the comic):
TELL US ABOUT THE COMIC (can be two sentences or whatever you want to tell us):
CONTENT WARNINGS (see above for examples):
SAMPLE PAGES/REVIEW COPY LINK/PDF:
ADDITIONAL INFO (optional)
WEBSITE/SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS/CONTACT INFO:
ADDITIONAL INFO ABOUT CREATIVE TEAM (optional):
WHAT DO I DO AFTER I GET MY COMIC REVIEWED?
Reviews are great, but what do you do with them?
Well, if it's a good review, shout about it from the rooftops...proverbially speaking, of course. Get on social media, and share, retweet, repost, reblog. If you don't have a website, consider making one, and collecting your reviews there, like a dragon hoarding shiny gold. Pull quotes from it and use them wherever you can to show others your comic is worthwhile.
If the review isn't so good? Learn from your mistakes. Creators rarely get worse with practice. Quote the good parts, so long as it's not out of context.
Either way, keep in touch with reviewers! They can be a good resource to have.
WHO CAN I SEND MY COMIC TO?
Looking for other critics to review your comic? Here are some reviewers who will check out your work, along with their websites and Twitter handles.
Will Nevin – @willnevin
James Kniseley – @ValonSC
Luke Martinez – @lukelovescomics
Joshua Bermont – freelance – @JoshuaBermont
*Eliot marshals the review copies at Bleeding Cool (not the reviewers themselves), and is an advocate for the scene, he'll do everything he can to put the copy in front of a reviewer.