Sparkler Monthly is currently accepting submissions for comics, including existing free webcomics! Comic submissions will close on November 30th, 11:59 PST.
We are looking for comics that fit in three different categories:
The core series that run in our magazine receive a regular page rate, which is based on many different factors. These are the comics that run regularly in Sparkler and appear for free on the website on a weekly schedule.
For some creators/some types of stories, we may run a short as either a standalone or a precursor to a longer series. These are on a less intense schedule than the usual Sparkler comics. A short that does well may become an ongoing series, or we may ask for sequel stories until we have enough pages for a book. We generally offer a flat rate for the entire story to allow some flexibility on page count.
We’re looking for comics to partner with. Although we can’t pay a page rate, we will be able to host them on the website, give editorial support, help with promotion, and work with them to fundraise book versions of the comic via Kickstarter. Successful comics may be offered a chance to become regular Sparkler series, and we will likely commission the creators for promo artwork or covers. This is also an option for creators who want some support, but want more freedom in their schedule, or to fundraise or publish outside of Sparkler’s system (for example, if you want to release pages on your personal patreon ahead of time, etc.)
How to apply:
Fill out this form with the following information:
- A link to a minimum of 8 pages of your comic, hosted online.
- Your pages can be hosted on your own webcomic site or online portfolio, a webcomic hosting site like Tapas, a social media site like Tumblr or Deviantart–somewhere online. Please send us a link where our staff can read the comic in order from the beginning.
- A one page plot summary. Check the FAQ below for more info about what we’re looking for.
- Links to any supplementary material you’d like us to see–your portfolio, any past comic projects, your social media accounts, your resume.
- If you have them we’d like some statistics (some of these apply only to established webcomics):
- How many pages already exist/how long do you expect the finished product to be?
- How often you post (how many days a week/month)
- Any data you have about your readership (if you have one)–how many unique views per week, subscribers on Tapas, social media followers, sales numbers for books you’ve self published, etc. If you don’t have that kind of data, that’s fine, but we’re interested in anything you do have!
What format do you want for the plot summary? How do I fit my entire complicated plot into one page?
We don’t expect you to fit every plot detail into a one page summary. Think of it more as a sales pitch for your story. What is your basic premise? What are the most important themes, plotlines, and character relationships? What are the big moments you’re going to be working toward? If someone asked you to explain your story to them in 15 minutes, what would you tell them–and what parts of that explanation make you excited? This might look very different for a fantasy adventure vs. a slice of life drama.
Even if you’re planning a very plot-heavy story, be sure to give your characters and themes some focus. Sparkler series are always about people, regardless of what else is going on. No matter what kind of story you’re writing we’re looking for more than a simple list of plot points. Give us the context–who are your main characters, how do they react to the situation they find themselves in, and what are the stakes?
You can format this as paragraphs, bullet points, use headings for plot and character sections, or any other way as long as it’s clear and easy to read.
One last tip–don’t be coy about your major plot points. I think someone out there is telling writers that they should leave their conclusion out of pitches to publishers, instead “leaving them wanting more” by leaving the ending ambiguous. This is bad advice! One of the things we judge stories on is whether the creator is able to give them a satisfying conclusion. We need to know if you’re able to tie up the plot threads you’ve set up, and whether you have a plan for bringing your story to a climax. Pitching to a publisher isn’t the same as pitching to readers–you’re not just trying to get us interested, you’re also trying to prove that you can tell a good story from beginning to end.
My comic isn’t online / I don’t want to put my comic online / My comic is behind a paywall!
That’s all right–we prefer that you put your pages online publicly, but if necessary, you can use a file sharing service like Stash, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Just be sure to turn on link sharing so that all the members of our staff have access (we will keep the link private among our staff).
What rights does Sparkler take in their contracts with creators?
For all Sparkler series, the creator retains copyright.
For Sparkler Comics and Sparkler Shorts, we license the exclusive right to publish from the creator, usually for several years, and non-exclusive rights to the pages after that (so the creator will have the freedom to take their story elsewhere if they want, but we’re still allowed to sell the books we’ve printed and leave your pages in magazine back issues). The creator retains foreign language rights, rights to sell the story in other mediums (like movie rights), and a number of other rights, though there may be times when we get involved with those kinds of deals. The main thing the creator can’t do is take their pages and sell them to another company or post them somewhere else without negotiating with us while the licensing deal is in place.
All our contracts include a clause where if we’re unable to continue publishing your work through no fault of the creator, it reverts back to the creator automatically after a certain period of time. So your work won’t end up in limbo if Sparkler goes under or stops publishing.
Sparkler Partners are a little different–because we don’t pay a page rate, we have fewer rights and less control. We act more like hosts and distributors, handling many of the technical or annoying parts of publishing in exchange for a cut of ad revenue, and designing, formatting, and selling your books and ebooks on your behalf for a percentage of your Kickstarter and book sales, etc.
We’re always flexible about rights and willing to adjust our terms to make things work for everyone, so if during contract negotiation a creator has a particular concern or a right they want to retain, just talk to us and we can often work something out.
More questions? Leave a comment below!