I know the best software to design a booklet is Adobe InDesign, but I'd never use it before and I think it's about time I learn how to use it. So I searched youtube for a tutorial and picked it up within 30mins:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaY3jWktT0w .Thanks Terry White and Youtube! So I rushed this booklet out within a week and printed it out at a nearby printer (200gsm cover paper, 110gsm inside paper 900yen/booklet ....OUCH!). I printed only 3 copies in time to pass it to my professor's contact. Then another professor told me that I could also go to the Tokyo International Book Fair to pitch my work to publishers. So well, since I already got the file, why not? So I printed another 10 copies (110gsm this time, 700yen/booklet...still OUCH!)
I went around looking for publishers who publish English books, but there weren't many (of course). There weren't a lot of foreign publishers too. Most were there to sell their books and talk with bookstores and distributors. Nevertheless I tried to approach them whenever I see a kind of book they do that is similar to mine.
- Publishers' Association for Cultural Exchange, Japan. I saw an English book about Japan and so approached them. They are actually a NPO to promote books from Japanese publishers to overseas and the secretary general didn't know what to do with me... So I continued to explain my purpose and he said that he could try to recommend me to Shogakukan, the publisher that published that English book. It was very nice of him and I found out that he was also from Waseda University :P So he agreed to help but of course, no guarantee that such a big publisher would fancy a small artist. I left my media kit with him and continued hunting.
- Printsasia. I saw some English books so I approached them. Found out later that they are actually an importer and not a publisher. But since my readers include foreigners in Japan, I thought my work could interest them to work out some marketing campaign. But no... Anyway, their books are really cheaper than Kinokuniya~ (I think how Taiwanese comic bloggers blend advertising with comics is still a novel idea in Japan)
- Sogensha. Their books look interesting so although nothing is in English, I decided to approach them to ask if I could pitch my work. Coincidentally, their chief editor was there and she kindly looked through my media kit and expressed a bit of interest. Unfortunately, it seems that my work must be in Japanese as they don't offer translation. Nevertheless, she told me to mail her a copy instead of taking my media kit on the spot. I am not sure if this is the Japanese way of rejection, or they really couldn't take my work because they have other books to carry :/
- Oaxis. I was amazed that there is a Singapore exhibitor so I went there to give support. They do phone cases that is actually an e-ink screen!? Kinda cool, I could show off my Evacomics work at the back of my smart phone (if I have one). Had a long chat with their vice president and left my media kit with him too. I'm sorry to add on to his luggage weight and hope he doesn't throw it away, because it cost me 700yen...
I didn't make much progress but I didn't feel like giving up too. I had been drawing webcomics for 6 years while working and studying so it is in my blood to continue drawing. The only contradiction I find is that when I was studying in US, I kept on submitting my work to Japanese publishers. And now that I am studying in Japan, I kept on thinking about US publishers... ...
So this wraps up my little journey to get my work out. These are some of the things that I'm planning to do:
- Jul: Complete a prototype chapter with my professor to pitch to publishers (in English).
- Ask readers what kind of book content they would like to see from Evacomics.
- Update website with new Media Kit content.
- Change blog template design because somehow my articles don't appear well when shared on social media like FB and Google+.
- Aug: Design a mobile version too (gotta find out how first).
- Sep: Design and add products (still comparing between society6 and zazzle)
Meanwhile, you can help by letting me know what kind of book you would like to see from me and continue to like and share my comics to your friends. Thank you very much! Doumo arigatou gozaimasu!!! ^_^