A common question we get from new creators is “what should be included in a manga pitch?”
Some creators may start creating their manga straight on the page, the story unfolding as they draw each scene. However, publishers typically like to see the bigger picture of your series before they decide to publish your work, and so the art of “pitching your story” has become an important part of the process of getting your work published.
There are several important factors in a great pitch that help establish the direction of your story and let our editors understand the long-term potential of the work.
A quick one-line description of your work. Summarizing into one or two sentences might be difficult because it requires you to reduce big ideas into something more concise, but usually the best ideas are those that can be simplified. Just like a good joke should not have to be explained, a good logline is an exercise in how to intrigue an audience quickly.
While a logline’s goal is to draw attention quickly, a story synopsis can take a little more time. A good synopsis may be a couple of paragraphs that introduce your characters and the world more completely, while also conveying the genre of the work and building atmosphere for potential readers.
The appeal of the characters in your story will be critical to finding and keeping the attention of your readers throughout a series. Character descriptions should be multidimensional, and characters should have distinct and diverse personalities. Each character should have individual descriptions, but it would also help to refer to the relationship between each of the main characters within those descriptions.
Character designs are an important part of creating an appealing character, especially in manga. Complex designs are not automatically considered better than simpler designs, they just need to make sense for the character. Also, remember you will need to draw these characters from every angle imaginable at some point if the story, so you should design characters in a way that can be consistently replicated so that they are always recognizable. It would be best to have these designs as clean-lined (not sketch work) as possible. Extra bonus for additional expressions for your characters or poses that show off their personality visually!
An important part of series storytelling is knowing how the characters develop over time across the chapters and through the volumes. An outline does not have to use fancy language and is probably the most technical part of a pitch, but it can expose weaker story points that a synopsis cannot. An ideal outline can be as simple as a bullet list of events that happen through each chapter or volume and should focus on a character or group of characters' progression during milestone events. The outline is often where we provide editorial feedback as well, so a simple outline structure will allow for a better understanding of the direction of your story.
We understand that it can take time for creators to work on art for a story, but for series submissions we do want to see what your intention for the final work will be. Creating sample pages is also an important exercise for a creator to find out if the manga-style pacing, paneling, and black and white style will work for you. Working on a scene from your story is a great way for you to test your manga skillset as well as giving us an idea of what the series will look like overall, which makes it an important part of a pitch packet.
Target Audience and Comparable Titles
We hope that as a creator you have an audience in mind for your story! We’d love to know who you are hoping to reach with your manga, and what already published works you think might appeal to the same audience.
We’d love to know about you! Although many parts of a pitch focus on a singular work, a creator biography gives us insight into you as a storyteller. Sharing more about yourself, your background and your inspirations can help us guide you toward your goals as a manga artist.
We hope this guide will help you on your way to pitch for a VIZ Originals project in the future!
Ready to send your pitch to us? Visit the Submissions Portal to get started!
Interested in starting with a one-shot story instead? Visit Publish with VIZ to learn about submitting for one-shots!
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