Submissions are currently closed, and new submission dates for 2017 have not been announced yet. Here are the rules from the 2016 round of submissions if you'd like to start preparing your submission for the future!
Hiveworks Comics only publishes creator-owned, ongoing series. At this time, we only accept submissions/proposals from full creative teams; we do not take writing, penciling, lettering, inking or coloring samples on their own.
1. Prepare your Pitch Document.
2. Read through the FAQ.
3. Understand the Submission Agreement.
4. Submit your project!
For your submission, you have to share a pitch document with us! Your pitch doc will be a PDF presenting the artist, narrative and thematic elements of your project. The pitch document should contain the following:
Please make the pitch document easy to read and access. PDF files are our preferred format.
Since we've gotten a few questions about what we're looking for in a character design, Isa has shared two examples! We should get a sense for the character in the style of your comic, and a glimpse at their personality from their designs.
Are there any restrictions for international artists (outside US)?
Several of our artists are located in Europe, Canada or South America. Location is not an issue.
Are there any limitations on the language of submitted works?
Although the location and native language of the artist does not influence our selection process, the submitted comics must be in English. Comics can bilingual; we already have a few that are available in two languages (such as Boumeries - comics.boumerie.com). However, bilingual works need to prioritize the English version, and the translation cannot be fan-made, since we can't insure updates or quality control with fan translations, translations need to be done or overseen by the creator.
I’m concerned that my style is not suited for Hiveworks because I don’t draw or color digitally.
Many of our current creators work digitally or traditionally. We accept both! As long as a story has great potential and personality, we would love to see it! The tools used to shape it do not influence our decision.
I’m an artist (or in a team with an artist) that is underage (under 18 years old). Does that mean we can’t submit to Hiveworks?
All artists and writers (so both members of a creative team when applicable) need to be of legal age (in the United States or in their country of residence as applicable), simply because they cannot sign a publishing agreement otherwise.
As an added note, we encourage applicants who are still in school to consider their class workload when they draft their production timeline and decide on their update schedule.
Speaking of production timelines – what are those?
A production timeline is basically project steps pinned on a timeline. So, the comic’s history, the steps that are going into making your comic, how long you want it to be, when you wish to produce a printed collection, things like that. Don’t worry, you can keep it loose, we just want to see what your goals are.
I work under a pseudonym / nickname /preferred name for personal reasons. I was wondering if I could pitch to you using that name?
We have a few people working under pseudonyms, pen names or preferred names, we don't mind at all. We want people to feel comfortable. However, we will require legal names for our database and publishing agreements, but these are kept as confidential information when requested.
I’ve recently signed a book publishing deal with [Publisher]. Would this sort of thing disqualify me from being accepted?
Hiveworks is a publisher, so if you already signed your comic to another publisher, I doubt they would appreciate you sending it to us for consideration (unless you're positive you've retained digital rights.) However, this only “disqualifies” the concerned project. You can still submit other not-signed-yet pitches to us without issue.
Will you be contacting refused folks? What is the interview process when people are selected?
We will be contacting accepted creators by email in the following weeks after submissions end (June 15th). Accepted creators will be invited to an interview with our staff via Skype during which we will discuss publishing agreement details with them. Due to the sheer volume of applicants, refused pitches will be sent a form email.
Please note that, as always, we have a limited amount of spots available, and many applicants. Don’t be discouraged by a first refusal!
My comic has anthropomorphic characters and you guys don’t seem to have any. Do you not accept anthro art?
We do not refuse anthropomorphic art, but since comics in that style are numerous and have their own dedicated circles, for us to pick one up, the anthropomorphism must add to the story. Take for example – the comics Blacksad or Lackadaisy that use it to cleverly explore American history, or the movie Kung Fu Panda, that uses anthropomorphism as a nod to kung fu forms, or how the movie Zootopia uses anthropomorphism to talk about discrimination. Essentially, just like all the other pitches, ask yourself what the stylistic choices contribute to the story.
How often is a creator expected to post new pages of their comic? I don’t know if I can update on a schedule. Is that a problem?
A stable update schedule is pretty much our main requirement. However, if you feel you can’t do more than 1 update per week on the regular, pitch that as your update schedule. We prefer a stable schedule with less frequent updates then a promise of numerous updates but with no stable schedule.
We have comics on various update schedules, from once per week to 5 times per week. We usually discuss with the creators to see how often they wish to update and draw the publishing agreement taking that into consideration. The update frequency can influence marketing budgets, among other things.
We encourage folks to update twice per week if they can, as twice to thrice per week is ideal for us to work our magic. But no matter what the update frequency is, what we look for the most in consistency. A less frequent update schedule is acceptable, but missed updates less so.
Would it be possible to alter the contract later on if the creator is in a position where they can increase the number of updates per week? Does posting pages in batches compensate for less updates?
Yes. We can alter the contracts. No, batch updates are not recommended.
What qualifies as a “long form” comic? I have a finished a 28-page one-shot, and I was wondering if there might be a place on Hiveworks for it, or any other short comics I make in the future?
We are mostly looking for long-form webcomics at this time, so series that go on for at least a year or two. The minimum for long form is about 150 pages, which is approximately a year of updates at two updates per week. We do host a few shorts, but usually because we also have a longer comic by the same author.
I was wondering what format the script had to be in, such as the classic movie script type or are other formats allowed as long as the story is conveyed and it makes sense?
Send us your script examples or thumbnail examples in the format you intend to work in.
Is it possible to submit a comic currently on a hosting site, or must it have a dedicated website to be considered?
We accept comics who are on hosts, who have their own sites, or don’t have sites at all in our submissions. However, please note that comics who do sign up with Hiveworks must have their own sites. The Hiveworks team will gladly help move, design and code comic sites for creators. That is one of our offered services.
If all the updates need to be on the comic site, does that mean we can’t use Patreon anymore if we sign up to Hiveworks?
Creators can still post pages to their social media and Patreons, as they are personal channels that belong to the creator and contribute to their monthly income. We don’t allow comics to be posted on multiple sites simply because that interferes with us promoting the comic and managing the ads.
Can we submit comics by writer/artist creative teams?
Many of our current comics are created by a artist/writer team, so we accept submissions from both creative teams and solo artists. The submission form is adapted for both.
However, Hiveworks will NOT help writers or artists find partners, we only accept pre-existing teams. We also encourage the creators to have a personal collaboration agreement and ask for the team to select one of them as lead contact for communications and payments from Hiveworks.
Is it possible to submit more than one submission during the submission period this year?
Creators can submit more than one pitch, but we recommend that you submit them separately, and only submit one or two really strong ideas, with really polished pitches. Tossing an avalanche of pitches our way doesn't increase your chances as much as a really strong pitch does.
What is expected of creators (besides making their comics) and what exactly Hiveworks does for creators? Is there any chance I could get more details on that?
Our services vary from contract to contract (depending on what the creators needs) and can go from full range of publishing and marketing services, (including hosting, tech support, site design, Kickstarter assistance, editorial help, merch distribution, ad representation, book design, etc) to just ad management. Usually we talk to creators and build a contract from there. What we expect from creators is regular updates and participative communication, especially if we are required to offer varied services to the creator.
Are you guys looking for new comics only? Or can existing comics apply? Can comics with already a few years under their belt apply?
Both established comics and new ones are welcome to apply. Both are required to fill the submission form and provide a pitch, as the pitch both allows us to either discover a project that is not yet online, or resumes a long form comic for us to overview them.
How in depth must your story outline be for the submissions pitch?
For the pitch, we just ask for a general synopsis of the story and setting, a note on the themes, and an approximate length (number of books/chapters). There’s no need to make this really long or detailed, an overview will do. As it says on the submission page – the maximum length is 500 words.
If I submit a comic and it’s accepted, would I have to immediately start releasing pages? Is there a set time to start posting the comic if selected?
We usually discuss planned launch dates with creators when we meet with them. Having a comic that starts immediately is not an obligation, but if the start date is over 8 months away from the submission date, we suggest you apply on our next submission round.
Do you accept submissions annually?
Currently, we plan to open them annually in May-June.
What qualifies as fan-comic or non-original work?
What makes a work "original" (aka belonging to the author) is whether or not the creator has ownership of a story, by being its lead author or through a partnership. If you are adapting a book written by another party that you are NOT in partnership with, or using characters created by another party that is unaware that you are doing so, then the comic does not qualify as an original work since the story and characters do not belong to you.
Does Hiveworks supply hosting services to its webcomics?
We offer hosting, site design; site maintenance and site building to all our creators.We have a super talented tech team to handle this.
Are you a collective or a publisher? What’s the difference?
A collective is an initiative that is the result of a group of artists working together, usually under their own management, towards shared aims.
A publisher is a person or company that promotes, markets, distributes prints and edits creative works for them to be accessed by a group of consumers.
Hiveworks is a digital publisher and studio, and by our hybrid nature, we do include a few of the fun elements of a collective (such as being attentive to the needs and opinions of our artists). But we are not artist managed and we do not have a hosting platform; we have staff, individual sites dedicated to each comic, and goals that clearly define us as a company, as opposed to a collective.
The lead differences are the services we offer, and the way we work with our creators. Hiveworks functions much like a print publisher and editor, our focus is simply towards the digital.
As a creator, I am submitting to Hiveworks the attached pitch for consideration. This comic pitch –composed of personal information, scripts, character designs and page design (referred to as "The Material") will be kept confidential by the Hiveworks Team and only be shared among the Hiveworks Team for evaluation purposes.
I hereby acknowledge and agree as follows:
I warrant that I am the sole owner and author of the above described material and that I have the full right and authorization to submit the material to Hiveworks.
I agree that I am allowing Hiveworks’ Team to view the submitted material. Hiveworks’ Team is not liable is similarities are found between this submitted material and materials submitted by other creators. I understand that Hiveworks has access to and/or may be currently publishing or is planning to publish comics featuring ideas, themes, formats and/or other materials which may be similar to the theme, plot, idea, format or other element of the material now being submitted by me. I agree that I will not be entitled to any compensation by reason of the use by Hiveworks of similar material. Proof of plagiarism can only incriminate the creator of the material, not Hiveworks.
I agree that Hiveworks has no obligation to me with respect to the submitted material except as may later be set forth in a fully executed published agreement between myself and Hiveworks.
I understand that Hiveworks will seek to evaluate all submitted materials objectively and professionally, to the best of their abilities. I understand that the Hiveworks Team has no obligation to share their evaluation criteria, or to provide critique, but may do so if the information is requested and time allows.
I understand that the creators of accepted submissions will be contacted via email.