Perseverance. Keep writing until you become great and make as many friends as you can along the way. Put yourself out there.
"Who you know" is no substitute for having the chops. When you make a contact, you have to be able to deliver if/when they come calling.
And the better you are at your job, the number "who"s you end up knowing increases dramatically.
On the other hand, if you really are creative and you have the "chops", you can circuit the process and get published. All writers arrive or get published in their own way. Comics will eventually catch up with new media and superheros sell movies, there is a need for interesting, fresh ideas. Using the old methods may not apply.
I'm curious DavidC, how long have you been trying? And have you hooked up with an artist? Comic book companies make comic books. The indy companies don't provide artists for you - they want a team already in place to make the product in its entirety. Besides comics, have you tried getting work published in literary magazines? Any credentials are relevant when trying to break into a cagey industry like comic books. Do you go to conventions? You can gain a wealth of information by talking to current professionals and even more from talking to editors (I had a great conversation with Tom DeFalco at last year's NYCC). Conventions also often have panels geared towards writers and breaking into comics - though you'll likely hear the same advice already presented here: "hook up with an artist and present a few pages of a project with a synopsis of the whole story". Writing comics is hard. And some ideas do NOT translate well. Companies don't just want a good idea, they want consistently good ideas and put forth in an understandable way. They also don't want you to waste their time, so they want YOU to produce the finished materials. Once you're in, it's much easier to stay in. Getting in is a LOT of work though.
Wow, that was more of a ramble than I planned. I hope some of it helps.
Now the trick is hooking up with an artist...because it seems pencillers/inkers of almost all skill levels expect to be paid for every piece of work...the better artists of course charging higher premiums...money that writers typically don't have.
Then of course there is the delivery of the art - when artists do work free it might take a long time (often never) for them to get done with even a few pages. Even when paid many artists will drag their heels or not deliver.
Then you have to manage the artist so its like in order to be a writer you also have to be a publisher and editor. So...obviously its not easy. And thats just my guesses as amateur who keeps up with the atmosphere of comics and some of the bios of writers and artists, and drawing from my own career in business.
However, others have done it! It DOES happen. The best thing to do is keep writing, reviewing, and improving. Hussle your work everywhere you can.
@HadesIllustration: With comic writing, it's been an on/off romance for about 15 years. I remember submitting to Dark Horse and another publisher (I think it was Image) sometime around the late 1990s or early 2000s, but was shot down. Unfortunately, I lost that story some years back due to a computer crash. I have submitted to lit mags (sci-fi), but so far have only succeed in amassing a small collection of rejection letters. Though I keep plugging along, it's only a matter of time before I succeed in get something published.
I don't attend conventions on a regular basis. I recently attended the Phoenix Comic Con, but unfortunately didn't meet up with any editors or writers. However, I did meet David Finch, Tom Hodges and few other artists.
As for teaming up with an artist, I don't believe I am at that stage yet. I recently completed Issue #1 of my own comic and am in the midst of rewrites and plotting out issue #2. I think once I have at least three to four issues written and am satisfied with the rewrites, then I'll seek out an artist. I would like to assembly a team and submit to publisher. But, if that doesn't occur, then I'll hire an artist and go the self-publishing route. Of course, the money situation has to be ideal so I can pay said artist(s).
BTW--your artwork is pretty damn good.
I totally feel this. Before even wanting to convert my story into a graphic novel, I researched into submitting to agents. What happened then? I opened a blog entitled: killthemiddleman.com - "Why I hate the idea of literary agents". Best idea? No. Worst? Mmmm, still no agent although I did choose to shut the blog down.
In one way, I think the internet is a help. In another - mass streaming of miscellaneous works - I think it hurts.
Gone are the days of unique, risque thinking. Now, I feel, this can be perceived differently per region so one may luck out on self-driven publicity. I say all of this, because, when some medium of art is not perceived as "completely original" or even "risque", it doesn't produce a peep. Really though: what's even completely, even unique?
So as I wrap this rant up, I have to ,maybe, come to the conclusion that networking is our best option? I don't know. That's just how I felt when I was submitting and even reading certain comics and graphic novels. I'd wonder how some were so successful in finding an audience? Most popular outcome in my search? The writer/illustrator/graphic artist/inker/sketcher had been to some school with some ?supposed? accrettidation <--(I'm a writer with a laziness for spell correction) for having a great outcome of artists graduating into a profession.
Who knows? I don't know. I just know I feel how your post makes me feel. Thanks for posting. (smiley!) <--because I actually despise emoticons.