Self-Publishing Comic Books: ComiXology Launches 'Submit'

This comic book cover released by Valiant Comics shows the cover of "Shadowman" No. 5, out Wednesday, March 6. (AP Photo/Vali
This comic book cover released by Valiant Comics shows the cover of "Shadowman" No. 5, out Wednesday, March 6. (AP Photo/Valiant Comics)

Self-publishing a comic book has traditionally not been an easy way to reach an audience. But a new offering from ComiXology might change that.

A little context: when the iPad launched, publishers and booksellers struggled at first to adapt to the opportunities offered by the new format. With the exception, that is, of ComiXology, whose app launched in the same month as the iPad itself, and fast established itself as the premier place to buy and read comics on a tablet. It created two different ways to read - page by page or panel by panel - and it fast became a fan favorite, selling comic books from both DC Comics and Marvel, as well as dozens of smaller publishers, on both iOS and other platforms.

Their new Submit distribution platform, launched yesterday, is similar to the Kindle Direct Publishing, or Barnes & Noble's PubIt! - with one important difference. Unlike those two platforms, which are open to any legal content, every submission is subject to approval. They state:

The approval process is a work in progress. First and foremost, we want to maintain a level of professional content that comiXology users have come to expect from our platform. What the definition of professional content is will certainly be something that we refine as we progress into this brave new world.

As with other online publishing platforms, creators retain all rights. You can only submit one comic book or graphic novel at a time, and (because of Apple's pricing guidelines, they say) comic books cannot be free.

The Verge reports that this platform was opened in private beta last year. General response among independent creators so far has been positive.

What do you think? Will self-publishing on the app help comic book creators, or do authors need these platforms any more? Let us know in the comments!