If you’re an author who’s not from North American, submitting your work to a US publisher for consideration — whether or not it’s been published in your home country before — can be extremely nerve-wracking.
It’s hard enough to get a sense of what the market, the audiences, and the publishers for your comic are in your own country — trying to get a sense of that somewhere you don’t even live and may not speak the language can be nearly impossible!
The good news for authors who are not from North America and are hoping to get their graphic novels published in the US is this: there are a lot of publishers who have a robust publishing program for graphic novels in translation! Between First Second, Abrams ComicsArt, D&Q, Fantagraphics, and NBM, there are definitely people in the market for books that don’t originate in the US.
So if you’re one of those cartoonists who’s hoping to reach US readers, here’s my #1 piece of advice for you:
When writing the submission letter to the publisher you want to publish your books, write it in English.
Forget pinpointing editorial contacts so you can personally address your e-mail; forget making sure that your book thematically and artistically matches the publishing house’s style; forget identifying the market value of your book for the US. All of that stuff is secondary.
If no one at the publishing house that you’re e-mailing can read your letter, how will they even know that you’re submitting a project to them?
Even if you’re not completely confident in your English skills — even if you’re just literally running your letter through Google Translate and correcting as best you can, that is 100% better than writing to us in Cyrillic.