Mark Waid on being a freelancer

This blog post by writer (and editor, and publisher) Mark Waid has been making the rounds, but I wanted to link to it as well because it’s essential reading for anyone thinking of a career as a freelancer in the comics biz. or, really, any creative medium.

Don’t let anyone scare you. Don’t let anyone bully you, ever. Some will if they think they can, but you teach people how to treat you. You can be confident and show integrity without being argumentative. And for God’s sake, don’t be so afraid to explore your options that you keep turning in work that makes you wince; no good decision was ever made primarily out of fear. You can always walk away from any monkey house if you have drive and talent. There are still plenty of places in comics to do work-for-hire without being poorly treated, and there are huge opportunities to self-publish and build a faithful paying audience through the web. It’s hard work, but it’ll be better work, and it’ll be the work you’re remembered by.

There’s really not much to add to this. Right now is one of the lowest points in creative/editorial relationships at the Big Two, especially DC Comics. And while there are a lot more opportunities available at indie publishers and as self-publishers, the money is obviously scarce. It take serious cajones to make it as a freelancer, and my hats off to those folks. It takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and luck. But obviously you can increase your odds of success by going into it with your eyes open to all the pitfalls and challenges.

By the way, Bleeding Cool has a roundup of various comics industry professionals’ reaction to Waid’s editorial here and more here. Here are a couple of examples:

“I’ve had the special joy of opening a comic to find the editor made changes to suit random whims. Whee.” — Sean McKeever

“If I hadn’t already quit Marvel and DC years ago, I’d quit again. There are so many other, better opportunities for creative people out here today.” — Kyle baker

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