Collaboration vs. Competition (And Which Way We Lean)

pack collaborate oneshi press
The members of the PACK collaborate on everything…including getting the bad guys!

The Myth of Competition

Publishing is a vast and difficult industry. Comics, graphic novels, and other graphic-based storytelling, particularly, is a difficult field to get into. The work is complicated, hard to make, and—so we’ve heard many people say—even harder to make money at. There seems to be a veritable wall around the idea of successful careers in sequential-art storytelling, and the gatekeepers are nearly as excited to naysay their own industry as they are to keep upstart creators and publishers out of the fold. What’s more, the maxims we’ve all heard, about how there’s no money in publishing or in comics only serve to make many of us believe that we can’t get ahead in this industry unless we defeat our competition. We all feel like we’ve got to scratch one another’s eyeballs out just to get a tiny piece of the ever-diminishing pie of success.

The Reality of Collaboration

But Oneshi Press has been to a few comics conventions. We’ve hung out in a few comicbook shops and bookstores. Heck, we’ve run two Kickstarters and we’re still running a Patreon. Through all these experiences, we’ve come to realize something: The pickings are not that slim out there. In fact, we know that there are millions of folks out there who are hungry for the brilliant ideas lurking inside the brains of the writers, illustrators, and other creative folks of the world.

Since we know that, and since we’ve hung out with fabulous creators of many stripes, we have a theory. There’s enough room out here for everyone. Writers, editors, pencillers, inkers, flatters, colorists, letterers…you name it. If it’s part of the creation process, there’s work for you. And an audience. And since there’s plenty of room for everybody on this wide-open ocean of creation, we also believe that a high tide raises all boats. In other words, if we work together, we can accomplish more than we ever could alone. Collaboration lifts us all up toward success. Competition just grinds us down.

Collaboration in Action

Collaboration over competition is a theme that Oneshi Press applies to as many parts of our business as possible. It’s one reason we crowdfund. We believe that collaboration extends not just to the creative process, but production as well. So we fund much of our day-to-day operations, as well as many of our anthology series costs, by way of our Patreon, where our friends and fans can pledge monthly subscriptions and receive books, behind-the-scenes photos, exclusive work-in-progress art downloads, and more. We also reach out to the vast book-loving public in Kickstarter campaigns that we run to fund individual publishing projects. So far, we’ve met hundreds of folks eager to see our projects come to life, and we’ve raised over $10,000 to make those projects into reality. We plan to find even more of our audience with Kickstarters in the future—and share the fruits of our collaborations with them.

Collaboration is also the inspiration behind our ongoing comics anthology series. We’re working on our eighth anthology right now, and in them we’ve published the work of over 100 creators across nearly 400 pages of indie comics and art. The way we see it, the more amazing creators’ work we can put together in each volume, the better! Sure, we like to be able to brag about the awesome folks we’ve worked with. But more than that, we hope that all those fabulous folks will help each other out by promoting the anthology. When we all lift each other up, we all end up higher than we were before. Heck, we interview as many of our collaborators as possible because we’re so excited about sharing their awesomeness with the world! We’ve done two dozen interviews with contributors to our anthologies so far, and we’re just getting started.

In fact, we take collaboration so seriously that we even share the creative process behind our own projects with the whole world! Our resident artist and co-founder, Jayel Draco, live-streams at least twice a week as he creates new art, sharing his process with anybody who stops by his Twitch channel. Why keep his talent and skill to ourselves?

With all of the above in mind, we’re not saying that we know what’s best for everybody. We suppose competition has its merits, too. But frankly, we’re tired of watching creative folks squabbling over scraps. And we want to see more of the amazing people we’ve collaborated with succeed. So we’re doing what we can, in our modest way, to help that happen by collaborating instead of fostering competition.

Want to collaborate with us? Check out our submission guidelines here, or get in touch with us over here!

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