Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 22, 2023

Series Versus Standalones + 6 Tips for Making Graphic Novels by Mira Reisberg

Hullo friends of Kathy Temean, As we get closer to starting our extraordinary graphic novels and hybrids course on the 29th right here – – I wanted to share about one of the trends I see in that market, which is graphic novel and hybrid series (although there are plenty of standalones as well). So, let’s take a peek at that.

If you’ve visited your local library, bookstore, or even done an online search, you’ve likely noticed that there are many graphic novels (or comic books) that are available in serial format.  Maybe you’re asking yourself, “Do I stop with my one story?  Or do I keep going and make it a series?”

Well, that depends!  Can your characters tell more than one story?  Do they have more than one adventure awaiting them?  Or do you think you’ve wrapped it up nicely already and you’ve moved on to new characters and plots?

There are a lot of questions!  That’s one of the other enchanting things about graphic novels that attract both authors, illustrators, and readers alike.  There’s so much versatility!

If you are interested in doing a series, which we’d love to help you with, here are some pointers:

  1. Start with memorable characters that embody qualities your specific age readers have. Maybe make them contrast characters or even twins that have differences.
  2. Use conflict, emotion, action, and relationships as your friends in making kid’s books.
  3. Make style sheets for each of your characters so you can keep them consistent for writing or illustrating.
  4. Think about whether you have an overarching quest or problem throughout the series, like a TV series usually has, or do you want each book to act like a standalone book.
  5. Think about things that kids need to learn as they navigate childhood and young adulthood or things that are challenging for them to use as possible plots or underlying themes.
  6. Think about things from your own culture that you might want to create a series from. For example, I’m Jewish and a twin and very rebellious, so I might want to do a series that starts with Mira and Leonie’s Renegade Passover, then something about Mira and Leonie Don’t Want to Fast on Yom Kippur and so on until Mira and Leonie’s Badly Behaving Bat mitzvah. But you get the drift. The possibilities are endless.

As writers, we’re taught “show, don’t tell”.  What better way to show than with text AND illustrations?  Think about how well you can build your characters with expression, movement, color, and onomatopoeia.  Knowing that you’re attracting reluctant readers to graphic novels because of its smaller segments of text may make you want to take your characters through more situations and plot points. And that’s something else we want to teach you. How to effortlessly turn an illustration into a graphic novel spread like this in mere minutes! Really!

So don’t worry, if you don’t illustrate. Plenty of writers publish graphic novels with separate illustrators, but being cheeky, we’d love to also teach you how to illustrate in really fun and doable ways (if you’re game)! And if you are already an illustrator, we’ll teach you how to write! Double winners!

But getting back to the task at hand, don’t stress that you’ve got to create an entire series before you begin writing and querying your first graphic novel. Just like traditional text, a series is usually requested if the first print has been successful, although unlike picture books, you absolutely can propose a graphic novel or hybrid series.  If you’re not sure, you can simply state in your query that it “works as a standalone, but can be part of a series”.

And if you’re not interested in doing a series, that’s OK too.  Many successful graphic novels are standalones.  It’s your world, create it as you see it!

While serial publishing options do offer more potential royalties for you as a creator, it’s not required to be successful.

Don’t let it discourage you from considering writing graphic novels or hybrids if you think you have to make a series.  And if you do think your characters have more to their story and haven’t considered a series, maybe you should!

Are you ready to explore this exciting form of literature? Luckily, Children’s Book Academy is here for you with an exceptional team of co-teachers and submission opportunities! We want to help you enter the wonderful world of writing and/or illustrating graphic novels. You’ll be getting a head start and taking advantage of the fact that it’s less competitive because most people are scared and don’t know how to create GNs. We’ll show you how in our Making and Mastering Great Graphic Novels and Hybrids Course, where you’ll learn to write, and/or illustrate, format, and publish graphic novels! Hooray!


Register today and use the sweet GNLove code!

More information here:

If you enjoyed this, please help spread the word with your friends and share us across your social media platform where you hang out!

Here’s where you can find us:

  1. Twitter:
  2. CBA Facebook:
  3. Mira Facebook Community:
  4. CBA LinkedIn:
  5. CBA YouTube:
  6. CBA Instagram:

Bio: Dr. Mira Reisberg, the Director of the Children’s Book Academy, brings a wealth of knowledge and teaching expertise from over 30-years of prior experience in the industry as an editor, art director, book designer, literary agent, children’s literature professor, researcher, and an award-winning illustrator and writer. One of her superpowers is helping students map their story ideas into actionable outlines. Mira’s PhD in Education and Cultural Studies (with a focus on Children’s Literature and teaching through pleasure) informs the Academy’s teaching practices. She lives in Portland, Oregon and LOVES creative problem solving and helping her students publish wonderful books. They have now published over 1,400 books and won a ridiculous number of awards!

Talk tomorrow,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: