The wizard of words, the ruler of naps.
Honestly, everyone seems to break into the industry differently. Everyone also seems to have a different idea of what “breaking in” means. I was making and self-publishing comics for nearly two decades before I managed to land a publishing deal. For me, that was “breaking in”. I wanted to have someone have enough faith in my work that they would publish it. I wanted to just focus on the writing.
My advice is mostly this: just make comics. Stop talking, start doing. Write scripts and find artists. Start small, with 5 or 10 page stories. Set a deadline and stick to it. Get a few of those done before trying to move on to anything larger. Short stories give you the experience of the collaborative process without having to make a large commitment. Finding artists for short projects is also infinitely easier than finding someone for a 5-6 issue miniseries — especially when you are an unknown commodity. Additionally, with shorts, you get that gratification that comes with completing a project more easily. That’s important when you’re starting out — knowing that you can do it. It also allows you to evaluate and work on weaknesses without having to worry about it disrupting a larger story.
If you have some sort of 200 issue epic you want to do, put it on the shelf. It will likely NEVER happen. I meet too many aspiring writers stuck on a grand, long term idea, who refuse to do anything but that one idea. If the idea is good, it’ll keep. If you want to be a writer, you’re going to have to be able to write more than one thing, so don’t get hung up on one idea. Be fluid. Put yourself in a position where you can move on to something else if one idea isn’t working.
Once you start completing stories, my advice is to put them online for all to read. Put them there for free. Don’t worry about making money at this point — there’s barely any to be made, you’re chasing nickels and dimes when you start out. Better to have your comic available to as large an audience as possible than it is to keep it closed off for what might be pizza money. What you’re after early in the game is exposure. You want people to see your work.
Once you start to get your work out there — and providing it’s any good — you’ll start to meet other like-minded folks. Knowing people and making those connections is an important part of “breaking in”. Creators will often recommend other creators that they like when they have the opportunity. I’ve done it myself - pointed publishers in the direction of an artist or writer whose work I really enjoy. It’s important to note that the work MUST be good though — I’m not going to recommend a hack artist or writer just because they’re a friend.
As for how to turn a story idea into a script… man, that’s a tough one. I find that a lot of writers have different methods. My advice would be to check out some comic scripts. Compare them to the final product. Take them and break them down into scenes. Where are the beats? How are scenes broken down? How many panels per page? Does the panel count vary? Why? Work backwards from the comic and create an outline for it so you can get a sense of how much story you can fit into an issue, into a page. You can find a bunch of scripts here: http://www.comicbookscriptarchive.com/archive/
Read books on writing. A lot of people shit all over books on writing, but most of those same people have read a metric ton of them. Books like “Save The Cat” by Blake Snyder is a screenwriting book that promotes the worst sort of Hollywood dreck that I absolutely hate, but it still has some solid advice. Understanding how other people approach writing a story, be it novel, film or comics, will better inform how you approach it. There are always tips and tricks to be learned. Take what you need, leave what you don’t.
My challenge to you (and anyone else reading). Set a deadline for 1 week from today. Write a 5-10 page short comic script. No excuses. No delays. I don’t care if you’re feeling ill or if family dropped in unexpectedly. If you can’t do that, just 5-10 pages in 7 days, then you don’t have what it takes to be a comic writer. It doesn’t have to be amazing, it doesn’t have to be award winning, it just has to be done. Beginning, middle and end.
If you send me a message when it’s done, I’ll even read it for you. Give you my thoughts.