Submission Guidelines

Review Requests (Revised Feb 2020)

The real focus of has always been to help promote the underdog: the writers, artists and comic creators out there who have decided to go it alone, whether by choice or necessity.

However, as of 2020 I’m rethinking how I blog here on Shelf Abuse, and will no longer be writing longer reviews for comics or continuing the Indie Penance pieces. You can read why here. Instead, I’ll now be writing a weekly column, fortnightly if I’m busy, in which I’ll feature a new comic or indie release that I’ve enjoyed. That’s 4 “recommendations” (not reviews!) a month from now on, less than 10% of the submissions I receive each week. But that, sadly, is all I’m able to do.

To make sure that I don’t waste anyone’s time or mislead anyone, I’ve covered a few additional points below:

Physical Copies

I’m still open to writing longer pieces about physical books, mainly because a) I love physical books, and b) I spend so much time working in front of a screen that the last thing I want to do in the evening is read comics from a tablet.

Please get in touch with an email telling me about your work (press releases, previews or promotional images are always good) and make it clear that you’re looking to send a physical copy, and if I’m interested I’ll provide my address.

All physical copies received will feature on the site in some form or another, if not necessarily as a review.

Indie Reviews

I’m no longer writing longform indie comic reviews, as it’s become apparent after 13 years of doing so that nobody reads them, engages with them or shares them. I’m also no longer committing to reviews: if I’m busy with paid projects there won’t be any more blog posts until said projects are done.

However, I’ll still try to feature or mention as many indie titles as I can, time permitting. If I’m not able to reply to your email, then please always feel free to try again or get in touch with your next release/project.

Digital Copies

Due to an irregular work schedule I cannot commit to reviewing digital copies of your work, so please do not email me to ask me if I’d be interested. Just send a link to a PDF, a Dropbox link, a download code, or something that allows me to take a look, and I’ll do my best to feature it on the site or social media.

I give you my word as a fellow writer and artist that neither myself nor anyone else affiliated with the site will share your work without your permission. Also, I do tend to buy the physical copies of books I really enjoy.


I’m happy to share Kickstarters et al on social media. I might even back them, who knows. I often do. But I’m done writing glorified press releases for anyone’s latest self-published effort. Life is too short, and I’ve got my own books to finish, publish and promote.

Contact here

Guest blogging

Guest bloggers and contributors are always welcome, so feel free to submit an article promoting your work to the site. Click here for details.


I’d truly love to speak to any of you crazy creators out there, be you at the top of the industry or a future talent struggling to promote your first book. However, interviews are incredibly time-consuming, especially those darned audio transcriptions, so as much as it pains me I usually have to pass.

But hey, please feel free to get in touch and change my mind with your amazing pitch, and I may well have one of my trademark changes of heart.

Free Advertising

I want to help promote new comics and media projects, so if you’re looking to get a small additional push for your self-published or independently financed work, you are welcome to advertise your project on Shelf Abuse for free. View the ad guidelines here.

Contact here

Submission Tips for Self-publishers

Currently, I’m receiving more review requests for self-published comics than I could ever respond to. A good number of these read along the lines of:

Hey there Mr Shelf,

I have just done a new comic. It got zombies in it. Let me know if you interested in reviewing it.


As someone who has more ambitions than they have time, I have no choice but to pass on such proposals. Life is simply too short.

When you submit your effort please ensure that the email contains several of the following, so that I may get a good impression of the book:

  • An attached sample of the comic, and/or a link to several sample pages
  • A cover image or promotional image that could be used in a news post/review
  • A brief synopsis
  • A little context: any useful information about yourself, and/or links to any homepages of the talent involved
  • What you have in mind (review/news story/interview

Please also be aware that the site does not review pornographic or torture-porn horror comics. But if your work is a little kinky (as in a sex-oriented comedy) or a reasonably graphic horror, do still feel free to submit it.

A few more suggestions for better submission etiquette:

  • Don’t attempt to pressure me into buying your book unless you’ve bought one of mine.
  • My time or my money – feel free to ask for one, but not both.
  • No DM on social media, unless it’s non-review or KS related. Email me please!
  • Please, don’t feel the need to proceed a submission by telling me that my blog is your favourite website, or that you’re a long-term reader (unless, of course, either of those genuinely happen to be true). If I had as many visitors as I had comic creators telling me how ardently they follow my site, I’d be a very rich happy man.

Thanks in advance!

Storytelling, comic books and self-publishing