I recently saw a very interesting and thought provoking blog post on Jim Zub's blog about breaking into the comic industry. I think that it's really good advice and that It should be repeated so here is some small bits and pieces of it. His blog can be found here.
To give a quick run over of what he talks about there it can be broken up into some quick points.
Have you work in comics before?
"If the answer is “No”, you need to do so, even if it’s a webcomic or simple photocopied pages stapled together, to show that you can actually do the job and create comics.
If the answer is “Yes”, you need to ensure that it has a similar level of quality to the company you’re showing it to. Remember, you want to show them that you can near-seamlessly become a part of what they already do and be an asset. If your comic isn’t up to par with what they’re already doing, they’re not even going to consider you… in which case you need to create more comics until your samples are good enough."
Are you applying to the right place?
"Does your artwork/writing/coloring/lettering/etc fit the publishers you’re sending submissions to? Again, this is about integrating with what a company already does. Be selective and choose publishers that mesh well with your style/mindset. A handful of targeted submissions are far more effective than shotgunning every publisher out there. Also, make sure you know the name of the person who will be receiving your submission so your cover letter doesn’t say “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern”. That personal touch can go a long way.
Do your research. You’ll save yourself embarrassment and an undue amount of rejection letters."
Are you getting socially involved in the industry?
"In my experience, even if you have a great portfolio submission it won’t necessarily translate in to a job. Reread that. I know it sounds impossible and depressing but I’ll explain.
These jobs have an important social component. Editors and Art Directors prefer to work with people they know or people recommended by folks they trust – PERIOD.
People talk about being in the “right place at the right time”. What they don’t tell you is if you’re around for enough social interactions with industry people, you’ll create those right places and right times. "
This is Charles Again....
I think that most creators who are not breaking through are weak in one or more of these areas. I also think it's normal and fine for that to be the case as well. If a creator is actually going to make it though, your going to have to be honest with yourself in order to see those weaknesses if your going to overcome them.