How does one pitch an idea to DC? (Seriously)

I’ve been writing a book for a little while now. And I’m getting to the point of writing, sketching and developing where I’m now researching “How to Pitch My Idea”

I’ve never written a book before. I’ve been a teacher for 20 years. But all I know I have a new idea and I am having fun hashing it out. And I want to eventually see if someone at DC would be a contact to send it off to.

But everything I am finding is in regards to already having published material and the very clear “we do not take submissions”.
I’m not writing a piece of fan fiction, Really am writing a graphic novel about a brand new Green Lantern character,

So how does a newbie, novice writer. Who is a 42 year old teacher (21 years experience) get a foot in the door?

Not asking for a friend.
Asking for me

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In the past DC Comics has held writer’s workshops you can submit to:
https://www.dccomicstalentworkshop.com/writers-workshop/how-to-apply/

I akin the process of breaking into the comics industry much like breaking into the film industry.

  1. Networking. Go to mixers, meet-and-greets, writer’s workshops in your area. Participate in online forums and swap edits with other people’s work.

  2. Self-Generate. Publish your own independent work. Set up at conventions. Sell yourself.

  3. Internships. This one is more difficult, especially if you’re not currently in school. But this would be a goal for someone going to school for writing to keep their eye on internship programs offered by DC.

  4. Start at the bottom. Look at smaller publishing companies and diversify your work and gain experience by cutting your teeth on smaller projects. This is how you can also meet people in the industry and get professional access to events.

I hope this helps!

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In addition to the enormously helpful and useful info above, you could hire a publishing agent. It’s worked for me in my work, but that’s definitely a YMMV thing.

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I’ve also been told to develop some other ideas in other outlets and story ideas. So I am working on outlining other book/ short story ideas that are NOT comic related.
Figure there has to be a range, depth and real possibility of I can write about other things.

That’s very true too. You can never have your fingers in too many pies as one of them will eventually land in something worthwhile.

Write about things your passionate about too. Comics, whatever else you’re into. The more passion you put into your efforts, the more they stand out to those reading them that can then elevate you to the next level. Know your stuff and show people that you KNOW IT. =)

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@TheKelticJedi I am by no means a comic industry expert, but I have paid attention to the publishing world my entire adult life (we’re in the same age group). And when it comes to securing a book deal whether comics or any other, the first step is to write… write… write… and get published via small publishers. So yes you may want to try writing some short stories or other non-comics material and getting those published first.

One of the big 2 comic companies will probably want to see that you have a portfolio and some credentials in the world before letting you get a foot in the door. And in the DYI “everyone can sell themselves on the internet” culture that we have today, that can be easier to do but just as tough to breakthrough.

Good luck

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Go to cons small and big

I’d also caution you to be careful about sharing your stories within established intellectual properties.

There’s a reason that writers plead with their fans to NOT pitch them story ideas. Too many lawsuit potentialities.

Write your own stuff with your own creations and put it into your portfolio to then use it as an example of your proficiency within the genre.

You really can’t. Too much legal red tape. Unless they hire you, they won’t take submissions.

Thank you for all the feedback. I really do appreciate it!

If you’re talking comics DC (and most publishers) don’t accept unsolicited submissions. Even the writers’ workshop Applejack mentions requires you to have published credits and almost all of the people selected had toiled for years in the indy trenches and produced some amazing stuff (full disclosure I worked on a project with one of them so I’m a bit biased).

Comics is really tough in general. Working for DC is like playing for the Yankees. It’s something very few people will ever get to do and the road to get there requires alot of money and effort.

To get your start in comics you’re going to need to produce something on your own. In order to do that you will either have to draw it yourself or pay an artist (if you get incredibly lucky you might find an artist willing to collaborate for nothing but that’s rare and generally speaking you get what you pay for in terms of quality). Comics are easy to write badly but difficult to write well. I suggest reading scripts (a search online with the writer’s name + script is a good start) but you should also start trying to read comics more purposefully; look at things like panel transitions and consider the amount of dialog in each balloon, how captions are used, the POV of each image etc.

A few books I definitely recommend reading:

The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics by Denny O’Neal: probably the best book on writing comics since Denny O’Neal is not only a brilliant writer but a great editor and his book is short and to the point with lots of great advice on comics in general.

Understanding Comics by Scott McLoud: A comic that explains what comics are and how they do what they do.

Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner: This one is more practical for artists than writers but as a comic writer you need to understand art even if you can’t draw yourself.

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Writing prose is easier in that you can do all the work yourself. If its short stories you’re interested in there are plenty of online magazines to submit especially in the genres of fantasy, horror and science fiction. Novels and long form non-fiction are a bit harder to place since most publishers will expect you to have an agent and most agents aren’t keen to take on work by someone they’ve never heard of but you can self publish those fairly easily and you don’t need to have them illustrated which simplifies things alot.

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@TheDemonEtrigan Many thanks for the feedback and input. I’m staying realistic and I totally understand the hurdles involved and the mountain that needs to be climbed. My wife and I are writing a children’s book on something totally unrelated. I have a few other ideas I’m working on. The DC goal is what I am working towards making a more realistic one. I’ve been telling my students for over 20 years to get on the stick and earn it. I’m going to earn it.

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@KelticJedi Have you thought about adapting your Green Lantern story into your own original property and putting that out yourself? If it’s the story you are passionate about, opening it up and moving away from the constraints of the DC multiverse may help you come up with even more stories to tell. And when DC comes calling you will have cut your teeth on this story and you will certainly have newer ideas to pitch to them. Good luck!

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Springboarding off of Etrigan’s excellent suggestions:

Scott McCloud’s trilogy: ‘Understanding Comics’, ‘Making Comics’ and ‘Reinventing Comics’ were world-changing for me, especially ‘Understanding Comics’. I go back to that book regularly in order to explain many things about life, the universe and everything. I’ve purchased it half a dozen times over the years, because every time I loan it out, it disappears.

Also, Peter David wrote a book called ‘Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels’ that I enjoyed quite a bit.

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What Batman-of-zur-En-Arrhh said is correct.

Loving the feedback.

As far has stripping the story down to it’s non-DC elements. Not this one. BUT I do have other ideas that I am working on that are my own and not connected to any property out there.

I’m purchasing the Scott McCloud trilogy that has been suggested and the Peter David one.
And my wife gave me a subscription to Masterclass.com. I’m in the midst of the Neil Gaiman class. Amazing stuff.

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Oooh, I’m jelly! That Neil Gaiman master class looks like it’ll be great. Mark Waid did one a few years ago that was tempting as well. True Masters!

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@TheKelticJedi You have keeper of a wife there.

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@TheKelticJedi One thing I would point to is that you can read hundreds of books and watch hundreds of videos about the craft of writing (I probably have at this point), but nothing will teach you as much as sitting down and writing words one after the other.

I think the best practice is to study up as much as possible, but when you sit down at the keyboard or paper, forget everything you learned and just write. The subconscious will help fill in all you have learned.

That said, a really great book that I don’t think a lot of people know about is Fantasy Fiction Formula by Deborah Chester. The book is geared towards writing fantasy novels, but it gets into the nuts and bolts of story structure that I think apply to any narrative medium. She is a professor and author, whose most famous student is Jim Butcher of Dresden Files fame. He attributes a lot of his working theory about writing to her.

There is no formula as the book would suggest, but there is a lot of good stuff in there that you might find of use.

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