Advice for Writers about Submitting to Epic Comics

Marvel is no longer accepting submissions for Epic Comics. See here for more information.

The first place to look for advice about submitting to Epic is Marvel's web site. A lot of the same information was included in "issue #7" of the 6-issue series Marville. If you haven't read all of that through at least twice, go do that now. I'll wait. Meanwhile, I've been gleaning advice from various sources, and this is based on a lot of that, plus my own thoughts as a writer.

Existing Characters | Original Characters | Audience | Structure | Format | Sending It In | Waiting | Rejection | Acceptance

One of the biggest questions is what characters to write about. The two main alternatives are to use Marvel's characters, or your own original characters. Each has its plusses and minuses. The original version of this page talked about "Marvel-Universe" vs. "creator-owned" characters, but that's probably not the best way to approach this, for reasons I'll get to in a bit.

Existing characters

"Fine words. I wonder where you stole them." - Jonathan Swift

If you use Marvel's characters, it's tempting to use big-name favorites like Spider-Man or the X-Men or the Avengers. Get over it. Even if you're astonishingly good, you're not going to knock their socks off hard enough to differentiate your proposal from all the scripts from all the other fanboys with stars in their eyes, and persuade Marvel that your story should be published alongside the work of their current ace writers. If you were that good, you wouldn't be submitting blindly to Epic, you'd be chatting on the phone with Editor In Chief Joe Quesada, because he called you.

"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." - Douglas Adams

Another thing to avoid are the recently-established "Ultimate" versions of characters and stories obviously based on Ultimate continuity. Marvel wants to keep the Ultimate imprint distinct from Marvel proper and keep tight control of it, and the thought of letting people muck about with the Ultimate Spidey and pals makes them nervous. If you're lucky, they'll read your script distracted by thinking about whether the Ultimate continuity elements can be taken out. If you're not lucky, they'll just keep saying "nope, nope, nope" the whole time. However, because the Epic editors are being very relaxed about continuity, creating your own updated versions of established characters is OK... just don't ask them to put the "Ultimate" logo on it. By the way, Malibu Ultraverse characters are also off-limits, presumably due to contractual entanglements (like money) with their respective creators. Same with any licenced books Marvel may have done once upon a time (e.g. Star Wars, The Little Mermaid): no can do.

"If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that's read by persons who move their lips when they're reading to themselves." - Don Marquis

Your best bet with existing characters - though it's also turning out to be a very popular angle, so you're still going to have to impress them to get noticed - is to take a relatively minor Marvel character that hasn't gotten any page space lately, but one that you've always thought deserved more, and write a story about them. Those characters have the advantage of some name recognition, and maybe some other fans out there dying for more adventures. Don't try to second-guess which characters Marvel is most receptive to, or which characters nobody else will think of submitting. Write a story you'd enjoy reading, about a character you dig. But be careful not to overcrowd it with too many of your favorite characters just because they're your favorites; keep it focused.

Original characters

If you have some really good character ideas of your own, you might have a better chance of getting accepted by writing a story about them instead. Marvel wants more good characters (they see it as an opportunity to sell more movie and game licences), and Epic is an inexpensive way to get them. You can either drop them into the Marvel Universe (in which case you'll have to sell them to Marvel for the story to be published), or you can write them in their own setting, even one without a single superhero on Earth (in which case you'll probably have to sell them to Marvel for them to publish the story... see the Creator-Owned contract page for more about that).

"Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is original is not good, and the part that is good, is not original." - Samuel Johnson

Marvel offers a "New Character agreement" that gives the creator "financial participation" in new characters they create for Marvel. (In English: a percentage of the profits from them.) However, it's up to Marvel to decide what qualifies, and they're pretty picky: any character with clear ties to an existing "family" doesn't get this deal. General connections, such as living in the Marvel Universe, meeting Wolverine, maybe having Rick Jones as a sidekick, and so on aren't a problem, but your "new" Moon Knight Jr. or Benji the Spider-Hound or even an original mutant character who joins the cast of the X-Men won't get you any extra cash, even if he turns out to steal the show in the next movie and becomes a big-selling action figure. That's because a new X-dude (for example) is already covered by the existing X-licences and doesn't get Marvel any additional money. It has to be an all-new character that a new movie or game licence could be built around. (The Runaways or Alias are recent examples that would qualify.)

Many superhero fans have a whole notebook full of original superheroes they've come up with since they were little. I've got dozens. It'd be very tempting to use this opportunity to introduce the world to my beloved kid speedster "Zip", and to see him team up with Spider-Man or Captain America! But think long and hard before doing this. As soon as Marvel paid me $500 for my proposal, he'd be their character, not mine. Even Joe Siegel and Jerry Schuster (the original poster children for ripped-off superhero creators) got more than that (adjusted for inflation) for Superman. Not only would Marvel have the authority to fire me from writing and drawing "my" character and hire Rob Liefeld in my place, I would no longer be able to use the character myself, anywhere else. Marvel is offering a "New Character agreement" for any wholly-new character you sell to them, which apparently (I haven't seen it) promises a cut of the profits from any use of the character. This is better than how it used to work, but unless the character is a headliner capable of sustaining his own series or his own licencing deals, your chances of getting serious money under this agreement are pretty low. And for a character near and dear to my heart, it wouldn't be worth it. There's a reason why savvy creators like Todd McFarlane, Kurt Busiek, Jeff Smith, and Colleen Doran held onto the creations of their youth (Spawn, SuperStar, Fone Bone, and the Distant Soil cast, respectively), and published them as creator-owned projects rather than selling them to publishers like Marvel. And I'm not talking about the money. On the other hand, I am working on a project that involves creating some new characters for the Marvel Universe, but since I'm creating them specifically as "custom-designed parts" to add to Marvel's construct, I'm prepared to give them up.

"Your life story would not make a good book. Don't even try." - Fran Lebowitz

The other possibility is to create something out of whole cloth: original characters in an original setting (which is how the examples above were published). People often refer to this as a "creator owned" proposal, and it is... but in the context of Epic, that's missing the point, because except in rare situations, Marvel is going to want to buy the property before they publish it. Essentially, they're offering the same deal for this as they are for a proposal set in the Marvel U: they own and control it, you get some of the profits. So consider the comments in the previous paragraph carefully. But for the same reason creators should be wary of it, this can be a very attractive type of property for Marvel. A new X-Men character or a new sidekick for DareDevil wouldn't generate any new money to speak of, but something all-new would be an all-new money-making opportunity for them. In particular, this approach also opens the doors to different genres - romance, science-fiction, mystery, horror, war, comedy - which various people at Marvel are very interested in publishing (and can also be licenced to movie studios). Another benefit of doing a non-Marvel-U proposal, is that you can shop it around to other publishers as well. Just keep in mind that very few other publishers work with just-a-writers or just-an-artists; if you write but don't draw, you'll probably have to find your own artist and pay him out of your own pocket. Image, for example, has a very different financial and legal arrangement with creators, in which you pay them for their services as publisher, but all the profit - and editorial responsibility - is yours. See the Waiting to Hear Back section of this page for more on that topic.

(If you want to know which kind of proposals I've submitted, look here.)


"He writes his plays for the ages - the ages between five and twelve." - George Nathan, on George Bernard Shaw

When Epic was originally announced, the web site said they were only accepting "PG" material. That was incorrect. They'll accept material written for any age group. But I'd suggest aiming for the middle: PSR and PSR+ (Marvel's new version of PG and PG+) appropriate for middle and high school age. Marvel might appreciate getting some all-ages books to publish, but they really don't have a way to market those effectively. The "MA" rating will hurt your sales, because of skittish retailers who either don't order those books or shelve them separately to protect themselves from fascist outfits like the "American" "Family" Association and politically-motivated morality-enforcement officers like sheriffs and district attorneys. The same threat of right-wing censorship may frighten Marvel themselves as well. Note: Even though the age bracket Marvel lists for MA translates as "adults only", their standards for that rating are more like the MPAA's R rating, not NC17 or XXX. Don't bother submitting porn.


"My favorite poem is the one that starts 'Thirty days hath September' because it actually tells you something." - Groucho Marx

More than anything else, Marvel's been stressing the matter of clear storytelling. One of the peculiar clichés of comics scripting is the overuse of in media res, the classical technique of epic storytelling which begins the story "in the middle of things", goes back and explains how we got here, then tells the ending. It's a time-honored approach. Don't use it. No other popular entertainment medium does, unless they're being "artsy" or "experimental". And whatever you do (this is direct from Epic editor Stephanie Moore), don't open with the character in a nasty situation and narrating to the readers, "I bet you're wondering how I got into this mess..." Because they aren't. Marvel is hoping to reach out to new readers with some of these books, and that kind of out-of-order storytelling seems weird to most people. So put your flashbacks at the beginning of the book as introduction, using them as foreshadowing instead. This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but it's probably a good suggestion to follow. Don't try to tell your story all out of order unless you're Christopher Priest.

"[The rules of fiction] require that the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the reader of the 'Deerslayer' tale dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the others, and wishes they would all get drowned together." - Mark Twain, on James Fenimore Cooper

One key aspect of this is how you introduce your characters. One tried-and-true approach is to start with the origin, to explain who they are and what they can do. This especially applies to new characters, and probably any character that the public at large doesn't already know. If you can figure out a way to introduce the central characters without re-telling their origin... do it. See the first X-Men movie as one example; we didn't see Cyclops' or Xavier's or Storm's or Wolvie's origin, but they were adequately introduced (and not in flashback) by immediately showing them doing what they do. And we did see the key bits of the origins of the central characters (Rogue and Magneto), before they did anything important to the plot. It's also worth noting that with Hulk, Spider-Man, Blade, Batman, and Superman, their first movies all started by showing us How He Came To Be. And some of those were already household-name characters.

"This book has too much plot and not enough story." - Samuel Goldwyn

At the other end of each issue is a corresponding problem. No comics fan today expects you to finish a story within a single issue, but you should do so anyway. Even if you're telling a 6-part story, each installment should also have a beginning and ending. A good example of this is the contemporary prime-time drama on network TV: even though they have ongoing subplots about who's sleeping with whom or someone wanting to join the circus, and extended story arcs about the new boss or the wedding or the pregnancy, every episode still has its own storyline, which gets resolved before the last batch of commercials. The perp was caught, the deal was made, the patient died, the battle was won, etc. This technique tends to get forgotten, thanks to the allure of the cliffhanger ending. Cliffhangers supposedly entice the reader to come back next month, to find out how the scene will be resolved, but it can also leave him feeling dissatisfied. (Don't you hate it when a TV episode ends "To Be Continued"?) And cliffhangers call for "I bet you're wondering how I got into this mess" openings in the next issue. Better to resolve this month's mini-conflict on page 20, and spend pages 21 and 22 with some anti-climax mixed with foreshadowing, giving the reader a hint of next month's conflict and reminding them of the larger conflict. That's seriously stronger drama.

"Every novel should have a beginning, a muddle, and an end." - Peter de Vries

This pattern tends to work better in collected editions as well, because cliffhangers that only require you to turn the page aren't nearly as effective. Better to use a story structure that works in long form. Literary types call it the "novel". {smile} In a nutshell: A) Establish the setting, the characters, and the main conflict. B) Tell an episode about an intermediate conflict, which gets resolved and sends the character in another direction. Repeat as needed, getting closer to resolving the main conflict each time. C) Bring the main conflict to a climax, and resolve it. D) Briefly tie up loose ends. In a typical mini-series or story arc, issue #1 should cover part A. Let that unresolved main conflict entice the reader to come back, not some cheesy cliffhanger from the middle of part B. Issue #2 and later should each cover a complete cycle or two of part B. The last issue should take care of parts C and D. If it's an ongoing series, the last issue could also foreshadow the main conflict of the next extended story, but remember that you're going to want to start from the beginning of that story on page 1 of the next issue, so don't introduce anything important until then unless you're prepared to show it again.

"There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." - W. Somerset Maugham

People often ask for examples, so here's bits of The Lord of the Rings as a hypothetical example off the top of my head of how I might structure the serial issues: A) In Middle Earth, a Ring of Power is created, which is sought by the Dark Lord but held by a mere Hobbit (last page: Bilbo leaves the Ring for Frodo). B1) Frodo & friends flee the Shire (last page: the hobbits escape the Wraiths at the ferry). B2) Frodo, Aragorn, & friends escape to Rivendell (last page: Frodo leaves Bilbo to attend the council). B3) The Fellowship tries to cross the mountains (last page: they turn back). B4) The Fellowship travels through Moria (last page: the Fellowship mourns Gandalf's fall). B5) The Fellowship tries to continue without Gandalf (last page: Frodo and Sam set out alone). Bx) And so on, through The Two Towers and most of Return of the King. (Notice that each of my "last pages" is a partial resolution, not a cliffhanger; something important has just happened - it's not in the middle of happening - and sets things up to start a new chapter next time. Some are successes, some are failures, but they're all turning points. The reader is thinking "OK" but still wondering "what's next?") C) Frodo reaches Mount Doom and destroys the Ring. D) Frodo returns home, the Elves depart, etc. Incidentally, I'd probably cheat and do the imminent destruction of the Ring as a cliffhanger, and use most of the final issue for anti-climax. As the cliffhanger, in the penultimate issue, it'd be more effective, and it would leave more room in the last issue to tie up all the loose ends.


"The covers of this book are too far apart." - Ambrose Bierce

There's been some confusion over acceptable story length. When Marvel says they don't want "series pitches" they mean that they don't want the package of a teaser, thematic overview, character descriptions, and such that established pro writers would submit; instead they want an actual script. This is the quickest approximation of reading the first issue of your series, which is a pretty good indicator of whether the idea is any good, and whether you're actually capable of writing it. Marvel will consider proposals for one-shots, limited series of any length, and ongoing series. If you're planning to write multi-issue story arcs (and since the done-in-one story is a dying art, I assume you are), they should be no longer than 6 issues, and they should have a beginning, middle, and end within those issues. Don't try to be Classic Chris Claremont, with subplots interweaving over the course of years. There are three reasons for this: 1) Short, cearly-delineated story arcs make it easier for new readers to pick up the series, without every single issue seemingly starting in media res. 2) They can be easily collected into paperbacks (if Marvel feels it'll sell in that format). 3) Stories more than 6 issues long are probably either too complex or too padded. By the way, "6 issues" is a maximum, not a requirement. If you can tell your stories in four, three, or even fewer issues, be assured that Marvel will be perfectly happy with that. Three seems to be their ideal.

"I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top." - English professor at an Ohio university

Don't sweat the format of your script. Marvel offers a short example to use as a model, and it's one of about 20 different formats that will work for most editors and artists. Use whatever format makes sense... but something that looks like their example would probably be your best bet because they're used to it. As a personal rule of thumb, I do one page of comics per word-processing page; if it doesn't fit on one sheet of printer paper (with half-inch margins), it probably won't fit on one page of bristol board, and I need to trim the dialog or eliminate a panel. That's assuming the artist is either me or someone with a comparable technique, of course. Some artists are better at cramming information onto a page than others. Another rule of thumb that helps is to figure 5 or 6 panels on a typical page... occasionally more if some of the panels contain only a little information or happen very quickly, less if the page includes any really dramatic action or requires a large establishing panel for a new scene. If it's a splash page requiring only a paragraph of description, leave the rest of the page blank, so the next comics page can begin on a new script page. For more information about the mechanics of scripting, Kurt Busiek wrote a primer for several novelist colleagues of his.

This writing business. Pencils and what not. Over rated if you ask me. - Eeyore, Winnie-the-Pooh

Some fans have commented - sometimes indignantly - that this full-script approach is not the "Marvel method" for producing books. That's actually a quaint historical term, not a contemporary company policy. The "plot, illustrate, dialog" approach was a necessity when Stan Lee was writing the whole Marvel line, and it worked because his artists were Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, and the like. But today, when most writers only do 1-3 books, and artists struggle to keep up with a monthly schedule, it's less practical. The majority of books Marvel publishes these days are done with the writer producing a full script, specifying right from the beginning what to show, dialog, captions, and even page layout directions. If you thought all you needed to supply was a story idea and some word balloons... well, no wonder you thought you were qualified to write comics. {smile}

Sending It In

Submissions editors often have amusing tales they can tell about the things hopeful creators have done to make their proposals "stand out" and interest the editor, including appeals to various vices (common or uncommon), bombastic sales pitches, voodoo charms, cash and other gifts, openly pathetic pleas, and obvious attention-getting tactics like brightly-colored paper or perfume or fancy packaging. These are not necessarily a good idea, since they smack of desperation, and the more blatant they are the more insulting they are of the editor's perceptiveness and judgment. If your story is good, they'll notice and remember it. If your theatrics are excessive, they'll notice and remember that instead.

Marvel lists the things they want included in the envelope: the applicable tax forms, the Idea Submission form, the WMFH contract, and 22 pages of script for #1. In other places they've asked for a "beat sheet" outlining what happens in #2 and the rest of the opening story arc; since they've already seen whether you can script or not, the point of this is to make sure you know where you're going with the plot, and not just making it up issue by issue. Don't worry about the format, just include enough info to finish the story for them. If you're familiar with the typical online fan "review" of a comicbook ("...then Spider-Man tricks the Rhino into attacking the Hulk! They fight, trashing the whole restarurant!") that type of synopsis (but with fewer exclamation marks) would probably work. If your #1 issue is all "origin" and doesn't give a sense of what the series would be like, including another script for a more typical issue would be helpful, and is encouraged. (Yes, two scripts. Life is hard, innit?)

If you're submitting a proposal featuring an all-original character (whether it's set in the Marvel U or not) I recommend leaving the contract out. This way you have the right to turn down any offer that Marvel might make for it, leaving you free to shop the idea around (without Marvel U elements of course) to other publishers.

"Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." - Oscar Wilde

They do not want a resumé; sorry, but they don't care where you went to school, and if you have previous professional experience, that'll show in the script. (And if it doesn't... {shrug}) They don't want character sketches or sample pages; even if you're also an artist, they just want to see you as a writer right here. They don't want a bible for the series (a common tool for TV-series production, in which everything the episode writers, production designers, and actors need to know about the setting, history, characters, theme, etc. are spelled out). Just a script and legal docs. You can get away - for now - with leaving out the contract and tax forms, but the Idea Submission form is mandatory; without it, they will throw it out.

What I did (for what that's worth) is to include a cover sheet summarising the key narrative elements of my proposal (setting, characters, and plot), so they know what to expect before they read it, and can glance at the stack of paper later and remember which one this was. With my all-original proposal, I indulged in a brief all-text teaser to set the stage for it... kind of like the voiceover you might hear in a movie trailer before they tell you the title of the film. This may have been over-doing it, but it brought a smile to my face every time I read it and turned the page to read the title, so I included it. Stapling or clipping each set of pages together (e.g. contract, script) and attaching your name and contact info to each item would be a very good idea.

"A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor." - Ringgold Lardner

They also ask that you include a regular stamped self-addressed envelope for your (likely) rejection letter. (They'll presumably toss your script if they don't accept it, rather than mailing it back to you.) If you're sending in more than one proposal, you should mark the envelopes somehow, so you know which proposal they're responding to; the submission editor might not think to indicate that on the letter.

Waiting to Hear Back

"Manuscript: something submitted in haste and returned at leisure." - Oliver Herford

Don't wait to hear back. Obviously you have to wait for a reply, but don't just sit and wait. For one thing, it's probably going to be a long time. Rumours of "thousands" of scripts are apparently exaggerated, but they say they've received hundreds, and they've promised to read them all. It's not going quickly. And yours probably isn't at the top of the pile. Reported response times so far have ranged from a couple weeks to more than two months and counting. In the first two months of reading scripts, they rejected only about 100. (And no, that doesn't mean there are hundreds of scripts on the "maybe" pile.) Forget about it, and move on to something else. If you still have the bug to write, start another. The first script was good practise. This one will probably be easier and turn out better, because you've done it before.

"Excessive literary production is a social offense." - George Eliot

If your first proposal was a Marvel-Universe story, try one that's not. If you can't come up with any non-Marvel-U ideas, I'm afraid that doesn't bode well for your prospects as a writer. It sounds like all you're reading are Marvel's comics and that's not a broad source of inspiration to draw from, not even to write Marvel comics. Try expanding your horizons, and by that I don't mean just to DC. I'm talking about the books listed in the green pages of Previews, and maybe even books without pictures in them. I hear some of those are pretty good.

"Publishers are all cohorts of the devil; there must be a special hell for them somewhere." - Johann Goethe

If you already submitted a non-Marvel-U proposal, you might want to start considering other publishers who might be interested in it if Epic turns you down. As a courtesy, you should let them know that you've submitted it elsewhere and haven't heard back yet; neglecting to mention that is often considered unprofessional. You can start narrowing down your options by checking the submissions policies of other established publishers: DC, Image, Dark Horse (or their current New Recruits program), Oni, Fantagraphics, Avatar, Antarctic, Slave Labor, NBM, Top Shelf, D&Q, Highwater, Dreamwave, IDW, AIT/PlanetLar, Alternative Comics, or any other company that publishes material similar to yours. That last bit's important; don't submit superhero stories to Fanta or erotica to Dark Horse or autobio to Avatar. I've given you direct links to all their policies, or the e-mail addresses of those to contact; use them to find out what they want. Some want drawings on paper, not bloody e-mail attachments; others want e-mail, not friggin' paper. Give them exactly what they ask for; following directions is the first test you have to pass. Many of these places will only accept completed submissions, or only submissions they've asked to see (like after you buy the editor lots of drinks and/or impress her with your portfolio at a convention), so don't waste your time and postage on mailings that will not be looked at. Also, be prepared for a wide variety of deals that might be offered by these companies.

"Someday I hope to write a book where the royalties will pay for the copies I give away." - Clarence Darrow

Or get to work on publishing it yourself, perhaps with financial assistance from the Xeric Foundation. Web publishing is becoming more practical every day, and I can recommend a good web hosting service (mine) or a good publisher: Marvel is definitely not the only game in town, and you're likely to get a warmer reception some of those places than from the House of Work Made For Hire Ideas.

If Your Proposal Gets Rejected

"Ten years of rejection slips is nature's way of telling you to stop writing." - R. Geis

They'll be phoning or e-mailing people who get accepted, so if you see your SASE show up in the mail, it's probably bad news. Rejection letters are going out for every script they've decided isn't up to snuff, as they get to them. They have a variety of form letters they're sending out, depending on what the problem was. Here's one example that matches the letters I received (and apparently quite a few others, based on the grousing I've heard about the phrasing), and another example received by another hopeful. I've heard other variations on these letters quoted as well. None of these form letters are going to give you specific constructive feedback; it's not the Epic editors' job nor do they have time to help you grow as a writer if you're not going to be working for them. I'm sure they're doing their best to identify what the problem was, but sometimes it can be hard to tell whether it was your plot that didn't make sense, or just your description of it. And even if they nail the problem, they're still not going to tell you how to fix it. So if you want to know how to do better, you'll have to get that help from someone else (I recommend either a very close friend, or a very mild enemy), who'll give you frank feedback, even if it's just to point out what they didn't get or didn't like.

"It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy." - James Thurber

I've heard a couple reports of "rejections" that included one or two semi-specific criticisms (like "dialog") and an invitation to resubmit it. I'd take that as a "maybe", indicating that the submissions editor liked it, but it's not ready to hand up to the next level of review. (The submission editors don't have the authority to "greenlight" proposals on their own, only to "redlight" them.) If you get one of these, or one of the more specific form letters that says this aspect was good, but that aspect was bad, you should try writing another draft and send it in. Even if they don't say what was wrong with your story structure (or characterisation or whatever), or you disagree with them, just try doing it differently and see if they like it. You might get a more sympathetic editor the next time. Some of it's a matter of taste, and one of the key skills a professional writer needs is the ability to give the reader (such as an editor) what they want, even if what they want isn't what you had in mind. Or even if they don't explain to you what they want. Hopefully you'll retain some creative integrity as well, but to write successfully, you'll have to learn to guess, and to compromise. Also, keep in mind that Marvel is looking for writing that appeals to the least common denominator; that's their business model. If they don't like your writing, and you know it's damn good, then maybe you should be writing indie stuff instead.

"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit." - Richard Bach

If you get one of the more general "develop your writing skills" letters, you need to decide whether to do that, or find something else to do with yourself. I know there are a lot of young people submitting, and if that's you, there's absolutely nothing insulting about being told that you need to learn how to write better. It's probably correct. You maybe good for a __-year-old, but professional writing doesn't have age divisions like high-school sports. There's a reason every job out there (unfairly) asks for someone with experience: most people aren't very good when they start out. They just don't realise this because they're not very good at evaluating their own skills yet, either. {smile} (As a middle-aged person, I'm amazed at the number of 16-year-olds who think they're good, safe drivers... and that I once thought I was.) The question is whether this is something you want to do strongly enough to keep at it. If not, well, you'll get the same crap in whatever career you choose, so get used to it. {patronising smile}

"This is not a book which should be put aside lightly, it should be tossed aside with great force." - Dorothy Parker

If you're one of the older people submitting (like me) and you get one of those "learn more" letters, then it probably means you shouldn't quit your day job. It doesn't mean you should quit writing though; I certainly don't plan to, even though the rejection letter I received wasn't nearly as encouraging as they probably thought it would be. But I might scratch "professional comicbook writer" off my list of possible career changes, and content myself with doing it as a side job or as a hobby (where they only opinion that really matters is my own).

If Your Proposal Gets Accepted

"What an author likes to write most is his signature on the back of a cheque." - Brendan Francis

If your proposal does get approved by Epic, please let me know so I can add you to my list of accepted books. And if you feel any of the above rambling contributed in some small way to it, I'd like to hear about it. It'd be nice to know some good came of all this typing. {smile}

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