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Tips & Tweets

Tips & Tweets: Advice for Writers, Part 2

Want to make comics? Get tips from Marvel talent manager C.B. Cebulski to help YOU at San Diego Comic-Con and beyond

By CB Cebulski

I know yesterday's Tips & Tweets didn't sit well with some people. I got plenty of responses along the lines of, "But I only wanna write for Marvel" and "All my ideas are Marvel ideas!" Now while this is nice to hear, it's also a bit disappointing. Writers write. Period. About anything and everything. And while it's great you wanna write solely for Marvel, if that's the case, you may want to reconsider writing as a career choice. You should never limit yourself creatively like that!

You should look at your ideas like potato chips... "Crunch all you want, we'll make more."

And on that note, let's dive into today's bag of Tips & Tweets...

HELL black and
white art by
Michael Ryan
Pulled from CB Cebulski' Twitter feed (@CBCebulski) and organized by topic, these tips, tweets and missives may help YOU get into the comic book biz at the San Diego Comic-Con 2010 or beyond!

Special thanks to Marvelous intern Zack Rosenberg (@Comicnerd1988) for compiling and organizing the tweets & tips! And all art featured in this article is from an upcoming story by a new writer! "Adamantium Diaries" is by Sarah Cross, "Iron Man: Killer Commute" is by Mark Haven Britt and "Wolverine: Development Hell" is from Mark Simmons!

And here's part 1, in case you missed it!

Today's Tips: Advice for Writers, part 2

Published work means creative writing that has been printed and where you are clearly given credit by name for your contribution.

No, no PDFs. Nothing digital. Nothing electronic. In this case, published means PRINTED. Sorry, but those are the rules.

DO NOT send anything to me, writers. Organize your ideas, do your research and send to the editor(s) of the character(s) you want to write.

Once the editors review your work, if they like what they read, they will then contact you and ask you to pitch. That's how it works.

art by Nuno Plati
If you want to pitch Marvel anything, you need to send the editors you want to work with your previously published work for review.

RT @howardwong1: "The better question is why do you want to write for Marvel/DC?" True. It's a question many creators should ask themselves.

You get asked to submit by getting published elsewhere, or self-publishing, making a name for yourself and sending us your PUBLISHED work.

You can't submit to Marvel unless you're asked to submit.

Simply put, all Marvel editors handle their own writer recruitment on their titles & you need to get your PUBLISHED work into their hands.


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      This is my first time commenting on this blog thingy so forgive me for playing devil's advocate. I promise to be respectful, but accurate. You wrote "Yes, Marvel accepts PUBLISHED WORK ONLY from new writers". Most "new writers" in Marvel comics or what they used to advertise as "Young Guns", have been writers writing novels, short stories, or in the comics field whether--independent,Dark horse, Image, DC/Vertigo, or British Comics-- for at least over a decade. Some of them have been writing comics since I was in high school in the late 1980's.So your Young Guns or talent, are really "Old Guns", who just never worked for Marvel. Secondly, you wrote, "No pitches. No submissions. No original ideas. Nothing Marvel related". and "No, no PDFs. Nothing digital. Nothing electronic. In this case, published means PRINTED".Well, that's just confusing. As an artist/ writer I've spoken to many "editors" over the years, I was even trained to write by Dennis O'Neil and Carmine Infantino and Howard Post in SVA, back in 1993. There really is no standard. Each editor has there own taste of what they want to see, so you just have to investigate.when I was in college in the early ninties, and the truth is, if it's original they don't want to see it, because in the past people have accused or sued companies for stealing ideas, which they will do if you don't C.Y.A, so the best advice is copyright or trademark your work BEFORE you print it or send it off to an editor or God forbid, another artist/employee, who works for the industry.Howard Post, who was an editor at Marvel, before most of you blogger's were born, he was very precise. Howard would say something like this," If you want to write as a Writer or become a comic artist, there's two things you'll need: A) an Agent or B) a lawyer, because the industry will not hire you or take you seriously if you don't have either, and you won't have your "talent", meaning your creative work protected. I'm not sure how true that it is today, but in our micro-managed society, I can't imagine it being any different, except if you decide on bringing a priest along with you, just to make all parties included in your meeting honest by feeling guilty, that if they cheat you they'd all end up in editor's hell.LOL C'mon, ya had to give me at least one.Lastly, I'd like to say, that publishing or even self publishing is no guarantee to getting in the industry. It's a fools errand to join comics professionally, but if you decide to do it, do it for the love of medium, for the love of writing or drawing, because anything else other than that will lead you to the crazy house, the poor house or filled with disappointment. If you're lucky you'll get all three for the price of one.Cheers

      witmereric member

      What about writers that aren't trying to write Marvel canon? I've had three small-print publishers respond to my pitch about a guy in the real world who gets superpowers by reading comics. Ever since Kick-Ass, they've been saying "there's a market for this idea." But when they find out he specifically reads Marvel (and it's kind of integral to the end that he knows who The Beyonder is), they drop the idea. ICON is your imprint for big names to print pet projects like Kick-Ass. Is there a smaller, more indie imprint that I could submit to?


      Christian, Chris Claremont still writes a few books at Marvel... unfortunately, his writing is not what it used to be...


      Sadly, this is the reason why the comic and print industries are having a hard time adjusting to the digital age. Magazines, newspapers, and comics are suffering from the costs of printing; hence, why everyone is going digital. I am a writer, and I have had several works published, both in print and digital formats. My advice for writers is to find a career that allows you time to write... as well as sharpen your writing skills - education, editorial work, or freelancing, for example - and then just wait for the industry to catch up with the rest of the world. In five more years (if that), more editors will accept digital publications. After all, with the rate technology is advancing (Kindle), old school publishers will have no choice - especially if they want to reach the younger generation (Digital Natives). More and more magazines are realizing this little fact and switching to digital format. And self-publishing? Do you really accept this type of format? Do you think self-publishers actually care about grammar and writing skills? I used to collect comics, but I quit after the 1990s. I miss the days of Chris Claremont and good storytelling.


      In part one you say "Yes, self-published work, mini-comics, webcomics, editorial cartoons, newspaper strips, novels... all count as published work for writers." and "Self-publishing, mini-comics, anthologies, web comics... they all "count", yes.". Twice you mention webcomics, but then in part 2, you say "No, no PDFs. Nothing digital. Nothing electronic. In this case, published means PRINTED. Sorry, but those are the rules."I don't mean to be disrespectul, but it'd help us writers if you didn't contradict yourself in such an important point.


      A pitch is very similar to a snyopsis or logline. Here is how they work: A log line is your story told in 2 sentences. It's a mission statement. A synopsis is every bit as difficult to write as the actual work itself. It is a summary of all the major events, plots, subplots, and characters in your story. It shows how you get from point A to point B and finish off at point C. A pitch is your salespitch to the editors. Why should they care? Why would they want to publish you? What can you do for them? Why is your story good? Every writer needs to know how to write all three. I've been wanting to break into comics for years but have had limited success. I'm earning degrees now in Creative Writing & Film while working on a novel and scripts. The hopeful goal, outside of meeting people at this year's Comic Con in Chicago, is to have a stellar education background and writing portfolio that blows Marvel or DC away. If not, I'm content with being an Editor on a magazine and writing novels and screenplays on the side until I have the funds to self-publish my own comics. That's my take


      I'm sorry to sound like a complete amateur, but what exactly is pitching? I have a guess of what it is, but seeing as you have firsthand experience with writing comics, you'd probably be able to be specific about what it exactly is.