Jan 03 2009

Changes to Dark Horse’s Submissions Policy?

Only a few weeks ago, Dark Horse required writers to have artists on-board before their stories could be considered.  However, according to Dark Horse’s Submissions page, it seems like Dark Horse has nixed that requirement.  In the miscellaneous notes, it says that “If a submitted project has an artist collaborator, samples of the artist’s continuity work must be included.”  That suggests that DH will consider submitted projects that don’t yet have an artist.  That should make it much cheaper for writers to prepare a script for DH.

However, if you’re applying to DH, I would really recommend getting an artist anyway even though it’s not required. Preparing a sample of 5 pages and a cover will probably set you back $400-500 (colored) or maybe $250-350 (inked). That’s a major investment.  However, if you’re serious about your application, having art accompany your writing could really help you.  Providing pages that have been inked (preferably colored) will make it very easy for the editors to decide if you’re worth hiring.  If all you have is your script, it won’t be nearly as clear whether your team has the style and skill to convey the story on the page. Remember, businesses hate risks. When they put money down, they want to know they’re getting quality.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Changes to Dark Horse’s Submissions Policy?”

  1. Ragged Boyon 03 Jan 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Get an artist on board? Geez Louise, how am I gonna do that, I’m sixteen?

  2. B. Macon 03 Jan 2009 at 8:01 pm

    That’s a good question. I suppose you could take $300-500 in savings from a summer job and spend that on a freelancer. That’s pretty much what I’m doing with Banu, who has agreed to be our series artist if we get published. Alternately, if $300-$500 is not at all doable, you could just send in the script naked (without art) and hope that a publisher signs off on it without seeing the art. I think your odds would be best if it had art, but I can understand why it might not be feasible for you to do so.

    Ultimately, I would recommend keeping your eye on the script. Don’t get hung up about the art, or the money you need to buy the art. Stressing out about those details will probably cause writer’s block.

    Once your script is finished, I’d recommend that you apply for a few grants to help you fund your writing career. Winning a grant would help you come up with money for the art, which will help you sell the story. For many reasons I won’t get into right here, you have a very good chance of winning a grant. A lot of grants are open-ended, so you’d probably pitch it as something like “I’m a talented high schooler that needs a little help breaking into a very competitive industry.” Our pitch was essentially “we need a few thousand dollars to create an educational website to help talented high schoolers pursue their dreams.” Our benefactors were very generous.

    On a related note, I’d recommend talking informally with a few of the the teachers that have had graded some of your writing over the past 6-12 months. Have any of them noticed a strong improvement? (If the last three months on this site are any indication, I’d suspect that at least one teacher has noticed a big difference). If so, he or she can help you prove to grant organizations how talented you are and that you have a good chance of making it in a tough writing career.

    Good luck.

  3. Davidon 05 Jan 2009 at 11:56 am

    and if u need freelance work done the best place i know is http://www.ifreelance.com

  4. Nayanon 24 Oct 2012 at 8:08 pm

    @B. Mac.
    I have a question. It may seem like a stupid one. But spare me, please. I dont have much knowledge about comic industries.

    You said, ”Preparing a sample of 5 pages and a cover will probably set you back $400-500 (colored) or maybe $250-350 (inked).” That means comic publishers accept proposals of incomplete projects unlike novel publishers. Though novel publishers want 2-3 chapters of a work, the manuscript must be completed. And if a proposal for a comic book gets accepted, the publishers will allow the writer/artist some time to complete the remaining pages. Am I right?

  5. B. Macon 24 Oct 2012 at 10:51 pm

    –If you’re an unpublished novelist, you absolutely must have the manuscript finished before submitting to any professional publishers. I am not aware of any professional novel publishers which consider works in progress by unpublished authors.

    –I think comic publishers are generally more receptive to works in progress. For example, Image asks for a one-page series synopsis and at least five pages which have been inked and lettered (coloring not required). “DO NOT send script pages.” Dark Horse’s submission guidelines require the script for the first 8 pages in a series or all of the issue for single-issue submissions.

  6. Nayanon 05 Nov 2012 at 2:39 am

    @B. Mac.
    I have some questions about Dark Horse’s submission policy.

    1. They say,”A short-story synopsis should be no longer than a page. A synopsis for a series (limited or ongoing) or graphic novel should be about two to five pages.”

    Now, I am planning a limited series comprising of 4 story arcs. Assume each film of the THE DARK KNIGHT trilogy as one story arc. So I have to submit the synopsis for the 1st story arc(4 issues) only. Right?

    2. I have to submit just the 1st 8 pages and not all pages of the script of the 1st issue if I dont have accompanying art. Right?

    3. If the script gets accepted, do I have to find an artist or they will handle the art?

  7. B. McKenzieon 05 Nov 2012 at 6:05 am

    My best guesses, Nayan:

    1. I’d generally recommend asking for as few issues upfront as possible. I think covering 4 issues in the synopsis is preferable to ~16 (particularly if you haven’t been published before).

    2. If you don’t have accompanying art, I would send in the script for the first eight pages of the story. (Note: the script for the first eight pages may be a bit longer than 8 pages if some of the comic’s pages take more than one page to script).

    3. Assume you’ll have to find the artist(s). In extraordinary cases, the publisher might find/suggest an illustrator, but this is not typical.

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