Friday, May 14, 2010

C.B. Cebulski on Comics - Writers

"As I'm lazy, I would prefer that some enterprising comic site or blogger does an FAQ for me and I can tweet the link & send them traffic. :)"

That's a tweet from C.B. Cebulski, writer and editor over at Marvel Comics. He's constantly harangued on Twitter about how to break into comics. He's very good about offering his advice when he can, but it can get lost in his other tweets about food, travel and life in general. Because of that, he wanted someone to create an online FAQ including all of his sage advice. Omnicomic has taken the initiative to create three such FAQS, one for artists, one for writers and one for creators. This one is the one for writers.

After the jump is every tweet CB posted pertaining to breaking in as an writer, going all the way back to August 2009. I tried to keep them as intact as possible, so there will be the obvious typos here and there (don't fault CB though). I also grouped them together into categories as best as possible as well for relatively easy tracking. Check out creators and artists as well. Enjoy!

Breaking In
New writers, sending pitch ideas of any kind to editors cold is a definite mistake.

They can't be read. Snail mail published work for review

RT @princesabin: "I thought you broke into the business as a writer by doing indy work & getting published." Which is exactly how you do it!

@gdwessel Yet again, writers can submit previously published work ONLY.

...if you want to write for Marvel, get published elsewhere first. Marvel editors
only review previously published work to judge your chops.

Once again, I cannot & do not talk to new writers. Marvel does not accept open submissions. The best advice I can give to you is... (cont.)

And lastly, again, I cannot hire writers. I am the talent scout for ARTISTS ONLY.

All writers need to snail mail the editors directly.

Yes, self-published work, mini-comics, webcomics, editorial cartoons, newspaper strips, novels... all count as published work for writers.

Yes, Marvel accepts PUBLISHED WORK ONLY from new writers. No pitches. No submissions. No original ideas. Nothing Marvel related.

The Marvel editors will read it & if they're impressed by what they see, they'll contact you to pitch them. That's how it works these days.

Again, for new writers, you have to mail copies of your published work in to the Marvel editors you would like to work with for review.

@jensaltmann Uncredited ghost writing doesn't "count" as anyone can claim to an editor they contributed but there's no way of proving it.

Self-publishing, mini-comics, anthologies, web comics... they all "count", yes.

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.

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

Reminder to all new writers, Marvel does not accept open submissions. Any pitches or proposals sent to us will be deleted/shredded unread.

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.

RT @JHickman: "Every time a writer sends a submission to @CBCebulski a baby artist dies." HA!

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

Marvel no longer has an open submission policy. Do not send us your scripts/ideas.

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.

Contact
As confusion arises after ever con, let me clarify again... I am NOT the writer recruiter. Do NOT send me your work. I can NOT read it!

Marvel Executive Editor/VP @TomBrevoort shares his thoughts on the hiring of new writers: http://bit.ly/bejtUD

Yet another reminder: if you send Marvel ideas/proposals/pitches, your e-mails will be deleted & packages destroyed. We CANNOT read them!

Marvel's mailing address is listed in all our comics & that's where you should send published work, to the editors who you want to read it.

And as I know plenty of people will simply ask without bothering to look it up: Marvel Comics, 417 Fifth Ave., 10th Floor, NY, NY 10016

Professionalism
Another piece of advice for new writers: don't get trashed at the con & make a fool of yourself leaving a bad taste with editors/creators.

Don't ever go to a con with the intention of pitching an editor a story. It doesn't happen. Go solely to meet people and make contacts.

Dear up-n-coming writers, if you get a comic published & do interviews, ALWAYS remember to credit/name check your artist & creative team!

@jensaltmann An editor and a writer should always debate story points. Just as a writer and artist should always talk. Collaboration is key!

RT @yourpalSmitty: Never understood writers that would rather fight than understand the Editor's POV. Mutual respect is crucial for success.

I'm sorry but uncredited ghost writing, script polishes & "the publisher forgot to include my name" do not fall into this category.

Then, if an editor likes what he or she reads from you, they may reach out and ask you to pitch them on Marvel comics. That's how it works.

Recruiting
We do not have training classes for writers. Creative writing is more of a personal job and best taught one-on-one with individual editors.

For the hundredth time, I DO NOT RECRUIT WRITERS! Take some initiative and go back and read my old tweets where I explain Marvel's policies!

@LazyHorde I've answered this before: there is no Marvel writing scout. All editors handle their own writer recruitment on their titles.

Writing
RT @ComicExperience: "Comic Writers: Number all your word balloons, captions, and SFX. Start over at #1 with each new page. "

Yes, writers and editors need to check ourselves too. We are just as guilty. Thanks for reminding me, @BRIANMBENDIS and @thatpetewoods.

But I guess that's why they're "writers". Why not write more creatively instead of using your words to explain to an editor they're wrong?!

Other editors would be better served putting aside writing aspirations to focus on teaching their talent & improving the comics they edit.

Our business is a better place when good comic book editors embrace their natural storytelling talent & go on to become even better writers.

@chris_sketching Most Marvel scripts are done in the "full script" style these days vs. the old "Marvel style" plot format.

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