A goal of mine is to one day find work at a distinguished Comic Book institution like IDW, but like all my fellow Writers with a similar dream, we have a tough task ahead of us.
By IDW’s own admission, you’re unable to accept unsolicited manuscripts or proposals from Writers -- my understanding of this is so as to avoid any copyright complications, and that is perfectly understandable. But when IDW openly accepts work by Artists, Colourists, Designers and Letterers, there is something of a double-standard that I, and others, can’t help but notice.
Now, I’m by no means suggesting IDW should change its policy in regards to accepting work by Writers, but nor should IDW simply show them a brick wall. The answer? A global Writing Competition.
I can already hear the alarm bells ringing in your head, but have no fear, allow me to expand on the idea.
I’m a big Transformers fan, and I’m not alone -- the franchise and fanbase gets bigger every year. To accommodate this large number of fans from all over the world, there are a number of Transformers fan sites, complete with forums, such as TFW2005, Seibertron, The Allspark -- and even Ozformers, an Australian forum for fans down-under, like myself. And, of course, here we are on IDW's own forum, complete with Transformers section. (I'm using the Transformers franchise simply as an example. The same could work with any number of other franchises.)
The heavy-lifting for this Writing Competition would be done by the fans on these forums.
IDW announce that, in partnership with these forums, they’re hosting a Writing Competition. Writers submit their work to one (and only one) of the fan forums within a submission period. Once that closes, the readers on said forums go to work, reading and rating each of the submissions until a final vote is cast and a single winner (or two) from each forum is announced. These winners (of which there may be 10 to 15, depending on how many forums you get involved) have their story passed on to IDW, with the promise of nothing more than getting on the desk of one of the Editors.
IDW avoids having to trawl through mountains of stories to find the genuine nuggets of brilliance. If IDW then look further into the work of some of these Writers, then excellent. If not, no harm done -- at least these Writers got a shot at being noticed, like their Artist-brothers in other fields get to.
Basically, it’s a competition to ‘even out the playing field’, so to speak. You can go onto an art-sharing website such as DeviantArt and look at simply astounding Transformers artwork done by fans and the response is immediate -- that’s the beauty of a visual medium. But Writers can’t get the same immediate response -- reading takes an investment of time, and works of fan fiction are generally overlooked because, although one might be good, it’s stuck alongside work that may not be so well crafted. This is an opportunity for those pieces of fiction worthy enough of gaining attention to do so.
It’s just an idea I thought I’d put to you for your consideration -- a proposal, funnily enough. Should you have any questions, I’m more than happy to answer them.
I truly believe this is an idea IDW could and should get behind, if for no other reason than to have a greater interaction with fans of their titles.
I hope to be hearing from you soon.
Do you think such an endeavor would work? Do you think the fandom would get behind something like this and do the 'heavy-lifting' in selecting their board's candidate? I'd be very appreciative of any and all your thoughts.