Well, it’s time to roll the hard six.
I’ve just mailed the first eight pages of Astro-Knight Princess to Dark Horse, along with my series proposal. Hopefully they’ll like it more than my last submission, but even if they don’t, it’s a great enough idea that I’ll work on it with or without them. After all, self-publication is all the rage these days.
At this time in the proceedings, I think it’s good to share a story of regret and missed opportunities. I hope anyone reading this who is hesitant to take their own leap into the unknown will be inspired to take the risk and see just how far they can go.
Ten years ago, I had an opportunity to write for Marvel Comics.
It was the summer of 2004. I was feeling oddly spunky and inspired, having just finished a thousand-page outline for a massive story I had thought of three years before. Every spare moment of those three years was spent working on the story or thinking of new aspects to it. I was so happy to be finished that I decided that I should submit the idea to someone. The first company I thought of was Marvel Comics.
I had loved Marvel ever since I was introduced to them through the Age of Apocalypse. I stuck with them through Heroes Reborn (I still have every issue, that’s how dedicated I was), and through The Search for Xavier and The Magneto War. I stuck by them through Spider-Man’s fracture into the Dusk, Hornet, Prodigy, and Ricochet aliases. I stuck by them through it all. And I wanted, more than anything, to write for them.
I submitted a query letter, which was the style at the time, detailing how much their comics had inspired me, and how I felt I had a lot to offer them. In my egotism, I even told them I could salvage Ghost Rider (which was not doing so hot at the time). I finished my letter full of hope and a dash of pride. I mailed it, and waited.
Two months later, a reply came from Teresa Focarile, an editor at Marvel. She thanked me for my letter and wanted to read my work, and asked me to submit a writing sample.
An editor from Marvel Comics asked me to send in a writing sample!
I was beyond words, beyond thrilled, beyond thought. I rushed to my computer, eager to write something and submit it that day!
But I froze. Dark thoughts entered my head. They told me I was no writer, that my ideas were laughable. They told me that no one would ever like my work, that it was pointless to even try. Why waste her time? She was a busy Marvel editor, and didn’t have time to read my crap.
I never submitted anything. And I’ve spent the last ten years regretting it as I’ve drifted from one dead-end job to the next. I wondered what would have happened if I had only submitted a simple piece of writing. Even if I had been rejected, I would have known. But now, all I can do is wonder, while at the same time not wasting any more time. I am a writer, and it’s time to show the world what I can do.
Don’t make the same mistake I did. If you have a great piece of music, a fantastic piece of art, a tantalizing collection of words, then try to get it into someone’s — anyone’s — hands. Fight for your dreams, pursue your hopes, and claw your way to the top. And don’t give up until you get there.
Because, believe me, the alternative is nothing but regret and wasted time.