Prepare your Submission


Before you submit to Sector 13 Comics, or indeed to any other publication, we’d advise that you do some research.  Get a copy or two of something they have published.  Look at the work that they have accepted, and think carefully about it measures up to your own, because, that's your competition.


For Sector 13 Comics you’ll see that we don’t have a house style for either story or art.  So it may well be that in our case you’re looking for what isn’t featured in our pages - not yet.


If you have any questions before you submit, do talk to us.  Either on Facebook or by e-mail or at one of our monthly meetings in Belfast.  We’ll answer whatever we can and even chat about your story or art in advance.   With stories in particular, we are very open to helping get ideas from your head onto the page.  We'll help with scripting and structuring your story.   But please do talk to us.


Make sure you understand the terms on which you are contributing.  Sector 13, for example, is a non-profit zine, nobody gets paid but the printer, you’ll get a comp copy and our thanks but that is it I’m afraid.   Copyright of any original work (non-2000AD characters) remain with the creators. For our other books there will be small payments and some room for negotiation but you are not going to get rich.  If you have any questions, ask.  Ask as soon as possible so you are sure you know what is going on.  No reputable publisher will mind. 


Read submission guidelines carefully. Some will define exactly what material is required, others will be looser and more open.  But if the guidelines say there is a theme, story type or art style, that is not accepted for the publication, don't waste the editor's time by thinking you know what they wants better than they do themselves.  Stick to the page or word count the editor sets or contact them in advance to explain why your story should be different.  But have a very good reason prepared!


If detailed instructions are given for submissions, be sure you abide by them.  Some places demand full scripts created in a particular format or images to be in a specific type of file.  Others want a story synopsis, before ever seeing a script and may be less prescriptive in file types etc.


Artists submitting samples should look carefully at what the publication wants.  Sector 13 Comics mainly wants sequential art.   We use very few pin-ups and cover art is something we normally chase up ourselves.  So sending a lot of single images is not going to be as useful as sending a completed comic strip.   We want to see how well an artist can tell a story.


Finally make sure your submission is the best it can be.   Take a final look at your script or artwork before you send it and spell-check everything.  Make sure your script is as easy to follow as it can be, that the images are readable and good quality. 


Make the Submission


All submissions should be made to the editorial e-mail address, not to any other address you might have.  It makes life simpler for everyone.  For Sector 13 Comics that is Main reason for this is that if they go anywhere else they can get lost or delayed, so it’s simpler to keep everything together. 


If the files are too big for e-mail, try, and send to the editorial address.


When sending a submission we like to hear something about you.  Who you are, where you live what strips you like etc.  Why are you submitting to us.  Other places may be different but at Sector 13 Comics we really are interested.


Then you just sit back and wait.


Sector 13 Comics Editorial Process


Depending on the publication we have slightly different editorial processes. 


For Sector 13 and some of our upcoming books the editor, Peter Duncan (me) sees all submissions first. I go through them, read the scripts or examine the art.  At this stage a very number of may be rejected.  For example, one script was sent back because it was a story copied, almost word for word, from an old pre-superhero Marvel comic by Steve Ditko that I recognised, another because it missed the PG-13 rating of Sector 13 by quite a long way!


The rest are forwarded to the wider editorial team, consist

ing of Laurence McKenna and Patrick Brown.  Discussions follow on what we do with the submission.  In general we try to reach a consensus view, if we can’t then I, as editor, have the casting vote but to date I’m not sure that has ever been necessary.  The results of the deliberations will be communicated by me as editor. 


We instituted this as a strict process as in the early days, arguments over stories among a much bigger and badly defined editorial team almost brought the zine to an premature end.


For scripts the answer coming out will normally be either “who do we want to draw this”, “what do we need to get changed for this to work” or “sorry, can’t use this”.     It’ll then be up to me to send a response. 


We try to be both constructive and honest.  Acceptances are easy, rejections more difficult.  We’ll normally say why we’ve turned down a story, what needs to be better (or different) for a future submission to succeed and if we think amendments to this particular story might help. 


We also say what we liked about a submission.  Often storytelling is good while the quality of drawing needs some work.  Or a script may tell a good story but not be suitable for a comic.


More recently we’ve had scripts where we thought the decision was a very close thing and asked the writer if he would mind if we gave it to an artist in the same position to see what they made of it.  No promises as to what we would do with it.  Two strips have made their way into Sector 13 via that route.


For artists, our answers tend to be “yes, we have the perfect script for you”, “yes, as soon as we find a script for you” or “no, not at the moment”.


Again, we will normally give reasons for our decisions, which will be as honest and constructive as we can be.  We do appreciate that rejections are not pleasant and that contributors may not agree with what we say.  But at the end of the day it is our magazine and we have to decide what goes into it.  We will give advice as best we can.   It is there for a contributor to use as they wish.


Some of our other books have followed a slightly different process. Whapp!, Splank! and Yow! were personal projects.  Decisions on what would and would not be included were made by Editor, Peter Duncan with the rest of the team assisting more on decisions on format etc.


What Next?


Once your script has been accepted or we’ve told you we’d like to use your artwork, it all comes down to scheduling. 


If, after a month or so, you have not heard from us, do send us a reminder.  There is no problem with that. And if we tell you we’ll look at the schedule in two months, remind us.  Contact does not annoy us at all.


Sector 13 Comics want to feature as many writers and artists as we can.  We are always looking for new talent and at new ways to get them ‘into print’. Do take a look at what we do, and don’t be scared to submit.  We don’t bite, not even me, and we start from the position that we want people to see themselves in print. We are incredibly proud of having some of our best stories coming from people who came to us with little more than an idea.  And with whom we worked to turn that idea into a comic story.  We get a real kick out of that.


We will always give the best advise we can, but if you don’t want that and simply want a yes/no answer, please do make that clear and we can work with you that way as well.  But bear in mind, the advice we give is based on what we want you to do to enable us to accept your next submission.

Things That Annoy Editors (or how not to be accepted for publication).


Editors are human, most of them.  They have responsibility for what appears in their publications and want it to be as good as it can be.  Most of them want to say yes to contributors so it’s probably best not to annoy them needlessly.  These are a few things I’d advise would-be contributors not to do.




Argue with an editor’s decision.   If an editor does not want to publish your work arguing will not help.   But it may make them think twice about engaging with you the next time.   


Bombard them with submissions.   Its fine to send 3-4 scripts at a time – but bear in mind response may be slow.  Likewise artist’s samples can consist of a number of pages, but please send your submission and then wait.  We once had fourteen versions of the same pages send on successive days, each one with tiny differences addressing an equally tiny point of detail in my initial response to the submission.  I finally had to ask the artist to stop and not submitt to me any more.


Slag off the editor or the publication for their decisions on social media, especially if you know they will be watching.   You may feel like doing this after you get a grumpy return from Sector 13 Comics, but it’s not a good idea.   The editor may try to ignore the insult in the future, but he’s only human and you may well have burnt your boats in terms of ever getting published there. What's more other editors may see it and think twice about engaging with you.


Preview you work online, before it is published.  This drives one editor I know to distraction, it’s a good job his hair is already (prematurely) white!  It should be an absolute no-no for any paid work and even for a free market is not the best idea in the world.  Previews like this reduce the impact of a story when it finally appears and many editors hate it! If you want to do it, ask.


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