2017 Submissions


Since we closed our original round of open submissions to The Black Archive (after only a couple of months, because of the sheer volume of submissions we were getting), we’ve had a lot of enquiries about when we’re planning on reopening them.

Inevitably, with only six releases a year and a lot of interest in writing for the series, a proportion of potential contributors are going to be – and have already been – disappointed. Nonetheless, we’ve been trying to work out a fair way to commission some new names for future releases, even if at this point ‘future’ has to mean 2019 at the earliest.

To keep a balance between different strands of Doctor Who in our publications schedule, and to limit the volume of proposals we’re dealing with at any one time, we’ll be considering open submissions in staggered slots during 2017. We’re announcing this now to give you plenty of time to prepare.

The Quick Version
During April 2017, we’ll be accepting submissions relating to 1960s Doctor Who.
During June 2017, we’ll be accepting submissions relating to 1970s Doctor Who.
During August 2017, we’ll be accepting submissions relating to 1980s Doctor Who.
During October 2017, we’ll be accepting submissions relating to 2000s Doctor Who.
During December 2017, we’ll be accepting submissions relating to 2010s Doctor Who.

The Inevitable Small Print
The periods are defined slightly elastically: we’re deeming ‘1970s’ to include all of season 17 including The Horns of Nimon and Shada, while The End of Time is considered a 2000s story. Any story broadcast in 2017 (including, if you can manage to whip up a submission by 31 December, the Christmas special) will be considered in the 2010s window.

We’re not seeking submissions for three particularly significant stories: An Unearthly Child, Doctor Who (1996), and The Day of the Doctor. We plan to cover all of these in the long run, but not using unsolicited submissions.

Naturally, no proposal relating to a story we’ve already published or announced a title for will be considered. Unfortunately this also relates to titles we’ve commissioned but not yet announced – if your proposal happens to clash with one of these, you’re out of luck, but the sheer number of Doctor Who stories means the odds of it happening to you are pretty low.

Proposals should relate to TV Doctor Who stories only, please – if you have to ask whether it counts, it doesn’t. (Unless it’s Shada, but if you’ve been reading so far you won’t need to ask that.)

What We’ll Need to See
You’ll need to send us two things:

  • A detailed chapter breakdown showing the structure of your proposed Black Archive title. This isn’t just the contents page, but must include a précis of each chapter.
  • A sample of your critical writing, in a similar style to what you intend to write for us. This should be a single piece, 4,000 to 6,000 words long. If something you’ve written previously fits the bill, that’s fine. Otherwise, this should consist of one (or more, if they’re short) of the chapters listed in your chapter breakdown.

If you’re not sure what the above should look like, your best bet is to buy and read some of the published Black Archive titles.

The Process
Please email submissions to blackarchive@obversebooks.co.uk during the relevant submissions window, with ‘Black Archive submission: ’ and the name of your chosen story in the subject line. Proposals submitted outside the relevant submissions window will be ignored. Participants are limited to one submission per slot, and no more than two submissions in total for the year.

We will consider your submission and get back to you within two months of the end of the submissions window (so if you submit in April, you’ll hear back by the end of June; for December, you’ll hear back by the end of February 2018).

We’ll pick submissions based on their merits, but also in relation to our commissioned titles and the overall balance of the range. We’re aware that our record of gender representation has been pretty shoddy to date, so we’ll give a degree of preferential treatment to submissions from women.

We anticipate that a number of deserving submissions will have to be rejected, based purely on the limited number of slots available. We’ll inform you if your submission has been rejected, but we won’t necessarily be able to give specific feedback or enter into further correspondence.

This is a submissions process, not a competition, so we won’t be announcing ‘winners’. Commissioned titles will be announced in due course as part of our standard publication schedule. If you are commissioned, your title won’t be published before 2019 or 2020, possibly later, and we may not be able to assign a publication slot immediately. We will discuss the writing, editing and publication process in more detail with participants whose submissions are successful.

We hope to repeat this process at some point, but not in 2018 and very possibly not in 2019 either. Rejected submissions from 2017 will be eligible for resubmission if this happens.