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Want to Write About Doctor Who? Obverse Books Opens Black Archive Pitch Submissions, 2020-21

Later this year, Obverse Books will be accepting pitches for new editions of The Black Archive, 20,000– 40,000-word analyses of individual Doctor Who TV stories. Previous open pitch window submissions have resulted in a number of new titles in the range, including The Black Archive #44: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang (written by me).

The submission window opens in September 2020 and runs until February 2021, although you’ll only be able to pitch for stories in dedicated months. The schedule is:

September 2020: Stories from The Daleks (1963-64) to The War Games (1969).
October 2020: Stories from Spearhead from Space (1970) to The Armageddon Factor (1979).
November 2020: Stories from Destiny of the Daleks (1979) to Survival (1989).
December 2020: Stories from The End of The World (2005) to The End of Time (2009-10).
January 2021: Stories from The Beast Below (2010) to In the Forest of the Night (2014).
February 2021: Stories from Last Christmas (2014) to Revolution of the Daleks (? 2020).

You can’t submit a proposal about spin-offs or tie-in media, and obviously nothing on stories already covered by the Archive. Obverse also isn’t accepting pitches for An Unearthly Child.

Interested? You’ll need to send to send us a single Microsoft Word document containing:

  • 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 long sample of the book. This will need to be 8,000- 10,000 words long. (Alternatively, you may substitute an unpublished piece of similar length, subject matter and style.)

If you’re not sure what the above should look like, you should read some of the published Black Archive titles on similar stories. The projected length of the final book (excluding synopsis, bibliography etc.) should be between 20,000 and 40,000 words.

And speaking personally here, it really is worth it. Working with Paul Simpson, my editor, was fantastic, and I’m really proud of the end-product, even if I do occasionally scour the text for fear a typo or three made it through. It’s a wonderful chance to enthuse about a serial, but also to learn. That is, to learn about (in my case) quantum physics, astrology, and Greek legends; and to learn about the publishing process.

So what do you need to do? Email submissions, in their correct windows, to, with ‘Black Archive submission: ’ and the name of your chosen story in the subject line. Participants are limited to one submission per slot, and no more than two submissions in total.

Head over to Obverse Books to find out more.

Philip Bates

Editor and co-founder of the Doctor Who Companion. When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. Writer of The Black Archive: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, The Silver Archive: The Stone Tape, and 100 Objects of Doctor Who.

Want to Write About Doctor Who? Obverse Books Opens Black Archive Pitch Submissions, 2020-21

by Philip Bates time to read: 2 min
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