posted Tuesday, April 9th 2013 by
None of the Above
Wizards of the Coast announced that they’re taking submissions for D&D Insider content during April and May. As someone with a few publishing credits in Dragon magazine I can tell you it’s pretty cool to see your work in print (even if it’s digital now), and getting paid for it’s not bad either.
But what are your chances of making it into D&D Insider if you haven’t written for Wizards of the Coast before? D20 Source takes a look.
The odds are against you
The overwhelming majority of D&D Insider articles are written by “insiders”: Wizards of the Coast employees, former employees, or freelance writers who have worked on a published D&D product before.
Of 1,589 Dragon magazine articles, only 132 writing credits belong to authors who had no professional relationship with Wizards of the Coast – about one article in twelve.
For Dungeon, that number is 147 out of 1,543 articles, plus 40 credits by authors who previously wrote adventures for the RPGA. Including those, around one in eight Dungeon credits belong to new authors.
While these numbers aren’t exact (some articles have multiple authors, and some are categorized both in Dragon and Dungeon), they should give you a good idea how little of D&D Insider is written by outside contributors.
Competition is fierce
D&D Insider only publishes a few reader-submitted articles each month, and competition is fierce. According to the submissions guidelines, they receive several thousand of pitches each year. Submissions are only open four months of the year (April/May and October/November), and you’re competing over perhaps fifty articles per year or less.
How to get published in D&D Insider
Although the odds are low, you can increase your chances considerably.
First, actually read the submissions guidelines to see what they want. For example, right now DDI wants adventures and certain categories of short articles for D&D 4th edition. They don’t want new mechanical material (feats, powers, etc). My advice is to submit adventures: they’re 10,000 words, so they pay a lot better than feature articles.
Second, brainstorm a lot of article ideas, then submit the best ones. Multiple pitches give you more chances to find something that appeals to the editor, but you don’t want to flood him with poor content. Brainstorming can help you come up with creative ideas.
It also helps if you have RPG writing experience, even if it’s unpaid. I recognize several D&D Insider authors as fellow D&D bloggers: Mike Shea (Sly Flourish), Dave Chalker (Critical Hits), Philippe-Antoine Menard (Chatty DM) and James Maliszewski (Grognardia). Some authors previously wrote for other publications (Kobold Quarterly) or the RPGA (e.g. Living Forgotten Realms).
The main thing is to write well, be creative, and keep trying. Good luck!