Leave out weak ideas. Wait until you have ten or fifteen strong, inspired ideas. If you include weak ideas in your batch, that will diminish the editor’s impression of you. Once you have ten or fifteen strong ideas (or even better, multiple batches of ten or fifteen strong ideas), get a copy of the Gag recap: the gag writer’s and cartoonists’ trade journal:
In it you’ll find a list of all publications currently accepting submissions and their submission guidelines, as well as a recap of all cartoons published each month.
Send your batches first to the highest paying publications and work down the list, keeping records of where and when you’ve sent batches. Do not send the same cartoons to multiple editors simultaneously. That will get you into trouble if two or more editors contact you to buy the same cartoon. Only send previously unpublished work.
If you live in the U.S., wait at least one month (two is safer) to hear back from an editor before sending that same material on to another publication. Send according to the frequency of the publication. If it’s a weekly magazine, send every week, if a monthly publication, send every month. Some editors don’t respond unless they want to buy something. Don’t be put off by no response. Remember, you only need one ‘yes’.
Submissions to The New Yorker magazine are sent by snail mail. When you make your first sale, you are added to the cartoon editor’s email list.
c/o The New Yorker
One World Trade Center,
New York, NY 10007
When submitting to The New Yorker, if your writing is good, they will notice you. They do go through all the submissions so they will see your work. They aren’t concerned so much about drawing ability as they are about your vision as a humor writer. They don’t buy cartoons, they buy cartoonists.
Send them ten to fifteen 8.5″ x 11″ drawings – send copies, not originals – in a 9 x12 manila envelope. Send too many and you make their job difficult. Sending standard 8.5 x 11 makes it easier for them to sort through. Send every week.
On the back of each drawing put:
- name, address, ph#, email address and website. You can have a rubber stamp made with all that info on it so you don’t have to write it out ten to fifteen times.
- a number in the top corner. Start with a larger number like 103 rather than 1 so you don’t look like a total newbie. And use these numbers to keep records of your drawings. When buying a drawing, some editors will refer to that number.
- If you are sending by email, send images as a single pdf file, unless submission guidleines indicate otherwise. There are free apps out there that will combine a group of documents or jpegs into a single pdf file.
It’s very important to keep a record of what you sent to whom and when. I use Adobe Bridge to organize my records because it’s visual. I create a folder for each publication and within that folder, folders containing the scanned images of each batch I’ve sent. I label each batch folder with the date I sent it. E.g. March 3, 2014 would be “140303” and would contain all the images sent to that publication on that date:
Selling cartoons to editors is all about tuning into what they are looking for. Read through the Gag Recap or the publications themselves to see what the editors are buying.