Self Syndication Of Cartoons and Comic Strips

Self Syndication

Self syndication and self syndicating cartoons and comic strips. I remember it well and was recently reminded of my efforts while sifting through old stacks of Syndicate / News Services from the old Editor & Publisher magazine section from back in Novemeber 1990.self syndication

I say reminded, because I was blown away at how great it was to work with editor Dave Astor of the magazine who was always receptive to press releases and updates I provided him. Some places I would send my press releases could care less….not Dave! He is now a successful author and I will recap some of his works in future posts. For now, visit his site Dave Astor On Literature.

I also see a familiar display ad on this same page by none other than Dick Smith who drew a comic strip called Coby’s Corner. I used to talk with Dick about his techniques and he’d offer me suggestions as I’d offer him my own tricks of the trade whenever we’d talk. I often whatever became of him and his comic strip as time marched on.

Back in those days, self syndication was a viable option for cartoonists. I used to use Editor and Publisher annual directory of syndication services which listed all the newspapers and syndicates. Instead of preparing a package of so many weeks worth of strips and then mailing them into the syndicates, all of whom were getting thousands of other comic strip proposals per year. A self-syndicator could skip the middle-man (the syndicates) and offer his work to the newspaper editors and publishers directly.

Self syndicating cartoons to newspapers

It seemed to be a great time….because I was also keeping upwards of 1,000 to 2,000 separate single panel gag cartoons circulating to various magazines around the United States, Canada and over in the United Kingdom.

Not so many magazines in the U.K. but those I did show work to, were bonafide users of cartoons. At this same time, I was also making up in-depth promotional brochures of previous published samples of magazine article illustrations and spot drawings I had done, and sending those out, sometimes 500 at a time, up to 1,000 and 2,000 at a time in mailings to book publishing companies and was getting projects assigned this way also.

Mind you, this was all pre-internet. And as negatively ironic as this might sound, those were good times! There seemed to be an optimism in place and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Perhaps it was in fact so many of us (creatives in general) knew the march was on when more and more talk began as the technological age was going to change publishing and most of us were working as diligently as possible in creating and promoting in the best ways we knew how or were familiar with.

I know I had felt that way throughout the 90’s. In a way I still do, and have luckily kept some of my previous clients as regulars, who assign new work each month. For anyone seeking to self syndicate their features, I say more power to you….be diligent and persistent and most of all, don’t let rejection bother you.

If you have a vision, go after it! Find your own newspaper syndicates list and use it. There are always newspapers looking for columnists and publishers seeking cartoons.