Monday, November 12, 2007

My Comic Strip Syndicate Submission - PART 1: “You’re Invited ...”

My Comic Strip Syndicate Submission by Mike Cope

Last week, I did something that I haven’t done in over 5 years ... I mailed a submission to the comic strip syndicates!

What does that mean?

Well, for starters, it means that I now have approximately six to eight weeks (or more) to try to forget about my submission while I “patiently” wait for any syndicate editors to reply. You see, they literally receive thousands of submissions per year, of which only a few are selected for development and/or offered a contract. There’s no guarantee they’ll like my work either.

However, I’ve had plenty of fun drawing this first batch of new cartoons, so my other option is to keep moving forward and continue developing my strip ... Hmm ...

Still reading, eh? I like your enthusiasm!

In fact, you’re more than welcome to join me in this pursuit of my childhood dream ... who knows, you just might WIN A PRIZE for participating!

I know, I know ... that’s one of the oldest “teacher tricks” in the book. But who doesn't like prizes? The best part is, you needn’t be a cartoonist in order to join in the fun. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old either. My only suggestion is that you feel young at heart! That's right, young at heart, like my new comic strip character, KRICK ...

KRICK by Mike Cope
KRICK: My new comic strip character.

Judging by his pose and outfit, can you guess what KRICK's occupation is? ... Be sure to come back and find out if you're right in the next few days!

In the meantime, let’s cover a few basics about comic strip syndication ...

1) WHO ARE THE SYNDICATES?

The syndicates are the companies that (among other things) handle the distribution of the comic strips which are published in daily newspapers and other media outlets worldwide. In fact, even if you’re only an occasional reader of the funnies, you may recognize some of the syndicate names.

Alphabetically, the “major” U.S. syndicates are:

Creators Syndicate
King Features Syndicate
Tribune Media Services
United Media / United Feature Syndicate
Universal Press Syndicate
The Washington Post Writers Group

Here in Canada, we also have TorStar Syndication Services.

When a cartoonist is described as being “syndicated,” this usually means that they’ve signed a contract with one of the above companies.

2) WHAT'S A SYNDICATION CONTRACT?

A syndication contract is an agreement between a cartoonist and a syndicate. Basically, it defines the legal responsibilities and rights of both parties. You see, a cartoonist may be the creative force behind the writing and drawing of a syndicated comic strip, but it’s the syndicate that handles the important roles of editing, promoting, and selling the cartoonist’s work.

In other words, the syndicates handle the business side of The Funnies Business ... there wouldn't be one without 'em!

3) WHICH SYNDICATES DISTRIBUTE WHICH COMIC STRIPS?

To find out which syndicate(s) your favourite newspaper comic strips are from, look for the tiny text that’s printed alongside any feature ... Sometimes the syndicate’s name appears in the © Copyright. In cases where a cartoonist owns the copyright, you’ll usually see the syndicate’s name associated with the words “Distributed by” (or simply “Dist. by”).

But before you run off to check, here's a li'l teaser ...

KRICK Teaser Photo: Say ... Where's CHARLIE?
KRICK Teaser Photo: "Say ... Where's CHARLIE?"

Starting this week, I intend to share more about the syndicate submission processes, including my own experiences and (most especially) the samples of my new comic strip. There you will find out who Charlie is and where he has gone!

I’ll also invite you, the reader, to offer your own critiques and feedback. As a token of appreciation, you’ll receive the chance to WIN A PRIZE! Of course, I can’t promise you’ll win, just as I can’t promise that I’ll have any luck with my submission, but neither of us will know unless we try :)

Follow me ...
PART 2: "Guidelines, Tips & Advice"
PART 3: "Writing a Cover Letter"

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

P.S. If you’re a cartoonist and are currently working on (or have recently mailed) a syndicate submission, I’d be happy to hear from you. Consider this my shout into the vast void of cyberspace ... IS ANYONE ELSE OUT THERE??

4 comments:

  1. Best of luck Mike! Looking forward to seeing the samples. It's funny that the dream of being in the funny pages is so strong. Just goes to show the impact of comics on us as kids. With the huge numbers of web comics it doesn't seem to be fading either.

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  2. Hi Mike, Wishing you great success!

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  3. Thanks, Jonathan and Larry ... I appreciate your support. You're absolutely right, Jon, about the impact comics had on us as kids.

    Best of luck to you both with your own strips!

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  4. Scott M.11:51 AM

    Hey Mike,

    Great blog entry. I am looking forward to seeing your samples. Best of luck to you!

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