Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Comic Strip Syndicate Submission - PART 3: “Writing a Cover Letter"

My Comic Strip Syndicate Submission by Mike Cope - PART THREE: Writing a Cover Letter

If you’re just joining in, I revealed in my previous post that the title of my new comic strip is K is for KRICK, and that Krick is a schoolteacher. Technically, he’s a substitute teacher in my syndicate submission; nevertheless, he’s a fully-trained and certified high school science teacher!

Fresh out of teachers college, he’s currently on an adventure to find a full-time teaching position. This can be a lot like fishing. You toss your application into the vast ocean, and then hope that you’ll get a nibble or two.

Part of the excitement (and stress) is that you never "reel-ee" know what you’ll reel in ... if anything.

It’s sorta like submitting to the comic strip syndicates ...

K is for KRICK: Cap'n Rod
K is for KRICK: "Cap'n Rod will help yee catch one!"

Now that I’ve set the stage, let’s try a bit of role-playing!

Imagine you’re a cartoonist ... This may be easier for some to do than others. For those who aren’t sure, you can dress casually, but showering is still preferred. Glasses are optional, although I think most of us require corrective eyewear of some sort -- daily eyestrain is an occupational hazard.

If you’re worried that you don’t know how to draw, that’s okay, I feel the same way at times. For now, we’re both cartoonists!

So ... what are you working on?

Interesting.

Me? I’m trying to write a cover letter.

Yeah, I know ... it's not a cartoon, but I’ve been preparing this submission for the comic strip syndicates and have carefully studied their different submission guidelines as described in PART 2. I’ve completed a minimum of 4 week’s worth of sample strips, and have neatly printed them on standard 8 ½” x 11” sheets of paper, but ...

I just don’t know what I should say to the syndicate editors. I want to say something that will really sell my comic strip ...

Shouldn't the samples should speak for themselves?

Hmm ... Good point.

But what about telling the editors about who my characters are, or what the strip is all about? Don't you think --

Peanuts?

No, I never read any of those things before I read Peanuts for the first time ... I just read Mr. Schulz’s strips.

Still, shouldn’t I (at least) say hello? I mean, this is the first page that the editor will see when they open my submission. That is, provided the mailperson doesn’t accidentally drop it in a puddle of mucky water, turning it into nothing but a weathered pile of goo ... (*sigh*) ...

Yeah, I’m worried about that too ...

After all, the syndicates receive thousands of submissions per year! In a recent Comics Coast to Coast podcast with syndicate editor, Amy Lago, it was said that some cartoonists mail their comic strip samples in big heavy binders ... I figure it’s only a matter of time before the letter carrier who needs to deliver my business-sized envelope gets tired!

Besides, drawing a syndicated comic strip was my childhood dream. The last thing I want to get is another one of these ...

Form Rejection - King Features Syndicate

These ...

Form Rejection - United Media / United Feature Syndicate

Or these ...

Form Rejection - Universal Press Syndicate

I dunno ... I guess I just want to do the right thing.

In fact, Krick feels the same way ...

K is for KRICK: Principal Grace
K is for KRICK: "Not exactly, Principal Grace ..."

As you’ll see in the K is for KRICK comic strip samples that I'll be sharing tomorrow, Krick feels a little like a fish out of water at the school where he is supply teaching. I think that a lot of new teachers feel that way sometimes ... err ... a lot of times!

I feel the same way about writing this cover letter.

Huh? What about his tie?

Oh, I like drawing Krick wearing a tie so he looks professional, but what does that have to do with writing this cover ... Say, that’s a good idea ... Just be professional.

Thanks for the advice!

(*ahem*)

Dear Syndicate Editor,

I am sincerely honoured to present to you my new comic strip ...

[delete][delete][delete]

Dear Syndicate Editor,

How’s the weather today in Florida, Kansas, California, New York, Toronto?

[delete][delete]

Dear Syndicate Editor,

I hope you don’t send me a form rejection letter like last time.

[delete]

This is my childhood dream ... Please don’t make me cry.

[...]

Are you really reading this? My comic strip samples are on the next page ...

[...]

Dear Syndicate Editor,

I hope you enjoy my comic strip.

(*scratch*)(*scratch*)

... enough that you don't mail me a form rejection letter!

(*sigh*)

K is for KRICK: Teacher's Sense
K is for KRICK: "That's your Teacher's Sense that's tinggling ..."

I hope that you've enjoyed this little introduction to My Comic Strip Syndicate Submission ... Tomorrow, I'll be sharing all the samples of my new comic strip, K is for KRICK, and will also be offering you the chance to WIN A PRIZE!

'Til then ...

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

4 comments:

  1. I've been really enjoying your posts on this so far...keep up the great work!

    I'm curious though...what did the final cover letter really say?

    And my teacher sense is 'tingling' too! 'Tingling' with one 'G'! :) Was that a misspelling, or a character inflection?

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  2. Thanks, John! I appreciate your kind feedback.

    Regarding the final cover letter ... You know how some multiple choice questions have the option: "All of the above" ... Let's just say it was tempting :)

    About the extra "G" ... That's what you call ironic! That image is the LAST panel of the LAST strip in my syndicate submission. The lesson here is to use a spellchecker -- ESPECIALLY if you're hand-lettering!

    So much for trying to do the right thing ... I wonder if any editors will notice??

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  3. I don't think it should be a concern. Your work is of high enough quality that it will probably be overlooked. The only reason I noticed it was that it was a lone panel, not the whole body of work.

    I am TERRIBLE at hand-lettering, your stuff looks great! It maintains a consistent style with high clarity and flows nicely with the art.

    Now I'm really sorry I mentioned it...you'll do great, don't worry! (However, I still think it would be a great character trait...an older lady who dragged out certain letters while speaking. Could make for some funny scenes.)

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  4. I really like your cartoons. I draw them myself since high school.. I just havent had the nerve to send them in yet.. anyways, about your comics, my art teacher told me before that good comics consist of good drawing and good dialogue.. I think you did a really good job on both.. and your cartoons will more than likely appeal to a large age group from the young to old.. its really good and i loved it! Thank you for sharing!

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