Each week, I draw up some cartoons -- usually between 10 to 15 gag cartoons -- and then mail them out to a magazine. Then, the next week, I draw some more cartoons and mail them out to another magazine. And so on. That's the process. After a while, I have hundreds of cartoons in the mail, going to different markets. Some get accepted, most get rejected.
This is the story of one cartoon from one particular batch.
Most of the cartoons I draw go to The New Yorker first.
On March 25, 2003, I had a small batch -- 8 cartoons -- that I took up to the Conde Nast offices, where The New Yorker is. (I think one of the reasons for such a small batch was that I was doing charcoal and wash. I don't do that any more. Beautiful to look at, but too time consuming!) The cartoon editor looked at my batch and pulled half of the cartoons. One of the cartoons that was held that day was the cartoon I blogged about yesterday (see previous entry, below). When The New Yorker cartoon editor chooses the cartoons, he's doing an initial sort. He will do another sorting through later, and then the next day he will meet with the editor-in-chief to decide what to buy. It's hard to make it to through all these sessions.
The New Yorker did not buy any. So the cartoons, duly rejected my their first market, were mailed to other markets.
VISUAL METAPHOR FOR REJECTION #1
Okay, if each rejection is portrayed as a visual metaphor -- for instance, let's say representing each rejection as a dead Star Trek red shirt (from the original Star Trek episode "Obsession"), then the rejection sequence would look like this:
The cartoon's dead, Jim, the cartoon's dead,Jim, etc. (Until being resuscitated by WSJ, that is.)
VISUAL METAPHOR FOR REJECTION #2
The cartoon was mailed out and rejected over twenty times. Here is a list of the dates it was mailed out:
8/2/05 (Sold, WSJ)
VISUAL METAPHOR FOR REJECTION #3
And I quickly put together a graphic of just half of the rejections:
Rejection is a big part of being a cartoonist
Persistence, persistence, persistence is what gets the cartoon sold.
I read somewhere that the average cartoonist lasts about 6 months in this business. Now I know why!