There was a reason I drew magazine gag cartoons: my other projects did not work out.
I was going to draw a graphic novel, but decided that it was a lot of work for probably not a lot of money. Then, I tried to get syndicated. But, like zillions before me, I was not successful.
So, gag cartooning it was!
Still ... it took months before I sold my first magazine cartoon. I would show friends my cartoons. "Do these make sense to you? Do you think they're funny? Would you buy them?" If they said anything encouraging, instead of thanking them, I would continue to press their patience, whining about some more about getting rejected.
Of course, my friends had hung up the phone by now.
Every month, I mailed out a batch to all of the major cartoon markets. We talked about batches here, and why I was mailing paper, and not just emailing JPEGs.
OK, even if I had not heard back in 30 days, I mailed in ten more. For a SASE, I just mailed a folded 9x12 envelope with enough stamps on it for it to return to me. (If you put one of those preprinted post office postage strips on, it doesn't work. The postage is only good for mailing on that day.)
To find markets, I went to the bookstores and libraries. I'd write to the art director, and send the package of 10-12 cartoons to the address of the magazine. I'd include a cover letter, letting them know who I am and any credentials.
Anyway, so half a year goes by with all this toil. I was coming up with 8-12 cartoon ideas a day, throwing most of them out, and then drawing up the rest of the good ideas.
What I didn't understand was that a lot of my submissions were being opened up and looked at seriously. The editors just weren't buying ... yet.
By the time the beginning of my seventh month of being a non-selling gag cartoonist, I began to get buys. I decided -- right or wrong -- that maybe the editors were waiting me out, to see if I was going to be a regular contributor. And to watch and see that my work was of consistent quality.
Some of the editors sent an email, others would send a note with the SASE, to let me know there was a buy. For most buys, I email a hi res JPEG, along with an invoice.