Friday, October 26, 2007

Cartoon Batch Mailing

"What do you mean when you say you send in a 'batch?'" - syndicated cartoonist to me.

A "batch" of cartoons is the industry slang, among those in the gag cartoon industry, for a packet of cartoons. My batches can vary between 10-20 cartoons per mailing. I talked about this in my Selling Cartoons to Magazines entry last month.

I want to talk about the SASE, the Self Addressed Stamped Envelope, and what to do when there's no response from an editor.


I put a code in the corner of the envelope ("GH 10/1/07," for instance, letting me know that the SASE envelope (when/if I get it back) is from Good Housekeeping and I mailed it on October 1, 2007). This helps if there is no note inside from the editor.

There are no rules about SASEs.

No response from editor:

In the past year, it seems that about half of the markets are bad about returning batches. I have a SASE, and cartoonist Mark Anderson has a preprinted postcard with postage for the editor to return. He wrote about it on his blog, if you want to go Googling. We both get the same crummy 50% response rate.

I don't think that the editors are trying to send a message, I think that a lot of editors do a lot of tasks during the day. Cartoons are not as big a priority as some, and they can get back burnered and become forgotten.

I wait 30 days, and if there's been no response, I'll print off a dupe of that batch and mail the same batch to another, similar market. I do go on and keep sending for a couple months even if a market has not returned my SASEs or responded in any way. If I have a market that goes a couple months of me sending and no response, I'll call to ask (in a friendly way) have they seen my cartoons and can we have a short talk about their cartoon needs. Sometimes I get a nice person, sometimes I get someone who really doesn't have the time. A lot of times, I talk to a voicemail.

I've had long discussions with cartoonists about sending out the same batch (called "simultaneous submissions") after 30 days to another market, and some disagree with me. My take: 4 weeks is long enough for a professional editor to open my stuff at that first mag I sent to and respond. It's only by continuously moving your product that you can see sales.



Mike, Re: holds. I sold a cartoon to HBR 2 years ago. They are still 2 of mine from the same year. I have'nt called because I was told that they hol until thet are ready to use. What's your dig on this?"
Best, Don

Mike Lynch said...

Don, congratulations on your sale to HBR!

I'm not sure I understand the situation.

Do you have 2 cartoons that have been on hold for a couple years at HBR? If so, I would resend them and clip a note with them with the details and ask if they are still under consideration. HBR has regular cartoon meetings and I'm not aware of them holding cartoons for months or years.

Srini Bhukya said...

Mike, as always very interesting read. I like the idea of sending to another magazine after 30 days. But has it ever happened where two magazines wanted the same cartoon and how did you deal with that?

Jack Ruttan said...

Er, does anyone make a living as a gag cartoonist anymore, in this day and age? Obviously, as far as I can see, one has to have a "day job."

Not trying to be snarky, would really like to know!

Mike Lynch said...

Jack, I posted a note on the blog today that talks about all of the different markets out there.

Srini, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING called me, wanting to buy a cartoon that I had just sold to FIRST. I looked at my records. That cartoon was mailed to GH some 3-4 months ago. When I told GH that she was looking at a batch mailed several months ago, the editor (who is no longer there) actually argued that I was wrong because she just got the submission. I told her that they could buy secondary rights if they wanted. No sale!