Friday, October 30, 2020

Cartoon Invoices: How To Invoice

I've gotten a couple of emails asking how to invoice, what exactly IS this invoice that thee buyer has asked me for, etc. So, let's take a chapter from the ol' MIKE LYNCH COLLEGE OF CARTOON KNOWLEDGE and talk about invoicing: how to do it, etc. Here goes. 

It's great when you get that letter, email or phone call letting you know that you sold a cartoon. A lot of the time, when I'm home with a snoozing cat next to me, drawing, I can only wonder, "Are these funny? Funny enough to SELL?!" 

A sale is vindication that you did all right. You targeted a market, came up with some appropriate, sellable, professional work. But, better yet, someone else thought what you did was funny, and they have money for you. 

And, they tell you, please send an invoice. 


An invoice is, as you all ready know, the bill that the accounting people need at the magazine, ad agency, Web site or wherever you sold your work. For me, it's usually a magazine or Web site. 

I put the above invoice together in Word. 

YOUR NAME AND CONTACT INFO. goes at the top. I make my name big, since that's the name that goes on the check. I include my Social Security number. Early on, I had my NAME and, right under it, MY WEB SITE -- both in big letters. One time, a client mailed me a check made payable to my Web site. It took 2 phone calls and 4 weeks til I got another, correct, check. Now I just put my name up top in big letters -- and then I ask again to "make check payable to Mike Lynch" at the bottom. 

BUYER'S INFO. is all the information you have on your client. You need this. It really helps to have their phone number, email, etc. on file. If you don't know their phone number, email them and ask. Tell them YOU HAVE TO HAVE IT. For a first time client, I want all of their information. And I do ask, if given a PMB or PO or Suite number, for a real bricks-and-mortar address. 

INVOICE NUMBER & DATE You may want it for reference. Usually, when the payment arrives, the number and date will be on their check to you so you can cross reference. If you get the check and there's a problem, then having these numbers on your original invoice will enable the accounting people to figure out what happened. Recently, I sold a couple and when I got the check, it was for half the sale. I found out that it was my fault: in the Total column, I only noted one sale. A dumb mistake! 

ITEMIZED LIST OF SALES ensures that everyone understands that the sale is for a particular cartoon. I put a number on the back of all my cartoon originals, and that gets written on the invoice. It means nothing to the buyer, of course, but for me, it tells me exactly which cartoon I sold. I also write the caption or general description of the cartoon on the invoice. 

TERMS OF SALE is something that you want to consider. Mine establishes legal authorship of the work, letting the buyer know that the cartoon is mine. In other words, the person buying the cartoon does not now own the cartoon. The routine sale is for one-time use. Rarely, just every once in a while, someone will think that they now own a cartoon you made and that they can put it on t-shirts, etc. 

- The following is a revised version of a June 6, 2007 blog entry.

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