Why I Want to be Syndicated
When I was 5 years old, my grandmother read me the Sunday Funnies in the Galveston Daily News. I was hooked immediately. She would read the comic strips to me every Sunday, fueling my passion for comic strips. At that tender age, I knew that I wanted to be a cartoonist, writing and drawing silly comics set to brighten people’s days. I knew in my heart that I would one day be in newspapers all over the country. As soon as I learned to read, I began reading my parent’s newspaper ever single day so I could study each comic strip.
Flash forward several decades later, and I have worked my tail off and created an amazing comic strip called Charmy’s Army. Four years ago I began contacting newspapers one by one in an attempt to get Charmy’s Army published. The third newspaper I contacted, The Weekly Bulletin in Brazoria County, picked me up and I was off and running. Nearly a year later, I landed my second newspaper. In the course of about three and a half years, I have secured five newspapers. They are all weekly newspapers so I am not making any real money.I am also not reaching the entire country as I dreamed when I was a tiny kid with wide-eyed dreams.
Most newspapers will not respond to my emails because they only deal with syndicates. Syndicates wield great power with newspapers across the WORLD. Representation by a national syndicate is the ONLY way a comic strip can reach the mainstream market. Charmy’s Army needs a syndicate and a daily cycle in print to earn enough money to elevate my career from hobby grade to “future made”. I am tired of dreaming. I want this.
This syndicate began in 1987 when I was still in college. They manage a few classic comic strips which I grew up idolizing. Among the strips Creators manages of which I grew up reading are Archie, B.C., The Wizard of Id, Heathcliff, and Andy Capp. This syndicate responds in about two weeks with a form letter. This latest submission went out on Sunday so I should get my form letter back with my rejection before my appearance at Bell County Comic Con next month.
For anyone wanting to get their work syndicated, this place is the best place to begin. You can email your submission to Creator’s Syndicate. Simple! They also respond to every submission. Granted, the response is a form letter. Bother rejections i receive are identical… word for word. The big syndicates do not respond to everyone, so this could be the only response you will get. Even a form letter is better than never hearing back on your dream.
KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
When I was a kid, this was the only syndicate I wanted to work for. They had animated versions of Beetle Bailey and Snuffy Smith running on television. I wanted a comic strip that could be both in newspapers AND on television! I was already thinking about royalties, even though, at the time, I do not believe cartoonists received royalties on their creations.
One of the local television channels would run Blondie movies on Friday nights. To this day, I am still in love with those movies. Penny Singleton portrayed Blondie and Arthur Lake portrayed Dagwood in 28 insanely enjoyable films. The films were so different than the comic strip I was reading. Afterall, the movies dated back to 1938. Times change. The fact that King Features had such a long-lasting and successful comic strip such as Blondie convinced me that King Features would be my best choice for syndication.
King Features also offers an online submission portal. I am pretty sure this is new. I uploaded my presentation last night. As a backup, I will be mailing a submission along with a comic book later in the week. I have never received a response from King Features. I have a calendar in my studio where I track the timeline. In eight weeks I will call for the bell and count myself out.
This syndicate has become the top player in the business. They represent a ton of comic strips including such classics as Peanuts, Pearls Before Swine, and reruns of Calvin and Hobbes. All three of these comic strips have made me into the cartoonist I am today. To have Charmy and the gang in the same house as my heroes would be a dream come true.
Go Comics is my best chance at syndication as they manage a lot of strips that are only published online. I would be more than happy to start there and prove myself worthy over time of being print level quality. I have submitted twice already and both times I received an original response from the syndicate. They were both rejection letters, but the fact that they took time to email me back was so encouraging.
I will send my submission later in the week. Both times in the past, I heard back in about two months. To be honest, I really do not expect to be picked up by Go Comics or any of the syndicates. If you never follow through with your dreams, you will flow through life always wondering what could have been. I am going to know one way or another when all is said and done in a few months.
WHAT IF I DON’T GET SYNDICATED?
Look, the chances of being syndicated these days are a billion to one… and there are a ton of amazing cartoonists with amazing concepts for comic strips looking for the same dream I am looking for. To expect to live out my childhood dream is just plain silly. I say this every time, if I do not get syndicated I will just roll with it and keep plugging away on comic strips for my fans. The real truth is that I will be pretty upset for a month or so after the time runs out and the dream implodes yet again. I always get over the disappointment and come out stronger and more determined than ever.
If cartoonists want to learn anything from me and my experience, just remember that you can never give up. It is quite alright to be sad and beat yourself up. I have gotten better with every failure. You must dig deep into your soul and take an honest look at your work. With each failure at syndication, I have found areas in need of mass improvements. The results of my journey have made Charmy’s Army in the the massively successful comic strip you read today!
#comics #syndication #gocomics #kingfeatures #charmysarmy