Comics / Cartoons
Here is an interesting site on comics : http://www.comic-art.com/
Gags, Greets, and Giggles
By Heather Down
Humor writing is no laughing matter. In the past two decades this genre has mushroomed from a writing vice into a respected and lucrative writing device. If you have the knack to make people smile, where can you go to turn hysterics into hard cash? Besides your local newspaper commentary columns, there are several less explored markets that can transform your paycheck from a joke into something to truly smile about.
Try gag writing; it's nothing to choke on. How do single panel freelance cartoonists keep coming up with new ideas year after year? The answer is simple - a large number of them don't. Many cartoonists welcome ideas written in a very succinct 1 - 2 line fashion.
But, where do you find cartoonists looking for gags? Many of them are frequent flyers on professional cartoonist internet forums and web sites. Some of these sites even allow gag writers to post advertisements. Laugh Traxx is an internet subscription site, but has a very good listing of potential markets. Also, keep checking hard copy professional magazines such as Cartoon World.
When submitting gags, be sure to number and track each one carefully. Most cartoonists will review batches of 10 - 20 ideas at a time. If the cartoonist likes an idea or two, she will put a hold on it. This means she plans on drawing up the idea and submitting it to various potential markets. It also means that you should no longer circulate that idea to other cartoonists. Hang on to any rejected ideas as there are always other cartoonists who may like them. As the saying goes, one cartoonist's poison is another's meat.
Some cartoonists buy ideas outright. They may pay anywhere from $5.00 - $50.00, but more likely you will work on commission. If a cartoon is published, the artist will then pay you between 20 - 30% of her royalties. Since toons can go from anywhere between $25.00 - $250.00, your pay can vary greatly.
Greets are great! The humorous, alternative greeting card is in a prime, causing all the big corporations to get on board by providing their own in-house humor lines. There are a lot of companies buying freelance material and some pay extremely well. The best place to start your search for markets in the most recent Writer's Market. There is usually an entire chapter dedicated to greeting card writing.
Most companies prefer greeting card ideas typed on index cards. Again, like gags, numbering and tracking each submission is imperative. Remember to put your name and address on the back of each idea. If you become a preferred contributor, some companies will ask you to e-mail your ideas straight to the appropriate editor, saving time and postage.
While some small presses may offer as little as $20.00, it is not uncommon for the larger companies to pay $150.00/idea. Before you quit your day job, however, remember the rejection rate is high. Therefore, it is important to keep the rejected ideas circulating. As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to start with the highest paying markets and work your way down.
Giggle ridden gift books are going like hot cakes. Society is getting very busy and many people no longer have time to sit down to read that classic novel. They do wish to be entertained, though, and humor is often the venue of choice.
The market is supporting quite a few impulse gift books. These quick reads are hitting the shelves everywhere and selling. There are several well-known publishers who specialize in this type of material. Some accept only agent-sent material while others laboriously read through the slush pile. Check the Writer's Market for the newest listings.
So, if you get a chuckle out of churning out laughable material, make sure to explore your markets. A little knowledge about gags, greets, and giggles can leave you laughing all the way to the bank.
Copyright (C) 1998 by Heather Down
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