Cartoons Are Essential To Any Publication - Here's Why
As a cartoonist I frequently encounter publishers who say, "We don't use cartoons." Their reasons are usually one of two:
1. They can't afford them.
2. They consider cartoons low-brow and not suitable for their sophisticated audience.
Both arguments are completely invalid. Let's look at both of these and see why.
First on the subject of cartoons being low-brow and unsophisticated. Along with this is the fallacy that cartoons are for children. I have sold a lot of my cartoons to lawyers, doctors and educators. These are intelligent, sophisticated people, yet they enjoy a funny cartoon. Surveys have shown that over half of the readers of comic pages are adults - not children. Popular television cartoon shows were designed with adults in mind, such as "The Flintstones", "The Simpsons", and "Family Guy". And one of the best-known magazine publishing cartoons is "The New Yorker" and their appeal is primarily to sophisticated readers. The idea that cartoons are low-brow is basically a snooty idea which has no validity.
As for whether a publisher can afford them, if that's truly the case, publishers can find cartoons for free. I don't recommend it. There are cartoonists who will work for free but these are generally amateurs who are desperate to get published. The cartoons you get from them are usually not very good and will reflect badly on your publication. You want to gain readers or subscribers, and you're more apt to do so if you present content that is informative or entertaining. If you give them the cheap stuff, your publication becomes less interesting and you can actually lose readers who will decide to spend their time reading another publication which has more appealing content.
Cartoons don't have to cost a lot. Cartooning is a highly competitive business and cartoonists must be willing to negotiate in order to succeed. If offers are reasonable most cartoonists will accept them, but if not the cartoonist may counter with their own suggestions. Cartoons sold to smaller publications usually bring a much lower cost than those sold to major publications. But in either case, the publisher usually gets what he pays for.
My recommendation is that publishers negotiate for a fee they consider comfortable, but get the best content you can afford. Avoid going too cheap and most of all, avoid publishing without any cartoons at all. Cartoons attract both readers and advertisers, and you need both.
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