Do You Know the 5 Cartoons Most Likely to Sell?

iStock_000003821345XSmall.jpgSelling cartoons is hard enough; give yourself a leg up on the competition by playing better odds.

After scouring 10 years of files, databases and Quickbooks reports, here are the cartoons I’ve found sell best:

1. Business Meetings

Put a couple of people in a room with a PowerPoint and you’ve got a great chance at a sale. Here’s the fine print:

  • Sales graph cartoons sell especially well (bad sales sell even better).

  • Anthropomorphize to stand out from the rest of the submissions.

  • White men are boring. Make sure you’re representing all genders and ethnicities.

2. Pets

People love their animals, and a good pet gag is a sure bet.

  • Dog cliches abound. Freshen one up and fetch your check.

  • Cats are almost too easy to make fun of. Get to it.

  • Birds are harder to mine for humor, but they’re a much appreciated palette cleanser for editors.

3. Kids

Whether you play them as innocent, worldly, or just plain silly, kids sell. Try one of these:

  • Taking a bath. Water has a lot of comic possibilities.

  • Teacher conferences give you lots of options. Study hard.

  • Playgrounds are like the standard bar scene for adults; a great place to ponder all sorts of things.

4. Recent Trends

Hard to spot, and a small window of opportunity, but almost a guaranteed sell. Some recent ideas that are almost surely dated by now:

  • Twitter

  • Going green

  • Newspaper decline

5. Holidays

Christmas and Halloween are the champs, but they’re extremely competitive. Break through an editor’s inbox clutter with cartoons about:

  • Groundhog Day

  • Fourth of July

  • St. Patrick’s Day

Of course there’s no guarantee as to what cartoons will sell. A lot depends on what and how much other cartoonists are submitting. But a decade of selling most of the top markets has shown me that the above cartoon topics certainly better your chances.

(BTW, check out my sales cartoons too!)

Cartoons Help Vocabulary

MortarBoard.gifRegular readers know that my lovely wife is a first grade teacher. She’s taking a class right now about literacy, and she shared some recent reading with me from an article entitled Expanding Vocabulary Instruction to Foster the Development of Word Consciousness by Susan Watts and Michael F. Graves:

Comics strips provide another option. Comics strips supply inviting reading material in which word meaning are essential to the humor. Puns, idiomatic expressions, and words with multiple meaning often provide the core of humor.

So basically word-play in cartoons an comics helps to promote robust vocabularies in children. Woo! Go comics!