Last year I submitted, for the first time, to the New Yorker comics. The New Yorker is one of the few places that’s still committed to one panel cartoons. They pay well. They’re prestigious. I’ve dreamt of being published inside the pages for my comics and on the cover for my illustration work.
But prior to last year, I never tried.
If I don’t submit, I won’t be rejected. I’m so smart. No one has ever thought of this before!
Then one of my students from the California College of Arts was published in the New Yorker. I was excited for them and it made me rethink my brilliant idea to never try. Because after 20 years, there was a new humor editor. A young woman committed to bring new voices to their magazine.
Using their online form, I submitted.
I didn’t expect to hear anything… but then the editor reached out. She liked my comics! Although she didn’t buy the ones I submitted, she gave me her email to submit directly. I was thrilled!
I thought yes, I’m in! I spent a few months submitting. Each time I did, the editor wrote back with encouraging words. But… no sale. The positive feedback was good because I know they receive 1500 comics a week and can only buy 20. I know this but after a little while I questioned her words.
Is she gas lighting me? What purpose would it serve for her to do that, though? I was treading in the oh-so-familiar waters of self doubt. Repeated rejection has a mental toll.
I studied the old New Yorker comics. New ones. I read interviews with the editor. The most frustrating piece of advice I came across was “Don’t submit something you think is a New Yorker cartoon” which… no matter how many times I turn it around in my head doesn’t make sense.
I can submit up to 10 comics a week. I never have enough time or good ideas to submit more than a few a week. After awhile I took a break. It was messing with my mind. Plus, I have books to make!
At the beginning of the year I pick one professional goal for myself. This year, I want to get into the New Yorker. Knowing what I know, it won’t be easy. It will take time. I will be rejected weekly. So, I invite you to join me.
Along with other newsletter things, I will share my rejected comics here. Maybe you want to wager, how many comics will be rejected before I make it in? 20, 40, 80? Maybe I’ll give up before December. Who knows!
The year is young and my foolish mind is hopeful.
Rejection #1 is below.