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How-to seminar on (self) syndication proposed

Bill Kellogg, the Marketing Director behind the self-syndication success of Chad Carpenter’s Tundra emailed me asking if I’d spread the word about a proposed seminar on how to self-syndicate your comics and/or submit them to syndicates. He has been approached so many times by cartoonists wanting to know how he took Tundra to 200+ papers in two years, that he’s willing to run a class to discuss his marketing efforts. The two day seminar would include Chad, other speakers, guests, participants, coaches including one syndicate editor who is tentatively planning to attend to review comics. Bill will also bring in other professional cartoonists that can offer a wealth of information on the industry and the syndication process.

From his email he writes:

I don’t want anyone thinking this is a guarantee to anything. This is the first time either of us has done something like this but it should be very informative and hopefully a lot of fun. This will be a chance to meet face to face with other cartoonists & a syndicate big-wig and discuss ideas as well as show off your work and learn from each other. We will show what we have done to get Tundra into 200+ newspapers in two years (these include the Los Angeles Times, the Denver Post, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the St. Petersburg Times and the Vancouver Sun in case anyone is interested) as well as give folks the chance to hear how syndicated cartoonists got their strip syndicated. Everyone will have the chance to have their work reviewed by the syndication boss as well and we plan to have someone talk about how to be successful as a web comic. We will also talk about books, calendars and licensing, etc. We are open to other suggestions too.

The seminar would be held in Las Vegas with a preliminary pricing estimated to be about $500 which includes lunches. You’re responsible for other meals and booking your hotel room. The price is mainly to cover expenses of the hotel, lunches and travel accommodations for the speakers. The proposed dates are the last week of February 2009 (20th-27th). Based on the number interested, a second seminar may be added for the following two days. Cartoonists wanting to attend all four days would only have to pay for the food and the additional room dates.

If you are interested – email Bill at bill[at]tundracomics[dot]com (remove the [at] and [dot] and replace with real characters) and let him know if you’d be interested in a weekend or a weekday session.

If you have general questions, please post them in the comments so that they can be answered once.

Community Comments

#1 Dennis W
August/18/2008
@ 2:33 pm

I’d be very interested in such a seminar, but I’m in the beginning stages of my comic and am running on zero funding. I would be totally on board for an online seminar if something could be offered. Heck I’d even pay to register for it, but I just can’t afford the expense to travel at this point.

#2 Charles Brubaker
August/18/2008
@ 2:42 pm

I’d love to come to the seminar, but alas, I don’t live near Las Vegas and I’m spent on my travel money.

#3 Garey Mckee
August/18/2008
@ 3:16 pm

This is an excellent idea. If travel expenses are a problem, I would envision the seminar perhaps being a yearly event that could be held at a different location each year to give more people an opportunity to eventually attend. I wish I were able to attend in February to participate. A big kudos to Bill for doing such a great job with Tundra and wanting to help others reach their markets.

#4 frank white
August/18/2008
@ 3:37 pm

Dennis, I seen your drawing testing samples on your site, you have a great style there!!Good luck with the strip.

#5 Bill Kellogg
August/18/2008
@ 3:41 pm

We chose Las Vegas as the place to try it out because it’s easy to get to and most of the country can get there on Southwest for a reasonable price. Also, the rooms are inexpensive and almost everyone likes going there.

The biggest reason though is that it is cold up here in Alaska in February.

For those of you who can’t afford to get there, we are planning to have the class filmed. I’m sure we could get you a DVD of the seminar for a reasonable price. My video guy is doing this for airfare and room & board for him and his wife so I will leave the charge for extra DVD’s up to him.

#6 bill jones
August/18/2008
@ 3:51 pm

you might also think about teleconferencing. there are technology centers across the country designed to deliver live feeds to large groups and accommodate the full range of onsite convention activities, including q & a between the remote sites and the main convention speakers.

#7 Andertoons
August/18/2008
@ 4:12 pm

Bill, just sent you an email.

Alan, caught a typo in the email for Bill. See: tRundracomics

#8 Lucas Turnbloom
August/18/2008
@ 4:14 pm

I hope to be able to go. Sounds cool.

#9 Bill Kellogg
August/18/2008
@ 8:48 pm

I have had a few questions on the expense of hotels and airfare so I wanted to give a bit more information.

We are looking into holding it at the Tuscany which is an all suite hotel. I’ve stayed there before and it is very nice. I think we can get a group rate which will be about $69.00 per night weekdays and $99.00 weekends. I will help people arrange to share a room if they want to also.

Southwest Airlines doesn’t allow you to book that far in advance online but they told me some estimates for their cheap fares from a few cities. These are all round trip rates to Las Vegas.

Baltimore is $318.00, Chicago is $342.00, Seattle is $258.00 and Los Angeles is $208.00.

Hopefully that will help a bit.

#10 Marc Lutz
August/19/2008
@ 9:44 am

This is an excellent idea, and if I can afford it, I’m definitely going to attend. By the way, I’ve recently submitted Tundra to my editor and publisher to get it onto our comics page.

#11 Rick Ellis
August/19/2008
@ 11:23 am

I’m definitely going.
I just need to sell one of my kidneys first.
Thank goodness for redundancy in nature.

#12 Bill Kellogg
August/19/2008
@ 1:35 pm

Rick, If the kidney thing doesn’t work out, I hear you can sell part of your liver and the remaining part will regenerate. It’s always good to have options.

#13 J.G. Moore
August/19/2008
@ 4:33 pm

Wow. This sounds cool.

#14 PETER KENNEDY
August/20/2008
@ 12:31 am

Great idea Bill.
Looks like the main stumbling block for most artists is
that we’re broke. My goal is to sell 10 comics to magazines between now and then and I’ll finance the trip that way.

#15 Rick Ellis
August/20/2008
@ 6:57 am

Bill,

I’ll need my entire liver while in Las Vegas.

#16 steve s
August/20/2008
@ 10:03 am

I like this idea, though I know firsthand just how hard it is to self syndicate. I wonder at Tundra, thought, and I think it may have punched through some of the walls that normally hold back independent cartoonists. Perhaps in a way, Tundra is paving the way for others to do the same. The single biggest hurdle to self syndicating is getting past the idea editors have that really only syndicated strips are legit and they have the safety net of a qualified editor checking the material before it goes to print. It comes down to accountability, and syndicated strips are held accountable for their material by the syndicate, while independent strips don’t have that, and the accoutability goes to the newspaper editor. This is a responsiblity that they are not looking for, typically.

Having said that, I have a strip in a development deal with myself, so I may not have much to lose if the syndicates pass me over again. Or perhaps I have lots to lose……..the $500 just being the beginning. Why am I doing this again??

#17 mark mason
August/20/2008
@ 3:18 pm

I’ve always thought that the subject of how to self-syndicate from someone who’s done it successfully would make a great seminar. And given the odds that another self-syndicated strip could realize the success of Tundra, I think Las Vegas is the perfect locale.
I’ll be there.

#18 steve s
August/20/2008
@ 4:23 pm

Well, if you’re going Mark, that sweetens the pot!

#19 mark mason
August/20/2008
@ 6:15 pm

Hey Steve!
Are you still doing cards for Hallmark? Gawd I miss seeing your work, (sniff).
Another plus side to this seminar would be meeting other cartoonists and seeing their work. It could be one big therapy session.
Keep up the great work, Steve.

#20 mark mason
August/20/2008
@ 6:15 pm

Hey Steve!
Are you still doing cards for Hallmark? Gawd I miss seeing your work, (sniff).
Another plus side to this seminar would be meeting other cartoonists and seeing their work. It could be one big therapy session.
Keep up the great work, Steve.

#21 Jeff Hawley
November/13/2008
@ 2:02 pm

Is this seminar plan still alive? What are the dates and details? I’m interested!

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