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Success in Comics: Mark Parisi, Lynn Reznick Parisi

Mark Parisi is the creator of the comic panel Off The Mark and his wife, Lynn Reznick Parisi, is the business manager for the strip. Off the Mark has been sold both in and out of syndication (currently syndicated through Universal Uclick). He’s been doing paid cartooning professionally since 1987 when his feature was picked up by Creators. His wife handles the business side of the operation (billing and marketing).

Notes from Mark:

  • Had early success in winning newspaper drawing contest
  • In 1987 he approached an editor that he knew and she ran a few of his cartoons
  • Advocates starting with local newspapers
  • When he was self-syndicating his comics, did a lot of mass mailings and cold calls
  • Media kids contained a month of cartoons, description of characters, a bio of cartoonist, and press clippings
  • Didn’t have success with Creators so he formed Atlantic Feature Syndicate to make him appear more legitimate
  • Later signed with United Media. It was tough selling by himself, glad to let professionals sell it so he could put efforts in other areas
  • Started creating cards in 1990. Some are still being sold (and making him money) today
  • The secret to greeting cards is to make it complimentary and insulting at the same time “there’s nobody like you”
  • Putting your comics online is double edge sword. Yes people will steal them. It does help advertise your work

From Lynn:

  • “I’m all about the money”
  • It’s not easy being the wife and business partner to a cartoonist
  • Her job is much like throwing darts, some are going to stick and others won’t
  • 7 main revenue sources: syndication, reprint licensing, magazines (one off clients), Custom cartoons & illustration, website e-commerce, web advertising, product licensing
  • When first syndicated, kept all rights to their comic
  • Syndicates are transitioning to the web. Be open to new avenues. Don’t give it away for free
  • Reprinting: once published, try to get same cartoon in as many other paying uses
  • Sell cartoons via website, online databases or other publications
  • Depending on your needs, a website presence (with e-commerce capabilities) can run $500 – $10,000+
  • Social networking is changing how cartoons are found. Lot more sharing (and taking)
  • They use buy Google Ad Words for various keywords to bring people to their site
  • Product licensing includes: greeting cards, calendars, medical reminder cards, print on demand products, and signed prints
  • How to find product licensing? Walk the stores and look at products that would sell your image, mail package to decision maker with a follow-up call
  • Do mail blasts. Don’t wait for someone to decline a sale or partnership before approaching the next one
  • She’s a big believe in networking and the National Cartoonist Society. Great resource for asking questions
  • On copyright: keep your rights. If you want to give your self away, at least use Creative Commons License
  • Question from a good looking and intelligent comic blogger in the audience: How do you track (inventory) all your cartoons so you know where it’s been published, how many times, etc.? Answer: She created a database with FileMaker.
  • Lastly, if she’s worked with a really good client, she makes sure she sends them signed reprints and other shwag to express thanks

Community Comments

#1 Darryl Heine
February/29/2012
@ 3:29 pm

Mark Parisi also works on rough drawings for Wacky Packages All New Series.

#2 Doug Bratton
February/29/2012
@ 5:25 pm

Mark and Lynn were a tremendous resource. The whole conference was really great, definitely worthwhile – very focused on sharing sales techniques, marketing strategies, and revenue sources, rather than motivational cheerleading BS.

Kudos to Bill, Chad, and their staff!

#3 Rich Diesslin
March/3/2012
@ 1:46 pm

Mark’s cartoons are great and Lynn really has taken a deep look into all the business issues including copyrights. Good stuff.

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