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How to get syndicated through King Features

In his second post in his Editor’s Dispatch blog, King Features Comic Editor Brendan Burford lays out what he’s looking for in comic submissions.

If we knew that a certain execution or approach to making comics was guaranteed to bring success to a cartoonist and, by extension, King Features, we’d certainly point cartoonists in that direction. But it just isn’t that simple – the stars really need to align in an often unpredictable way. However, there are a few things that successful syndicated comic strips have in common, and there are some key things we look for. In the interest of simplifying this, I’ve distilled these things into three categories: Craft, Connection and Spirit.

Community Comments

#1 BOB QUICK
September/7/2011
@ 8:18 am

Good advice from someone who knows. Back in the 50’s I wrote to some of the masters… Caniff, Capp, Kelly, Schulz, Walker,Etc. and they all pretty much had the same advice…only they added…Don’t give up (draw,draw,draw) and always give it your best shot. Glad to hear they are still looking even in this market today.

#2 Larry Levine
September/7/2011
@ 9:16 am

The link isn’t working.

#3 Steve Skelton
September/7/2011
@ 9:17 am

Nor is the advice.

#4 Lucas Turnbloom
September/7/2011
@ 10:05 am

Well, there go my chances!

#5 Stephen Beals
September/7/2011
@ 10:42 am

I thought that was pretty good advice whether you want to be syndicated or not, especially what he writes about “spirit”. Over the years I’ve come up with concepts people have liked, but they just weren’t me and I couldn’t really do much with them.

#6 David Jones
September/7/2011
@ 11:05 am

Craft, connection and Spirit…. This is great advise. I see so many wannabes who throw the craft out the window. I see a lot of them just stealing styles from other cartoonists. It is so important that you have your own style. Craft is number one in my book.

Connection is tough. What connects to some readers just doesn’t sync with others. I really think the connection part is the most difficult element here. I am really thinking my latest strip about Army Ants is not connecting. Everyone is split on the military and … let’s face it, we all HATE ants. What the heck was I even thinking….

I think that if you REALLY love what you are doing, you can transfer your spirit through your work…. but even this is tough. You need to make sure your characters express great charisma and spunk. I drink a ton of coffee before working on my strips and I seem to have no problem with expressing myself through the characters.

All in all, this is great advise! I wish everyone luck as we battle for those rare opportunities to get syndicated… I have dreamed of this for more years than I care to admit to…..

#7 Daniel Boris
September/7/2011
@ 11:26 am

Here is a link that works (copy and paste if necessary): http://blog.dailyink.com/2011/09/05/editor%E2%80%99s-dispatch-magic-bullet-of-syndication/

#8 Rich Diesslin
September/7/2011
@ 12:15 pm

David, your army ant analysis is a hoot! Thanks for the link Daniel.

The advice seems reasonable, though general, but the good thing is that Brendan is opening up a dialog between his syndicate and creators.

#9 Alan Gardner
September/7/2011
@ 12:59 pm

Link has been fixed.

#10 David Jones
September/7/2011
@ 2:44 pm

To Alan… That’s what Zelda said…..

That one may be a little too complex……….

The Gamers out there chuckled.

#11 Jason Nocera
September/8/2011
@ 10:30 am

Anyone check out the comments? It’s about what I expected when I heard a syndicate editor was going to do a blog.

#12 Jim Bertram
September/10/2011
@ 3:12 pm

People get nervous when you say you work for the syndicate.

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