Mark Anderson is a single panel gag cartoonists who’s sold cartoons to some of the best known magazines. He also has developed one of the best pay-per-use comic sites on the web.
- Presentation Title: Finding your Path
- Mark grew up in Iowa and loved cartoons; Bill Hoest was a big influence in determining to go into gag cartooning.
- Dropped out of college (majored in trombone); played trombone on cruise ship (not Carnival)
- After working on cruise ships found a job selling screws.
- Left the job selling screws to sell metal coil. This is not what he wanted to do with his life.
- Started selling cartoons to magazines – Readers Digest, etc.
- Launched Andertoons website
- He was downsized out of metal coil job but landed a job selling online advertising to used car dealers. Lasted 1 year.
- When first child came, decided to be full time cartoonist between changing diapers/bottles
- Sold cartoons to big magazines; greeting cards; sells cartoons to corporations
- Best known for Andertoons.com
- Four basic concepts that often get over looked:
1. Commit to being a cartoonist
- Set goals on production. Mark started with a goal of writing 10 gags a month and moved up to 30 and then 60.
- It’s a job. A lot of work willing ideas; making deadlines; jobs are hard
- Success doesn’t come overnight.
2. Do it yourself
- Do as much as you can yourself. Mark taught himself cartooning
- Ask the people who buy your cartoons for the advice on what you can do better
- Ask your fans on Twitter and Facebook what they want to see more often
- Look at your competition – what are they doing right/wrong?
- Be organized
- Find ways to be more efficient (schedule blog posts; find keyboard short-cuts, etc.)
- Take credit cards – Paypal, authorize.net; Square, Recurly;
- Accounting, trademark, marketing – so many options to do it yourself
3. Find your fit in marketplace
- Started website – now several iterations later – each an improvement. Trying to figure out why people come to your site and make it easy for them to purchase cartoons.
- Mark uses bigger, brighter buttons to hold customer’s hand through purchase process
- Does custom cartoons. Now a larger part of requests
- SEO – Great content is the most important, SEO is the equivalent of grammar and punctuation for writers.
- Less and less traffic is coming form Google. Social media has become very important
- Partnering with other websites. When blogs took off, offered cartoons for blogs – great link bait
- Partnered with Small Business Trends
4. Need to fail and fail a lot
- Do not be afraid to fail; fail often and big – if you’re not failing you’re not trying.
- Tried his hand at a daily comic strip.
- Tried cafe press.
- Has tried several attempts at books: ebooks, mini-comics, calendars, SPX, and ibooks. Hasn’t really proved to him to be a good return on investment
- Did Comics Sherpa – didn’t work, but now on GoComics and is bringing in some money
- Has tried Facebook app. Didn’t work initially. May do it again
- Tried to do summer shows, events, fairs. People never bought it. Lost a lot of money on it.