Success in cartooning speakers: Bill Kellogg

Bill Kellogg is the marketing/sales person for the Tundra operation. He hooked up with Chad in 2005 to sell Tundra outside of Alaska. Tundra has since become the largest self-syndicated comic in the US.


  • My job is to sell to newspapers
  • To get into papers you must have a packet typically with 24 b/w strips; a few Sunday strips
  • Make sure your packet stands out on a messy desk
  • Get an FTP site. Newspapers pull comics from ftp sites.
  • Build a list of newspaper editors. Go to website, find “contact us”, look for phone/email of usually the features editors.
  • Send editors postcards and books. Books makes you appear more successful
  • There is safety in numbers – list the papers you’re in – big one’s on the top
  • Don’t forget the weeklies. When talking to newspapers, you can say you’re 100 papers – the editor doesn’t know that some of them are weeklies.
  • The sales cycle is often long – measured in months and years. Must keep your work in front of them
  • When selling to editors, don’t bash other strips. Humor is very subjective. You don’t know the local favs.
  • Adjust your pitch to your audience. Adjust your packets to your audience.
  • Big self-syndication no-nos: don’t use local references, check spelling, never miss a deadline, or quit or go on vacation without giving your clients notice.
  • Some papers just refuse to run non-syndicate stuff. Create your own syndicate.
  • Don’t fax stuff it. It usually goes straight into the trash.
  • Don’t try to sandbag the polls. Newspapers do monitor traffic sources.
  • Underselling other comics only pushes the going rate of comics down. Comic pricing is about 40% less now after a certain strip was sold as a huge discount. It’s pricing is now the going rate.
  • Chad’s national success was built on his regional success. It’s not cheap and can take a long time to recoup costs in sales with the longer sales cycle
  • Chad’s crew is highly specialized: Wife does accounting, Bill does sales, Chad does the creative work and Zack runs the booths
  • Look professional when meeting with editors.
  • Kellogg started Facebook page when a fan created one and made him an administrator. Started 182 likes. Now at 17,794.
  • Try to post stuff that people will share to build a fan base.
  • “We sell stuff.” They’re using Facebook to build a fan base because fan bases buy stuff.
  • If you’ve got content that is related to something newsworthy, the like count goes up and your name is in front of a lot more people.
  • Use your email list to solicit pre-sales on books. These people will fund the printing of your book without you having to take out a loan to fund the printing.
  • Bill uses constant contact for email blasts
  • Fans are HUGELY important – they buy stuff.
  • Tip from audience member Stephen Silver: To find out who’s using your images you can use Google images. Upload your image and Google will show you where it’s being used.

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