How to Submit Cartoons to Magazines by Mail

A surprising number of magazine cartoon editors still prefer to receive cartoon submissions by mail. This can be puzzling to some cartoonists not just because it’s impractical, but also because there aren’t any clear instructions on doing this. Fortunately it’s actually easy and inexpensive to mail cartoon submissions once you learn the basic process. Follow these steps to submit your first batch!

What you’ll need before submitting:

How to Submit Cartoons by Mail

All you need to submit cartoons by mail to a magazine.

  • 5 – 15 cartoons
  • Two 9×12-in envelopes
  • First-class postage for two large envelopes

1. Print or copy cartoons

Always send copies, not originals. (You may not get them back or they may be damaged in the mail.)

Print or copy 5 to 15 cartoons for submission. This is called a “batch.”

Make sure the cartoons you’re submitting follow the magazine’s guidelines. I use a service called Cartoon Caddy to choose which cartoons I should submit to which magazine, based on the cartoon’s topic and submission history.

Print, write, or stamp your contact information on every sheet. In case a selected cartoon gets separated from the batch you want the editor to be able to contact you.

2. Address the envelopes

Address one envelope to the magazine’s cartoon editor, and the other envelope to yourself.

The envelope you’re addressing to yourself is called a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE), and it makes it easier for the editor to mail back your cartoons along with a note or purchase request.

Remember to include the appropriate return address in the top-left corner.

3. Apply postage

How to Submit Cartoons by Mail

Cartoon submission envelope and SASE with $1.38 in postage on each.

Each envelope requires postage for a 3-oz first class large envelope. At the time of writing this equals to $1.32 in postage for each envelope, or $2.64 in total postage for this submission. (Click here to check current postage rates.)

In the above photo you see three “forever” first-class stamps on each envelope. Each forever stamp is currently valued at 46 cents, so three of them total $1.38, thus covering the postage requirement with a few cents to spare.

4. Place everything into the submission envelope

How to Submit Cartoons by Mail

Placing the cartoons and SASE into the main submission envelope.

Fold the SASE in half — do not to seal it! — and place it inside the submission envelope along with the cartoons. You can optionally include a note about yourself so that the editor can learn a bit more about you.

How to Submit Cartoons by Mail

The submission envelope ready to be mailed to a magazine.

With everything inside the submission envelope, seal it closed and double-check that the magazine’s destination address is correct.

5. Mail your cartoon submission

How to Submit Cartoons by Mail

Mailing the cartoons for publishing.

Wait up to four weeks to receive a response from the magazine. After that time you can try mailing the cartoons to other markets or reach out to the magazine’s cartoon editor for their feedback.

If you want to submit cartoons for publication but you don’t know where to send them, start with this list of markets and this tip for finding magazines that publish cartoons. If you’re thinking of submitting cartoons to the New Yorker, follow these step-by-step instructions.

9 thoughts on “How to Submit Cartoons to Magazines by Mail

  1. Greg,
    This is great information thanks. How do you get the type-caption to be formatted with the cartoon? And also is the text with in the 7″ squ format of the cartoon or below it. Thanks for sharing this information.
    Damon McArthur
    Associate Professor
    Department of Art
    Western Illinois University

    1. Damon, most magazines will typeset the caption themselves in their font and size of choice. So it doesn’t really matter how you write the caption as long as it’s legible enough for their graphics department to read. Personally I add mine in Photoshop, but you can just as well do it in Word or even in handwriting.

      The magazine’s graphics dept will also re-size the cartoon as they see fit (usually to a one- or two-column width), so there’s no need to worry about exact spacing of the caption in relation to the cartoon.

    1. Dave, good question. The United States Postal Service (USPS) sells “Global Forever Stamps,” which can be used to mail letters up to 2oz. The USPS classifies a 9×12″ envelope as follows:

      First-Class Mail® International Large Envelope
      International Large Envelope**
      Value of contents can not exceed $400.00
      Max. length 15″, height 12″ or thickness 3/4″

      Two “Global Forever” stamps should be enough. Just stick them on the return envelope (SASE). You can get a sheet of them here: https://store.usps.com/store/browse/uspsProductDetailMultiSkuDropDown.jsp?productId=S_578844&categoryId=subcatS_S_Sheets

      (This is based on just a bit of research… I suggest you double-check this information.)

  2. Greg,
    Enjoy your blog. I notice your comment about the WSJ Pepper…and Salt cartoon being published every day in the paper. Are you sure? the issue I get it’s only on Tue. and Wed.(It’s daily on the WSJ website, however.) I just wonder if it’s a regional thing. I’m in the Dallas, TX area.
    Thanks, J.R.

    1. JR, I must admit I don’t pick up the paper daily so it’s possible they’ve changed it. From what I remember, it was daily even in the international edition, but it was tucked away in the Personal Journal section. But I see now, according to Wikipedia, that the Personal Journal section is only published Tuesday through Thursday. So you may be correct!

  3. I’ve submitted cartoon batches three times to the New Yorker with no response. Used your recommended format with the SASE. It’s been 8 weeks since the first submission. I’ve read that cartoonist can go years without selling to the New Yorker. I just want to know if my envelop has been received even if the cartoons are discarded. If I submit cartoons to one magazine and not hear back in a timely period, can these be submitted to another magazine without getting in trouble with the first magazine? If a publisher elects to buy your cartoon do they send a purchase order? If they buy, do they want the original?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *