Creators Syndicate distributes a great variety of continuing features, such as comic strips and panels, columns and political cartoons, and we are constantly on the lookout for quality features. The potential distribution for your work is enormous. It includes virtually every American newspaper that buys syndicated material, as well as other national and international publications.
We are happy to say that we receive a veritable sea of submissions every week. Because all of this must be reviewed and considered with care, please allow a minimum of six weeks for a response to your submission. Volume also makes it impossible to respond to every submission individually. We are therefore compelled to use rejection slips. They are, we understand, impersonal -- and the last thing you want to get in the mail -- but necessary to expedite the review process.
Should your material be rejected, it does not necessarily mean that your work is not of adequate quality; it may simply be a matter of too much similar material already in distribution. In all, the quality of submitted material is very high. We therefore ask that you continue to submit new ideas to us. If we can possibly use the work, we will respond with all possible dispatch.
As we would like to develop a personal relationship with the artists and writers we syndicate, please include some information about yourself with your submission (resumes are fine). While having been published before is of course a great recommendation, good writing and cartooning stand on their own, and your material will be considered whether you have a cabinet full of clips or not.
Submission Format for Comic Strips and Cartoons
If you have a cartoon or comic strip you would like us to consider, we will need to see at least four (4) weeks of samples, but not more than six (6) weeks of dailies and two Sundays. If you are submitting a comic strip, you should include a note about the characters in it and how they relate to each other.
As a general rule, drawings are most easily reproduced if clearly drawn in black ink on white paper. However, we welcome any creative approach in a new comic strip or cartoon idea. Your name(s) and the title of the comic or cartoon should appear on every piece of artwork. If you are already syndicated elsewhere, or if someone else owns the copyright to the work, please indicate this.
Most newspapers have a standard size to which they reduce work, and most syndicates circulate the work in a particular size and format.
Submission Format for Column Submissions
All written submissions which have not been previously published should be double-spaced and page-numbered. The writer's name, address, telephone number and email address should appear in the upper left-hand corner of the first or title page. The author's copyright should appear in the upper right-hand corner of the first page. If the column you are submitting has already been published, tearsheets or clips are fine. The average length of a syndicated column is between 500 and 600 words. Four to six samples are requested.
At this time, Creators Syndicate does not have a domestic one-shot division. Thus we do not accept articles for one-time publication within the United States. Right now, Creators Syndicate deals strictly with contract features, such as weekly or biweekly political, business or lifestyle columns.
Digital Submissions Guidelines
Beginning in 2015, Creators will only accept submissions digitally. Please adhere to the following guidelines when submitting digitally:
- Fill out the submission form completely.
- Please include an introductory cover letter with your submission.
- Submissions should be compiled into a single file. Do not submit columns or comic strips individually, they must be combined in ZIP or PDF file.
- Do not submit multiple times. We reply to all submissions. Please wait to hear from us before re-submitting your work.
- Digital submissions must adhere to all formatting guidelines listed above.
Please use this form to submit your feature for consideration. All fields are required.
Your submission must follow our digital submission guidelines to be considered.
Freedom and Loyalty in Syndication: A Statement of our Philosophy
When Creators Syndicate was founded in 1987, it revolutionized the industry by allowing cartoonists to own their work and have relatively short contracts. It set these policies to help correct past abuses in which cartoonists were fired from their own strips, given no input on the licensing of their characters or frustrated by syndicates that refused to tell them where their work appeared or even to answer their phone calls or letters.
The balance was totally lopsided in favor of the syndicates at the expense of the cartoonists, and Creators was determined to improve the industry by giving power to the cartoonists.
This power does not come without responsibilities, however. And while the freedom that has become an industry standard has improved the way syndicates and cartoonists do business, the new system can also be abused to the detriment of all -- including cartoonists.
This abuse can take the form of cartoonists who try to sell their strips to the highest bidder every time their contracts come up for renewal. We have repeatedly been approached -- and have repeatedly turned down -- agents and lawyers representing cartoonists who had willingly joined a syndicate only to turn their backs on it a few years later.
Rather than rewarding syndicates that work hard to establish their fledgling strips, these cartoonists punish them for short-term gain. In the long run, this discourages syndicates from risking their reputations and financial assets by investing in comic strips that are likely to leave in a few years.
It is for this reason that Creators Syndicate does not take part in these destructive syndication bidding wars and discourages cartoonists who are working with dedicated syndicates from putting their creations on the auctioning block.
Syndicates and cartoonists build relationships based on trust and cooperation. The investment of time, money and effort by a syndicate should be repaid with loyalty and dedication by the cartoonist for this system to work. Otherwise, the industry will be enmeshed in a spiraling tangle of manipulation and bidding wars, leaving syndicates with little opportunity or motivation to nurture and develop talented new cartoonists. Even by an optimistic estimate, it takes at least 10 years for a syndicate to recoup its initial investment in a comic strip.
If everyone participated in bidding wars, then it would be just a matter of time before all syndicates once again demanded ownership of their comics. This would be a devastating step backwards for the industry.
Of course, in cases where syndicates have been negligent and refuse to negotiate in good faith, cartoonists are perfectly justified in seeking new partners -- this is their right. But when syndicates live up to their side of the bargain, cartoonists should remain loyal -- it's the respectable response.
Creators Syndicate includes this statement with our submission guidelines because we want our position and principles to be clear. We have revolutionized the syndication business with our open-handed respect for creators' rights, but it takes commitment and loyalty from cartoonists in return to make these changes endure. If you share this vision, and we agree to syndicate your comic strip, we look forward to sharing a long and successful relationship.