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:

  • 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

Each envelope requires postage for a 3-oz first class large envelope. At the time of writing this equals to $1.50 in postage for each envelope, or $3.00 in total postage for this submission. (See current postage rates.)

In the above photo you see three “forever” first-class stamps on each envelope. Each forever stamp is currently valued at 50 cents, so three of them total $1.50, thus covering the postage requirement with a few cents to spare.

4. Place everything into the 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.

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

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 cartoon markets or submit cartoons to the New Yorker.