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Comics and Newspaper Syndication: don’t look for me in the funny papers

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Question to web comic strip creator(s): Why aren’t you in newspapers?

Answer (excerpt):

“Without question this is the most common question we’re asked, often preceded by the nice compliment, “Your stuff is as good or better than the strips in my newspaper.” And it’s a good question, for which I don’t have a particularly short answer. Here’s the long one.

There are fewer newspapers every year, the ones that remain have shrinking circulation, and the space they allocate for comic strips continues to shrink. Readership skews towards the older part of the population, and they tend to complain when their favorite strips are taken away, even if they aren’t really any good any more. So the actual opportunity for new comic strips is quite small, akin to a write getting her screenplay made into a major Hollywood motion picture.

It’s made harder by the number of middlemen. A syndicate looks for material by second-guessing what a newspaper editor is second-guessing their readers would want. If you’re second-guessing what a syndicate would want you’ve totally lost it.
And if you do get syndicated, ….”
Full answer, here.

Home page for Unshelved, here.

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