Selling cartoons is hard enough; give yourself a leg up on the competition by playing better odds.
After scouring 10 years of files, databases and Quickbooks reports, here are the cartoons I've found sell best:
Put a couple of people in a room with a PowerPoint and you've got a great chance at a sale. Here's the fine print:
Sales graph cartoons sell especially well (bad sales sell even better).
Anthropomorphize to stand out from the rest of the submissions.
White men are boring. Make sure you're representing all genders and ethnicities.
People love their animals, and a good pet gag is a sure bet.
Dog cliches abound. Freshen one up and fetch your check.
Cats are almost too easy to make fun of. Get to it.
Birds are harder to mine for humor, but they're a much appreciated palette cleanser for editors.
Whether you play them as innocent, worldly, or just plain silly, kids sell. Try one of these:
Taking a bath. Water has a lot of comic possibilities.
Teacher conferences give you lots of options. Study hard.
Playgrounds are like the standard bar scene for adults; a great place to ponder all sorts of things.
Hard to spot, and a small window of opportunity, but almost a guaranteed sell. Some recent ideas that are almost surely dated by now:
Christmas and Halloween are the champs, but they're extremely competitive. Break through an editor's inbox clutter with cartoons about:
Fourth of July
St. Patrick's Day
Of course there's no guarantee as to what cartoons will sell. A lot depends on what and how much other cartoonists are submitting. But a decade of selling most of the top markets has shown me that the above cartoon topics certainly better your chances.