Syndication Story


This is a poster/teaser designed for my last comic strip collaboration with Tim Levins, called Built to Last. Here’s the story of how it came about:

When we sent out our strip Then Comes Marriage to the six or seven major syndicates, we had an amazing response. We had two development type offers and one request to see more strips. This beat all the form letters and the one or two encouraging handwritten comments we got in reply to Rivertown News hands down. We were ecstatic.

We ended up going with the oldest, largest and (arguably) most prestigious syndicate’s development offer. Can you blame us? The caveat was that the Editor in Chief wanted us to change our concept by about 50%. He liked the married couple stuff, but he wanted to change James’s profession from writer to contractor. This would appeal to people in the home renovations demographic and help the newspapers sell Home Depot ads. We got it.

Thus began an eighteen month ordeal of writing endless new scripts, tweaking the concept, weekly faxes to New York, and a gradual diminishing of the editor’s interest and attention that ended in disappointment and no deal. At that point, disillusioned and demoralized, Tim and I shelved our comic stripping ambitions for good. For more on that story, in case you missed it in the comments on the FB page, here is Tim’s recounting of that story.

But out of all that effort, we did produce a handful of completed strips in blue pencil sketch form which were never inked. We will be sharing them with you beginning in April. The blueprint design above references the contracting theme and also the relationship angle nicely, I thought. That was all Tim.

Not to mention that the whole experience became the inspiration for my novel, The Launch, which describes a what if? scenario of two frustrated cartoonists kidnapping the editor in chief and forcing him to syndicate their strip. I wonder how I came up with that idea? 🙂 It’s not only a lot of fun, it’s also my best novel to date.

So tune in next week for the start of Built to Last. Tell your friends!

Launch Buy Box


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