Submitting your Cartoons to the New Yorker

Submitting cartoons to the New Yorker

Here’s the rundown on my experience submitting cartoons for publication to the New Yorker.

It was my first time submitting and in case the suspense is killing you… I got rejected. I also got rejected a second time but I'll definitely try again.

This is what the submission process is like, what I submitted, and things for you to consider.

If you’re interested in making funny cartoons or similar then check out my article on joke writing techniques.

The Submission Process for the New Yorker in 2021

Currently you submit the cartoons via an online service at You can submit only once per month.

Before signing up for a submittable account you should do a couple of things in advance before sending in some cartoons.

  1. You can submit up to ten cartoons so you should have at least ten prepared before you submit. You want to have the most chances possible when submitting so submit exactly ten.

    Before submitting the ten cartoons I would recommend making 15 cartoons (but only send in ten) for the following two reasons:

    1. Ask yourself if any of the last five cartoons are stronger than the first ten you want to submit. If some of them are stronger then put them in the first batch. Voila! Your submission is now a lot better.
    2. If you do get accepted then you have a leg up on sending in the second batch quicker.

  2. They ask for a cover letter as part of the online form. I wasn’t expecting this so I just wrote something short and pithy on the spot which I believe was a mistake. I should’ve taken my time and written something more formal that put emphasis on my desire to be a regular contributor to their magazine. So don’t do what I did, and instead put some advance thought and preparation into the cover letter before you submit the cartoons.

  3. You’re only allowed to submit once a month so if you get rejected, be patient and use that month to prepare an even better batch of cartoons.

How long does it take to get your Cartoons Reviewed?

According to the information on the site, cartoons for the New Yorker are reviewed on "a rolling basis".

I did some googling to try to figure out an average but all the information I found was old and so was unfortunately not applicable to the current publishing situation.

Here’s how long it took me to receive a response to my submission: it took 37 days the first time (it was longer the second time - about 60 days). Your response may be quicker but personally based on this scrap of information, I’m putting the response window to be between 30 to 80 days for newcomers to the submission process.

If you submit cartons to the New Yorker this is really good to know so you can avoid the existential crisis I started to feel after about 15 days after submission. Set your expectations that will take at least a month or two to hear back from them and make more cartoons while you await their response.

Cartoon Format

The cartoon images I submitted include the punchlines as part of the image. I used the Adobe Caslon font for this as it closely mimics whatever the New Yorker officially uses. I aimed for a text size that allows about eight to ten words per line of text. But nowhere in the requirements do they specify what font to use so aim for legibility if your cartoons rely on hand lettering as seen in Roz Chast.

Get at an issue and look at the cartoons to get a feel for the format of the cartoons. Cartoons are squarish or slightly taller and rarely feature any color. They shy away from bold gag style cartoons and generally aim for more ironic modern living cartoons with wry intent.

Final Thoughts on the Process

Even though, I didn’t get a cartoon accepted it was a very rewarding process and I’ll definitely climb up that hill again soon.

It's a very tough market where you’re competing against an established stable of super talented New Yorker cartoonists plus thousands of sweaty incumbents like myself so if you decide to submit know that the odds are against you and in all likelihood it will take many tries to get in. So keep at and improve your cartoons between rejections. Good luck!

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