Michael Maslin has an excellent article in his blog about constant cartoon rejections. He shows an image which is a foot high of his rejected cartoons.
I sometimes equate cartoonists with actors. Actors have that cattle call lifestyle where they go from audition to audition and rejection to rejection and it’s hard not to take it personally.
So much of it has to do with personality I believe. You may remind the person making the decisions of someone they don’t like and you are in their gun sites forever for that reason. It may have nothing to do with your work.
But of course most of it is just too much competition. Too many people out there do the same thing and it’s easy to put others down. Art is subjective, so I may not like someone’s drawing style, but that doesn’t make it bad and I may not understand a comic gag line, but others do, so that doesn’t make it bad.
There was a time when I sold a lot of my work simply by submitting it. I would sell cartoons to magazines, books and newspapers. I was part of King Features’ “New Breed” concept, where they published various cartoonists in the newspapers, grooming us for better things to come. I stopped after a bit to start a business and have always regretted that.
I would send them maybe 20 comic panels and they would purchase maybe five of that lot. Not bad. I would sell a lot to magazines, too. They would buy what I sent them.
The good part about the internet and social media is that you can do your own thing and build your own audience. If you have good content, it’s not that hard to build an audience; making a living at it is another story.