Monday, September 16, 2013

Bob Mankoff on selection and rejection

Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor for The New Yorker, gave a charming and humorous TED talk about the process for selecting cartoons. The magazine receives a thousand submissions a week and only prints around fifteen. Near the beginning of his talk, Mankoff mentions that he submitted 2,000 cartoons before The New Yorker accepted one.

Yet even with those acceptance rates, he knows that not everyone will be pleased. In humor, he says, a 75% satisfaction rate is quite good.

In his discussion of The Rejection Collection, he notes that choosing cartoons isn't just about how funny they are on their own, but also about how they would fit within the context of the magazine. There's a continuum of edginess and benignancy, and "idea drawings" in the magazine occupy a particular sliver.

All in all, it's a pleasant reminder that those of us who have received rejections are in good company. It also highlights that there are many reasons why submissions are rejected, not the least of which is the tastes of the particular market.

 Also, the short "Being Bob" will bring a smile to anyone who's ever gotten a rejection slip.

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