Graphic Novel Royalties

  • Hey guys! Sorry I haven't been super active, I just moved and have been super busy. I can't wait to see what you all have been up to!

    Anyway, I was approached today by a client who would like me to do their graphic novel. I'm super flattered and excited for the opportunity, and we agreed upon a pricing structure that works per page and all that nonsense.

    However, I wanted to see if you guys knew anything about royalties for graphic novels. I asked for 15% of profits once the book has sold enough copies to pay for the art, printing expenses, and advertising costs and I'm getting a lot of pushback from the client. Are royalties expected once the art is paid for? I'm having a hard time getting around promoting a long term project like that while only getting paid for the art.

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @handdrawnviolist I haven't done to many projects where I am just the illustrator but from what I understand you get paid up front and more then likely you would not get any royalties. I have worked with a few independent authors and they asked instead of my fee if i would cut that and take royalties instead. My answer has always been no. My thought is that if it doesn't take off, then you are out of time and money. But those are just my thought on the matter.

  • if its some one who is self publishing. it will be pretty hard for them to keep track of sales and at what point they need to pay you. especially if they are not expecting to sell a huge amount, then it would be a hassle for them to keep up with a few pennies here and there.

  • Whatever you negotiate get it all in writing but more important than royalties - what rights is the author/publisher asking for?

    Do they own the artwork outright (work for hire) where you are paid a fee and that's it?

    Who (under what name) is the art being copyrighted by, the publisher/author or you?

    What reproduction rights are they purchasing? 1st rights, ancillary products, etc.

    Who owns the originals?

    How are you credited in the publication?

    How many "changes" are allowed before additional fees kick in?

    Is there a kill fee?

    Payment structure? 1/3 upfront, 1/3 upon pencil approval, 1/3 final acceptance?

    Working with self publishers can be a mine-field. Have an attorney look over the contract or join the graphic artists guild and download a boilerplate contract from their website.

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