Business advise needed😳, reg estimate to illustrate

  • Pro SVS OG

    I’m coming in very late on this discussion, though I think all the advice and process you followed is spot on.

    When a request comes in asking for a quote and with no details, my experience is that it rarely comes to anything. It’s already a good sign that they followed up, because normally as soon as you respond with all the questions that need to be answered before you can advance an estimate, they never respond.

    The wording on the response e-mail suggests that this is a self-publishing author. Even if your research revealed a small publisher, it’s likely that they only publish books by one author, who happens to be the founder 😉
    There are a few “publishers” like that - sometimes they actually have a small list and work with different illustrators or maybe two or three authors, but in general the setup here seems to be that of a self-publishing author.

    What is not clear from this e-mail is exactly how many illustrations she’s talking about (3 to 5 in total for a 100-page book seems very very weird) and wether she expects you to do the entire book layout? That’s not an illustrator’s job, it’s a book designer’s job. That’s a different skillset and profession, and needs to be priced separately. Or you make it clear that you’re only doing the illustrations and not the book design (which most self-publishing people don’t even realize they need...).

    Even after the responses there are still so many questions and red-flags, I would be careful about taking this on at this point, regardless of the budget (which is very low, especially if she expects you to do the book design - but that’s a different discussion...).

  • I don’t know if I can add much to this thread, but I’ve been told, from various sources, not to give away rights to an illustration. I’ve been given a template of a standard contract which is a five year licence only. I don’t know if anyone can elaborate on this but I’m assuming selling the rights completely would come at an absolute premium.

  • Just want to come in and say thank you for starting this thread. I do not have more to add, but find it really helpful to hear other people's advices and experiences. I am in the similar process with a protential freelance work.

  • @burvantill 1Q20 I’m safely assuming means first quarter of 2020 (January to March). I’ve always seen it written as Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, not the other way around.

    Sometimes a business’ fiscal year starts on a different date than January 1. Like April 1, November 1.

  • Pro SVS OG

    @peteolczyk said in Business advise needed😳, reg estimate to illustrate:

    I don’t know if I can add much to this thread, but I’ve been told, from various sources, not to give away rights to an illustration. I’ve been given a template of a standard contract which is a five year licence only. I don’t know if anyone can elaborate on this but I’m assuming selling the rights completely would come at an absolute premium.

    That’s the theory, but the reality is a lot more complicated. Editorial illustration is normally a rights only, but rights are calculated based on scope of use (digital vs print vs how many copies are distributed) rather than time, or sometimes on both time and scope. In publishing there’s a lot of different rights: foreign rights, merchandising, film and television, etc... and these are normally listed in a contract together with the terms specific to each. That said, those are premium contracts.

    Many solid and remunerative jobs are only possible on a “work-for-hire” agreement, where you give up all rights - for example educational publishers almost exclusively work that way: so basically if you insist on a rights-only agreement you’re not an interesting partner for them.

    I hear from my agent that many small trade publishers are starting to work the same way, and I’ve been offered those type of contracts for trade as well...

  • Moderator

    @smceccarelli Thankyou for responding. You’re right on time. Lol. I was getting the same vibe (that this is a self publisher). Her responses are so vague that it’s a bit confusing. The sample text from the story she attached has another persons name on it as the writer.

    @peteolczyk thank you for the timeframe info. 🙂

    I’m going to tread very carefully with this and not commit to anything until I have ALL the answers I need. I think this could be a good learning tool because I don’t feel invested at all yet, so I won’t inadvertently give too much of myself away because I’m stressed over not getting the job.
    I will continue to report on our correspondence so that we may all learn from this. Hopefully she responds a little faster from now on 🤣

  • @smceccarelli thank you for sharing that, your answer and this whole thread is incredibly usefulI. I’m still trying to get my head around the norms of business practice in illustration. Is there a such thing as a definitive guide or is it, because of its complex nature, an undefined and vague rule book.

  • Moderator

    I just sent out my follow up response. I feel kinda okay about it. I've been doing research on pricing, and not feeling invested in this yet is giving me some mental freedom. I am not trying to coddle to client. I had to keep telling myself to NOT drop the price, I am worth it. I think I'm worth more, but that could be my arrogance talking. LOL. But considering that this is a SMALL publisher I was trying not to gouge too hard. I really would like this job, but not at my own expense. I feel that this is a healthy place to be. Thank you for listening, I will keep you posted on our further communications. Also, if you want to comment on my email to her, please do so. Any bit of critique or advise is welcome.

    {Hello XXXXX,
    From your responses I am assuming you want up to 5 black and white spot illustrations plus one full cover (front and back) illustration in black and white with graphic design for the cover. I will not be responsible for the layout of the book pages and their images. Since you want black and white I am still unclear on which medium that you saw of mine for this project. I have black and white art, in pencil, ink, watercolor and ink, and digital.
    $750 is a little low from my perspective for a flat fee of 5 images and a full cover. I am thinking closer to $2000 for a 2 year licensed contract, at which point, if you would like to renew, we can renegotiate. For this I would provide rough sketches for one round of comments, finished sketches with values and character designs, and finished art, provided digitally.
    I hope that we can come to an agreement, I am excited to draw little [characters name].
    Thank you,
    Lisa Burvant}

  • Sounds like you've thought it through well and good to stick to your guns about reasonable payment. You are worth it!

    In an illustration class I took, the prof brought in a copy of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook which had very useful info (at least on the USA side) for things like rates and rights. It went on to my list of books I want to buy.

    I should add - it had not just illustration rate info but a ton of other stuff like graphic design, television, greeting cards etc.

  • Moderator

    @J-L-Martin Thankyou!
    I did download a portion of that handbook back in spring. I've been using it along with articles and blogs on the subject of pricing to narrow down a fit for myself. Some parts of pricing are very straightforward (my cost per image) and others are so arbitrary that its tough to pin down an accurate number without experience (licensing😶). I am happy we have this forum to help talk ourselves through all of it. I think we would all need therapy if we didn't have SVS. LOL.

  • @burvantill oh excellent! I have not yet dropped the hammer on this. Do you think it's worth buying a copy? And oh I totally agree - the publishing industry just seems so crazy to me. So good to share notes on here and get advice. lol - SVS is the therapy.

  • Moderator

    It was nice to have a basic guideline to start from. To get an idea of where I stood. Lee White mentions it a lot so I figured it would be smart to check it out.

  • Thanks! Good to know. I'm definitely going to pick it up before year end.

  • When talking about a licensing time-frame, is 2 years a "standard" or is kind of all over the place depending on the publisher??

  • Moderator

    @jdubz The article that I used as a reference tool for this response actually said 15 months. I felt that was a weird arbitrary number so I just said 2 years. I’ve heard of licensing being anywhere between months and decades. I felt 2 years was appropriate because I think this is a VERY small publisher and if the book does well then that time frame should be appropriate.... i think 😜

  • @burvantill Great thanks! That's one piece I feel like I have absolutely no handle on lol

  • Moderator

    @jdubz 🤣🤣🤣 you’ve joined the right club then 👍

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