Astounded


  • Pro

    It's been about 3 months since I've been signed with the agency Astound Us and I know a few of you asked to be updated on how things were going over there ๐Ÿ™‚

    So far I'm very happy and impressed with them! They are sending me a lot of inquiries which is reassuring (lack of work was the reason I left my old agency. There's one little contract I've already finished, and I'm currently working on 2 small books they sent me (4 spreads and 8 spreads respectively). There's another 2 inquiries up in the air right now (waiting to hear definitely if they'll pick me for them) and another 2 inquiries I've refused for various reasons and my agent was really cool about it, didn't bat an eye or try to convince me otherwise.

    As you can imagine that's far more action that's I'd ever hoped in my first 3 months there! They have been really proactive in finding me work, and have invited me to participate in various features and Instagram takeover (which I really hope to do one day when I have time!) Everyone is really nice and helpful and patient, even when I emailed accounts all confused about their payment system because I'd forgotten to read my welcome email from accounts (whoops!) So far the jobs they've found me are small, but that also mean they're quick to do which is quite fun in its own way and buffing up my portfolio fast.

    A+ for Astound so far!! ๐Ÿ™‚



  • Congratulations @NessIllustration ! Your illustrations are amazing, which probably also explains why you made sales so soon after signing!

    A few questions from a newbie here,
    Do they support author-illustrator as well? since they are primarily an illustrator agency. There is a page of "Book ideas" on their website, but not sure if they make a large number of sales this category.

    Data on publishers marketplace, for example, Their top agent Kate Kendrick made 8 sales in the last 12 months. When I saw it, my first response was "how can i make enough for a living if an agent is representing over 20 clients but only sales 8 books in the last 12 month". Based on what you described, that number should be an underestimation and she probably did not report all sales, is that right?

    Wish you all the best on this journey!


  • Pro

    @idid Thanks! But I did not get any work at my last agency, so I think this success is mostly due to the agency's chops!

    Actually that's a good question that I've wondered myself. I have a couple book ideas I would like to try my hand on at some point in the future, so eventually I will ask Astound if they do that too. My best guess is that it's not their specialty.

    That's an interesting statistic, do you think you could give me the link to that? I think the number 8 is probably not representative of illustration agencies. In literary agencies, selling a book is a big deal, it's months of work and they're several thousand dollar deals. In illustration agencies, they will find contracts for big books sometimes (which can be a lot of money) but also regularly much smaller gigs. They surely sell a lot more of those than 8 per year. I'm not sure if your source includes only literary agencies.

    The 3 jobs I've got so far are a gig to make 3 book covers for the educational market, a board book (4 spreads) and a small book for a gift store (8 spreads). The other inquiries include some activity/sticker work. I know Astound also does licensing, so they can sell or resell old illustrations from their artists' old catalog. It's not all books but it surely amounts to many many more sales. That being said, I'm not relying only on my agency, and in the beginning no one should expect to rely entirely on an agent for income. This year I've found about.. 90% of my work myself. If Astound continues to get me work at the pace they have in the last 3 months, I'm hoping in 2020 they will find me 50-60% of my work, which is a large increase but still, I expect to have to find quite a few contracts myself. I imagine as time goes, an artist can rely more and more on their agent as they start selling more, or earn higher level contracts. Hope that helps!



  • @NessIllustration Thank you!

    Thank you for responding! I bought data for one month in October, so link probably won't work. But I have saved rank in category "Children's Picture Book" and can share it here.
    !(Screen Shot 2019-11-25 at 6.15.22 PM.png Screen Shot 2019-11-25 at 6.14.34 PM.png

    #44 is an agent from Astound. I see now why it is an underestimate of overall jobs the agents bringing in. The data on publishers marketplace is book deal only. Astound has certainly brought you a variety of work, like books covers, etc. Good news and encouraging to hear indeed. It's also great that they seem to allow clients seek work by themselves. Heard some agencies do not let clients seek additional work by themselves, and I always wonder how those illustrators survive.

    Thanks again for your explanation! Happy holidays!


  • Pro

    @idid That's really interesting data, thanks for sharing! I think you're right, this data only shows one category (picture books). I see some of the names on the list have a number for "overall" deals as well. For example #45 Jennifer Rofe has 7 deals in this category, but 78 overall. It also shows 2 of those these were "6-figure+" which is highly impressive!

    As for for finding work by ourselves, I don't know how these illustrators do it either! It's really something to look out for, if an agency says their terms don't let you find your own work: run! Astound has a pretty regular contract, in which the illustrator can find all the work they want in their country of origin (in my case Canada, which is quite a large pool). They can also find their own deals in other countries, but have to bring in the agency on it (which means they will collect their commission).



  • I forgot to mention, the overall sales of agents are for multiple years. Still some agents are quite impressing! It proves that they got nice track records.

    The terms of Astound US seems quite reasonable. Thank you for sharing this information. Hope to learn more good news from you in the near future!



  • @idid where did you buy the data from?



  • @peteolczyk

    I bought one month of data of publishers marketplace, one month is $25.



  • @idid thatโ€™s great info and thanks for sharing


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