Delay in feedback from client

  • Hi guys,

    I'm working on my first project with my agency. It's a lot of work with considerably less time for it, but I suppose this is how the work starts and I'm fine with it.

    My issue is that I submitted my rough sketches well before the deadline in the hope that I'll receive the feedback also early, which will give me more time to work on the final illustrations.

    But there has been considerable delay in the time the client is taking to share feedback. They've said they'll extend the deadline so that I have enough time to work on it, but my problem is that the delay is going to affect the timeline/workload of my other projects which are already lined up. (I understand some delays are expected but didn't expect so much for a short term project.)

    I mentioned this to my agent and she's also pressing the client, and the client has said that the delay is from the author's side.

    Do you think it's ok for me to contact the author directly and politely ask about the feedback? Or should I maintain communication through my agent? (I've already contacted the author once at the beginning of the project for some references.)

  • @Neha-Rawat I know how you feel. I am in a similar situation, and it is impossible to plan. I do not have a very good suggestion what to do about it. I think it is so tricky to handle multiple projects - a challenge that I have not prepared for.

    I was waiting for feedback for a couple projects for weeks, nothing happened. Then all clients wrote back in the same week, and all projects have deliveries which are due around similar time. Currently what I did is that I made a rough timeline and shared with my agent, and told her what I can deliver and when for each project. My agent then goes on to communicate the rest with clients. I rely very much on my agent's opinion for this, as I trust that she has a working relationship with the clients, knew the industry practices way better than I can manage.

    If you are thinking about contacting the author directly, maybe check with your agent first? I guess the important question is when she can provide nessasery feedback. I found the delay itself is less of a problem, but the unknown is the biggest challenge in planning.

  • @xin-li Thanks for your insight. It is indeed challenging to not be able to plan and I think your advice makes the perfect sense to go via the agent.
    I'd actually requested a delayed start to my 2nd project so that I get at least a week's break in between my 1st and 2nd project, but now I'll be happy as long as it doesn't overlap!
    Thank you for your help 🙂

  • Pro

    @Neha-Rawat I was in the same situation in the Spring! Weeks and weeks to get my feedback, the project was stuck at the higher up level. When I let them know that soon I wouldn't be able to meet the deadline because of the delays, they just said "oh don't worry, we'll just extend the deadline". It really angered me the casual way they said this, because they hadn't considered at all my schedule and that I might not be able to work on this later. My motto is always to be transparent with people because sometimes they don't understand the full situation and if we don't tell them, they can't know. I told them politely that I had planned my upcoming schedule with the original deadlines and that starting a certain date I'd be busy with other obligations and wouldn't be able to make time to finish this book at that time. They didn't get offended and realized my position, although they still were slower than I would have liked to send me the feedback I think they tried to hurry it up.

    In your case it's a little tricky because you want to contact the author directly. I'm not 100% sure that this isn't crossing a line, because it should be up to the client to press the author. I think you should check with the client if they're pressing the author, or just washing their hands clean of this because the delay is from the author so they think they can't do anything. If they already are pressing the author, then it could be rude and unhelpful to also write her to badger her yourself. If they're not pressing her, you could reiterate more firmly this time that you will NOT be able to work on this project anymore after a certain date and you're counting on them to let the author know that if the feedback isn't there by x date, the whole project would be in danger. I think that's the best you can do here... If the author realizes just how tenuous the situation is, they might get a move on. Sadly, some people do not feel urgency if they're merely inconveniencing others, but they only feel it when they're inconveniencing their own endeavors...

  • @Neha-Rawat so I've heard before that one of the reasons they don't like books that already have an author and illustrator team is because the agents like to handle communications between author and illustrator themselves, so I don't think it would be a good idea to reach out for feedback yourself. However I do think it would be worth saying something similar to the suggestions above would be a good idea. It sounds like the deadline is very flexible on their side which is why there isn't much pressure on their end.

  • @NessIllustration Thanks, Vanessa! I think what you said about being transparent is the best way to handle such situations. I must admit I didn't think of it from the author's point of view if she'd already be getting pressed from the publisher. I'll maintain communication via the agent and stand my ground of not falling under the pressure of unrealistic deadlines. Thanks!

    @carlianne That makes sense. Thanks, Carlianne!

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