The Frankfurt Book Fair 2016

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We found out a little while ago that HAI member, children’s artist Rachelle Meyer, was going to the 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair and we asked her if she’d be kind enough to report back to us after the event. We felt it would be a good opportunity for Rachelle to share her experience via the staff blog. – Darren Di Lieto


I went to the Frankfurt Buchmesse with few expectations and lots of curiosity. I’ve been to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair many times and what I kept hearing was that in comparison, the Frankfurt Book Fair is huge and overwhelming. I had three days, a few appointments, an iPhone, and a sketchbook. I made a point of exploring beyond the English-language and European halls where I already had appointments to find unfamiliar faces and new experiences.

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I can’t say for sure if my observations are the typical visitor experience or simply what I’m drawn to based on my personal preferences. My feeling about the trends in publishing is that there are more books now which are personal, political and hand-crafted. There was an entire stand devoted to the independent voices of INDIECON, with zines available for purchase on site. I bought this lovely comic by Tine Fetz. The side-stapled comic had crop lines still visible on many pages, which I found quite charming and added to its indy credentials.

Nils Oskamp’s excellent process sketches for his graphic novel, Drei Steine, drew me into the booth for the Amadeu Antonio Foundation. It was refreshing and empowering to speak to people who ardently want to make a difference in the world.

I loved the textural richness of the crafted books. Take, for example XY Printing Group‘s folded accordion style book which was illustrated entirely with paper cuts. It’s a gorgeous retelling by Anne Montbarbon of the traditional Three Little Pigs story. The hand-printed pages at Tara Books smelled so delicious from the inks they used. In addition the Flanders and the Netherlands (99 Flemish and Dutch authors and artists from every genre) were the guests of honor this year and in the guest pavilion, you could snag a beautiful limited-edition Parade magazine. Another nice detail was the Happy Hour, hosted by the Netherlands and Flanders, which featured typical Dutch/Flemish treats like mini-beers and tiny bowls of french fries with mayo.

To prepare for the book fair, I reached out to my publishing contacts and printed up a new batch of cards for distribution. Once there, I had a meeting that led to a new assignment and I also received an email from a publisher I had worked with before. The publisher had received my promotional postcard at just the right time to offer me a new project, showing in my opinion that my advertising was paying off. As a working illustrator, the fair was not just inspiring, but also rewarding from a financial and professional standpoint.

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Being in Frankfurt allowed me to touch base with a number of professional groups. I’m the International Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and they hosted a very informative and motivating workshop called “Supercharge Your Submissions with agent Hannah Sheppard” on the Saturday morning during the fair. I also got to catch up with some nice people from the SCBWI local chapter.

Chatting with people from the IO (German Illustratoren Organisation) left me feeling energized and hopeful about our direction and place in the industry. They’ve been around for ten years and have grown exponentially in this relatively short time. With these sort of positive communities and support bases, we have a greater chance of setting better terms for illustrators and making the industry we work in, work for us.

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I don’t know if I’ll go every year, but it was a very rewarding trip and I’ll definitely go again. – Rachelle Meyer (professional illustrator)


If you attended this year, say hello, share your experiences or leave a comment in the section below, as we’d love to hear from you. For information about Frankfurt Buchmesse 2017, please visit buchmesse.de

Hello World 2.0: How to contact an illustrator

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Most illustrators, if not all, display enough of their work online for a client to make an informed decision as to whether they’d like to work with them or not. I’m not talking about how much an illustrator will quote on a job or whether they’re affordable, but whether an illustrator’s style matches what the client is looking for. When those elements line up, it’s time for the client to get in contact and this is where things can sometimes go wrong or trip up a commission before it’s even got started.

The way the messaging system at Hire an Illustrator works is that you hit the “Message Illustrator” button on an illustrator’s portfolio page and this will email them the message you want to send. Simple, right? Most of the time, yes, but not all of the time.

When composing your message to an illustrator you should include the following information:

  • A short summary of what you’re actually after.
  • How and for what you intend to use the illustration.
  • Your deadline for completion, especially if it’s soon.
  • And, if you’ve worked with an illustrator before, your budget.

We don’t specify exactly what you should be emailing our illustrators, as everyone works in different ways and we’re all grown ups. But you wouldn’t call up a plumber if you didn’t know what you wanted them to fix or have enough money to pay them. Just telling a plumber to come to your house isn’t enough information. It’s the same for an illustrator; just telling them that you like their work or that you want to work with them isn’t enough. They need to know what you want them to work on and you need to be specific.

The initial message doesn’t really need to be more than two or three sentences. Once you’ve sent it off to the illustrator, they’ll probably get back to you with several standard questions that they send to all potential new clients. Each illustrator has their own set of questions, but they’ll all be in a similar vein and it’ll allow them to work up a preliminary quote. If the illustrator doesn’t reply to a client, it’ll either be because the client’s message made no sense (which happens more than you think) or the client didn’t even bother looking at the illustrator’s portfolio (which also happens a lot). Illustrators tend to work in the same specific style as seen in their previous pieces, so although you’ll be hiring them for a new custom piece, it will reflect their established style and that’s the reason an illustrator is normally hired. You shouldn’t be asking an illustrator to work up free samples of the image you’re after just to see if they’re the right person, because if you can’t see whether they’re right for a job from their current portfolio, you need to hire an art director to work with them on your behalf. Plus, no one should be working for free in a profit driven industry.

The length of time it takes for an illustrator to reply to an email can vary; some may reply within 10 minutes, others can take a week. A digital artist, for example, might see your message pop up as soon as you send it. One of our more traditional illustrators, who works in a studio with oils, might only check their emails once a week. You just need to be patient and take a guess at a reasonable length of time to give them before following up. Email is also a fickle thing, so if you feel you’ve given it a reasonable length of time for a reply and (as far as you’re aware) your message made sense and wasn’t confusing, send us an email and we can check in on the illustrator on your behalf. You never know, their email might be down or their spam filter might be being overzealous. Patience is a virtue, persistence gets things done!

Fees vary drastically from illustrator to illustrator depending on their style and their experience. Some might have a very labour-intensive style, or something that’s more niche. The thing is, until you’ve worked out what you want and a number of details have been pinned down, the illustrator can’t actually give you a quote. So if you’ve not even got the initial contact points mentioned above, you’re not ready to contact an illustrator. If you can’t fathom or work out those details yourself, as mentioned before, hire an art director or an illustrator who also has experience doing their own art direction, which many have. You just need to be prepared to be very hands-off when it comes to the direction and choices they make with regards to the illustrations. You’re paying them to do what they do best, so trust them and let them do it.

Now, once you’ve said your hellos and both parties know what the situation is and are on the same page, it’s time to talk about money and contracts. This ground work should be established before the creativity starts:

  • How much is the illustrator being paid?
  • What are the terms of the license?
  • Is there a kill fee and upfront deposit?
  • When is the deadline and when will the invoice be paid?
  • Have the contracts been signed?
  • Are revisions included in the fee, if so how many?

After that, you’re good to go! Follow the project, hit your targets and let the magic happen.


The accompanying illustration (2013) was created by Tom Holme for Creative England. We’re pretty sure Tom would love to hear from you if you’d like something similar.

Royalties Vs. Advances for Illustrators & Writers

We would like to welcome Tim Paul as a guest blogger on the hai staff blog. In this post New York illustrator Tim Paul has written down his thoughts and opinions for us with regards to illustrators and writers being paid an advance verses not being paid an advance on their royalties. Tim has worked as a colourist for Marvel Entertainment and been in the creative industry for almost 20 years, dare we say he could be considered a veteran… – Darren Di Lieto


So Where Do We Start?

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Getting even a simple book out can take a year or more. It’s a long, slow road from concept to paycheck especially if there isn’t an advance at the beginning.

PART ONE: Necessity

These days you hear that publishing needs to evolve to survive. One way large publishers are trying to evolve is to copy smaller publishers in how they pay the artist/author. A smaller publisher, who doesn’t have the finances for an advance, will sometimes offer a higher cut of royalties. This can be up to a 50/50 split after costs. Larger publishers are beginning to follow suit, with inexperienced and untried creators seeming to be the main focus of this shift.

If a writer’s goal is simply to be published, self-publishing is an option they should consider. They’ll be published, and it will even bring in some extra earnings if their book sells well. But for artists and authors whose goal is to make a living at publishing their work, the no-advance option puts more of the risk on their plate. Publishers are looking to manage the financial risks they are taking. If a book fails to make the necessary sales to cover the advance, the author isn’t obliged to pay back the advance. That money is their’s regardless of the how well the book sells.

For the artist or author, the potential for a larger paycheck in the form of higher royalties can be very tempting. However, an advance isn’t a case of the publisher being nice to the author. It’s a way for them to work on the project, without the pressure of having to take on additional work to pay the bills. This way, the artist or author can work towards giving the publisher the best possible product, distraction free.


PART TWO: Business

Getting even a simple book out can take a year or more. It’s a long, slow road from concept to paycheck especially if there isn’t an advance at the beginning. A long wait for payday isn’t the only thing creators have to consider under the no-advance approach. What happens if the work is completed but, through no fault of the creator, it gets canceled by the publisher? Naturally you can try and cover these and other possibilities in a contract, but this does mean more time-consuming negotiations with both sides trying to protect themselves.

Publishers aren’t looking to screw or trick their artists and authors. They’re trying to do what is best for their company financially, as any business would. This doesn’t mean it’s the best course of action for the author or the publisher’s long term goals, but it minimizes the financial risks for the publisher. Plus with no advance, the onus is on the author to produce the work, because if they don’t there will be no royalties.

With an advance, the risk is moved back to the publisher, which means it’s easy for an author to work out what happens if a project gets cancelled by the publishing house… they get to keep the advance. But how is that going to play out with payment based solely on sales? There’s no way for an author to say if a book is going to flop or be a 50 week bestseller. It’s the publisher who will have the experience and expertise to make that sort of judgement, rather than the author.

Smaller publishers don’t normally have much in the way of a budget for marketing. They rely on word of mouth, reviews, and the creator promoting their books along with social networking. If this method of getting a book to market is picked up by the larger publishers, how much self-promotion will their artists and authors be expected to do? After all, isn’t the point of signing with a large publisher that a creator can use the publisher’s resources, connections, experience and knowledge to properly market their publication?

Should large publishers decide that all untried creators have to prove themselves before getting an advance, it could easily become, “accept this deal, or remain unpublished” for all. The no-advance model reduces or takes away the ability of the creator to remain independent of the business side and solely focus on the creation of their writing or imagery. If no advance was to become the norm, there would be no reason for it to go back to the old ways. In the struggle to make a living as an artist or author, getting fair compensation has always been a fight. It’s better to know what you are going to be paid, than the promise of a potentially higher paycheck in my opinion.


PART THREE: Final Thought

Part of being a freelance illustrator or writer is making a plan on how you are going to support yourself while creating. Advances allow artist and authors to plan their finances with solid numbers and a real income. For publishers to receive the best products takes time and dedication. Insist on an advance when the big companies come knocking. Don’t do yourself a disservice, believe in your work and worth, and the big publishing houses will believe in you too.


Artwork & Words: Tim Paul http://illo.cc/15270

ICON8 – Part 3: The Grand Finale

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This is the third and final part of Pat Higgins‘ ICON8 experience.
Darren Di Lieto

Part 1: https://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/blog/874/icon8/
Part 2: https://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/blog/882/icon8-part-2/


I woke up on the final day of ICON to a huge mess of styrofoam food containers, dirty clothes and empty bottles. The obvious signs of a fun night. Once again, I made it to the Art Museum just in time for the continental breakfast. Much like the other days of the conference, breakfast was a good time to grab a coffee, make new friends and trade contact information.

Saturday’s presentations began with Chronicle Books. Christina Amini (Editorial Director, Chronicle Books) and Kristen Hewitt (Design Director, Chronicle Books), joined illustrators Lisa Congdon and Susie Chahremani for an informative talk about Chronicle’s relationship between artists and editors, the collaborative creative process and working on projects that you enjoy.

On the first short coffee break of the day I received a panicked phone call from my brother (who came along for the ride but was not attending ICON). I was informed that due to a miscommunication/booking error we needed to check out of our hotel immediately and that most of the hotels in the downtown Portland area were booked up due to the combination of ICON and some other conference that was going on. At this point I headed back to the hotel so we could figure out accommodations for the remainder of our trip. We called around to a bunch of hotels with no luck. Somehow during the call to the last of the hotels on our list, Ryan convinced the manager into giving us the presidential suite for the price of a regular room, as well as checking us in immediately. The room was pretty awesome… It had a living room with two couches, an office, a bedroom and a jacuzzi. I wanted to hang out and enjoy the room but also didn’t want to miss any more of the speakers.

I made it back just in time to catch the last presentation before the break. I spent my lunch talking to some of the familiar faces and new friends that I had met over the past week, then headed back to the third floor of the Portland Art Museum. The rest of the day was full of really great speakers and topics. Brian McMullen talked about weird books for weird kids, Lisa Wagner and Jason Holley (who were in charge of the amazing and ever evolving stage design) spoke about working together, and Souther Salazar showed the crowd how work is play. After that, Justin Hall educated the attendees on the history of queer comics. His talk was quite interesting, as I am not very familiar with this sub-genre of independent comics. Equally interesting was Robynne Raye’s story about suing Disney for copyright infringement. Don’t Bring a Mouse to a Dogfight and don’t steal people’s shit!

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The day concluded with a keynote by Damian Kulash of the band Ok Go, who spoke about making music videos, being creative by accident and playing around. What really impressed me was that it seemed like the band had a lot of fun making the videos. That’s always something that’s really important to me… I want to be having fun and making something that I’m proud of, whether it’s illustration, graphic design or making/playing music with my bands. After that, Mark Heflin (ICON Executive Director) and Ellen Weinstein came up on stage to close the conference. They brought up a bunch of the behind-the-scenes folks that made this amazing event happen and it was all over.

Except it wasn’t over. We still had the closing night party! The theme of this conference wasn’t “Work and Play” for no reason. The attendees made their way back to their hotels and then to the Crystal Ballroom. We were treated to an open bar, a buffet full of food and a DJ while we mingled around. Later on in the night the headlining act, Portugal The Man, played a special set just for us ICON attendees (and I’m sure a few people who managed to sneak in). It was a great way to end this amazing week.

ICON 8 was an awesome conference and as attendees we were treated very well. I still don’t know how I was able to cram so much action into one week. Workshops, presentations, lectures, double-decker buses, happy hours, art shows, food, drinks, music and more! Needless to say, the trip to the airport was a bittersweet one. I was worn out after that week of work and play but I’ll miss Portland, OR and all of the new friends that I made while I was there. I’ll see you guys at ICON9!

Image & text by Pat Higgins, to see more of his work visit: illo.cc/25631

ICON8 – Part 2: Business Cards & Art Shows

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Following on from Pat Higgins first blog post about his trip to ICON8 this is part 2. – Darren Di Lieto

To read part 1 visit: https://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/blog/874/icon8/


Friday morning I woke up at 7:55. Somehow I managed to make it to the continental breakfast at the Portland Art museum by 8:00. After a cup of coffee and a bagel I was able to pull myself together and start interacting and socializing with my conference peers. On a side note, trading stories, business cards and promo materials with like-minded creators from around the world was one of my favorite parts of ICON. I can’t imagine any other profession where business cards are fun to get and are literally a work of art. During these moments of the conference, I couldn’t help but thinking of it as a total inverse of the business card scene in American Psycho.

After breakfast the herd headed upstairs to the Main Stage where we were greeted by the conference emcees, Vanessa Davis and Mimi Pond. These two were great. They told us about the sold out workshops, “Complaining About Having an Illustration Assignment” and “Complaining About Not Having an Illustration Assignment” as well as the elusive “Lunch on Your Own” presentation, which they never did find. Vanessa and Mimi continued to entertain as they introduced the presentations throughout the day. “What the Fuck Are Infographics?” (presented by New York Times graphics editors, Jennifer Daniel and Alicia DeSantis) taught us that “infographics are a style and a marketing ploy” to get people to click on a link and that it’s really better described as visual journalism due to the research involved. The Clayton Brothers talked about their collaborative efforts and Jan Pinkava showed us all some of the ways that illustration is moving forward with technology with Google Spotlight Stories such as “Windy Day” and “Buggy Night”. Sam Arthur told us the impressive story of Nobrow, a publishing company from the UK. They are printing some of the most interesting and amazing things and working with some of the most talented illustrators out there (plus their books smell great). One of the most informative speakers of the day was Linda Joy Kattwinkel, who had two different presentations about legal issues, “Protecting Your Work in the Age of the Internet” and “Work Made for Hire and Copyright Termination Rights”. The day concluded with Craig Bartlett’s, “An Animator’s Charmed Past Life”. He told us about working on “Rugrats” as well as the creation of his animated series, “Hey Arnold” and how it was inspired by his childhood in Seattle and Portland.

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Immediately following the lectures was a happy hour in the downstairs area of the art museum. Both the crowd and the line for the bar were insane, but it was nice to get a couple drinks after such a full day. Once happy hour was over, there was a double decker bus waiting to take us to the Land Gallery, where the ICON 8 Work and Play group art show was held. This was an amazing show featuring art from 70 ICON attendees (including myself). The only downside to this event was the heat. Not sure if it was the weather or just the amount of people in and out of the gallery, but it was almost unbearable. If you want to check out the work from the show go to buyolympia.com. Those time limited prints are available from that site from July 22, 2014 until August 24, 2014.

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While at the gallery show, I met up with my brother and some other friends. Once again it was party time. We headed to a bar across the street from the Land Gallery for a few drinks. By the time we realized what time it was, the double decker shuttle bus had made it’s last trip back to the hotel. The six of us decided that the party must go on, so we walked outside to figure out where our next stop would be and how we would get there. We got a few steps away from the bar and my friend Kevin pointed behind me. Some woman was standing next to a motorcycle that had fallen on the ground. “That’s my roommate’s bike!”, she screamed at us. I explained to her that one of us would have noticed if we knocked over a motorcycle. As I was helping her pick up the bike, a big angry guy comes out of the bar and starts screaming, “What the FUCK?! That’s my roomate’s motorcycle! That’s a custom paintjob!”. As soon as he said that, one of our group says, “How many roommates does this guy have?”. As soon as I heard that I started laughing. The next guy to come out the door did not think it was very funny, as he started yelling at us along with the rest of his friends,”Whoa… who fucked up my bike? Do you know how much I paid for this paint job?”. No sooner did he say that than another smartass comment comes from our group, “This guy paid all of that money for a custom paint job but he skimped on the kickstand? HA!”. At this point I was multi-tasking: Trying my hardest not to laugh while at the same time working to convince these people that we didn’t knock over the bike. Before I knew it, the three room mates were arguing about what happened and whose fault it was. We took this as a cue to leave. We ended up hanging out at some punk rock bar, which reminded me of home. We were a little late for the show that was going on so we just hung out and had some beers. Eventually it was time to end the late night and head back to the hotel.

Image credits Pat Higgins, to see more of his work visit: illo.cc/25631

Art PACT

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We’re super-pleased to announce that we’ve entered into a pact with Art PACT! hire an illustrator members are eligible for a $10 discount off PACT membership, while members of PACT can get 10% off an annual membership when they join us!

But what is Art PACT, I hear you cry? Well, if you don’t already know, Art PACT is a fabulous resource for illustrators – think interesting articles, reviews of clients, sample contracts, advice and good old fashioned encouragement to succeed in the wonderful world of illustration. We heartily encourage you to go and take a look: http://www.artpact.com/

How our Art Buyer enquiry process works

Part of our job here at hai is to recommend members to clients who contact us directly looking for an illustrator. We get lots of enquiries each week from clients via our Art Buyer form on the site, by email and through social networks. Usually (if they haven’t already) we’ll ask the client to complete the Art Buyer form to give us the information we need to help them find the most suitable artist(s) for the job.

Enquiries come from a wide variety of individuals and businesses, including publishing houses, magazine art buyers, advertising agencies, self-publishing authors and corporate clients. The jobs can range from a private commission for a portrait to a global advertising campaign, but we’re always pleased to help out whatever the size of job.

We ask for as much information as possible about the commission and style of work the client wants, then once we have those details we go about recommending hai members who fit the bill. Most of the time the client will decide to directly contact the artist(s) they are interested in to discuss the job. Sometimes clients will ask us to get in touch with the illustrators they like first, to see if they would be available and interested in working with them. Either way, hopefully the end result is that one of our members gets the job!

It sounds pretty straightforward and it usually is! Sometimes there can be a lot of going back and forth with the client to work out the details, or when offering advice around the issue of cost. Likewise, if someone is new to working with illustrators they can have a lot of questions, and we’re always happy to help people understand how the wonderful world of illustration works.

And on that note, if you are a someone who is thinking of working with an illustrator and aren’t sure what is involved, there is the fantastic resource Learning How to Commission Illustration by Randy Gallegos, available to download free at http://www.hireanillustrator.com/how-to-commission-an-illustrator.pdf It’s a great place to start!

If you would like us to help you find an illustrator, don’t forget about our Art Buyer form!

A review of the Comixology Submit process

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*Guest post written by Heather L Sheppard*

Recently, I completed work on the first issue of my own comic/storybook ‘Sunrise’, a small, wordless story about a silent little monster on his search for the sun.
I wanted to publish it myself – to learn the whole process of creating, printing and selling my book myself, as I still think it’s one of the best ways to learn – to experience it for yourself. To pay for this, I decided to print each of my 4 planned issues as limited edition paperback copies, and sell them myself both online and at comic conventions – the problem being, it turns out people really like it, and 75 limited edition copies weren’t going to last long!

So I had to come up with another plan – lots of people wanted to read it, but I needed a platform to publish it on which would allow others to easily read it, yet not devalue the limited edition copies that so many people had bought in good faith. I completely intend to sell the final ‘full’ version of all 4 issues in a nice, solid hardback, but that is still a year away, at least! So I thought ‘Why not sell a digital copy?’ And so I began to look into alternatives.

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There were many methods, most involved selling a PDF version on my own digital stores, which I wasn’t entirely happy with. Not only is a PDF a bit of a bother to read, you can’t sit with your child and read through the book together – and that’s still something that I find important. I even thought about making a book app myself to sell on the iOS and Android stores. However, with my experience with making games for tablet and phone devices, I knew how much of a pain in the behind this would be – I can create the art and menu systems easily enough, but then I’d have to hire a programmer (which, despite knowing many, I couldn’t ask them to work for free!), a testing team and most likely the tablet and phone devices needed to test the app – which is far easier with the limited amount of Apple products than it is with the plethora of Android-using phones! And then I would have to hire a PR team to get the word around – all of which is a little impossible with my teeny tiny budget! So I had to give up on that idea almost as soon as I had it.

Earlier this year though, popular digital comic outlet ‘Comixology’ opened the doors to small-press comic creators with ‘Comixology Submit’. Brilliant! A way to get a digital version of Sunrise on so many phone and tablet devices, as well as computer screens, in an easy to read way – and best of all, I didn’t have to invest any of my own money in it! So, as soon as I could, I prepared a tablet and phone-friendly version and submitted it.

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There are a few things to take note of – as far as I could tell, there were no guidelines, so you are working a little blind. I worked with traditional iPad3 screen sizes (2048 x 1536) but this wasn’t big enough. Comixology contacted me to ask if there was a bigger size, so I decided to make it bigger. I can’t remember how I came to this file size, but 2292 x 3056 was accepted. I think the huge file size is to do with their guided view system, which is fair enough – it is essential for those reading on smart phones! Secondly, it takes a long time for your comic to go through the submission process. Sunrise was ‘Tentatively accepted’ nearly a month after I submitted it. After that, it took another 6-8 weeks or so to appear in-store. This is definitely not a quick process and you are not guaranteed to get on the store at all. Thirdly, once your comic is in-store, you can’t see what your sales are. This does annoy me slightly, as I like to know how well my personal work is selling – and Comixology is telling me to trust them with something very important to me, which I find quite difficult when it comes to big companies. Another thing is, that instead of getting your monthly share sent to you each month (like Redbubble, for example) you’re sent a cheque every quarter IF your comic sells over $100, which worries me a bit – what happens if you only made $99 that quarter? Does it roll over into the next quarter? My comic hasn’t been up there an entire quarter yet, so I can’t give an answer. I do worry about them sending a cheque though, rather than wiring it to my bank account. As I have found out in the past, by receiving a cheque in US Dollars my bank will charge me extra to put it into my account – usually about £12 – which is annoying, and what happens if I move house while the cheque is in transit? I know there’s only a small chance of that happening, but it still worries me!

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But, even with those cons, there are a lot of ‘pros’ to submitting your work to Comixology Submit.

Firstly – a new, huge audience from around the world! Suddenly, you’re getting reviews and 5 stars from people who would never have found your work before. I now have access to the American market especially, which I would never have had on my tiny little table at UK comic conventions (I will most definitely still be at UK conventions though). Secondly, some of the people at Comixology found Sunrise in the submit section, and included it as the very first thing mentioned on the Podcast – even stopping their talk about Batman, to talk about Sunrise! My partner and I were sat open-mouthed while we listened to it! It was so nice to hear people I’d never met, talking about my little book in such a positive way. They even bought a physical copy of the book afterwards! Success! Even with the cons I listed, this Pro made up for everything 🙂 Thirdly – setting up your comic for Comixology is completely free for you. Yes, Comixology will take a 50/50 cut from your sales (after credit card fees and fees from tablet and phone companies for having the app on their store, which happens with every app), but the cost of hiring an entire team to get your comic on the app store yourself will cost you even more than Comixology’s fees. Plus you won’t get the same level of PR or open up to an entirely new market, like you will do if you go with Comixology. I have worked on many iOS and Android games and one thing I have noticed is, it is very difficult to get people to notice your game/app if you are not one of the top 10, or even the top 50! Comixology will help you with that. And lastly – submitting with Comixology means you are not bound to an exclusive contract – you can still sell digital copies anywhere else, which is perfect for the small-press creator!

So, in my opinion, if you have your own comic and you’re looking for a digital release, try Comixology. It won’t cost you anything to set up, so you have absolutely nothing to lose – and maybe even something to gain. Just keep in mind that it’s definitely not a quick process, and sometimes you can feel like you’re working blind.

I’ll post another update in a few months, once I know whether I get my first cheque or not!
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Images and text in this post are copyright of Heather L Sheppard.

Learning How to Commission Illustration

A short while ago one of our members, the highly talented and experienced illustrator Randy Gallegos, told us about a booklet he had produced: Learning How to Commission Illustration. It’s a really valuable resource that does exactly what it says: it shows people how to commission illustration!

Randy’s considerable understanding and knowledge of working with clients, especially independent publishers, has been compiled to provide a comprehensive explanation of the entire commissioning process. While this resource is targeted primarily at small and self-publishers, the information would be extremely useful to anyone who hasn’t worked with an illustrator before. Additionally, it would be a fantastic help to less experienced illustrators who may need advice on how to deal with artwork commissioners themselves.

The pamphlet describes the process of commissioning an illustration from start to finish, including how to approach an artist, choosing the right copyright, licensing, fees, time-scales and more. There are lots of examples of different situations in there too.

Randy’s pamphlet is available to download for free HERE, so you can keep your own copy to hand and pass it on to your clients as well.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab yourself a copy now!

Don’t forget to check out Randy’s artwork too: Website | Portfolio | Blog