I need to share this recent experience with you all not only to vent personal frustration but to open up a topic of conversation that I think is really important.
I recently responded to a post on LinkedIn by a publisher from India who was looking for Children’s Book Illustrators. It is one of my dreams to have my own children’s book published and I was really happy to get a response from this publisher, asking for a pdf portfolio and my expected income to do a project for him.
I quickly grabbed my GAG Handbook (Graphic Artists Guild) and found that a lot of illustrators charge a flat fee for Children’s book or otherwise quote based on a Royalty Contract in which the artist received a percentage of sales. I then emailed him back with my portfolio and explained that my rates were based on usage and I needed to know how many copies he intended to print and where they were to be distributed in order to quote a flat fee based on the briefs he had sent me.
In the end this publisher wanted full rights to my images while paying next to nothing per illustration. He wanted to pay me based on possible sales of the book without being tied down to the number of copies he would be printing but along with worldwide printing rights. He told me experienced illustrators in Europe are working for “very competitive rates” and that he had been offered “fantastic prices per illustration”. I was asking only $200 a spread!
This is the email that I sent him:
What do you think? Was I too harsh? Was I unreasonable? How much would you expect to get paid to illustrate seven 16″x8″ illustrations? Would you do the work on the possibility of getting paid? How little?
I’m really interested to hear the feedback on this so please comment below, share your experiences and let me know your thoughts!