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Hey!

I just sent out a bunch of promo postcards and an Art Director wrote me asking if I would be interested in illustrating a picture book project. Hooray! My first one! But how do I respond professionally? I don't want to mess it up on the first email!

Thanks in advance for advice!
#1 - September 07, 2017, 03:25 PM

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Jeanne, it's very simple:) If he/she addressed you by your first name, you start your email reply back to them with theirs. Say thank you for the contact and that your very interested in hearing more about the project, the budget and the deadline.
That's all... for now at least. Congrats, hope it turns out well:)
#2 - September 08, 2017, 01:44 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

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Thank you for the advice! I have a new question. The publisher is offering the project on royalties only. He said that their company usually does not do advances, but the book won't be published until spring 2019. Would you take it? Would you renegotiate for some sort of upfront compensation or make sure there is a killer kill fee involved? This project will be a republished story from a dead author, so I would receive the entire 10% royalty, paid monthly, but is that enough? Thanks for any insights!
#3 - September 08, 2017, 11:09 AM

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Jeanne, as an Illustrator I personally wouldn't work for royalty only. (it's also very odd to get monthly royalty cheques, what sort of publisher is it?)
 I worry, perhaps too much, about publishers not lasting, or going under financially and that advance is at least a sign that they are financially still viable and that they have invested in the books production and later, marketing (to make that money back)
It's also many, many months of your life spent Illustrating, no one should be asked to do that much work for free.
#4 - September 09, 2017, 02:32 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

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I agree. I want to do the job, but now I am feeling skittish and worried. The offer sounds like MAYBE they might allow for an advance, so I was wondering if I should ask them for a low $800-$1000 paid in installments, but I wasn't sure if that would work. Thank you for replying!
#5 - September 11, 2017, 03:37 PM

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Jeanne, I totally get wanting to do the work and being afraid of loosing the job all together if you get "demanding":) I'm less worried about this after seeing another post you made about the publisher, seeing the books they have on offer already and the high quality of Illustration they use (I admit I was a little afraid, with no advance and odd monthly royalties it was a less then honourable publisher:)
I still do not think there is anything wrong with asking (not demanding) for a minimal advance. It's not that it will make or break either you or the publisher, if it's that $1k you mention... but to me it's just a sign of good faith. You could say to them you really want to work with them on the project but just want to know if there is ANY possibility of an advance. I guess I'm saying, now that I am more comfortable about who the publisher is, if you have the time and if you really want the project (and who wouldn't?:) then you don't need to be as adamant as I was pushing for in my first comments, based on their profile. I don't know anything about them other then the art they use but that does demonstrate they care and are serious about what they do, as a publisher. Best of luck with this, keep us informed on how it goes!:)
#6 - September 12, 2017, 04:00 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

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Thanks so much for your advice Chris! I really appreciate it. I am rather unsure about the whole thing still. It comes down to taking a risk, I suppose and for someone who wants to be a freelancer I am awfully afraid of risk. There is wisdom in turning down jobs that don't pay you upfront and pose such risks, and instead to make your own work but then there is a part of me that says that sometimes the universe hands you opportunities that may surprise you (not saying this would be a big break or anything, exactly). I just hope that these sort of jobs won't become a trend. It makes the future look scarier!

Anyhow, thank you again for all of your kind words and help! You are the best!
#7 - September 12, 2017, 06:28 AM

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