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Coloring sheets

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I'm posting as anonymous because I don't want my illustrator to see that I'm the one asking this, not that it's embarrassing, just -- well, I don't know.  i'm anonymous, 'kay? :)

I was thinking that for my upcoming picture book, because it's aimed at preschoolers, I might like to have a coloring sheet to bring for school visits as one of several activities that I'd do with them (or if I didn't do it with them, I'd leave them at the end to let the teacher follow up).  I'd be glad to pay my illustrator to do one that I could photocopy as needed, although it occurs to me that it might be useful for her to have as well.  What would be a fair price to offer for something like that?

(This is a picture book with a large publisher, but there will be minimal promotion from the house, naturally :) .)
#1 - March 17, 2010, 12:18 PM

tfb3

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Anon--if you feel comfortable PMing me under your normal persona, please do so. Reference "coloring sheets."
#2 - March 17, 2010, 01:50 PM

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I just offered the author a few of the pages at no cost.
 I work in pen & ink (black & white) first then scan and color them with Photoshop so I did not do any extra work, I do have credit on her site for the illustrations.
But if I did exctra work $200.00 - $250.00 per illustration
#3 - July 27, 2010, 05:54 AM

Oh, I should report back.  I forgot I'd started this thread.

I approached my illustrator saying, "How much would you charge to..." and he replied that anything that promoted the book helped both of us and he did it for free.  He's a sweetheart. :)

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#4 - July 27, 2010, 06:18 AM

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I'm glad to hear that was his response, because that was what I was thinking as I was reading through this thread.

It seemed to me that since he'd be benefiting from any promotion you did, he'd want to provide you with the picture gratis.  But I like the way you approached him.
#5 - July 27, 2010, 02:29 PM

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I'm glad to hear that was his response, because that was what I was thinking as I was reading through this thread.

It seemed to me that since he'd be benefiting from any promotion you did, he'd want to provide you with the picture gratis.  But I like the way you approached him.

I'm sorry Ev, could you clarify something for me, please. Do you mean that it would be ok for the artist to do it for free if there is no extra work(like in Stephen's example above)? Or do you mean that the artist should do the extra work for free since it benefits him/her somehow? Just to clarify. Thanks!
#6 - July 29, 2010, 11:25 PM

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I'm sorry Ev, could you clarify something for me, please. Do you mean that it would be ok for the artist to do it for free if there is no extra work(like in Stephen's example above)? Or do you mean that the artist should do the extra work for free since it benefits him/her somehow? Just to clarify. Thanks!

I can't speak to what Ev meant, but *I* believe that the artist should do it for free--even if it requires extra work.  The picture book is just as much the illustrator's as it is the writer's. They both get royalties, and they both should be willing to make sacrifices to ensure that the book will be as successful as it can be. Coloring sheets are great marketing tools, so whatever it takes for the illustrator to make it happen, she or he should. If it's an easy process to make it happen, that's gravy.

Not all illustrators are willing to make the sacrifice, though.
#7 - August 01, 2010, 12:50 PM

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I can't speak to what Ev meant, but *I* believe that the artist should do it for free--even if it requires extra work.  The picture book is just as much the illustrator's as it is the writer's. They both get royalties, and they both should be willing to make sacrifices to ensure that the book will be as successful as it can be. Coloring sheets are great marketing tools, so whatever it takes for the illustrator to make it happen, she or he should. If it's an easy process to make it happen, that's gravy.

Not all illustrators are willing to make the sacrifice, though.

I don't think it's a matter of sacrifice. I think it's a matter of respecting the Illustrator, their hard work and their contributions to the potential success or failure of the project. I don't think there's anything wrong with an Illustrator contributing anything to a project free of charge. I do however think it is wrong to EXPECT that they SHOULD do anything for free. Their hours, time and work is just as valuable as anyone else's.

Both the Illustrator and Writer do a great deal of work to make sure that a book hits the shelves and is successful. But the artist tends to spend more hours drawing, researching, painting and revising the visual materials. This is why generally their advance against the project is more than the writers. As far as royalties are concerned, you don't start making royalties back until they exceed what you were initially paid in your advance. There is no guarantee that the book will sell enough to exceed the advance you are given. So a publisher(or writer in a self pub. situation) paying for promotional materials is to the Illustrators benefit. That way the Artist is paid for their work regardless of how well the book does. If the book royalties do exceed what they were paid, then they will start receiving royalties. Otherwise they are at the very least paid for the services they have provided regardless of how well the book does.

If promotional materials are needed or wanted for a project then work those into the initial contract and negotiations. I'm sure most Illustrators will then be able to create artwork with those promotional items in mind. Then sketches that may not have worked or compositions that weren't quite right could be turned into promotional items later in the process. Character designs and studies could work for this as well.

But at the end of the day if you are asking for any service from someone you should expect to pay them for providing that service. If that person then decides that they can provide it for free, WONDERFUL! Hopefully the process materials provides them with what you may need with little to no work on their part (like Stephen's example) and they may be more prone to contribute it in the format you need. But at the very least be prepared to pay if you are asking someone to do work for you. That seems only right and fair.

I think the person posting the initial question was on point. They were asking how much to charge for a service and it turns out that the illustrator was willing to do it for free! But at least we know that they were willing to pay for what they were asking. As an Illustrator I am much more willing to sacrifice and lower my prices or contribute to someone who respects and values what I do than for someone who thinks I should sacrifice and stop working for paying clients to do things for them free of charge.
#8 - August 01, 2010, 03:11 PM
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 03:27 PM by WilsonWilliamsJr »

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A writer can spend YEARS working on the text for a picture book. It is erroneous to automatically assume that the illustrator spends more time on the book than the writer does. And an illustrator doesn't work any "harder" than the writer. They just work differently.  :)

Most publishers these days will not pay an illustrator for promotional materials. It, then, is up to the illustrator to decide what he or she is willing to bring to the marketing table.

I, as a writer, have spent a significant amount of time and moola out of my own pocket to market my pb, and will continue to do so. I don't think it's too much to ask the illustrator to create a coloring sheet. I certainly, as the writer, would not pay my illustrator to do so. I'd go without a coloring sheet. But that's just me.


ETA: Also, I think you're looking at this through the self-publishing model where the writer is securing the illustrator's services. The traditional publishing model is quite different. The writer and the illustrator are both co-artists who work on the book.
#9 - August 01, 2010, 07:12 PM
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 07:19 PM by tfb3 »

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A writer can spend YEARS working on the text for a picture book. It is erroneous to automatically assume that the illustrator spends more time on the book than the writer does. And an illustrator doesn't work any "harder" than the writer. They just work differently.  :)

Writers and Illustrators do work differently. Both disciplines are hard earned and difficult with equal amounts of work in different areas of expertise.  However, Illustrators do get larger advances on picture books due to the labor and materials needed to complete their contracted artwork. It tends to cost them more initially to complete their end of the deal.

Quote
Most publishers these days will not pay an illustrator for promotional materials. It, then, is up to the illustrator to decide what he or she is willing to bring to the marketing table.

If publishers use promotional materials from the artist, they will normally use artwork that has already been created in the process of illustrating the book. You are very correct in saying that the illustrator decides what they are "willing" to bring to the table.

Quote
I, as a writer, have spent a significant amount of time and moola out of my own pocket to market my pb, and will continue to do so. I don't think it's too much to ask the illustrator to create a coloring sheet. I certainly, as the writer, would not pay my illustrator to do so. I'd go without a coloring sheet. But that's just me.


The process of promoting your book beyond the publisher's efforts should be a collaborative venture, if agreed to by both of you. Spending your own money to promote your project is your choice and your money to spend. In no way does your personal choice obligate the illustrator to provide free services.

It is up to you both to determine what that contribution should be. Your contribution may be setting up signings at your local libraries, bookstores and schools. Maybe theirs is setting up virtual book tours and local television promotions. Yet and still if the illustrator and author feel that activity or coloring sheets are a worthwhile investment in that process then the illustrator can choose to do so. But if the illustrator has no interest in being a part of the promotional process or contributing additional free artwork to it then that is their prerogative. If you still want those materials then yes, you need to pay the illustrator to create them for you.

My primary issue with this is "expecting" the artist to contribute something for free. Even in the promotional process there should, at the very least, be a trade of services between the author and illustrator. Working for each others mutual benefit. I'll create new promotional artwork and a virtual book tour, you set up the library, school and store signings and visits. Something like that is a team effort and trade that is completely viable and respectful.

As shown above, the suggested fee for a coloring page is around 200 dollars. (Which is high for me, my coloring pages are cheaper than that. Nice work if you can get it!!) 200 dollars is a lot to just give away for free. Especially for a full time freelance illustrator who has no idea when or where their next paycheck is coming from. The assumption has to be made that doing something for free means turning down or passing up work you could be getting paid for.

Quote
ETA: Also, I think you're looking at this through the self-publishing model where the writer is securing the illustrator's services. The traditional publishing model is quite different. The writer and the illustrator are both co-artists who work on the book.

I am thinking of both models.  In traditional publishing the artists services are secured by the publisher. The illustrator works for the publisher, not the writer. Once those services have been rendered any further work beyond the ones contracted merits new negotiations. How the artist and writer work out those negotiations is between them. In self-publishing the artists services are secured by the author. If the author has not asked the artist to create specific promotional materials, once the contracted services have been rendered any further work merits new negotiations. Still the same deal.

I'm not saying it is wrong for an illustrator to render free services(I do it all the time!). I simply think it is wrong to "expect" that the illustrator should do additional work for you for free. Regardless of whom it may or may not benefit. Many artists will have no problem creating a coloring page for you. Most probably for free. I just don't think anyone should expect to get something for nothing. Their has to be an exchange or trade of some kind.

When you say that you would never pay for what equates to 200 dollars worth of service, it can only translate that you have no respect for what you are asking for. I know this can't be how you feel, but I worry that this is what's being communicated to the person you're asking.
#10 - August 02, 2010, 01:12 AM
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 01:15 AM by WilsonWilliamsJr »

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Anon, it's so great that you approached the request thoughtfully and prepared yourself by asking here. Even better that the illustrator honored your request and what's more, free of charge recognizing that you were promoting the book doing presentations . If it were me, and you had in mind to use it for school/library visits, I would recognize you were putting your valuable time into promoting the book and I would do the same.

As a writer and an illustrator, I put a lot of time into both crafts, pull manuscripts out and fine tune them time and again until they are as ready as I believe they could be. But the work that goes into illustrating requires extreme focus, time, and materials. As Mason so aptly explained, it's a mutual project and it's great to validate one another's work and time and expertise. If I were hired to illustrate another's book and thought it may be fun to have three or four pages of rhymes or limericks provided by the author for a fun activity as I was going to do school visits , my approach would be in the same manner in recognition that the author may be working diligently to meet deadlines on other works at hand  . . . so glad that it worked out to be a great idea for both of you.
#11 - August 02, 2010, 07:49 AM
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 07:53 AM by funny stuff »
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We're just not going to agree on this, and that's okay.

I go back to the fact that creating a picture book is a team effort, and there is no "I" in team. For new and midlist titles, individual promotion is a necessity. Yes, I would hope that the illustrator would want to make sacrifices (as I do) in promotional efforts. While I respect the skill that it takes to illustrate, I don't elevate an illustrator to a status higher than me as writer.  I think the whole thing is more about a willing spirit than "time" and "skill".

To share, I approached my illustrator about the idea of creating a coloring sheet to promote our book. She initially mentioned compensation. I explained that while I, the writer, did not intend to provide compensation (and the publisher had provided no budget for such), the marketing value of the coloring sheet would benefit both of us if it led to increased sales. (After all we both earn no royalties until our advances earn out...and assuming her advance was bigger than mine, that means she has to sell even more books before she starts to earn royalties.)

Fortunately, my illustrator saw the benefit of this argument and the coloring sheet is on its way. I don't know if she outlined a painting, or a sketch or drew something new, but she was a team player and I truly appreciate her for that.  I'm all about the team.

And I'd never expect my teammate to pay me for a limmerick or poem that would help to sell "our" book.  Again, just a difference in the way we view things.  Makes the world go round, no?   :smile
#12 - August 02, 2010, 10:51 AM

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We're just not going to agree on this, and that's okay.

I go back to the fact that creating a picture book is a team effort, and there is no "I" in team. For new and midlist titles, individual promotion is a necessity. Yes, I would hope that the illustrator would want to make sacrifices (as I do) in promotional efforts. While I respect the skill that it takes to illustrate, I don't elevate an illustrator to a status higher than me as writer.  I think the whole thing is more about a willing spirit than "time" and "skill".

To share, I approached my illustrator about the idea of creating a coloring sheet to promote our book. She initially mentioned compensation. I explained that while I, the writer, did not intend to provide compensation (and the publisher had provided no budget for such), the marketing value of the coloring sheet would benefit both of us if it led to increased sales. (After all we both earn no royalties until our advances earn out...and assuming her advance was bigger than mine, that means she has to sell even more books before she starts to earn royalties.)

Fortunately, my illustrator saw the benefit of this argument and the coloring sheet is on its way. I don't know if she outlined a painting, or a sketch or drew something new, but she was a team player and I truly appreciate her for that.  I'm all about the team.

And I'd never expect my teammate to pay me for a limmerick or poem that would help to sell "our" book.  Again, just a difference in the way we view things.  Makes the world go round, no?   :smile

We can definitely agree to disagree, but I don't think that we do.

Never in my posts do I say that anyone is better than anybody else. I have stressed mutual respect of services and time throughout my responses multiple times. I have also argued the case for collaborative efforts and how that may play out in an equal fashion from both sides of the fence. As long as the Illustrator feels that the work they are doing is being compensated in a way that benefits them then fine. But they should be compensated for their work,as should you or anyone else for that matter.

The example you share actually illustrates MY point. When you asked the illustrator to provide you with something, they wanted compensation for their services. When you explained that the compensation of providing the coloring sheet could result in higher book sales and better promotion, they agreed that it was "worth" their time and effort to do so. Plain and simple. For some illustrators that would be enough, for others it may not. The mutual exchange doesn't have to be monetary, but there should be an exchange of services. You have to be willing to offer something to get something.

Expecting something from someone who has no obligation to you can prove to be potentially troublesome. I think that is the only point we disagree on. :)
#13 - August 02, 2010, 11:45 AM
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 12:03 PM by WilsonWilliamsJr »

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Since it was brought up more then once,  :flowers2
 I just want to make things clear the $200.00 for a black & white coloring page is negotiable. That nothing I do is set in stone and as I pointed it out I gave them to the writer at no cost.  :smile :giggle
So please don’t hesitate to contact me for your next project  :cupcake
 (unless you’re looking for illustrator and my payment would be "I would have new artwork for my portfolio")     
 :grouphug2  :lol2
#14 - August 07, 2010, 05:41 AM

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SYoon,
Thank you for your input, well said.

I have no idea how it would help with sales, anyone knows?

Okay but unless the writer & illustrator are working together a self publishing adventure or even for one of the small independent publishing houses were it maybe okay for both parties to communicate to each other the bigger companies don’t want any contact between each other, if I’m not mistaken.
So how would any of this come about? Unless through the publisher then wouldn’t the publishing house already have this stated in the contract? 
#15 - August 09, 2010, 06:44 AM

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Okay but unless the writer & illustrator are working together a self publishing adventure or even for one of the small independent publishing houses were it maybe okay for both parties to communicate to each other the bigger companies don’t want any contact between each other, if I’m not mistaken.
So how would any of this come about? Unless through the publisher then wouldn’t the publishing house already have this stated in the contract? 

In the old days, I used to hear that a lot (about publishers not wanting communication between author and illustrator).  That was generally to allow the illustrator and art director to do their job without the interference of the author, who was presumed to have her own vision about what the illos would look like. I assume at some point some authors must have been difficult, but perhaps it was just an unjustified fear.  That, I have no idea about.

However, in recent times, with the advent of websites and Facebook and all, that's an impossible battle--to keep them apart.  I am Facebook friends with my illustrator and I know many people who are friendly with their own illustrators.  The bottom line is still that an author must let the illustrator do his job without interference.
#16 - August 09, 2010, 06:56 AM
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With a traditional publisher, the author and illustrator are aware of who will be doing/has done the other part of the work. Contact is simple enough if a writer wishes to initiate conversation with an illustrator through SCBWI member listings or even through website email. It's rare for an illustrator to contact a writer, but if you read this interview with Marla Frazee about how she went about illustrating Mrs. Biddlebox, the exception was made and in a very meaningful way: http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2007/09/illustrator-interview-marla-frazee-on.html  The illustrator works with the publisher on the vision for the illustrations and it is preferred there is no communication during the creative process, but in this case, the exception was made by the illustrator.

For the initial question above, I imagine the contact was after the illustrator finished their work on the book .
#17 - August 09, 2010, 07:04 AM
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 07:18 AM by funny stuff »
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It's a big no-no, professionally speaking, to go behind the backs of the publisher and contact the illustrator to ask for such a thing...Smaller independent ones might encourage teaming up to promote the book since the publisher might do little to promote it on their own. It's different with larger houses.


The folks at Abrams thanked me for working out the whole "coloring sheet" thing on my own.

Perhaps it is different with a larger publishing house. I have a book coming out with Viking in a couple of years. We shall see.
#18 - August 09, 2010, 10:16 AM

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Great link thank you Thank You  :grouphug2
So far I knew only one writer that I was illustrating a picture book for.  But I didn’t know it was her until the publisher sent me the full story. We didn’t talk much during the time I was working on it.  I didn’t bring it up and she respectably didn’t ask how it was going, from time to time I would post an update on my blog or FB page just to keep her in the loop but I only did that a few time.    It all worked out but I was a little worried if she was going to be happy with my artwork (this is the writer I gave my b&w for free)
#19 - August 10, 2010, 04:50 AM

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Great link thank you Thank You  :grouphug2


Honored to post that link. I saw Marla speak in L.A. several years ago and recalled the story. Hoping to find something about this story on her site, I did a search and found this interview instead and am so glad Cynthia took the time to post it. It's also interesting to know how much time and emotion Marla pours into her work . . . not unlike many illustrators . . . but the story is very touching.
#20 - August 10, 2010, 09:37 PM
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