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What to charge for print set-up

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I apologize if this is the wrong place for this, it looked like there were a few boards this could fit into.


Anyway, I've been working with a client for a while now illustrating her children's book. She now wants me to do the editing and print setup for the book. She will be publishing it through Amazon.


She offered to pay me extra for the editing and print setup, so how much should I charge her? It's about 20-ish total pages with either a full illustration or spot illustration on every page. I will also be typesetting and laying some background around the text.


Thanks so much for any information you all can provide!!
#1 - August 16, 2014, 09:07 PM

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There are two tasks involved here. One is a writing task - aka editing - which should be done by an editor. The other is a design task - aka book layout and mechanical prep - which should be done by a graphic designer. In my experience it is a rare individual who can illustrate, edit AND do design work. If you feel up to the task of wearing 3 different hats, by all means, go ahead.

That said, I was trained as a designer before I began my illustration career. Book design is charged either by the page style or the total number of book pages. With a picture book, there is less design work than a novel or a text book. The pages you'd need to design would include the actual story/illustrations portion, the front and back matter and the front an back cover. Part of this would be the placement of the ISBN code. Does she have her own or are you using CreateSpace's? Does she have library data information for her copyright page? Will you be writing the text for either front or back matter? (Another task besides editing or design.)

And lastly, is this something you really want to spend your time doing, and are willing to deal with the printer if there are issues with the mechanical?

For pricing, get a copy of the Graphic Artist Guild's Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. There is also this great video by Will Terry on how to price. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6xrt5ko1uw
#2 - August 17, 2014, 07:27 AM
patreon.com/wendymartin
Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (Piñata)
Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

Thank you so much for your reply and feedback. I actually was feeling very uncomfortable doing the set up, I spent at least 10 hours trying to learn what to do and I felt like I made very little progress.

So no, I do not think I am comfortable wearing the graphic design hat.

In this case, because she has been such an awesome client, is there somewhere on these boards I can go to to find a graphic designer familiar with book layout? I want to be able to at least give her some referrals or steer her in the right direction. I know Amazon has their own service, but I would like to give her some other options as well.
#3 - August 19, 2014, 11:54 PM

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If you like, send her my way. I've been doing design work for years and am familiar with CreateSpace procedures.
#4 - August 20, 2014, 05:28 AM
patreon.com/wendymartin
Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (Piñata)
Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

Apparently I can't yet PM people or even look at other profiles, but I apologize for the late reply. I was out of town. Could you show me some examples of your work and tell me how much you would charge? It's around 20 pages total.

Thanks so much!
#5 - September 07, 2014, 07:20 PM

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Amberleh, I suggest you take a look at Wendy's awesome portfolio on her website, shown in her signature, then contact her via the contact info on her website.
#6 - September 07, 2014, 08:37 PM
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Thanks Vonna. Amberleh, I'm easy to find on the internet. Examples of design work can also be found here: https://www.behance.net/WendyMartinArt
#7 - September 08, 2014, 05:44 AM
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Hi everyone, I'm posting this here since I already saw a similar post by Amberleh. I have a specific question.
There's a woman I know who writes very well and has started to write children's books. She is taking the self publishing route and has sent me the manuscript to see how much I would charge for 30 illustrations. The format of the book will be 8.5 x 11 with 15 page spreads. She wants very colourful and detailed illustrations. I haven't asked her about the cover and end pages and the whole layout, but I can work at it if she doesn't have a designer in mind, as I work as a graphic designer as well.
I'm sure you may have guessed it but yes, she cannot afford to pay a lot. To me, it's a lot of work! And I really like the story so I'd want to work on it but I'm really not sure how to charge her. I've read a lot of articles and seen videos on how to charge. I have asked her half of those questions already but it all comes down to the amount I would tell her. To me, each illustration is like a painting. 30 big illustrations made in ink and water colour would take quite some time.
I've usually only worked on smaller projects than this one so I'm a bit confused. 

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.   
#8 - September 16, 2014, 08:35 PM

I draw stuff for chocolates.
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How much do you charge per painting? Times that by 30. Yes that's a whopping big number. Picture book illustrating is a whopping big job. If she can't afford to pay you, how is she going to afford to pay for distribution? For marketing? For all of the various other things necessary to make a book successful?

Is the manuscript going to be professionally edited? Not just proof-read - which is a different thing entirely. Has she developed a business plan?

On your side of the fence: Have you ever designed a cover or interior pages of a children's picture book? How are you on your storytelling ability within each image and throughout the entire series of images? Can you consistently draw/paint the same character in many different poses and emotions?

Self-publishing is a business. If this woman is not approaching it as such, you are probably setting yourself up for a bad experience. Your skill and expertise is worth $$$$. Ask for what you're worth and be willing to walk away if the woman is not in the position to pay. It's nothing personal, just good business sense.
#9 - September 17, 2014, 07:01 AM
patreon.com/wendymartin
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Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

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 :werd

Wendy is very wise.
#10 - September 17, 2014, 08:34 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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*blush*
#11 - September 17, 2014, 09:11 AM
patreon.com/wendymartin
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Thanks SO much Wendy! That helps. And I know this is far fetched but how do the royalties work out when the author and illustrator are two different people? I guess it's a partnership.
#12 - September 17, 2014, 04:18 PM

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If this is a self-published book, it can be rare to see royalties. It's usually advisable for the illustrator to get a fee up front.

Here are a couple of threads that might be helpful.

Excellent info on commissioning illustrations for both the illustrator and client:

https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=65417.0

questions to ask the client:

https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=65324.0
#13 - September 17, 2014, 04:39 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
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Thanks Artemesia!
#14 - September 17, 2014, 05:35 PM

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 :curtsy:
#15 - September 17, 2014, 05:49 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
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Personally, I never accept an illustration job based on future royalties. I did once and do believe I was never paid the true amount of money owed to me. I know a lot of digital first publishers are taking this route. It's too much of a gamble for me. In my mind, if the publisher isn't willing to stand behind a book and offer me an advance to illustrate it, I'm not willing to spend the better part of a year on a 'maybe' getting paid sometime in an unspecified future. With self-publishers I only work on a flat fee, with a signed contract, with money up front before I even pull out paper and pencil.
#16 - September 17, 2014, 06:07 PM
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Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (Piñata)
Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

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