Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The dangers of self-publishing!

Suzy thought I should post this for your amusement, commiseration or horror - take your pick. :-) (Gudrun, this doesn't apply to you, as you both write and illustrate your own).

As you know, I just finished up the dreaded Christmas book which was commissioned by a self-publishing author. The *day* that I mailed off the artwork, I got a query from my Children's Illustrator page from another man who was seeking to self publish one of his stories. I've apparently deleted his initial message but essentially he said that he was wanting to publish a story he'd written, loved my illustrations, unfortunately had no money BUT I would get a free copy! It would be good for my portfolio, and I had nothing to lose....

I forwarded the unfortunate email to my agents who were horrified (the timing was especially bad. Our experience with the last book.... even though it was a sort of paying job, there were issues....) This was the response:

"Dear Tony,
As Tara's illustration agent, I would like to reply to your letter. You said. "I am impressed by your work, especially the children. I know this is not a great offer for an established artist, but you loose nothing in the deal and extend your portfolio."

Do you have any idea how long it takes an artist of Tara's caliber to produce such beautiful artwork? You said she has nothing to lose. I beg to differ with you. She loses time--a great deal of time. Tara has plenty of paying projects to keep her more than busy and to extend her portfolio. Your "offer" devalues her work and time. My advice to you is to have a friend or family member (maybe even a child) illustrate your book.

Sincerely...."


Poor guy. I'm sure he had no idea. How do we educate the world?

See? Even thinking about self-publishing can be dangerous!

4 comments:

Rebecca Bush said...

Thanks for sharing that, Tara. I have gotten more than a few of those letters since posting my work online. I really appreciated your agents explanation.

Rebecca Bush said...

I'm back with another one:

Someone on another list I'm on (Society of Graphic Designers of Canada) posted this repsonse to an offer to enter a design "contest" (these are endemic in the design world, where companies try to get someone to design their logo (or something else) for free by staging a "contest":

"Thank you, but as a professional member of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, my firm does not participate in speculative competitions. Speculative work undermines the value of graphic and communication designers. It robs clients of true involvement and ownership of the design process and all the benefits of that process. It also portrays our profession as a hobby and sets a very poor example for students following in our wake. Canadian designers have taken a strong stand against contests and speculative work."

Bravo! If enough people stand up for themselves, hopefully such "offers" to "build our portfolios" will cease.

tlc illustration said...

Thanks Rebecca! It's good to have that reinforced from a couple of different sources. Wish there was more solidarity about holding the line on these kinds of issues.

tlc illustration said...

Thanks Rebecca! It's good to have that reinforced from a couple of different sources. Wish there was more solidarity about holding the line on these kinds of issues.