Kindle Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,046 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I feel like I'm complaining about good news here, but I have a dilemma.
I want to write, specifically I want to write my stories, the ideas and characters in my head. I have two series started I want to finish and at least three more concepts I want to start.
It's already been a year and a half since I published my first book and still no sign of the sequel. I wanted it done by now (obviously!), but for one thing I had a baby, and for another, I had a publisher offer me a contract to illustrate an oracle deck for Australia and US publication, which I didn't want to turn down. Illustrating it took most of last year, but this year, THIS was meant to be my year. For my projects, my books.
Time is still very limited with a one year old but I was just starting to make progress on my next novel when I get an email this morning-
A major publisher wants me to author and illustrate a 300 page how-to art book. Quite a reasonable up front fee and all.
I have no idea what to do. I'm honoured and awed to have publishers coming to me for these things. When I first started my art career these were my BIG DREAMS. But my dreams have changed somewhat. I've been doing the art gig for so long, it's just not as exciting to me any more. Storytelling is what I desperately want to do. But I can't turn down an offer like this, can I?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,614 Posts
I think this is one of those situations where only you really know what's best for you.

I'd suggest taking a look at what's on offer & when looking at whether or not it's worth it - don't just consider the payment for your time - consider the long term benefits or down-sides to agreeing to the contract. For example, on the pro side might be added publicity for your art skills, greater recognition from people within the publishing industry, and a chance to get your name in front of customers who may have a crossover with your target audience for your fiction. On the down-side may be non-compete clauses or other nasties lurking in the contract. I'll assume that you've read all of the business blog posts at http://kriswrites.com/ to help you be more aware of potential gotchas that might be lurking if you're signing a contract as an author rather than an illustrator? If not, I highly recommend that you do! The market has turned pretty nasty lately with some pretty crazy rights grabs going on.

I'm sure you can weigh up for yourself the rival merits of writing such an art book for a publisher versus writing one for self-publication. It sounds as if your dilemma is about what to prioritise. That's why I suggest looking at the longer term. If you're unsure as to which way to go, that might help you choose.

Good luck whatever you decide! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,167 Posts
Well, you do have a few blessings to count, and I know you're grateful for that.  To get paid for (and be successful) at something you enjoy doing is the ultimate goal, and even though your desire to write may have eclipsed your desire to draw, it's still a pretty good gig.

I have no idea of the specifics of what you do or how you do it, but a few things to consider are:  is there a way to finagle deadlines so that you don't have to spend 50+ hours a week on the how-to book, so that you might still find some time to write each week?  Or can you split the art-work with another artist somehow?  (I have no idea how that would work, but I'm just throwing it out there.)

And since you already have a baby (congrats!), you must be used to being sleep-deprived, so even if you spend 30 minutes a day on writing ( during lunch hour, dictating while in the car or shower, etc.) you can still get some writing done.  Having one full-time job and a family doesn't necessarily spell the end of writing... it just means you have to be creative about it.   ;)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,096 Posts
That's a tough one, Selina ... I really don't know what I'd do.

Congratulations on the offer, though -- it says great things about your work! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,462 Posts
i wish I had something more constructive to say Selina - but I'm all wow - a major publisher wants you to author and illustrate a book!!! That's phenomenal news (and very deserved, as your art is wonderful!)

I'd personally find the art book deal very difficult to turn down - and imagine, seeing that book in stores, handing that book down to your daughter...
But... I 100% understand and sympathise with your need to write. As writers, we have (digital) ink in our veins and we need to express ouselves. Hugs and I hope you come to a resolution, or at least a compromise :) :) :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,554 Posts
Follow your heart.

Put your hand on your heart, breathe deeply, and then think about doing the how-to art book.  Now, keep your hand on your heart, breathe deeply, and think about writing your stories.

Which feels better?  Do that one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,081 Posts
Here's what Neil Gaiman would say to you. I copied it from another thread posted today:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,614 Posts
Jerri Lincoln said:
Follow your heart.

Put your hand on your heart, breathe deeply, and then think about doing the how-to art book. Now, keep your hand on your heart, breathe deeply, and think about writing your stories.

Which feels better? Do that one.
Or, in a similar vein, you could follow the advice I was once given. Toss a coin - then see how you feel about the answer. If you start leaning towards, 'Best out of three.' then you know what you'd like to do! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,659 Posts
Congratulations! You have a big decision to make.  I will give you the advice I try to follow:

DON'T listen to your brain.  It always says to do what it believes is logical. DON'T listen to your heart, it always says what it believes you WANT to hear. DO follow your gut. That feeling you get in your gut as you consider each project tells you what is right for you. No emotion, no logic. Just what is right. For you. The gut never lies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,573 Posts
Are you working at home while taking care of your child?  Would some daycare or even having someone come in and take care of your child while you work free you up so that you could do both? 

Something to think about.  It might not be a case of A or B, maybe there's a way to have C (the sum of both).
 
G

·
Kris Rusch devoted a chapter to decisions like this in The Freelancer's Guide, which is available online here. She was an award winning editor for one of the most prestigious magazines in science fiction & fantasy, and quit at the height of her career to pursue her writing--because, in her words, "I would have been remembered, acclaimed, famous-and I would have given up on myself."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,046 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So much good advice! Thanks everybody!

Zelah Meyer said:
I'd suggest taking a look at what's on offer & when looking at whether or not it's worth it - don't just consider the payment for your time - consider the long term benefits or down-sides to agreeing to the contract. For example, on the pro side might be added publicity for your art skills, greater recognition from people within the publishing industry, and a chance to get your name in front of customers who may have a crossover with your target audience for your fiction. On the down-side may be non-compete clauses or other nasties lurking in the contract. I'll assume that you've read all of the business blog posts at http://kriswrites.com/ to help you be more aware of potential gotchas that might be lurking if you're signing a contract as an author rather than an illustrator? If not, I highly recommend that you do! The market has turned pretty nasty lately with some pretty crazy rights grabs going on.
I don't even know yet if the fee they quoted was meant to be one off or an advance, so I'm interested to get some more info and see the contract. A lot of the decision will require more info than I have now.

Jena H said:
And since you already have a baby (congrats!), you must be used to being sleep-deprived, so even if you spend 30 minutes a day on writing ( during lunch hour, dictating while in the car or shower, etc.) you can still get some writing done. Having one full-time job and a family doesn't necessarily spell the end of writing... it just means you have to be creative about it. ;)
Unfortunately it would be a bit more like two full time jobs plus family, plus writing. I also run an art merchandise company which is my main source of income :-\ I can squeeze in time, keep everything going, but something is bound to get the short short straw.

Aaron Pogue said:
My approach in these situations has always been to agree to everything and just try to find ways to make it all work out.

I do not recommend my approach.
Ha! Yeah that used to be my approach. Then as I got more successful I tended to turn almost everything down and just do what I want, and I think I've spoiled myself too much.

Jerri Lincoln said:
Follow your heart.
Put your hand on your heart, breathe deeply, and then think about doing the how-to art book. Now, keep your hand on your heart, breathe deeply, and think about writing your stories.
Which feels better? Do that one.
I like this approach, but the problem is both actually feel really close!

AndreSanThomas said:
Are you working at home while taking care of your child? Would some daycare or even having someone come in and take care of your child while you work free you up so that you could do both?
Yep, I'm already considering increasing her daycare days if I took something like this on. And if I did, I might manage to get a bit more of everything done and not sacrifice. But this book project sounds big. Very big. I can only imagine how much work it's going to take, and imagining it is already scary!

I have a few artist friends who have done books like this already. I will go and ask them how they feel about them now they've been out for a few years. I think that might be a helpful judgement towards making a decision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
Most authors have to do paid work as well as working on their novels. The solution I have found is to divide the day. For 3 hours in the morning I would work on my novel. Then break for lunch. Then paid work in the afternoon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,115 Posts
.
Looks like a dilemma and a great opportunity.
.
You need to consider outsourcing. You do the structural artwork and act as quality control on the final product.
You do the initial sketches for the artwork then have another artist electronically ink and color them (or whatever the production process actually is. You mentioned you have some artist friends. There are probably some really great helper artists in the local graphic design school/community college/craigslist that could help. It will take some interview/portfolio review time but if the project is easily a year long gig then this is probably worthwhile setting up. The Simpsons show was famous for this, Groening would do the key frames and the show shipped those out to "Korea" to get all the 30 in-between frames done (they even spoofed themselves doing this on one show). Multiply your talent.
.
.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top