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Pricing Puzzle


I've been approached by a writer to illustrate chapter images for his latest work. This will be 10 illustrations, one per chapter, done in black and white (think of the illustrations done for the Harry Potter novels). This is the first project of its kind that I have ever been approached to do, and I haven't a clue what price to offer or even what the normal price range would be for a project like this. As this will be released as an e-book rather than a print book, I reckon that a decent one-off payment is the best route - how decent is the question. Throw in that I am based overseas and the payment will be in USD (aka NOT my local currency), and I'm even more mindful of neither underpricing myself  nor gouging my client.

Help, please? I promised that I would give word by tomorrow evening (August 26, 2013) at the very latest. Thanks in advance!
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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 26th, 2013 09:32 pm (UTC)
If you even WANT to approach a project of this magnitude, you need to think in terms of your hourly wage. How long would it take you to do an illustration of this type? 8 hours?

Wage x hours x total amount of images + amount for rights in lieu of percentage royalties... it goes on and on really, but these are some of the important basics.

Its not going to be cheap, in anyone's currency. That is the nature of art and of this kind of project. You have to be realistic on that front more than trying not to gouge your client because to many, if you are NOT underpricing yourself, you ARE gouging them.

If you give them the offer and they decline it, you can try to work with them, but don't be steamrolled.
Aug. 26th, 2013 10:47 pm (UTC)
Honestly I'd be more worried about underpricing yourself than gouging them. Hate to say it, but a lot of people who ask for this kind of thing have no idea how much it actually costs, and then freak out from sticker shock when you quote them a perfectly reasonable price. You might be lucky and this person might be one who actually does understand the value of custom art and the rights to that art, though. I suggest exactly what oceandezignz said, figure out a fair wage for yourself and see how the person reacts when you quote them a price. Don't let them guilt you into working for less than what you deserve.
Aug. 27th, 2013 02:09 am (UTC)
Will do. Thank you!
Aug. 27th, 2013 02:03 am (UTC)
Thank you! I was already working out how many hours it would take to execute one piece based on something I had done for class once (and THAT was a rush job). I sent him some chapter page samples to gauge just what he wants, but thanks a lot for that formula.

Trust me, I will put it to use.
Aug. 27th, 2013 04:11 am (UTC)
I was on the opposite end of this very issue recently, in that I had just finished a novel I intended to sell and was seeking advice for reasonable prices and such when commissioning the book cover and chapter illustrations. The advice I got was very sound (thanks, guys!) but in the end, I think I wound up getting such big expectations about how formal and official the whole thing had to be that the end result felt like just winging it and doing my best in comparison. I ended up informally discussing things with the artists, and planning out all the what-if scenarios and permissions--obviously I should be able to use the work in my novel, obviously the artist is allowed to post it, I don't even mind the artist monetizing it in an OOC manner such as prints/paysites/etc., though I would feel a bit weird if the artist reused it as a cover to a different novel or something, etc, just whatever things like that we could think of. Then, I wrote up a contract which was basically just me writing down everything to which we had already agreed and just trying to make it sound as fancy and formal as I could.

We actually ended up leaving the price out of the contract itself, and just negotiated it out separately, at which point I paid and then put a "the author shall not be owe any additional fees or royalties beyond those which he has already paid as of (date)" clause in the contract.

As for what the price should be ... well, first off, you're right in just going for a flat rate rather than bothering with the impossible headache that is figuring out royalties. Best just not to go there, seriously. As for what the flat rate should be ... honestly, my conclusion in the end was that that's about as arbitrary as how much you decide you should charge for commissions in general. Figure out an hourly rate, or how detailed you want to get, or ... however you like figuring your prices out, really. Let's say standard prices plus either an extra X% or an extra flat $Y for usage permissions and such, math it out, and if you don't like the look of what you'll be getting, then raise it. :) Just make sure it's something you're comfortable with. Definitely never sign anything you're less than 100% enthusiastic about. If the writer isn't willing to pay as much as you want to be paid, then better to call it off than put yourself in an miserable commitment.
Jan. 17th, 2015 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks for responding! I'm happy to see a response from the author side of things, and I'm sorry for the late reply on my end. I got seriously bogged down on top of forgetting which e-mail I used for my LJ account.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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