Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 20, 2017

ASK CAT

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On the third Tuesday Christina or Christy Ewers Tugeau of the Catugeau Artist Agency will answer questions and talk about things illustrators need to know to further their career. It could be a question about an illustration you are working on, too. Please email your questions to me and put ASK CAT in the subject box.

chrisandchristy

Here’s Chris:

Kathy Glynn asked:  “I have written a children’s picture book and have decided to illustrate the book on my own because I am an artist too.  [I have written my first book that will be published in Feb. ’18 but it is not a children’s book.]  What financial compensation can I expect from a publisher who is interested in publishing the book [children’s book], since I would be both the author and illustrator?”

This is a good ‘add -on’ question to my Aug. ASK CAT about pricing.  Sorry I didn’t address this well enough.  When you are both author and illustrator of a book, you get ALL the advance and royalty offered.  In other words, if the advance would have been $5000 for the art for a book, doing both might be $7500-$10,000 depending on publisher. (remember the advance can vary greatly from $5000 or less even to $30,000 or more! This due to publisher and so many variables I mentioned before.) You note I didn’t just double the advance because the writer will often get less than the artist.  Don’t ask me to explain that…. but it’s a fact!  I suspect it’s because the art takes a very discernible amount of time generally where the writing time frame is so hard to judge, thus hard to price per hour.

The royalty IS doubled however generally.  For general sales by the publisher the artist gets 5% and writer gets 5%, so both equals 10% on hard cover of instance. For the sub-rights, the artist or author alone would get 1/2 of the $50% royalty….or $25% on most types of sub-rights.  (it’s written like that in contracts and confuses people often. The ‘split’ is explained in a separate paragraph later in most contracts.)  So the author/artist gets the whole $50%.

This might be a good time to address the agent’s compensation for artists and writers generally, and for the combination.  Artist Agents normally take 25% (some 30%) of the fee negotiated for most projects- trade and educational and other.  We try to negotiate it higher to cover that, but that’s not guaranteed of  course.  Lit Agents normally take 15% of the author fee.  Again, it’s hard to explain except that the time and effort is easier to ‘see’ and price per expected hours than it is for writing a book…which may take a longer or shorter time frame.  So the artist fee is higher than the author’s based again on the expected time it’ll take, fee per hour, and effort over a six month or so period. Our compensation for combination writer/artist is the Literary 15%.  We take the same 15% from the royalty payments should it ‘earn out’ and pay royalties.  The art effort is the same for this artist, but because it is their total project and time frame, the 15% seems fairer in this instance.  I believe most Artist/Lit agents follow this practice, but always ask.

I want to mention that publishers LOVE the combination of ARTIST/AUTHOR as you might have noticed when reading PW magazine, or looking at books at the bookstore.  So if you do both – GO FOR IT!  Be aware however, that if you present both together, they will be of course judged together.  If they love the ms and hate the art, they will reject it. If they love the art but hate the ms, they will reject it.  BUT if they loved the art, they might consider you for illustrating another ms!  We often present artist’s dummies and sometimes get this result.  Not all bad!

We had a grouping of other questions from my Pricing Help of Aug. too and will address them in Oct.’s ASK CAT.  However, one I wanted to tackle initially here…. and welcome further comments or questions about it.  “how many of or clients can do this full-time and earn a substantial living?”
Simple answer:  that information is private about our artists…  BUT, I have to remind you that for most artists, children’s book illustration is a ‘free-lance’ industry.  A good number of our artists have another day job, or part time job, or a spouse/partner with one.  Many work in other art markets as well, or are gallery artists etc. This market is often referred to as a ‘labor of love’….and it is! But many of our artists do VERY nicely with it.  Each year is different of course, and nothing is for sure.  One can be booked up two years in advance and then suddenly not be working!  Keep money aside for taxes and for the future ‘quiet spots’ always.

I do hope this has been further clarifying.  Share your thoughts! NO question is a foolish one!

Do send on more questions about our wonderful industry!!

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Christina A. Tugeau Artist Agency LLC is the first mother/daughter agency in the business! A trained artist herself with a BA in Fine Art, Chris Tugeau has been in the children’s illustration industry for over 25 years. Since opening her own agency in 1994, Chris has enjoyed representing many talented artists, and has been an active part of the illustration community; writing and presenting for SCBWI regions around the country. She is also the author of SCBWI Illustrator Guidelines. A veteran artist and rep, Chris is an advocate for ethical fairness and the bright future of children’s publishing. She’s also a mother of 3, a grandmother to 8, and best friend to husband, Bill.

Chris and Christy, Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer questions and helping everyone trying to build their careers in the children’s publishing industry. This was a terrific questions and a terrific answer. – Great article.

Please help keep this column going by sending in your questions.

Thank you Chris and Christy for more great answers.

NOW SIT DOWN AND WRITE UP YOUR QUESTIONS FOR “ASK CAT.”

Hope this illustration by Leslie Withrow will inspire everyone to send in a question to Chris and Christy. www.lesleybreenwithrow.com

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Leslie’s illustration is perfect for the PLAY of creative expression….jump in!

    Like

  2. Thank you for all of this helpful and hard-to-find information!

    Like

  3. Great to see these helpful questions and WOW, the answers! I’m saving them all! 😀 Thank you, ladies 😀

    Like


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