Hi, I’m new to this forum and I’m so excited to have found it! I read through it a bit before signing up, and you all seem knowledgable and professional. So nice to meet you all.
I have questions I’m hoping someone can give me advice on.
I am an experienced children’s book designer and a client who found me on-line talked me into illustrating her self-published book. It took me a year to complete. I had no idea what to charge her when we were negotiating a price. I grossly misjudged the time commitment and ended up losing a lot of money and time on it. I now remember why I focus on design work instead of illustration… So now she wants to make it a series of books ( like 5 more) and wants me to illustrate them all since I originated the characters and she wants the series to be consistent. Only there’s no way I’m doing it for anywhere near the price of the first book. She understands that and we’ve agreed on a new price. It’s a flat fee with no royalties.
I’m writing up an agreement and in it I state that “I will keep all original art, though you of course have license to use any of the images in promotional materials, etc. The characters as they have been developed are copyrighted by me. If you want to use the xxxxxx characters in other books or for other media uses, please notify me before proceeding so that we can work towards maintaining the character’s quality consistently across all platforms. As agreed, you may choose one piece of original character art from each book in the series to have and I will send it to you (including the first book in the series). My name will appear on the cover as the illustrator, as well as on the copyright page. I would like 2 copies of the printed book. I retain the right to use images of completed book for self promotional materials, such as my portfolio, etc.”
Question 1: The price I quoted was the price that I would charge for each book in the series. I’m not trying to lock her in to doing a certain amount of books, I just don’t want to haggle over illustration cost again going forward, so I’m trying to set it up as a set amount per book now. Is that reasonable?
Question 2: I also did the graphic design work on the book and that was a separate fee and a separate contract. I want to specify that this illustration agreement doesn’t include the graphic design. How might I word that, or should it be a separate agreement that we discuss later? I don’t want her to mistakenly believe that this price is all inclusive.
Question 3: When I had almost completed the first book, she excitedly showed me a “spin off” book she had been working on with another illustrator (I was unaware of the project). The illustrations were done quickly/not well on a computer and were no where near the quality of the work I was doing for her. I was horrified to see my bastardized characters showing up in that book. She paid me a couple hundred dollars for using “my characters”- which I appreciated, but they were so bad as to not be recognizable as “my characters”. I wish that at the very least she had consulted me so that the characters were consistent and there was some quality control. But in the end I guess it’s her call? I’d rather her not use any of the characters without my permission in any form, but I don’t know if I can specify that… I don’t expect her to hire me for every project she does that might use one of these characters I guess, but I own the copyright to the developed characters, so how would that work? What can I specify, and what do I have no control over? Can I specify their usage? Can she go hire someone else and have them copy the existing characters that I developed and created? Should there be a clause in there about that?
I’m in uncharted territory. I really like this client and we have a great working relationship, so I want to be fair and “friendly” not aggressive, but I also want to protect myself and my work. I’m proud of the work I did on it and I know she loves it too. I’m just not sure what wording I should use in the agreement to protect my work, while at the same time being reasonable and not overly uptight about it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!