Tip Two... through the tulips... lala-la-laaaa
Okay, so it's obvious I'm not a singer.
But I'm using a 2D pic as a reminder that everything here applies to CTA2 artists too.
So here it is: Tip 2: The First Official Way to Seek a Publisher (if you don't have an agent): Join a guild or society for illustrators - specifically you need one where the major publishers all use the catalogues as a weekly reference to find new talent. So it can't be just any organisation. You're looking for one that has:
* membership open internationally to many countries and languages
* fair fees for membership
* a showcase website for members only (even if they're not yet published)
* features illustrators with career news in their monthly newsletters
* provides all publishers in every country free access to see the illustrator catalogues
* does not charge a commission or fee if publishers hook up with illustrators through them
Every country has their own guild and/or society, so you get to google those for yourself. Don't forget the guilds/societies in your nearest neighbouring countries...
Plus here's an intriguing list of alternatives that may help to kickstart your web-searches:i) Guild of Illustrators for Natural Sciences -
if you love animating animals, dinosaurs, megafauna, megaflora, landscapes or underwater scenes, then these are the dudes for you.ii)
Religious illustrators - seek out the guild for your own faith, if you have one. I don't have much experience with this category, but the largest internationally that I'm aware of is the Catholic Illustrators' Guild - where you don't need to be catholic to work for them, but I've heard it helps. And if you do happen to join, please, oh please, let them know how much their Australian branch has a website url
that looks scary too much like a deadly disease. iii) SCBWI - Society of Childrens' Book Writers & Illustrators - affectionately pronounced Skwibby
- and yes, I know, the W comes after the B. I've already mentioned that to them at one of their fledgling regional conference meetings nearly 2 decades ago, while I was still writing for the K-8s and 8-12's... and then we all just laughed. But there was wine involved so... hiccup... Anyway... SCBWI have a catalogue where the "Big Six" keep a weekly watch for fresh talent - as do many major and medium publishers for the educational market. It may take a year to get your first work through a monitored website akin to this, but that's mainly because the books they're working on today, were contracted 1 to 3 years ago, and won't be launched for another 3 to 12 months.... (Interestingly, the SCWBI annual membership fee is about half what it used to be 20 years ago... and yes, it's based in the US, despite having chapters all over the world, so membership is all paid to the US branch to help keep down their overall costs.)Sub-Tip 2A)
Traditionally, Illustrators are considered to be the slowest stage of publication. For illustrated childrens' books the job can often take a year - and that's where iCloners have a distinct advantage - because the "sets" can be still-shotted from any angle and tweaked, set up faster and... well, you know how great it is. (Hey, and why is it that spell-check for this forum doesn't know that iCloners is a real word, when it should be the first word on page one, haha) Sub-Tip 2B)
FANTASY, Comedy and Historical True Stories are the three top selling genres for ages K-YA so establishing 3 sub-catalogues of work for them will give you the best chance at being noticed.... (Peterblood, I'm winking sideways at you, because this is where your gorgeous old tallships could fit in... as well as the natural science guild, which often also includes publications for the history genre.) Sub-Tip 2C... and this is a biggie)
It's possible to earn a strong income from guest-speaking at primary and high schools if you offer a catalogue of art for ages 8 to 18. Many illustrators make a living just by touring schools all year. The two most lucrative age groups (and most fun, if you ask me) are:
* K-8 years (where K= kindy, and schools all over the world have major festivals to celebrate under-8's day with sports and literature... which means they are starving for fresh faces as their guest-speaker and guest-tutor authors and illustrators each year)... and if you also do animation, then you're treated as a god... or godess, depnding on whichever applies
* Ages 8-12... same reason, same deal...
* And then YA (young adult) is ages 12 to 19.... and yes, 19 not just 18, because they can also cater for the first year out of highschool (or college/tafe... whichever applies)... school festivals provide authors and illustrators for this group too - or try to - but due to the much heavier exam schedules for those students (and their much lower interest in books by then) their interest levels fall off for authors but greatly increase for storytellers based in other mediums - such as film, animation and yes... computer games. Sub-Tip 2D)
If you keep catalogues of work samples for each age group, then you become more valuable as a guest speaker, because they can put you in front of all three age groups, while only paying for one author's hotel, meals, travel and other expenses. And yes, most major literature festivals at schools and libraries are all-expenses paid. (Or most)... It's mainly only the Cons where the A-List authors and A-list illustrators get paid... (A-list = famous) Sub-Tip 2E
- To be (or not to be) a member of any guild where a word ends in the letter "s", also means that you'd better know which side of it the apostrophe belongs - if applicable... remember, you may just be an illustrator, but in the publishing industry, spelling is queen, and grammar is king. So If it's a Childrens' Guild, or an Illustrators' Guild, then the apostrophe comes *after* the word, because the ownership of the guild/group belongs to all of them... but if you mistype it as illustrator's guild... then you're saying that it only has one member.
TIP 2F: F for the Fun Part... To give an example of payrates; a week at a school in most western countries earns roughly $2000 to $6000US, depending on how many sessions you do each day, and with how many students - and that doesn't count your travelling/hotel/meals, which are usually supplied for you (e.g. lunch and 2 breaks, or whatever is timetabled at that particular school), breakfast is usually part of your room, and then you only need to forage in the wild for your evening meal - if you're not already stuffed full from the day - and unless you also have a guestspeaking event for parents etc in the evening.)
And thus concludes our Tip Two through the Two Tips... haha
Stay tuned for Tip 3: which provides yet another way to approach publishers officially, and still without an agent.
(which is supposed to be impossible, btw)
Anita, aka "Bleetz" the Toon Wrangler @ Tarampa Studios
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