Episode 5 Shipping Supplies

Episode 5: “Shipping Books”

Packaging and shipping signed books is for Illustrators and authors. Use these tools for your efficiency and success. Create a shipping method that works for your business and book releases. As discussed in Illustrator Life Episode 5, these supplies are used in shipping books to customers.

#1. Adhesive Shipping Labels

Print multiple labels with your company address on an 8.5″ x 11″ adhesive label sheet: 2 up, 3 up, or more. Preprinted shipping labels minimizes the time necessary in hand labeling orders.

#2. Bags

Handle plastic bags come in various sizes and quantities. Choose the quantity and sizes that will hold multiple books. Inserting a book(s) into a plastic bag, protects against moisture in transport. These bags can also be used at book events.

#3. Padded Envelopes

Padded envelopes come in various sizes. Choose a quantity and one or more sizes that will hold a single book or multiple books.

#4. Boxes

Corrugated shipping boxes come in various sizes and quantities. Choose a quantity and one or more sizes that will hold a single book or multiple books without extra packaging materials: packing peanuts, packing Kraft paper, or packing foam.

#5. Clear tape and Dispenser

Secure all padded envelopes and boxes using clear shipping tape. A handheld tape dispenser is more flexible when wrapping large boxes.

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Episode 4 Homework

Meeting new clients can happen anytime. As discussed in Illustrator Life Episode 4  illustrators, Mark shares how an illustrator “elevator spiel” can become a memorable client meet cute.

Homework: Inside your sketchbook

#1. Craft an elevator spiel for clients using the example:

Keep it simple if asked, “Do you illustrate books?” or “How much do you charge?” Reply with this simple elevator spiel.

“Yes, I‘m a (type of illustrator) professional children’s book illustrator. Many of my clients choose (type of contract) cost effective royalty contracts for full use of the illustrations from books to licensed products. I can explain more in an email. Do you have a card Prospective Client?”

Spiels quickly qualify clients. Mention professionalism and a contract to deter non-paying clients and attract serious clients. A concise spiel is a must at book events, conferences, even on elevators.

 

#2. Craft a follow up email response for clients using the example:

Create a draft email for contacts that can be sent within two days of your meeting. The email should include the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. Use this example:

“Hello Prospective Client,

We meet (where?) at Book Expo America (when?) two days ago. I was (who?) the somewhat funny illustrator. Your (what?) book about Australia sounds exciting. (why?) I believe we can create a profitable book using both our talents. (how?) My contact information is listed below.

Our meeting was brief.  Did you have any additional questions?

Kindly,

The Professional Illustrator

http://www.my-website.com”

 

#3. Create an “illustrator pickup line” mission statement using the examples:
  • “I’m the cure for ugly books!”
  • “I’m make words a thousand times better!”
  • “I draw readers when words don’t.”
  • ”When I’m not drawing flies, I draw illustrated picture books.”

Adding humor to client interactions will make an illustrator memorable. A client’s response reflects their personality.

Episode 3 Homework

Illustration pricing varies among professionals and projects. The simple formula discussed in Illustrator Life Episode 3 helps illustrators customize pricing quickly for picture book author and publisher clients. Mark developed his “Simple Formula” by referencing industry standards in the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook.

Homework: Inside your sketchbook

#1.  Determine a base illustration fee using the example:

An average picture book* is 32 pages. 30 illustrations are a fair requirement for any picture book quote. Determine a minimum hourly rate for each licensed*** illustration.

($15 hourly rate x 8 hours production time = $120.00 price per illustration)

Multiply the number of illustrations needed by the price per illustration to equal the base illustration fee.

(30 illustrations needed x $120.00 price per illustration = $3,600.00 minimum illustration fee)

 

#2.  Determine a base royalty illustration fee using the example:

This formula is based on the full purchase price of a physical illustration with unlimited usage rights. Determine a fair purchase price based on: time, materials, and experience level.

($500 illustration purchase price x 30 illustrations needed = $15,000.00 project illustration price for ownership and unlimited usage rights)

Encountering a client who purchases illustrations outright is unlikely. Negotiating a deposit and a licensing*** royalty is popular for client budgets. In the beginning I required a 25% non-refundable deposit of the full price illustrations for my licensing royalty contracts. In this example, the amount equals $3,750.00.

(25% x $15,000.00 price of illustrations = $3,750.00 non-refundable deposit**)

In addition to the deposit, I require a 10%–20% licensing royalty on the book and all licensed products. If a book has a Net Sale of $10.00, the illustrator is paid $1.00 as a royalty.

(10% royalty percentage x $10.00 net sale = $1.00 royalty)

An illustrator may choose to decrease the deposit and increase the royalty. If the illustration budget is $3,000.00, ask for a 20% licensing** royalty on the book and all licensed products. This is $600 below the illustrator’s base illustration fee. If a book has a Net Sale of $10.00, the illustrator is paid $2.00 as a royalty.

(20% royalty percentage x $10.00 net sale = $2.00 royalty) The client would need to sell a minimum of 300 books before the illustrator would receive the $600 difference.

 

#3.  Where to meet prospective clients?

Inside your sketchbook list three book festivals within your area along with: event date, website address, number of author/publisher attendees, and the event coordinator’s contact information.

Meet any desired illustration request and save time quoting projects by customizing the “Simple Formula.”

*Note: Average pricing for a color, single page, picture book illustration

**Note: Deposits are usually paid in increments throughout the illustration process. 50% deposit, 25% after layout, and 25% upon completion.

***Note: Understand the difference in licensing rights verses assigning rights. One limits the usage rights while the other transfers ownership of rights. 

Episode 2 Homework

In Illustrator Life Episode 2, Mark discusses building a business that works within your day job, that will be useful in transitioning to a full-time illustration career. Develop an annual plan with realistic goals for: contracts, diversified income streams, time management, and more.

Homework: Inside your sketchbook

#1.  Create a general business plan using these examples:

Professionals in any career require a basic income to exist: bread, water, cell phone, etc. Some professionals desire a more comfortable existence: reliable car, home, etc., while others choose a lifestyle: brand names, travel, etc. No matter your professional classification, define the value of your time with a desired monetary outcome by creating an annual business plan.

Example 1: 
4 illustration contracts:  120 days earn $24,000 annual deposit income (4 contracts x $6,000 deposit and 10% royalty = $24,000)
Day Job:  355 days to earn $45,000 salary
Vacation:  10 days to earn $0

Estimated Annual Income:  $69,000 (8-hour work days plus 120 2-hour nights) Note: This income is pretax, and based on timely completion of projects, hence professional.

Example 2:
4 illustration contracts:  120 days earn $24,000 annual deposit income (4 contracts x $6,000 deposit and 10% royalty = $24,000)
Day Job:  355 days to earn $45,000 salary
Public Speaking:  5 days to earn $2,500 (5 events x $500 = $2,500)
Royalties:  1500 books sold in 365 days to earn $1,500 in royalties. (Royalty based on 10% of a $10 Net Sale or $1.00 per book sold.)
Vacation:  5 days to earn $0

Estimated Income:  $73,000 (8-hour work days, 120 2-hour nights, royalties, and 5 days vacation allocated to public speaking) Note: This income is pretax, and based on timely completion of projects, hence professional.

Example 3:
4 illustration contracts:  150 days earn $30,000 annual deposit income (5 contracts x $6,000 deposit and 10% royalty = $30,000)
Public Speaking:  45 days to earn $22,500 (45 events x $500 = $22,500)
Royalties:  5,000 books sold within 365 days to earn $5000 in royalties. (Royalty based on 10% of a $10 Net Sale or $1.00 per book sold.)
Vacation:  170 days to earn additional income

Estimated Income:  $57,500 (1 illustration a day for 150 days, 45 public speaking events, and royalties). Note: This income is pretax, and based on timely completion of projects, hence professional.

#2.  Don’t quit your day job.

Yes, don’t quit the day job yet. For aspiring illustrators, the day job and illustration contracts are multiple income streams. If balancing these two isn’t possible, a full-time illustration career may not be for you.

Two incomes are better than one—ask my wife. With the additional income from illustrating, pay off or down debt while saving six months salary. After quitting the day job, deadlines become less demanding and laziness takes over. Minimal debt and a financial buffer are necessities during any transition. Marriage wasn’t a reliable financial buffer—ask my divorced friends!

#3.  Who is your perfect client?

Inside your sketchbook list three “perfect” illustration clients you would seek. For my transition roadmap, I concentrated my time in one area of illustration—educational picture books. My reason was, do something fun that I enjoyed after working all day. I committed to watercoloring one page a day for two hours. This commitment allowed me to illustrate a picture book every 30 days, if I wanted.

 

Episode 1 Homework

In Illustrator Life Episode 1, Mark asks questions an aspiring illustrator should answer before choosing a professional illustration career path.

Homework: Inside your sketchbook…

  • List 5 illustrator related resources you bring to prospective clients. (Examples: caricature artist, art degree, typesetting church newsletters, etc.)
  • List 3 reasons you haven’t become a professional illustrator. (Examples: no family support, time limitations, lack of clients, etc.)
  • List 3 reasons you want to become an illustrator. (Examples: money, have a published book, fun, etc.)
  • A sketchbook or the Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook can be purchased at your favorite book retailer. The handbook may be available at local libraries. Both books are used in future episodes.

The most important part of being a professional is time management. If completion of these four simple tasks isn’t possible, this channel may not be for you at this time.