Once again it’s going to take me over 8 months to finish illustrating a self-published children’s picture book for an author. The author seemed willing to work quickly and we get along wonderfully. I thought I could finish her cute book about a “round” little girl who wants to be a ballerina in the school play in 5 or 6 months.
I know the issue is my current contract, as Kim Wilson pointed out earlier on this blog. My contract doesn’t limit changes for each page or limit the amount of time an author has to approve a drawing. Kim said she asks for 4 days turnaround. Unfortunately this contract was signed before I got the advice to change that part. I state that no changes can be made once I start the color on the illustrations, so they change them over and over in the rough and finished line stage. I have changed the faces on the characters in this book as many as four times on a several of the pages and I am still reworking on the line art on most pages. I think I need to stop being so accommodating. Things are not getting better!
I worked as a graphic designer and art director for most of my life so I’m used to being paid for a job based on hours worked, not a flat fee. I feel when people are paying per hour, they don’t make as many changes because it is costing them money. I didn’t mind making changes when I was paid by the hour, because I was being paid to make them. When you offer a service like illustrating a book for a flat fee, people want to get their money’s worth, so they change things. How do you word your contract to limit the amount of time for approval and how many changes do you allow on each illustration at each stage? I need help, I have another book contract signing coming up soon and want to write a better contract. I love what I’m doing, but need to be more efficient.