OK, it’s time for some honesty, and while I believe being honest may in some instances be counter productive. I will proceed nevertheless as I need to get things off my chest. I have been practising as a children’s book illustrator for 6 months. I started on my birthday, 26th January. I had spent around 4 months building a portfolio, and on the 26th, I created a website. I have attended business start up programs in the past, and one of the main things they said was that to have a potentially successful business you need to see around 10% generative feedback, and /or sales. in a given amount of time.Well I gave myself 6 months and , here I am reporting the outcome. I have had around 20 enquiries, and a few other discussions around plans other than myself supplying children’s artwork. (usually hair brained ideas that would be near impossible to make good ) As a direct enquiry results 5 clients have each received my contract, after much discussion within previous emails. The contract on each of the 5 occasions supplied an outline of my fee structure and the time frame envisaged. After each potential client agreed to my fee and timescale etc. Each of the 5 people negated to go any further for various reasons, including personal and financial. I have in effect, lost £12,000 of business in 6 months. Although this does indicate that it is possible to be successful, ( I have achieved 10% return in 5-6 months) It also indicates that it is the actual take up of services that may be a problem. which obviously negates, the potential. Below is a blank copy of my contract that I supply to commissioners. The contract has been formulated by the Association of illustrators, and I have streamlined the main page for my personal use. The second page I have not altered (copyright etc)
Each of these potential clients have been self publishing Authors. This is one side of my business supply. The other is the established main publishing houses. The main publishers/commissioners have the the most financial potential. For example , whereby the financial gian would be around £2,500 for an independent publisher (32 page book-15 illustrations, and book cover) A main publisher would offer considerably more ( £3-8000+ average) and so I obviously need to market my work more effectively in this area. I have spent, and continue to spend a good amount of time and money on advertising and marketing of my work. I still need to market with a couple more of the main places. I haven’t yet started to send out direct mail/postcards to a vast amount of potential commissioners. It also costs a fair amount to gain the information in the first place. I have joined 2 industry organisations. Although I haven’t as yet had any work from that quarter. And my advertising with some of the larger industry portals has not as yet been fruitful. although I have only been with each for around 3-4 months and so it is still early days. I continue to build and refresh my portfolio in the meantime. Generally I have had good feedback from a number of sources as to my style and quality of work. I continue to send emails to agents explaining my availability, some have replied giving me very positive advice on the way forward. Most say I should be sending out postcards, which I am yet to do. I have had much constructive criticism from different quarters , some coming from a critique forum that I had asked for feedback from. No one has been negative (as yet) And so I continue to search for markets, and have plans for further advertising which as yet I cant afford , but in time I will fulfil the 70% of avenues left, for me to gain prospective clients. There are competitions to enter, book fairs to attend, and publishers to contact regarding my self penned and illustrated book. So, maybe in another 6 months I should supply another update.