Well we’re near the end of Jan 2017 already! There is one very important activity that you should have experienced by now … you should have given yourself a YEAR IN REVIEW self analysis!
You are a business. Artist or Writer or both, you are a business, and you need to manage your career. Part of that (see past article on this subject) is to semi annually assess where you were this time last year, where you are now, where you want to be, and what needs to change to get there. I like Jan. as a time to give your business a REVIEW. You’re doing taxes anyway and getting your 1099s from work done, so you know what you have made this year. Is it enough? Did you like the work you got and did for your clients? Have you kept in touch and sent more work to those clients for future jobs? That goes on the ‘to do’ list. Can you grow these contacts better? What sort of postcard promotion do you have planned? An aside from this is to notice and assess how hard you worked for these clients for your $ return. It is possible you worked too hard for too little, and that should be looked at. Or you just took on too much and paid a price physically or mentally. These are important assessments!
I have to bring in here a Representative relationship. That needs reassessment as well! As a rep, this is the time of year I look at each artist to determine how they are doing for us, and how we are doing for them! Times and style needs change. An artist that was VERY hot for years can suddenly cool for no real fault of their own….sad but true fact. We encourage artists to change it up….get better, different, relevant. And artists who have been developing can suddenly ‘get discovered.’ As agents we need to keep our group exciting and relevant too. We need to add new artists, and unfortunately let others go. This keeps our agency ‘of interest’ to clients looking for new talent, or new styles from more established artists. Letting old friends go for business health isn’t EVER easy, but it is necessary. We try to keep our group a certain manageable size for two reps to best serve all the artists and all our clients.
If you are lucky enough to have an Agent….how is that working out for you? Have you seen more work? if not, have you asked why not? What can you do to encourage being hired? Any ideas you might have on what they can do to help more as well? Do ask! Do you keep your agent in the loop with every job and client you work with? Remember never to conduct business without first bringing your rep into the fold! And never share too much personal information with clients that might make them worry about you as a good ‘worker’ for them. Their publishing house is a business after all! But DO always share personal stuff with your agent when it might impact your work in any way. Helping you through tough times and complications is part of what we do for you.
If you do not have a rep but think you might benefit from one and have lots to offer them, then now is a good time to start a search and campaign to acquire an agent. Look them up! SCBWI has a listing of agents for writers and artists and both. Think about which might work best for you. (note: we are listed as ‘Artist Agents’ as that is our HOOK, but we show and have sold many ms and dummy book ideas that our artists have produced.) Contact the agents of interest with samples of your art style and link to your website. If they are looking (and ‘we’ always are) they will take a look and hopefully respond with interest or helpful suggestions. The Mid Winter SCBWI conference in NYC is a great place to showcase your art and yourself while learning and connecting with other artists, editors, art directors, and reps! My partner and daughter Christy Ewers will be attending the early part of this next conference starting Friday Feb 10 in fact. Look for her! Several of our artists will be there as well, which is always fun for all. Next week I will write a HOW TO for portfolio prep for this and other conference and visit presentations. Having been a portfolio judge several times in the past 23 years in NY, LA and other regional conferences, and viewed oh so many, I will be blunt about what works and what does not.
So get to your personal year-end review and plan for your artistic year ahead! Jump back in with gusto! Let’s STRUT OUR STUFF like our Laura Logan’s version of our LOGO CAT!! DO hope you have taken note of our new year, new logo design on our site and elsewhere recreated for us by another of our artists Priscilla Burris! A ‘nod’ and commitment to a relevant future of fantastic children’s book art!