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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:25 pm

Palladium Books® Staff

Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 2:04 pm
Posts: 2053
Whenever it happened, you decided to be a writer or artist. The goal was publication. However, while working to learn your craft, and finally reaching a point where you felt ready to put your work out there, you realized that no one had taught you about the business side of things. You were too busy learning to write or draw anyway. That's what you love, not business 101.

But that's the thing. You go to college, or not, anticipating a job in your field. Graduation day, or the day you decide to start your career, comes and now what? Who to contact? How to present your work?

First, throw out anything you've heard or read, at least for a few minutes, while I offer my suggestions based on experience.

1) Planning: Don't wait till graduation day to build a list of contacts.

Look at your bookshelf or go to the nearest large bookstore and note the names of the various publishers. Get on the net. Get their contact information.

2) Get their submission guidelines. Follow them to the letter. If something doesn't look right, ask questions.

3) Send it in. But be patient.

Unfortunately, people use the net a lot to exchange information and do business. This can be a good thing if the publisher accepts submissions that way, but some will not. I wrote unfortunately because people have gotten used to things happening quickly.

Patience 101

a) There are other people "waiting in line ahead of you" so to speak. These are other hopeful artists or writers that want the same company's attention at the same time, and they would like an answer sooner rather than later. All of them.

b) You may not be thinking about it this way but even if a company was contacted by 20 artists or writers that are good enough to publish, they might only have work for three or four.

Persistence 101

a) After waiting for whatever you think is a reasonable time after you haven't heard anything, contact the company. A polite question about whether they've looked at your submission yet is OK. If they have, you might find out something right then. If not, politely ask how long it might take. Then be prepared to wait for however long it is.

b) It's a job you're looking for in a market that has many hopefuls looking around just like you. If things don't work out with company A, then you can move on to company B, and then C and further if need be.

c) Just like knocking on doors and making lots of phone calls looking for a regular job, it's pretty much the same. In both cases, you want to make enough to pay the bills, but in your case, you want to do it by using your creative skills.

What is easy and what is not 101

Life's not easy. Choices need to be made. You try to make the best choices you can. So use whatever resources you can, like the internet.

Sure, everyone (including me) wants things to be easy or at least, easier. But if you run across a problem, any problem, that you need answers for, start doing some research.

Just type "artist looking for work" or "writer looking for work" into a search engine and see what comes up. You might find some leads. If it's too many, add the word fantasy or science fiction or whatever word fits what you want to do. There are also forums for writers and artists/illustrators to share their experiences looking for work.

I don't want to sound profound but there are no guarantees in life. Sometimes even though you've looked really hard, you can't find work. All I can say is, keep trying. I've known more people with not a lot of talent who got work by being persistent than a few very talented people who somehow expected work would just come to them. It usually didn't.

Keep plugging away,
Alex Marciniszyn

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