Fall 2001 SCBWI NY Metro
In our Children's Publishing Market the WFH issue comes up mostly with educational projects. An artist should always ask if the main publishing company offers a "School Rights Only" contract. Many do now. For the hold outs, the more they get asked and run into trouble with their insistence on a WFH, the more we 'nudge' them to change those contracts. If you can't do the job anyway, due to time or other restraints, tell them it's because of the WFH policy. If you do want the job, ask, and if you can't get a more appropriate SRO, tell them that you'll still do the job, but to please pass on to their superiors that you don't understand the reasons for the need to own the reprographic rights "on the planet of SATURN!" Ask them to take ONLY the rights they actually NEED!
With book and other contracts, you really should avoid WFH contracts... or, if you really want to do that particular project anyway, take it, but have a CONVERSATION about these rights with the AD and the editor and even the contracts department if possible. You still get the job, but you make a statement (nicely!) that WILL make a difference eventually.
May I encourage you all to learn the 'alphabet soup' of groups presenting at the Illustrators Conference who are working hard on your behalf. It is your business to keep yourself 'up' on the workings of the GAG (Graphic Artists Guild), the IPA, Society of Ill. and the other organizations out there. As one of my attending artists stated: "...seeing the intelligence of the folks who have emerged as leaders, gave me a lot of hope and a great deal of respect for the multiple abilities that many people have in order to make great art, ...AND also be able to operate in the more pedestrian, sometimes sinister real world...and win!" They are working and "nudging" those "market norms" for YOU and providing alternatives to some of the problems, such as stock usages. Join them, read their newsletters, do all you can on a daily basis to help, not hurt, your own business and livelihood. Do share this information as well with your artist friends. Talk about price norms, sub-rights and anything else you've been feeling isolated about. Say "no" and begin the Conversation!