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advice is needed for the story to have a happy direction:
intro: a friend is an illustrator who works with brands, sells prints, originals etc - very nice flow of business with a decent popularity on the rise.
plot: very big amount of emails is coming with offers for book illustrations
twist: all the offers are indie-self-publishing people with ideas/finished texts and in need of illustrations
question: what do more experienced people do with these things and how does one proceed in order not to get overwhelmed?
option 1: you accept the pitch and do the illustrations mercenary style with no attachment, of course if they are prepared to pay the fee + ask for royalties if they ever publish it (indie or with the publisher)
option 2: turn them down because if they don't have a publisher it's shady business and you don't need to get involved with that (there's plenty of work around, it's not a need)
and also it gets you too busy to accept better offers in the future, people who already have a publisher in place, bigger brands etc.
how do people approach these things if they can choose?
I am sure that bigger illustrators get a bunch of offers like these, a friend of mine is just growing her business, she ain't a big shot (yet)
Option 2 but refer all the Option 1s to other illustrator friends that need work?
everybody has an "idea" and nobody wants to pay. it's not much different from fl design work, only that rates for illustration haven't improved in 30 years.
your rate is predicated on "terms". terms describe the engagement and thus the scope of use and the type of use. your option 1 sort of suggests that it's a work for hire scenario where they are buying all the rights and the illustrator is walking away. i'm not sure what your option 2 is based on other than pride?
honestly there are a million ways of doing freelance work with a lot of gray between 1 and 2. Find a level of comfort within and go with it. It's one job. if it doesn't work: change it. nobody gets into illustration for the fame and wealth.
1. Tell your friend to join skillshare for the 2 months free trail, watch all the story writing and book illustration tutorials.
2. Write own story, self publish via amazon or other self publishing, sell on own ecommerce website.
3. Additionally hire a VO actor on fiver to record a reading of the book. Learn the basics of AE and do a simple animation of the book as it's being read, put it on youTube.
Surprised no one has mentioned getting an agent. Well worth the cut they take to maximize your interests