Cashing in by Compromising

Sadly for this author/illustrator, the Christmas holiday is over and it’s time to reorganize and dig my heels into 2014 by thinking six months ahead. What will YOU be doing in June of 2014??? More on that later.

First I must morn the passing of what I discovered (just this year, after a decade in the biz) to be a gold mine of opportunity…last minute shoppers! Now I’m not talking about mall hoppers or Black Friday frenzies. I’m talking about shoppers who decide two weeks before Christmas that they need something REALLY special, and they’re willing to pay for it if they can find an illustrator who’s quick on the draw (no pun intended).

Just as I was wrapping up my last picture book for the 2013, and preparing promotional plans for the birth of my new “baby”, due to arrive on book store shelves in January,

WMGC- Front Cover 9-6

I discovered that perhaps I might not be quite finished with 2013 after all. Much to my surprise, last minute gift seekers began popping up all over  my radar!

My first reaction was to laugh a wicked “Wha-ha-ha!”, thinking, who do they think they’re kidding?  These people actually BELIEVE they can find someone to sketch, perfect, color and complete a project in time for the internet Santa to deliver it for Christmas? Impossible!!!

Then a little voice from conferences past whispered in my ear…

“Always find a way. NEVER turn down an opportunity. Cash in with a compromise!”

I thought about it for about 2 minutes, and then I did it. I changed my point of view and quickly contacted every one of those creatively-crazed gift hunters and proposed a deal that they couldn’t refuse.

I cut my prices 20%, offered simple (less detailed) illustrations that I could easily and joyfully produce, and accepted half payment on approval of sketches and the remainder due on final delivery. I wound up with three fun and fast illustration projects and no time to lose!

I was so happy when the money came pouring in. People who are gift-giving and grateful for your last-minute compromises pay quickly and without argument. By Christmas Eve I’d easily made the money I needed to make things merry! I made six people VERY happy (the givers and the receivers), and I learned a great many lessons in the process about compromise, timing, and illustrating for the shear joy of it (something we illustrators often forget when projects are all we have to pay the mortgage).

Today I’m settling in to start anew. For me and my family, 2013 was a year of shedding the past, clearing out cobwebs, sickness and mourning for what (and who) has been lost, and finding a way to finally, once and for all…put it behind us.

The new year brings a promise of healing and the hope that all will be well again. In every way possible it will be a new chapter for us and we welcome the change with open arms!

The only way I know of to make it in this business is to think six months ahead. Last June, I knew I’d have wrapped up all the book projects I’d been working on by December. I planned it that way and did everything to ensure it would happen.

In July, I planned for promotions on the book (pictured above) to be released in January of 2014, and I acquired two new book illustration contracts to work on as well, so that I would have the income to carry me through to February 2014 and so on.

So, I’ll ask you again. What will you be doing in June of 2014? I know I’ll be thinking about December compromises and those last-minute shoppers that will fund my holiday happiness. ;o)

One thought on “Cashing in by Compromising

  1. Wow! Good for you. You never know when good things come at the very last minute. You could have passed a good opportunity had you didn’t consider it for two minutes. I’m just curious what those are. I wonder what I could be doing in June 2014 because I wantedto dosomething for Christmas again next year.Give me a clue. alicia

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