I'm in a funk. If you've been a regular reader here, you've heard this song and dance before. Well, I'm singin' and dancin' again. I emailed a customer last week asking them —as nice as I could be, although I wasn't feeling very nice — to please return the artwork I created almost a year ago. Their answer: our "artwork return guy" is busy, he'll get to it next week. My translation based upon past experiences: our "artwork return guy" is busy this week, and he'll be busy next week. In fact he'll be busy indefinitely, call us again next year when he'll still be busy.
I don't get it. Don't publisher's realize that artists need their original artwork for promotional purposes? We use our recently created art to keep them updated on our developing styles, and to keep future projects coming our way. Sure, that's what tearsheets (printed samples) are for, right? But let's be honest here. If they ain't gonna return your original art, they ain't sending no tearsheets either — contract or no contract. I haven't received an under-contract tearsheet in about 12-years. I understand the need to hold onto artwork until shortly after publication. If there is a problem, they need quick access to the original art. That makes sense. But why do they need my art 6-months after a product has been on the market? For the most part, I'm not ranting about trade book publishers. With the exception of one *ahem* whom I won't mention here, they return original art soon after publication. It's every other faction of this business that tends to store an artist work away, on lock up, for eternity, if you let 'em.
I suppose, next week, I can begin the tired old cat and mouse game of sending them another email reminder. And they'll send me a note apologizing, but still won't mail my art back. So I'll wait — not wanting to bother anyone — and call again in a few months. I'll get an irritated response telling me that somebody will call me back. Nobody will. I'm not joking. They. Will. Not. Call. Back. Then, I'll call again only to really irritate them because now they're getting tired of me, and feel responsible to act. Now I've earned my way to being known as that pesky artist guy who they'd better not call anymore because he's just gonna end up bugging them. Grrr.
Now, maybe I should start making color copies or scans of my art before mailing. That way, if I don't get my art back in a timely manner, I'll still have promotional material. Sure. However, most times I'm already working under an unrealistic deadline situation. I'm usually chasing down that FedEx plane with my art in hand, frantically trying to wrap my package with duck tape before the plane leaves the runway. Who has time to build in for copying or scanning art before sending it to a customer?
My art agent is putting together a new book of samples which she'll send to trade book editors and art directors. I have plenty of old work I can include, but I'd like to send some fresh stuff. Will I be able to include these new samples. Probably not. Should I call or send another email inquiry? Dang, I'm tired of silly stuff.
Rant over. I'll be nice again.
Thank you Cyn for blinking my exchange with an agent post, and for introducing me to a new word: blink. Geez, I've seen that word a hundred times and just didn't know. (blog+linking)