Maximum exposure

2 May

Here’s a scenario:

Several months ago, I had a phone conversation scheduled with a potential client.  Could have been a BIG client!  Lot’s of my work was fitting for them, they seemed really interested and everything.  So, I spent quite a bit of time preparing things and getting ready for my meeting.

I called up – we chatted.  All was going well.  They wanted some of my work.  Great!

“Now, we don’t have any money.  But, the exposure you’ll get will be great!”

Cringe.

Suffice to say, I’ve politely declined (although I was cursing in my head) and left the meeting feeling ill about how people assume I can draw so I should just work for free.  For EXPOSURE.  Well, people die from exposure (that’s an old phrase, but what the heck – I’ll use it).  I’m not ready to die.

It AMAZES me that I still get these emails phone calls from professional companies.  I really feel like speaking my mind with them, but since I’m generally pretty nice toward people, I don’t.  But really?  Exposure?  Do you give away your products for exposure?  Or your services?  I don’t walk in to get my haircut and say, “Hey, can you cut this for free?  You’ll get great exposure because I’m planning on going out on the town this weekend.  Thousands will see it!”

I would never once do anything for exposure or work for free.  The only time I would do ANYTHING for free is if it’s a gift, I think it will pay off in the long run or because I just want to and am not seeking compensation for it (for example, drawing a funny picture on a chalk board).  I’ve even had to turn down family (sorry guys, nothing personal).

Now, this is just me speaking.

BUT – I know why some of these companies and people do feel this way toward artist (that they shouldn’t pay us).  It’s because MANY will do things for peanuts.  And so they think that’s the way it is.  An example is a recent person I quoted several thousand dollars I think fainted.

Starting off, I’ll admit (this is many years ago) I tried a few things for exposure.  Big mistake, but I was a rookie.  And you know, nothing came from it.  Nothing.  But, that’s how you learn.  I didn’t know as much as I know now.  And it IS exciting if a publication or something calls you up, wants to use your work and you know you’ll have something published!  BUT, if they don’t want to pay you, well…..

The only time I’ve taken on projects with no pay is again, if I saw them taking off in the long-run.  I’ve only done this really once (I’m talking on the major level).  And actually, it paid off (still is).  But, it was a risk.

And a risk was also my syndicated material.  I didn’t get paid for Break of Day right away.  But the love of doing it and working hard to get it syndicated (and money) took time and dedication, but I believed in it so I kept at it.  Before that, I tried dozens of other comic ideas that went nowhere.  It took me over a decade to get syndicated.

The good news is that if you want a NATE FAKES brand ANYTHING – I’m the only source.  And a lot of the people that don’t charge people a lot of money or do it for free don’t do professional work.  Believe it or not, I have over a 40 hour work week and really spend time on projects.  I try to perfect them over and over.  However, many do not.  With my brand though, it’s quality will be -well – what you see.  Whether you like it or not, all I can say is I put the work in.  I make it worth the money.

Other artist as well – if you want a particular artist, you go to them.  They’ll be the ones that have THEIR brand.  You can’t get it anywhere.  So, I guess that’s good news for all of us.  That’s how professionals earn money.

And think of this as well:  I’ve always known to draw, but on top of that, I did spend tens of thousands of dollars in art school to really enhance my career.  Do you think I spent that money for exposure?  Or thinking I wouldn’t earn it back?

Now, again, all of this chat – this is me speaking.

If you’re an artist doing it for fun, or as a hobby, all the power to you.  I just get irked when people contact me still – someone who is obviously not doing this just for fun or a hobby – and want free work done for EXPOSURE.  Please.  I have plenty of exposure already.  If I want more I’ll run down the street naked.

And anyone wanting to be professional – trust me – nobody is going to see your work in a publication that didn’t pay you and be knocking on your door.  It doesn’t work that way.  If your art appears in a legit spot, chances are it’s a great company and they gave you a nice paycheck for your hard work.  Ask for what you deserve.  And if they don’t want to pay you, move on.

Again, these are all my opinions.  However, ask anyone in my field what they think and I believe you’ll get a similar response.  I’m not trying to gloat about being a BIG-TIME professional cartoonist or anything.  No, I just want what I’m worth.  I’ve worked my whole life to get to where I am, so it’s obvious that I’ll mention about how much I think my work is valued.

So, the next time I have a phone meeting with a potential client and they want my services for free, I think I’ll do more than just hang up the phone. Yell and scream?  No.  I’ll just politely ask for hundreds of dollars (or thousands, depending on the project) of their product or services so I can use it for exposure.  We’ll see if it works.

Somehow, I doubt it.

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2 Responses to “Maximum exposure”

  1. Bearman May 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    Please keep your cLothes on

    • w101njf May 2, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

      I’ll try. Although, running around naked downtown IS tempting at times….

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