Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Scraplings, Artists, & the Marquis de Sade

In the interest of fairness, I'm ugly but my mother dressed me really well. It is my own fault I can't dress myself now.

Kudos to Anonymous Manufacturer for sticking to her guns, digging in her well-heeled heels, and continuing her protests that she isn't evil, she's just doing business as usual, and it's all the Artists' fault that they aren't treated decently or paid fairly for their efforts on Anonymous Manufacturer's behalf. It takes extremists to define the middle ground. I think we can safely say that I think she's the Marquis de Sade, and she equates herself with Mother Theresa. So she's really probably only as bad as, say, a Republican. And that's not so bad, is it? Why, some of my best friends are Republicans!

That said, I'm interested in hearing from Artists who are on several manufacturers' design teams, and whether they try to cram as many different products onto a layout that's going to be published for the express purpose of receiving remuneration from four or five or six different manufacturers, plus, of course, the freelancer's fee from the magazine.

As many of you know, one of the tasks of my later writing assignments was to type up the supply lists for layouts that accompany my articles. There is a knack to it. You must know which format the publication uses. You must be able to prioritize the supplies in the same vein as all the other supply lists in the publication. Then there are the nitpicky details. Some periodicals prefer the word "paper," even if the base of the layout is actually textured cardstock. Some periodicals won't source adhesive unless you force their hand. Some periodicals don't want to see personal die-cutter fonts listed.

It takes quite a bit of arm-twisting on my part to get an Artist's supply list published in just the manner that she most needs it done in order to facilitate the Artist's financial rewards. I have encouraged artists to let me know if they need a particular company's product listed because the artist would receive a stipend for the credit.

And in all my articles, and of all the supply lists I've typed up, I've never had an Artist tell me, "I must have four or more companies listed in this supply list, because I will get money from each of those companies."

In fact, I've rarely heard an Artist ask for more than one particular company to be listed in the sources. That's (1) company at a time. Just one. And usually that was for an adhesive company. (An adhesive company whose products I adore, and if I were going to try to be on a manufacturer's design team, that's the one I would want, because, *man*, I have expensive taste in adhesive.) A few years ago, the requests to source a particular personal die-cutter's fonts were prominent. Now the trend seems to be for various paper sources -- all one at a time.

But I do clearly recall one Artist who did ask me to list two different companies in her supply list. (One of them was that adhesive company.) And I think another artist actually had three companies to credit for one of her layouts. I am not sure about that one, but I must hedge my bets, because if I incorrectly leave her out, Anonymous Manufacturer will come back and toast my buns for it.

Now, the tricky part is trying to ensure that the magazine will actually publish the list as written, even if the space is limited. I use the "Scream At The Editors" method -- a loathsome practice, but necessary. After each carefully composed supply list, if the Artist needed a particular credit, I hit the Caps Lock button. "PLEASE CREDIT XYZ SCRAPPIN' WIDGETS GLOOEY GLOBS. THE ARTIST WILL NOT RECEIVE COMPENSATION UNLESS THE ADHESIVE IS SOURCED."

Sad to say, sometimes these shouted pleas fell on deaf ears. You can't change a publisher's policy overnight.

Once upon a time, a very long time ago when I was first writing for the magazines, I received an absolutely irate letter from an Artist. She had just received the published issue, and her sponsoring manufacturer was not mentioned in the supply list.

I was secretly thrilled. For one thing, she had never spoken to me before. (I'm just a lowly writer, after all.) And for another, I had *not* typed up the supply lists for that one, nor was I even aware at that time that scrapbook manufacturers might actually pay an Artist for a published source credit. (Those sorts of kickbacks are still rare -- although I wish they were more ordinary. And more lucrative.) So it wasn't my fault she was so mad. Whew!

Happily, the Artist redirected her ire at the publisher, which promptly paid her the amount she would have received from the manufacturer had the supply list correctly credited the source.

Now I look back on that entire episode and I'm grateful. I'm grateful to the Artist for insisting that I become sensitive to her financial needs. I'm grateful to the magazine's publisher for doing the right thing and paying her the stipend she deserved. And I'm grateful to the manufacturer for offering that reward in the first place.

Money talks, Scraplings. That's all I'm sayin'. Money talks.

Please let me know if you're in the process of trying to get multiple "P4P" submissions correctly sourced and commensurately compensated by the supply companies. And no matter who the writer of the article is, make sure you note it in your supply lists if you could be rewarded for proper crediting. A writer cannot go to bat for you if she doesn't know what you need.


At 18/1/06 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel really good about myself after reading this! I'm a qualified, educated, reliable, experienced, professional designer! I've been published multiple times. I have a degree and I've attended many, many scrapbook related classes both in designing and on the business side. I always finish my work when needed... I hate to miss deadlines! I make it my job to find out all I can about a company I'm working for... how I can help them be better. I have a business license and a tax ID number. And I'm loyal... I'm not out for lots of design positions! I have one and I love it!

I have never understood why more manufacturers don't spread the wealth a little! Why don't they require exclusivity or limit the teams their designers can be on! I've seen designers with 5 or 6 different manufacturer teams and wonder how they can be consistent and produce quality work under deadlines for CHA and such! I think that we're all to blame for the prediciment we're in.

At 18/1/06 11:38 AM, Blogger Wanda E. Santiago said...

Hey Bay beautiful much food for thought. I have my own thinking about this but I worte about it on my blog once. Should find it and see what I think. You are on the right path my hope is that people listen. Hugs Wanda

At 3/3/07 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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