Lisa Jonte' wrote this for me in early 2002 when I was in Finish Killer Princesses
EDIT: Since this has been mistakenly attributed to me at least twice now, what follows after the italics is the work of LISA JONTE', GirlaMatic.com editor and Arcana Jayne creator.
ME: re-poster of brilliant writing.
LISA: writer of brilliant advice.
I especially like "Points to remember" at the end."
IT'S A NEW YEAR, BABY by LISA JONTE'
It occurred to me that building a good rep is not much different than building a good credit rating. The best advice is to start small. With credit, you would start a small account, make small, (easily paid off) purchases against it and make timely payments. So, by that logic, to establish a good rep you would take minimal jobs (one at a time please!) make only minimal promises and follow through in a timely manner. However, you also have to make a living, no easy balance to strike, but (I think) doable. Perhaps the focus should be on an entire year, not just the next project at hand. Seeing as how we are about to start a new year, I think this is as good a time as any to start fresh. Some thoughts:
(The faculty kindly requests that you please hold all questions until the end of the lecture.)
1 Year = 365 days
Allow yourself a full month of non-work days, for vacation, illness and mental health.
Allow yourself another 30 days of con time. Definitely work days, but not production days. Whatever money you make at cons will be considered buffer money, for emergencies, savings or (gasp!) for fun.
1 Work Year = 315 days
Schedule NO MORE than what you can EASILY accomplish. This is very important, so let me repeat it. Schedule NO MORE than what you can EASILY accomplish. Do not schedule for the most you can do because you are bargaining with time that you don't know you'll have. Sure, in optimum conditions you can slam out 2-3 pages in a day, but how often do you really get optimum conditions? And how long can you rationally expect to keep up that kind of grinding pace before something gives and you melt down?
Penciling = no more than 1 page per day.
Penciling and Inking = no more than 2 pages every 3 days.
Penciling, Inking and lettering = no more than 4 pages per week.
In order to have a workable income I figure you can accept no less than $100 per day as average pay. ( Note from Lea--your workable income may vary. Plan accordingly.) That gives you $31,500. per annum, gross. Not exactly movie star money, but it's a start. This breaks down to:
$100 per page of Pencils
$150 per page of Pencils and Inks
$175 per page of Pencils, Inks and Letters
I know you can do more work than this on a daily basis, but resist the urge to schedule more. Pride must take a back seat to sanity and (dare I say it?) happiness. Now, Working faster than you have scheduled is fine. Just don't ADVERTISE it. All an Editor needs is to have her/his work on their desk at the appointed hour. You can occasionally throw them a bone by giving them the work a day or maybe two early, but don't do that all the time, or they will come to expect it. Worse, they will come to demand it. Remember, we're trying to give you the best industry rep as possible. Call it proactive PR.
Getting paid more than the above is also better, however DO NOT get greedy here. Taking on a crazy schedule for the lure of extra money is all too often a recipe for disaster. I know you know this.
Points to remember:
1. The promises you make to yourself are just as important as the promises you make to anybody else.
2. A friendly Editor is not your friend. He's just easier to work for.
3. Editors are fragile creatures and should be dealt with accordingly. They are only friendly as long as you help them maintain the illusion that they have real control over any given project. The minute you shatter that illusion (by allowing real life to slow the work) they get frustrated because there really is nothing they can do about it. Without their carefully crafted fantasy, they cease to be friendly.
4. You cannot give from an empty cup.
5. Really, you can't, so stop trying.
6. Screwing up on occasion (or many occasions) does not make you a screw-up. It makes you just about average.
7. Whining about screwing up, dwelling on it and using it as an excuse not to try. THAT makes you a screw-up.
8. Your family and your friends like you and love you. Get used to it. Stop trying to convince us that you're not worthy. We're not that gullible.
9. Your family and your friends like you and love you for who you are, not for what you do.
10. You are making a life out of what you love. If you are not happy, it's not worth it. You can be just as miserable working an office job, and I know for a fact that there are no Editorial positions at Burger King.
11. Don't beat yourself up. Why do to yourself what you wouldn't tolerate from a stranger?
12. There is no end, no point at which you can say, "I'm a success! All is perfect and I can now coast forever!" The process is the progress. The journey is the whole point.
13. I adore you. Never forget that.