Out in the cold…
December 22, 2010
Oh, I know it sounds a bit dramatic.
I have spent the last few weeks processing something, something pretty big. Simply put, I cannot use the images I had commissioned for Arithmetic Village past September 2011.
Well, namely I signed a ridiculous contract with a re-use clause. I thought that this clause was to pace out money to the illustrator. But unfortunately it was also an “I’ll not renew because you did not grant permission on your behalf to sign a contract in a foreign language” clause as well.
This new situation has derailed a pending deal for ebooks, and has brought and unexpected twist and chapter in the Arithmetic Village story.
Some issues for reflection…
1. Why did I blatantly ignore well-meaning advice with this issue?
My friend, whose sister does Bubble Dome. had a terrible experience with an illustrator and rights to her reading program. She now only hires students who will give her full copyright. I thought this was terrible. Really shocking, in fact! I believe strongly that artists should get paid for their work and that fine art helps sell products. Another mentor, whose wife is a very successful artist, suggested that I be very careful with going into a contract with rights to an illustrator. I ignored everyone.
2. I fall in love easily, usually just after I say I can go at things alone. I already illustrated Arithmetic Village. I had been using little stick figure mock ups for a year before I decided stop querying and start self publishing. Then I panicked and hired an illustrator. I fell in love with the first interpretations to come along. I am very easily pleased.
3. I tend to let other people drive. Not just in real life with real cars. But with everything. When the characters started deviating from the preliminary sketches, I went along with it. When Rover appeared on the page an entirely different breed, I said nothing. When I wanted to make some changes here and there, I held my tongue, especially with the covers… see #4
4. I am insanely impatient. I did not make lots of changes because of a self-imposed pressure of time.
As I evaluate my part in co-creating this experience, I am learning many lessons, about publishing and about myself. Yes, sharing rights is the nice thing to do, but it brings up obvious complications.
The one thing for certain is Arithmetic Village is more than images or lesson plans or board games or ebooks. It is a whole new way to experience math. It is bigger than just one person, and even though I am now out in the cold, I look forward to the change of seasons …