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REDemption2017
12-27-2016, 09:38 AM
I was thinking of offering my writing services out, freelance style, just like many artists do. The thing is, I didn't know what I could get away with charging per page as a newbie.

Keep in mind that, while I may appear new to people who have just heard of me, I have been a published writer for many years now. The thing is, I have no COMIC BOOK publications to my name.

Also, since I have not worked in the industry in any official capacity, my script format is not in "industry standard." What I did was spend some time searching on Google for comic book scripts. Then I came up with a format that worked for me. However, I stress that there is flexibility in how it is written. If I see something as an image that should cover only one panel, but the artist sees it as a splash page, then there is room for discussion. As long as the story gets told, you know?

So anyway, can anyone share any thoughts on that?

Sully
12-27-2016, 10:53 AM
On the bright side, as far as I'm aware, there is no true industry standard. I've heard pros say it, read it on several websites, so I assume it's true. Just make sure it's VERY easy to navigate and read.

On the downside, I have no idea what you might be able to charge. As a writer, comics are a fairly large money sink. But, maybe your prose experience will pull through and land you some contract work!

maverick
12-27-2016, 05:52 PM
$0.00

Lee Nordling
12-28-2016, 07:28 PM
I want to address the one part of the initial post that had me thinking, "Huh???!!!"

The concerning sentences: "However, I stress that there is flexibility in how it is written. If I see something as an image that should cover only one panel, but the artist sees it as a splash page, then there is room for discussion. As long as the story gets told, you know?"

This isn't an ad, but in my book "Comics Creator Prep" I show numerous different script styles that work in numerous situations.

BEST ADVICE: if you don't know who the artist is going to be, and his/her strengths and/or weaknesses, you're setting yourself up for trouble with any editor (who might hire you) or artist (who might wonder at your inability to be precise). If you're offering yourself as a freelance writer of comics, you REALLY need to write consistent clear images with clear page and panel delineations. If you don't, I wouldn't hire you, and neither will anybody else.

This isn't to say flexibility is bad, but when you write a comic script your intentions need to be absolutely clear for how you want to see the story unfold.

Even if there's an editor, you are the writer AND the director, so you can ignore the Hollywood culture-based phobia of writing direction in a script.

In comics, it's expected of you.

Now, (again, per my book), some artists may work better with a plot-driven method, or any number of hybrids, like the Marv (not Marvel) Method I outline in the book, but you ONLY make these exceptions when asked to by the artist or editor (whichever is hiring you and has a specific idea about process).

Now to getting the work: First, you need a great (not good, GREAT) writing sample to show an editor or artist, because you're about to do the thing that is the hardest for a new writer: you're trying to leapfrog over ALL the other writers your prospective employer already knows.

Re. money, well, if you get in with an established publisher on a project THEY control, they'll have a page rate, and (as noted) page rates differ, beginning around $40/page for smaller publishers.

SECOND BEST PIECE OF ADVICE (which is also covered in the book): concentrate first on the low-hanging fruit that's available to you, which is making books and self-publishing (if you can't find a publisher who likes it enough to publish it themselves). Getting assignment work is really hard, and even though you may have measurable success in other forms of writing, comics isn't other forms of writing, and most experienced comics writers don't get this kind of work, either. It's not like artists are looking to find writers to create scripts for their properties, scripts for which they'll pay you thousands of dollars.

We're a dollar-poor industry, and most of us who aren't on the page-rate food train of Marvel or DC work for royalties and sweat equity.

I realize there's a lot to suss from this, and step one is to create a practical business plan that matches up with Comic Book Publishing Reality.

Good luck!

REDemption2017
01-03-2017, 11:56 AM
Thanks for the lengthy and thoughtful reply. I should stress that the script I wrote was for my own comic, hence why I left the flexibility there. If someone else has another standard, then I am definitely going to adhere to what they want/need.

I will check out that book!

Lee Nordling
01-03-2017, 02:31 PM
Well, whatever you want to do for yourself is fine...ONLY if you're drawing it.

But if you're not drawing it, everything I wrote above still applies, because if you have a vision for how it needs to look, and the artist chooses to do something different within the range of the flexibility you indicated, then you'll be giving notes to focus more towards what you think is working, and the artist will be going nuts and rightfully thinking, "Why didn't the a$$hole just write what he wanted in the first place?!"

And what you're doing will NEVER work as a "good" writing sample for the people you'll be looking to hire you. NEVER.

I've read your response many times from writers who wrote scripts for themselves.

I've asked to see their best writing sample, then they send vaguely written scripts, and I critique it, then they say they wrote it for artists with whom they've worked before, and that the artists didn't have any trouble drawing what they wanted...

...and I'm getting pretty pissed off at this point.

I wanted their best writing sample so that I could determine whether they can write for ME and artists they've never worked with.

And I'm thinking, "This guy doesn't know how to write for others."

And these guys rarely come back and try to rework their material.

They want what they do to be loved for what it is.

Talk about NOT understanding the type of job they're trying to get, which is assignment writing to a specific need.

If this is the work you want to do, you need to show in your sample you can do it.

If not, stick with self-publishing, which is also fine.

paul brian deberry
01-03-2017, 05:29 PM
$0.00

this or I say if an artist can get 100$ page you ask the same.

Scribbly
01-04-2017, 12:29 PM
I was thinking of offering my writing services out, freelance style, just like many artists do. The thing is, I didn't know what I could get away with charging per page as a newbie.

Keep in mind that, while I may appear new to people who have just heard of me, I have been a published writer for many years now. The thing is, I have no COMIC BOOK publications to my name.

Also, since I have not worked in the industry in any official capacity, my script format is not in "industry standard." What I did was spend some time searching on Google for comic book scripts. Then I came up with a format that worked for me. However, I stress that there is flexibility in how it is written. If I see something as an image that should cover only one panel, but the artist sees it as a splash page, then there is room for discussion. As long as the story gets told, you know?
So anyway, can anyone share any thoughts on that?

I don't know if you already read this recent post: http://digitalwebbing.com/forums/showthread.php?t=177922
In this post we have the estimates made by top names (writers & artists) in the comics industry back in the seventies. Since comics "page rates" didn't change that much form those old days, I think it could be used as valid reference.
Artwork per page: $300
Script per page: $100
These were the page rates attempted by consummated professionals as Paul Levitz, Neal Adams, Jim Shooter, Frank Miller, Walt Simonson, Chris Claremont, and many more. As we can see, they had established the writer's page rate as a 1/3 of artwork page rate.
As newbie writer and from this reference, you can take out a zero (0) from the equation and have your fair page rates for newbie writers:

Newbie's Artwork per page: $30
Newbie's Script per page: $10

I hope by now, your question was properly answered. Good writing!

Mark Bertolini
01-06-2017, 10:06 AM
The thing I'd keep in mind is that if you want to charge for writing, you have to understand there are 10 other guys who'd do it for free.

Free doesn't always mean better, but free is free, you know?

JRXTIN
01-06-2017, 01:05 PM
Some people like my writing and I can write a page in minutes that takes me a couple days to draw.

ayalpinkus
01-07-2017, 06:12 AM
To me, it doesn't make sense to work for, or pay, a low page rate. That holds for both writers and artists, for the same reason.

The way I always saw it, when music was still sold on CDs, if you liked classical music, you'd pay a lot for a CD that contained a good performance. You would not buy a CD with a lesser performance, even if it was cheaper. "It hurts my ears, but the CD was cheaper!" I think not.

I believe entertainment is a winner-take-all business. People go watch the best movies, they read the best books. If you want to make money in entertainment, you have to put out the best possible work.

Same with comics. There are tons of free web-comics out there, yet people pay for the comics publishers put out. Mainstream publishers can afford good page rates and so they get the best writers and artists to work for them.

Making a comics page takes in the order of fifteen hours: scripting, thumb-nailing the page a few times to get the design right, finding photo reference, breakdowns (blowing up the thumbnails), layouts (penciling), then meticulously and carefully inking it, then coloring it, then lettering it.

Even a good artist could not make a good page for, say, thirty bucks. Thirty bucks for fifteen hours of work means (s)he gets paid two dollars an hour. You can not live off of that. So the good artist would have to churn out pages in two hours or so, to get at a fifteen dollar hourly rate, so (s)he can pay rent and put food on the table. But you can't make a good page in two hours.

Not even a good artist can make a good page for a low page rate. And paying a beginning artist a low page rate doesn't make sense either, because the comic won't sell anyway. Because people will rather want to buy the professionally written and drawn comics that the regular publishers put out.

That's why I think it doesn't make sense to pay, or work for, a low page rate. So don't go for a low page rate. Work on your art, make it the best it can possibly be. Then go see if you can get a decent page rate. Or better yet, self-publish, or better yet, see if you can get a publisher to put out your own, original, unique, new work. In the mean time, you own all the stories you write and all the art you create, and you get to be your own boss, you get to decide on what you work on, no deadlines.

Also, writing and drawing the comic is only part of it. The comic needs to be printed, warehoused, shipped, bookkeeping, legal fees, public relations/promotion, marketing and sales, editors need to be paid, comics and cover designers need to be paid, office rent needs to be paid, electricity, computers, printer paper everything up to and including toilet paper. Writing and drawing the book is only a small part of what goes into it.

If there is barely any budget to pay the writer and the artist, then it is safe to say that the resulting comic will not be seen by many people.

The same holds for writers I think. Work on making your writing the best it can possibly be and forget about the low-paying gigs.

ayalpinkus
01-07-2017, 06:45 AM
$0.00

Actually, you can go lower than that :-)

Some jobs you have to pay for to be allowed to do them. Like for example being a volunteer at a comic con, nowadays, apparently:

http://www.comicsbeat.com/like-phoenix-comic-con-dragoncon-also-makes-con-volunteeers-pay-to-volunteer/

"Like Phoenix Comic Con, Dragon*Con also makes con volunteers pay to volunteer"

Pay to be allowed to do a job :-)

There are more examples. I heard of a scuba diving job you had to pay for to be allowed to do.

So 0$ is actually a high rate, no? ;-)

ayalpinkus
01-07-2017, 06:55 AM
I'll riddle you this:

Do you think Isaac Perlmutter, the Marvel CEO, would pay writers and artists low page rates if he thought he could get away with it?

(Answer: He's paying top rates because 1) it allows him to hire the best writers and artists and 2) people will only buy the best comics, created by the best writers and artists.)

ayalpinkus
01-07-2017, 07:08 AM
Okay, one more thing and then I'll shut up :-)

I imagine a low-paid internship at a publisher or studio could be useful because of the work experience, the networking opportunities and the fact that it would look good on your resume.

JRXTIN
01-07-2017, 02:19 PM
I believe entertainment is a winner-take-all business.

And art/writing is the worst of it. Young athletes/actors/musicians only have to compete against other youths, or maybe a few early middle aged survivors. A twenty year old artist or writer has to compete against perfectly viable old people who may have forty or fifty or sixty years of notoriety, career building, and craftsmanship under their belt.


People go watch the best movies, they read the best books. If you want to make money in entertainment, you have to put out the best possible work.

This I'll disagree with, networking gets a lot of not-cream to the top. The big studios of every medium are entrenched well enough to leverage their positions as gate keepers, and the power of marketting, to move inferior product and make people think it's great. For a little while.

Same with comics. There are tons of free web-comics out there.

Some of the free webcomics do pretty well, the problem is the sheer volume of newbies ruining the signal-to-noise ratio. It's tough to be found. Who would even want to look when your clicks are generally rewarded with low quality comics?


Even a good artist could not make a good page for, say, thirty bucks.

As a writer I wouldn't count on finding a good artist who can deliver a Jim Lee page for $30, but there are situations in which that would be a viable option for a young artist, because retail jobs can be that bad. If you live with your parents and your best option for normal employment is to drive a significant distance to work twenty hours a week at minimum wage, and the employer wants to break the hours up over five or six days so you spend nearly as much time driving as working - then you might as well take the thirty dollar comic job, do the best job possible, and try to get fifty on the next one. You can't double your salary at K-mart after a month's work.

Stewart Vernon
01-07-2017, 02:32 PM
The problem in all of this is... people... trying to apply logic and reason to stuff people do.

At least in the US, there is a perception that something costing more is automatically better. So a dollar comic in the store is perceived to somehow be inferior to a $3 comic. Even without opening it up, many people will just ignore the dollar comic, 'cause why don't they think it is worth more?

Meanwhile... Many will assume a Marvel or a DC book is better than a random Indy book... because those are established, familiar names. So at any price point, many people will buy a Marvel/DC book before they would buy a similar content Indy one.

And... others will buy a 2nd or 3rd Spidey book even if that one isn't as good as the rest before they will try a new book from a different publisher or creative team. I've been in conversations that went "Man, I don't like reading this Spidey book, I wish they'd change it or cancel it so I can stop buying it." It's hard to convince that person to risk that same "wasted" money on a different book that they might like more.

NOW... ignore everything above when we're on the other side of the table and arguing what people should be paid. Entertainers, athletes, artists, etc.... a LOT of people will argue they don't "work" and shouldn't be paid. Even people who want to pay more for what they perceive will be better, will argue the other side when it comes to what an artist should get paid for creating that thing!

Then companies... of course don't want to pay any more than they have to... for much the same reason as fans will question it. The same company that wants you to value their books doesn't want to value the creators... the same fans that value that book don't want to value the creators.

It's how we don't have as many nice things sometimes. Because there are always people willing to work for less, at least for a while... and companies will flock to that... and fans will be largely indifferent to how the soup gets made... and the world spins on.

maverick
01-18-2017, 04:51 PM
https://twitter.com/JHickman/status/821449605078544385?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Jonathan Hickman
‏@JHickman

The Nightly News was six issues and I made about $5800 for around eight months of work. Which comes out to around $4.50 an hour.

vartemis
01-18-2017, 10:38 PM
https://twitter.com/JHickman/status/821449605078544385?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Jonathan Hickman
‏@JHickman

The Nightly News was six issues and I made about $5800 for around eight months of work. Which comes out to around $4.50 an hour.

And that's before taxes.

Scribbly
01-19-2017, 12:33 AM
And that's before taxes.
Yes! For comics, everybody has the right of be exploited.

Lee Nordling
01-25-2017, 01:18 AM
I'm going to offer a perspective many of you won't like.

How's that for an opening? Yeah, not good for anybody hoping for a reality check that ups the amount of money you make per hour.

Let's get down to basics, a reality check that I've dealt with for over forty years, up to an including today, which means, in essence, I'm in the same boat as you, albeit with potentially more opportunities based solely on experience, awards, and reviews, which MIGHT get me an extra cup o' coffee and not much more if I don't have the goods.

First, and most importantly, you need to make a living, and if you can't do it entirely in comics, get another job and dedicate the rest of your time to building your brand as a comic creator. If you can't do this, keep the day job and do something else with your spare time...unless comics is a hobby, in which case you can ignore this entire response, because it doesn't pertain to you.

If your goal is to create comics full time, and you can't do it right now, then you have to build your brand/name recognition/popularity, and there are so many ways to do that I can't detail them here. (ADVERTISEMENT: READ MY BOOK "COMICS CREATOR PREP" TO GET A CLUE.)

Here's really why I'm responding to this thread: If you need to equate your time spent on creating comics to an hourly wage (in order to compare it to flipping burgers at McDonalds or working at Wal-Mart), then you're seriously working in the wrong profession.

Yes, most creators working in comics don't get a decent hourly rate.

Some make a fortune.

As I once heard early in my career, if you want to make money, become a stock broker.

We all hope the results of our work will make us a living, give us security, perhaps even give us a higher class of living than from when we started, but is THAT your goal?

Or is it to create meaningful work, to you (for whatever reason)?

I hope it's the latter, because if not, you're seriously working in the wrong field, and you're going to be really unhappy at the end of your efforts (unless you're incredibly lucky and hit the truly rare jackpot).

If you REALLY want to work in this industry, because you want to create meaningful work, anybody--ANYBODY--who tries to compare the results of your efforts to an hourly wage should be ignored--IGNORED--because their values for the results of your work do not equate to yours, presuming it's the work that counts.

To be clear, this doesn't mean you should take bad deals.

This means you should KNOW why you're creating comics, and should have a goal toward what you're trying to achieve.

If you have a goal toward what you're trying to achieve, and if the work you're doing helps you get there in a way you understand, then SCREW people who tell you should be doing something else, because they don't have your goal, and don't have your vision.

This doesn't ensure success, but it does ensure personal satisfaction that you're doing your best to achieve your goals.

Steve Colle
01-25-2017, 01:45 AM
I'm going to offer a perspective many of you won't like.

How's that for an opening? Yeah, not good for anybody hoping for a reality check that ups the amount of money you make per hour.

Let's get down to basics, a reality check that I've dealt with for over forty years, up to an including today, which means, in essence, I'm in the same boat as you, albeit with potentially more opportunities based solely on experience, awards, and reviews, which MIGHT get me an extra cup o' coffee and not much more if I don't have the goods.

First, and most importantly, you need to make a living, and if you can't do it entirely in comics, get another job and dedicate the rest of your time to building your brand as a comic creator. If you can't do this, keep the day job and do something else with your spare time...unless comics is a hobby, in which case you can ignore this entire response, because it doesn't pertain to you.

If your goal is to create comics full time, and you can't do it right now, then you have to build your brand/name recognition/popularity, and there are so many ways to do that I can't detail them here. (ADVERTISEMENT: READ MY BOOK "COMICS CREATOR PREP" TO GET A CLUE.)

Here's really why I'm responding to this thread: If you need to equate your time spent on creating comics to an hourly wage (in order to compare it to flipping burgers at McDonalds or working at Wal-Mart), then you're seriously working in the wrong profession.

Yes, most creators working in comics don't get a decent hourly rate.

Some make a fortune.

As I once heard early in my career, if you want to make money, become a stock broker.

We all hope the results of our work will make us a living, give us security, perhaps even give us a higher class of living than from when we started, but is THAT your goal?

Or is it to create meaningful work, to you (for whatever reason)?

I hope it's the latter, because if not, you're seriously working in the wrong field, and you're going to be really unhappy at the end of your efforts (unless you're incredibly lucky and hit the truly rare jackpot).

If you REALLY want to work in this industry, because you want to create meaningful work, anybody--ANYBODY--who tries to compare the results of your efforts to an hourly wage should be ignored--IGNORED--because their values for the results of your work do not equate to yours, presuming it's the work that counts.

To be clear, this doesn't mean you should take bad deals.

This means you should KNOW why you're creating comics, and should have a goal toward what you're trying to achieve.

If you have a goal toward what you're trying to achieve, and if the work you're doing helps you get there in a way you understand, then SCREW people who tell you should be doing something else, because they don't have your goal, and don't have your vision.

This doesn't ensure success, but it does ensure personal satisfaction that you're doing your best to achieve your goals.

Thank you, Lee. What you have written here has more value than you will ever know. In just a few days, I'll be doing a presentation to creators about publishing, the editor's role in different publisher structures, approaching the submissions process from the other side of the desk, and other eye opening facts (my second time doing this workshop) about the industry. I am going to take what you wrote here and talk with those creators about what their goals and motivations are. They really do need that inner perspective in order to understand why they're doing what they're doing.

Thanks for sharing.

Steve

ayalpinkus
01-25-2017, 02:42 AM
Here's really why I'm responding to this thread: If you need to equate your time spent on creating comics to an hourly wage (in order to compare it to flipping burgers at McDonalds or working at Wal-Mart), then you're seriously working in the wrong profession.

Yes, most creators working in comics don't get a decent hourly rate.

Some make a fortune.

As I once heard early in my career, if you want to make money, become a stock broker.

We all hope the results of our work will make us a living, give us security, perhaps even give us a higher class of living than from when we started, but is THAT your goal?

Or is it to create meaningful work, to you (for whatever reason)?




I agree with most of what you wrote, but I am going to have to respectfully disagree with your claim that you should not look at the hourly rate of an assignment.

Because you are forgetting that most artists don't actually really WANT to work for someone else, if they don't have to, financially.

My claim is that money is the only reason artists take on assignments in the first place. If they don't need the money, they will be perfectly happy spending their time in their studios working on whatever art subject inspires them at that moment.

You are right in that they should pursue their own goals, but an artist's real actual artistic goal will very very rarely involve working for someone else.

An artist just wants to work on his own art. As an artist, you enjoy the activity of creating art, and so each morning you wake up, go to your studio and think "what shall I make today?" and you go do that. And otherwise you go do something else. As an artist, you really, really, don't need someone else to tell you what to do. Artistically.

An artist needs to find paying work because he needs to pay the bills. He doesn't need a boss to fulfill his artistic needs. He's only taking on the job for the money, and so he needs the job that pays the highest hourly rate, so that he can work part-time, so that leaves him the most time to work on his own art in his own time.

If you make an artist a millionaire, I can assure you that artist will not want to draw pages for any writer anymore, even if the writer offers a high page rate. Not even for mainstream publishers, because he won't be hungry enough to compete. He doesn't have reason to put in 15-hour workdays anymore. I mean, if he can, you know, instead spend his days painting away in his studio, trying out that new paint or that new pen he bought the other day, a glass of wine at four...

Artists don't need writers to be fulfilled, artistically. They do need paid assignments to pay the bills, and for these assignments, it most assuredly makes sense to compare jobs based on hourly rate, because the highest hourly rate will provide you the most time to work on your own art on your own time.

Maybe we're saying the same thing though. Don't make art for a page rate or hourly rate. Find a decent paying job instead so you can pay your bills, and then make the art you want to make in your own time. Only consider page rates if they are competitive with the salary you are already getting, and offset it against job stability.

Your art should be about what you want to make, not about making money. And breaking down a page rate into an equivalent hourly rate makes it just that little bit easier to decline an offer to draw comics pages for a page rate.

ayalpinkus
01-25-2017, 05:13 AM
Maybe we really are saying the same thing though.... work on the art you want to work on, pursue the goals you want to pursue.

I'm saying, do look at the hourly rate a page rate boils down to, because then you'll see what a low offer it actually is, and that makes it that bit easier to say no to the offer and to just continue on your own path.

Steve Colle
01-25-2017, 07:50 PM
It's hard to approach this in a per-hour manner. Either the per-hour considerations result in too high an end page rate - especially one where budget is an issue (even with corporate publishers like Marvel and DC), but talent, skill, and degree of work needed for the project all play factors. That's why it's typical to pay page rates. Here's an example to draw a loose comparison to:

The lady who cleaned our home had set a rate of $85 to do the entire house outside of deep cleaning. She allotted 2 hours to do the job, which equaled approx. $42.50 per hour. All well and good on her end, but she then started getting the job done (such as it was) in 1.5 hours and then in even less time to maximize her potential for other jobs while still making the same amount from us. Smart thinking, until she started losing contracts because her work was getting sloppy - us included.

Now this may not be a great example, but what it boils down to isn't the time, but the amount of work and how well you do it per page and per project. If you can create a simple enough style to maintain a pace that will result in pages getting done quicker, then you have more opportunity to work on more pages and more projects. This is also like receiving a salaried wage vs. an hourly pay. If you get the job done in less time with quality and consistency, then you benefit as a creator, but it also allows for a compensation of time for more difficult pages.

Just my perspective.

Scribbly
01-26-2017, 12:00 AM
If you can compare your home cleaner with an artist, maybe you should hire your home cleaner for drawing your comics. ;)


An artist is rushing his work today, job gets published and for the next 80 years those pages will stand negatively on the audience's perception regarding such artist. Audiences are always demanding.

Comics artists are like bodybuilders, always striving for perfection. Not all bodybuilders got chance to be movie stars or governors. One in a million would, the rest follows. Actually, bodybuilders goal is to work on improving their bodies anything else is a collateral.
Or as ol' Arnold once said, "Hollywood producers don't pay me the millions they pay just because me and my muscles, but because the money they can make by having me in their movies."(sic)

Brian Bendis did start making his owned indie comics for free. Full script and artwork. And he did it for a long while before jumping into work for big publishers. Nowadays, he is one of the best paid American comics writers. Same for Ed Brubaker and Brian Wood. They made full graphic novels, full script and artwork, that opened the gates of the big publishers and good page rates for them.
The first jobs are always an experiment. And is a process.
If we don't like to be bad paid or get into a lousy deal, we should start thinking on creating and working our own comics projects and ideas first.
If we don't want/can't pay artists well, we should start learning how to draw, is not difficult, it can take a summertime, few month or years regarding our own interest and practicing.
Writers can hire artistic talent overseas. A low budget page rate for America could be an interesting proposal for an artist living overseas.
Don't like to depend on writers who might pay close to nothing and get all credits and intellectual rights? Learn how to write your own scripts, nothing very difficult to do.
Nowadays we have tons of research material online that teach how to draw and writing scripts. Also, software specialized for scriptwriting.

Breaking news! Talking about, I found this hourly rate calculator online:
http://allindiewriters.com/freelance-hourly-rate-calculator/
It didn't work well for me, but you can give it a try.

aaimiller
01-26-2017, 01:16 AM
It's hard to approach this in a per-hour manner. Either the per-hour considerations result in too high an end page rate - especially one where budget is an issue (even with corporate publishers like Marvel and DC), but talent, skill, and degree of work needed for the project all play factors.

Page rates should be used as an incentive for artists to meet production deadlines. Which is to say, an artist SHOULD make a decent hourly wage per page, unless they spend too long working on it. Instead publishers use page rates to convince artists that they shouldn't receive any intellectual property rights, and hide the fact that artist are being severely underpaid for a service that adds massive value for the publisher. Conversely, creator-owned publishers use intellectual property to get artists to work entirely on-spec. The "too high end page rate" is actually an accurate approximation of the value an artist adds to a comic project.

The comics industry is and always has been designed to screw creative contributors. If you ask most people 'who created superman?', they'll say "DC". If you ask most people to name a Marvel artist, they'll say "Stan Lee". I think it speaks volumes about the versatility of the medium and the determination and dedication of the comics artists, that in the face of such an exploitative system they manage to do such extraordinary work.

Steve Colle
01-26-2017, 10:54 AM
If you can compare your home cleaner with an artist, maybe you should hire your home cleaner for drawing your comics. ;)

Heh. Okay, bad comparison of apples to watermelons, but that wasn't the purpose of the analogy.

Here's something I want to show you all:

http://killingjokescript.tumblr.com/post/58531924384/kj008
This is Alan Moore's Page Two (two panels only) script description for The Killing Joke.

http://www.comicsexperience.com/dev/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/BatmanROE1.pdf
This is Andy Diggle's Batman script that I've seen used a few times in the Sequential Art Forum.

Regardless of the names of the creators above, my point is this:

If your writing style dictates that the more information you put into your script results in you getting paid more for the time you put into writing it (per hour vs. per page), is it right for you to earn a higher wage than writers at your same level of skill, notoriety, etc. who use fewer words and thus, less time?

The same applies to art: George Perez and Phil Jimenez have ultra detailed styles, whereas Babs Tarr, Mark Bagley, and Mike Zeck have less detailed work that (may) require less time commitment. Bagley is a machine who can draw multiple comics in a shorter time frame. Should time commitment equal the rate they are paid or ask to be paid?

The same goes towards page detail vs. page simplification:

"Splash page. A solitary man stands in the woods, the leaves on the trees and those fallen on the ground overpowering his senses." This forces the artist to draw the leaves because they are the cause for the man's anxiety. Compare this to "Splash page. A solitary man stands in a white void, the emptiness around him overpowering his senses." How much time dedication is involved in each?

This is why it is harder for time (per hour) to be a determining factor. You could simplify your style of writing or art and still get paid the same amount on a per page basis while creating time and opportunity for more projects as a result.

Let's take this from the perspective of the individual or publisher who will be considering hiring you:

The call out is made for a writer or artist (or other creative role) with a page rate established. You approach them and they like what they see. Then, before you start, you dictate your terms based on the time dedication you will be making (worse, you tell them after the project is already complete). You are dumbfounded by the fact they don't hire you because your conditions of being paid for the time is outside of their budget. They can find another creator who can accomplish the same result while staying in budget. Your loss. On the other hand, you go with the page rate and finish the project in record time. They are impressed because their budget is satisfied and you have satisfied their needs. You get more work as a result (with obvious other conditions of your attitude, ease of working relationship, etc. taken into account).

This is what the industry (and the world at large) is: Money. And the sad truth is your living expenses aren't on the mind of someone who has a strict budget to maintain. In this industry, the only factor you can take into consideration of how you are going to make ends meet is how much work you can actually get. That's why so many creators also work outside of comics.

Here's a point from my own experience as a freelance editor:

I get a request to edit a 24 page script. I ask what is expected from me, either simple proofreading or full-on substantive editing where I'll be asking questions and making suggestions/changes on the whole with the goal of bettering the end product (with the creator's vision being maintained and not becoming my story, as an aside). They tell me it will be substantive, so I know the potential for a lot or a little time will be dedicated to it. I have an average established. It ends up taking me more time than expected to complete the edits due to how many comments and how many words I've chosen to use in making those comments. Is it fair to charge more? In my opinion, no, but I will talk with the writer and suggest that until the work gets to a better place, it wouldn't be worth my time or his/her money to continue.

However, if a publisher wants to hire me (for example and which has been the case), I know I'm going there to do a job that will be paid x dollars for certain duties under which they need to maintain their budget.

In both cases, I have the choice of taking the job or not.

The only time I charge per hour is if I'm teaching, and even that - like public speaking engagements - are dependent on an agreed upon schedule between myself and the client.

I hope this clarifies things.

Scribbly
01-26-2017, 02:09 PM
And who told you that Alan Moore takes more time that Andy Diggle writing out a page?
Or that Mike Zeck or Babs Tarr would spend less time drawing a page than George Perez or Phil Gimenez?
Deadlines are the same long for everybody. Some people can do more stuff in less time and others can do less stuff taking more time. Is about personality and style. The common factor is each of them must deliver the job in strict deadline to get paid.
There is a slight difference between work for somebody than be exploited by somebody.
According international work law an individual worker shouldn't work more that 8 hours per day and should have a minimum hourly wage to compensate his/her working time. Such minimum varies according Countries and States inside countries. Industrialized cities have different cost of life than rural areas.
You can rent a small room in a busy city for the same money you rent a huge luxurious house in a rural area.

Hourly wages is a logical and basic reference for any form of payment. Whichever it is salary, contract, hourly, production or rates.
From inception, page rates were and are initially based in a minimum hourly wage multiplied by the average time an artist could spent working a page. Which is 8 to 10 hours.
Taking the federal minimum hourly wage of $7,25 per 8 hours work it equals $58 page rate.
Mainstream publishers pay low as $75 page rate. Inverse engineering: $75 in 8 hours is a $ 9,37 hourly wage before taxes.
Marvel- DC page rates for artists are starting at $125 page rate. Inverse engineering: in 8 hours is a $ 15,82 hourly wage. No bad.
However, when a $20 page rate could be exploitation for a artist living in Manhattan, New York it could be a good deal for and artist living in Namibia or Bhutan.

aaimiller
01-26-2017, 06:38 PM
my story, as an aside[/I]). They tell me it will be substantive, so I know the potential for a lot or a little time will be dedicated to it. I have an average established. It ends up taking me more time than expected to complete the edits due to how many comments and how many words I've chosen to use in making those comments. Is it fair to charge more? In my opinion, no, but I will talk with the writer and suggest that until the work gets to a better place, it wouldn't be worth my time or his/her money to continue.

However, if a publisher wants to hire me (for example and which has been the case), I know I'm going there to do a job that will be paid x dollars for certain duties under which they need to maintain their budget.


What you are saying is that if you don't think the hourly wage you are paid (not a page rate) won't sufficiently cover the duties you are expected to complete, you won't take the job.

Artists, however a) don't get a decent hourly wage, b)are signing up for a much larger investment of time for any give comics project. If you were given a set amount of money to complete edits on a script, and that set amount of money did not equal the (time)X(money) you currently get from very simple edits, and the publisher expective in-depth substantiative edits, you would not take that job. No one should take that job. That is how most artist and writers these days work. Writer also often have to pay an artist for sample pages to get a project going.

Steven Forbes
01-26-2017, 08:17 PM
Really, I don't know what the discussion is about anymore.

I think Lee said it best (as he often does).

Most creators don't get a decent hourly wage. Not in comics. That's a reality, and it will take a lot to change that reality.

Do you know what would happen if creators made a decent hourly wage in creating comics? Comics would stop being made because buying them would become cost prohibitive. Imagine doubling or tripling the cover price without raising the amount of story pages. Who's going to pay $8-$12 per book, per month, for a 22 page story? No one will be able to afford that, no one will want to buy that because more entertainment value can be had in other ways for the same amount of money.

Why do the books become so expensive? Because in order for creators to keep creating, they have to get money back in from sales. Those sales will dry up as soon as the price goes too high.

So what's happening right now is whining because we (the overwhelming bulk of creators) cannot make a decent living by creating comic books. There's no real changing that. For those that can--kudos. For the rest of us, we're trying to get there.

To answer the question: a newbie writer can charge anything they wish. The real trick is knowing your worth, and without an honest self-assessment of your talent level, knowing what you're worth will be difficult. While getting paid is fun for a writer, your best bet may be to work for free for a bit. Writing comics has a learning curve, and is nowhere as easy as it looks. (Pick up Lee's book. Seriously. You'll be glad you did.) After you've learned some things and gotten your name out there with a body of work behind you, then you might decide to start charging. This way you can show what you're worth.

(I only suggest this for writers. We're going to write, anyway. For other bailiwicks, you may or may not want to work for free to start out. That is your decision.)

Does anyone else have anything useful to add? I've half a mind to let this thread go the way of the dodo.

-Steven

Scribbly
01-26-2017, 09:53 PM
Please, close it Steve. In few weeks or a month somebody would ask for the same thing and we'll start all over again.

Steven Forbes
01-26-2017, 10:10 PM
Wishes and commands, because of truth.