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Old 05-20-2007, 08:42 AM   #1
cyxodus
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Lettering Services & Fees

Over the years we've sort of talked about what a letterer should charge but haven't gone into great detail about it. Let's fix that by coming up with a list of services for a letterer and how much they should charge for both indy and pro books. Also, let's include a fee guide for novices.
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Old 05-20-2007, 09:18 AM   #2
Jason Arthur
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When I started out it wasn't uncommon for me to do a free job on the promise of backend pay (Mythbusters should do an episode about backend pay).

Then, when that started to suck (after the first job), I started charging 5 to 10 dollars a page. I did a lot of indy stuff for a lot of different people and it really helped me to learn the basics of computer lettering (I had hand lettered comics before that).

I then designed a website to showcase the best pages of lettering I had done ( http://www.jasonarthur.com/lettering.html it needs to be updated now...). Always making sure to have permission from the copyright owners of each project. I listed my website in my "signature" on each forum I visited and responded to every lettering help wanted ad that I saw.

As my craft got better I decided to increase my fees. Now I do both lettering and pre-press combined for $20.00 a page.

Occasionally I'll take a paycut for a project that I think has potential or if I really need the job at that moment.

If I have to crop and resize pages for a publisher before I letter them then I typically ask for a flat $100.00 setup fee (for a standard 24-ish page book).

-- J
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonArthur
When I started out it wasn't uncommon for me to do a free job on the promise of backend pay (Mythbusters should do an episode about backend pay).

Then, when that started to suck (after the first job), I started charging 5 to 10 dollars a page. I did a lot of indy stuff for a lot of different people and it really helped me to learn the basics of computer lettering (I had hand lettered comics before that).

I then designed a website to showcase the best pages of lettering I had done ( http://www.jasonarthur.com/lettering.html it needs to be updated now...). Always making sure to have permission from the copyright owners of each project. I listed my website in my "signature" on each forum I visited and responded to every lettering help wanted ad that I saw.

As my craft got better I decided to increase my fees. Now I do both lettering and pre-press combined for $20.00 a page.

Occasionally I'll take a paycut for a project that I think has potential or if I really need the job at that moment.

If I have to crop and resize pages for a publisher before I letter them then I typically ask for a flat $100.00 setup fee (for a standard 24-ish page book).

-- J
Uh-oh
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Old 05-24-2007, 01:07 PM   #4
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Uh-oh? Heck, he's moderate...and almost as good as me (GRIN!).
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:32 PM   #5
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Jason and Kep are pro letterers. Jason has been published by Devil's Due, and Kep by Image and Dark Horse (sorry if I left anything out guys). Their fees are understandable. When you first start out it is a good idea to start charging a low fee like Jason did, that will get you more experience. Then you can start charging higher prices, like them.

But always get a contract, otherwise people may promise and promise they will pay you, just finish the book. And then you get screwed.
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raya
Jason and Kep are pro letterers. Jason has been published by Devil's Due, and Kep by Image and Dark Horse (sorry if I left anything out guys).
Only a couple Dozen companies...chuckle. Actually, I think Jason and I have a very similar resume...sort of like buying the same pair of pants, but not as creepy as seeing your sister wearing them in school, ya know?
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Old 05-24-2007, 06:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kep!
Only a couple Dozen companies...chuckle. Actually, I think Jason and I have a very similar resume...sort of like buying the same pair of pants, but not as creepy as seeing your sister wearing them in school, ya know?
Yeah, Dark Horse, Image, Top Cow, etc...

Wait, did you just say that I wear your sister?



-- J
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonArthur
Yeah, Dark Horse, Image, Top Cow, etc...

Wait, did you just say that I wear your sister?



-- J
If you knew my sister that idea would terrify you.
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Old 05-25-2007, 07:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kep!
Uh-oh? Heck, he's moderate...and almost as good as me (GRIN!).
Oh, I know, and I totally agree. But unfortunately my budget is moderate too.

Good thing I'm learning so much from you guys.
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Old 05-25-2007, 07:29 PM   #10
Jason Arthur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fablewood
Oh, I know, and I totally agree. But unfortunately my budget is moderate too.

Good thing I'm learning so much from you guys.
you know I'll lower my fees for you brother.

-- J
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Old 05-25-2007, 10:08 PM   #11
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I started out doing free work, too... and that eventually led to paying work. Not that I'm as prolific as the guys on this board, I did manage to do this full time for the past 2 years. I don't know if that counts as "a pro" or not, but I'll chime in with my two bits. (If anyone cares).

Decent paying jobs are few and far between nowadays. Most people know that there are guys that will do the job for $5 a page, so it's not always easy to convince them to pay you $20 a page for (what they think is) the same thing. Just make sure you can sell yourself well, and you'll get the rate you're asking for. That's why Jason and Kep can get the higher paying gigs... not only do they do the job well, but they know how to pimp.

Rates aren't the most important thing in the world, though.. if you can get one guy that throws you a ton of work for $10 a page, and doesn't give you a bunch of shit, that's a LOT better than the one dude that throws you a book every once in a while for $20 a page and expects you to be on call 24/7 for his "thoughts" on your balloon placement. It's hard to judge who's going to be the good employers and who's not... but if you find a good one, stay loyal, and don't dump him for the first person who's offering a higher rate.

Also, like raya said, get something in writing. If you can't sign a contract, get it in detail in an email from your employer. Write it all out and say "Is this okay?" When they write back "Sure that looks good", at least you'll have something to back you up when they try to screw you.

And they WILL try to screw you.
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Old 05-27-2007, 04:59 PM   #12
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I letter Zombie Highway for free.

It's for Jason Pell, who lives near me. We started out trying to put out comics in our younger days and we've gone down different creative paths (he's a writer who wanted to be an artist and I'm a letterer who wanted to be a writer).

But I'd work for free for him anytime. Great guy and Zombie Highway is a fun book.

-- J
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Old 05-27-2007, 07:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonArthur
you know I'll lower my fees for you brother.

-- J
And God knows I love ya for it!

Heck, I'll even let you wear my sister too.
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Old 05-27-2007, 07:34 PM   #14
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Now THAT is an offer you can't pass up!
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Old 05-27-2007, 10:16 PM   #15
Jason Arthur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fablewood
And God knows I love ya for it!

Heck, I'll even let you wear my sister too.
Already did...hehehe

-- J
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