SourcebooksDirectory of Illustration
Directory of Illustration
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 21:25:30 EST
Subject: Re: illustration: Serbin yea or nay...
OK, I'm going to jump in to this conversation. Have to say that Serbin's DIR came out in Nov. I have received jobs now from 3 major publishers (just got one today!). So I can't complain. Not as many children's book artists. I think I stand out better. But I am also hem-hawing and wondering if I should go into Showcase since I have never tried it.
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 19:57:09 EST
Graphic Artists Guild Directory page paying off nicely I'm happy to say. I only meant that I've had several very nice days with the phone ringing lots. Several new assignments and a possible picture book. A number of these calls were the results of the Directory ad. I'm pretty good when the Directory first comes out about asking where people have seen my work. Later on I sort of forget about it so I don't have really accurate records of how much it brings in. I do know it's worth it.
I don't know about Picturebook because I haven't tried it, but Directory of Illustration (the only one I've tried) was very successful for me. I believe the difference between a sourcebook and sending out your own literature is not in the sending. It is in the keeping! Just recently, I have 3 calls from publishers who were desperate to get their book lines complete. It was easy for them to grab the DIR and see what was available. They can reach for it all year. They knew that whomever paid to advertise was, most likely, a professional and/or serious about their profession.
When you send out (which I do also), the jobs you usually get are from an editor that is thinking of a certain project and your work happens to hit his desk just at the right time. Or you have sent subsequent mailings making sure they keep you name and work in their mind.
Both are important. Now specifically about Picturebook, I'm interested in advertising in it. However, I don't like to spend my hard earned money without knowing as much as possible. Of those that have tried it before, how many have received work from it? It isn't as known as the other sourcebooks because it is so new.
Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post,
the directory lets you put up to 5 images on them for no extra charge was the selling point for me.
Date: Sun, 6 Dec 1998 12:35:44 -0500 (EST)
From: Virginia Ferguson
Subject: Re: illustration: sourcebooks
I actually did put down $275 for the Directory of Illustration last month. The main reason was that the woman who called me, Beth Pierson, obviously took notes when we spoke last year and was able to remind me of all the reasons I said I would do it this year. She even remembered what I told her about the type of artwork I do. I was impressed and flattered.
On the practical side, I know two illustrators who swear by the Serbin book and both of them said they've gotten work for several years after their pages were published. Another guy said he doesn't think he got any work from the directory itself (he's not sure) but he thinks the free tearsheets are worth the price; he rarely bothers with postcards any more. He's got a wide selection from various sourcebooks and when he runs low on any of them he gets color copies made.
Unfortunately it will be at least two years before I can answer the question from personal experience. But I guess that's a good reason to do it now instead of later.
Katie Atkinson & David Hohn were in Picturebook
In a personal call to Renee Daily she told me she didn't get anything from her Showcase ad and was dropping it for Picturebook.
In an SCBWI bulletin a well-known A.D. (I forget who) said they saw a good future for Picturebook and suggested they stopped giving free ads to big name illustrators and let the rest of the talent carry the book.
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 11:00:26 -0700
From: Cristina Acosta
Subject: illustration: picturebook
I advertised in Picture Book. I have found it very valuable.
Well, Annette the non-emailing partner of mine, got a freebie in the book. She got a couple of calls, nothing came of it. However, the big books can be like that, sometimes. One year, you get calls out the wazoo from Showcase, the next nothing.
I put a page into Picturebook and got a couple of good jobs from it within two weeks. Haven't heard anything lately. I'm skipping 99 but am putting one in for 00.
Ah, yes... but Diana has real talent!
I on the other hand, have a sorrier tale to tell... (Diana is an old buddy of mine and has already heard this tale)
I had two pages in the original Picturebook as part of my rep's showing... and received only two calls in nearly two years... neither of which resulted in any work.
The first call came on the day I was leaving on vacation... the other was just for samples and never amounted to anything. At the time, I thought that these were pretty good samples... showing a variety of children in contemporary settings, etc. (I suppose even to this day that I may well be laboring under a huge delusion that I actually have any talent.) But it's sort of like going out to dinner with shaving cream sticking out of one's ears... and nobody tells you.
Oh well, I admit defeat... thankfully there are still art directors out there who haven't realized my huge talent deficit yet, and have kept me gainfully employed.
Still, this promotion stuff drives me crazy! I mean it's the closest an illustrator ever comes to stage fright.... what to show, what to show, what to show? It's hard to try and pick out one universal image that will appeal to everyone.
Picturebook is the only directory targeted to producers of books, greeting cards, electronic media, games, animation houses, music, and advertising agencies for children. It allows you to show your work to 7,000 buyers of children's art. Registration includes 1,000 reprints of your page for mailers as well as a copy of Picturebook.
Early bird registration-January 8, 1999
Regular registration-March 1, 1999
Final registration-May 7, 1999
For more information: (888) 490-0100
Annette went into both Showcase and Workbook this year. As things wear on, I'll let everyone know how that works for her. Our rep sees Showcase as being more National / East Coast and Workbook as more National / West Coast, but I've had two Showcase calls and both were west coast, LA and Seattle. Go figure.
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 98 21:36:31 -0500
From: Mark Cable
Subject: Re: illustration: Sourcebooks
"If you illustrated for children and could only advertise in one sourcebook, would you choose American Showcase or Picture Book Sourcebook and why?"
Annette, the non-emailing children's book illustrator, says Showcase. She was in both last year, got lots & lots of work from Showcase, none from Picture Book. The few calls she did get from PB were smaller jobs from small publishers. Showcase jobs were consistently larger and from bigger publishers.
Yeah, I'm there. Page 605, Volume 21. It's about $3000, and everybody has different experiences as to whether it pays. I paid for my page 3 weeks after the book came out. My total gross from Showcase this year is about $20,000 so far. I have had years where I barely made back my investment.
"Did you do Showcase again for 1999?"
No. Too much money and I got very little response from the first ad.
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 08:55:51 EST
Subject: illustration: Hey Mark, re: Showcase
Got a call from my Showcase rep day before yesterday -- Jo Ann Miller (very nice gal). You had just posted the good news about having your ad pay for itself in the first two weeks the books were out. I mentioned that to her (I'm sure sales reps always like to hear good news like that!) and she knew who you and Annette were.
Anyway, everyone, the POINT is, I've pretty well made up my mind to go for Showcase 22. I've got to kiss off my early reservation deposit for the Serbin book because I can't afford to do both this year (just did a computer upgrade, ouch). As much as I've enjoyed the Serbin folks (they really are helpful), the Dir of Illus hasn't brought the kind of response I expected over the past two years. I get a great response when I send the tear sheets through my direct mail promotions. What that tells me is that the art is good, but the art buyers aren't picking up the Directory of Illus to look for artists. At least the art buyers I'm looking for aren't. Perhaps they're suffering from sensory overload, having thumbed through Showcase first, or, when reaching for the next illustration directory, a volume of Showcase fell on their foot and they had to rush to the emergency room [g].
Good luck! Sounds like you're making the right decision. If you get a good reaction from the tear sheets, but not from the book, I'd say you might be in the wrong book.
I'd like to share my experience about the WORKBOOK which has been beyond my expectations. $2800 for the page and so far I've had at least 20 responses and 4 actual jobs totalling over $10,000 and two are pending right now. I advertised in Showcase for next year just to compare the two. If you book by their 12/15 deadline the page will be $2400 so you save a little.
Like I said earlier, it seems that WORKBOOK generates a lot of westcoast traffic and Showcase is based out of NYC. I agree with cksargent that the quality of art is not as professional in the Directory of Illustration.(snip)
Have you all seen the Workbook site? I just found it and haven't gotten into a lot of it yet, but it looks interesting. They have a web magazine for art directors called Line. There is another good-looking contest calendar there. It is at http://www.workbook.com/line/calendar.html .
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 98 18:57:26 -0500
From: Mark Cable
Subject: illustration: quotes & sourcebooks
"Wouldn't it be nice if we all had budgets to test these sourcebooks? Run the exact same ad in 2 or 3 the same year and tally the responses?"
Really! You know, I'm always glad to offer my experience in these things to people, but I know that there are so many factors that go into these things, that there is no "Best" book for everybody. The design of your ad, its placement, the content of your ad vs. the market of the book all seem to have as much to do with your success as anything else. Please keep that in mind when choosing a book!
RSVP: The Directory of Illustration and Design
P.O. Box 050314
Brooklyn, NY 11205
"Nancy, could you give us what you think is the best directory for different illustration types as far as you can tell? Like which one is best for corporate, which for childrens, and so on? I am really confused, I think, really a lot of information."
Ack! I only wish I could! It would certainly make life easier for me. There are simply too many variables to consider. I think Mark mentioned some of them which include: the art you select for your page, the color temperature of your page, the health of the economy, where your page sits in a book, etc. You'll get varying opinions on all subjects, from advertisers and sales reps. Here are a few things I've heard over the years:
RSVP is good for editorial work, particularly with East Coast art buyers
RSVP is hard to find
Workbook is the place to be for adverting and corporate illustrators
Workbook is the first directory art buyers pick up
Workbook is strongest in the West Coast Market
Showcase is the place to be for just about any kind of illustrator
Showcase (either volume) will do serious damage to your foot if it falls on it
Showcase is the first directory art buyers pick up
Directory of Illustration has steadily gained on Showcase and Workbook
Directory of Illustration is a "beginner" book
Directory of Illustration is closing in on the other directories weight wise
Directory of Illustration gets you lower-paying jobs
The Black Book has an audience mainly on the West Coast
The Black Book is dying!
The Black Book is stronger than ever!
Picturebook, anybody's guess, is still trying to prove itself
I'm sure some of you can add to the list. I've found a lot of conflicting views on which is best for what, as well as a variety of levels of advertiser satisfaction during the production process with the different books. I've found the Directory of Illustration people extremely helpful and quick to take care of any problems. I'd love to be able to put the same art in all the books and document responses for a full year. Wouldn't we all!
I've done my share of directory advertising, and so thought I'd thrown my 2 pennies in the pot here -- Over the years, I've advertised in RSVP (more often there than anywhere else), American Showcase, and the Guild's Directory of Illustration. Overall, I got my best performance, hands-down, from RSVP-- those ads always paid for themselves, and some did so MANY times over. I still get calls from pages I did in the **80's**, believe it or not-- and the color spread I did in the 1988 book was what hooked me up with the book packager I've worked with for 10 years (and co-authored 12 books with!). It also happens to be the cheapest book to advertise in-- it's very easy to use (paperback, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" trim, limited to about 300 pages so it never weighs 800 lbs!) and I think ADs in the children's market are more prone to use that particular directory than any of the others. Showcase is best if you want to start to do a lot of advertising & corporate work, but- of the three I've advertised in myself-- RSVP is the best fit for what most of us on this list do, IMO.
Picturebook is another possibility, but I don't know them personally; they also haven't been around as long as the others have.
I had very little success with Showcase (where I did full pages on my own two years in a row, and a couple of quarter pages with my rep-- very few calls, let alone jobs, trace back to those ads.). The Guild Directory of Illustration was a complete bust for me-- NO calls, not even one! (I'm in Book 11, if you have a copy.) The problem with that may have been the design of the page, which I thought was poor [and no one to blame but myself for that] & didn't really show off my work to best advantage. HOWEVER---to not get even ONE portfolio call bespeaks a rather larger problem-- also, the caliber of the work in the directory, IMO, isn't as high or as consistently professional as it should be. It's quite expensive, for what you get-- and neither my rep nor I am interested in ever buying into the directory again. I'd consider Showcase again, but do my page differently than I have in the past -- the real problem w/Showcase is how unwieldy it is --very easy for delicate flowers like myself to get VERY lost amidst the glitz & clutter!
Overall, I'd have to say if I were thinking of doing a directory ad, and money weren't an issue, I'd try Showcase again, just for the hell of it. Best circulation, best reproduction, and the directory's reps work hard to satisfy the artists. If money was a serious consideration, I'd go with RSVP, because I think you get your best bang for the buck with them.
That said-- there are other things to consider w/a directory ad-- for one thing, it's a mistake to think you can advertise one year & let it go the next. If you're going to spend the money on a directory ad, it's best to plan to do it for 2-3 years in a row, minimum, so ADs get used to seeing you there. So there's that to consider, too-- plus you still need to keep up with the mailings, to remind people to look at your directory page. PROMO NEVER ENDS... it just gets more expensive!
For myself, I stopped doing directory pages a couple of years ago, because they weren't bringing in new work. I've had MUCH better success with very small, very highly targeted mailings (25-50 pieces, hand addressed, personal cover letters, etc.). Those never fail to pay for themselves, and often do so in multiples. If your advertising/promo budget is as limited as mine is, then IMO, this would be the best way to go.
Just my pennies for the pot..
Peace & joy,
Keep in mind that the source book experience really does differ from artist to artist, & from year to year. What works for me or you this year may not next year--or, a directory can bring in a ton of new work this year and flatline next year, or vice versa. RSVP was always good for me-- but one of my friends, who also works in a decorative style, has *never* gotten any work from her pages in RSVP or Showcase-- she's trying Alternative Pick next year (check them out at http://www.altpick.com -- at least I *think* that's the URL--)-- I'll keep you posted on that, too.
It should be said that one of the GREAT advantages to both Showcase & the GAG Directory are the promo pages that come as part of the deal. The printing quality is always very good, and they use a nice coated paper. With RSVP, promo sheets are an extra charge, but they are printed on card stock, also beautifully reproduced. All the directories offer discounts for Guild members, early payers, early deliverers, etc., and it can amount to a hefty discount on the overall price.
Many of the source books will send you a complimentary copy if you call the rep & say you are thinking of advertising next year. Alternative Pick is a notable exception to this policy-- they will ask you to pay for a copy of their book ($64 last time I looked).
Another thing to look at is directories for specialized markets, such as medical illustration & jewelry design, or local talent directories (I know that Texas has one, Twin Cities in MN, of course the LA Workbook, which is practically a national directory now). Serbin (the Guild directory reps) publishes a host of specialized directories for different markets. For local talent directories, check the Art Directors' club or AIGA or Guild chapter in your city (or the nearest big city) and see if there's one being done near you. These are usually cheaper to advertise in, but keep in mind that the level of professional competence in the artwork in some of these local directories *can* be alarmingly uneven-- check out the book before you buy space in it!
Directories will not solve all your promo problems-- they are just another tool to use. If you are set on doing it-- and I would never discourage ANYONE from self-promotion-- just make sure you can commit to it for a couple of years in a row, and don't forget to send out promos by mail-- not just the repros of the page you buy, but new images, even if they're just xeroxes of new work. Consistency & persistence are what win the day, and it's not always necessary to break the bank to achieve good results.
Peace & joy,
I did some research lately with 3 different publishers I work with. I thought I would get the info. from the horses mouth. So, I called up the editors/art directors of Random House, Bethany House and Modern Curriculum (ed. div. of Simon & Shuster). I asked them what source books, if any, do they use? Well, all 3 did use them. In fact, they have them sitting on their desks! They looked at all of them namely Showcase, DIR and PictureBook. Plus, some use Blackbook for more advertising type work.
Hope this helps!
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