Terri Appreciation Week: Hufflepuffs, They Get The Job Done

by Ariela

Happy Passover to all of you celebrating out there!

The last full week of April, that would be this week, is Administrative Professionals Week in the United States of America. ‘Round hereabouts, that means it’s Terri Appreciation Week.

It’s very easy to see what I do—I put pen to paper and make pretty art—but it’s much harder to see what Terri does.

Hufflepuffs, they get the job done. Chibi Terri smirks with her arms crossed, wearing a Hufflepuff House scarf and says “Darn right we do.”

Hufflepuffs, they get the job done.
Chibi Terri smirks with her arms crossed, wearing a Hufflepuff House scarf and says “Darn right we do.”

Terri is a Hufflepuff. She is hardworking and extremely loyal. (She is also an American badger, so don’t effing mess with her or her loved ones. She will defend her own with sharp teeth and claws. Seriously, why do Brits think of badgers as cute and bucolic? They’re scary.)

A short, non-comprehensive list of things that Terri does around here:

  • Looks for art shows for us to send our art to

  • Investigates other venues for selling our art (mostly our Judaica)

  • Fills out paperwork (So. Much. Paperwork.)

  • Itemizes every single, solitary expense the business had

  • Writes most of our product release blog posts

  • Handles most of our product release social media

  • Comes up with ideas for art

  • Blogs

  • Manages the business schedule

  • Monitors my workload and keeps me from overcommitting and burning myself out

  • Deals with customer inquiries

  • Deals with wholesale inquiries

Terri is more than just a “manager.” She’s an agent, an editor, a manager, and an assistant all rolled into one. Geek Calligraphy is not my business, it’s ours. We founded it together. She’s my business partner. And before she was any of that, she was—and continues to be—my best friend.

There are very few awards for administrative professionals, in part because what they do is very rarely visible to anyone outside their respective businesses. (Also in part because we live in a society that devalues support work, whether administrative or emotional, but we’re here to celebrate Terri, not protest the sexism and Capitalist values in our social order.) Part of the way that we change that is by publicly talking about what they do.

Terri is awesome, her work is valuable, and she deserves to have more than a week celebrating her accomplishments.

Chibi Terri holds out her Hufflepuff scarf and muses, “*sigh* These are really not my colors.”

Chibi Terri holds out her Hufflepuff scarf and muses, “*sigh* These are really not my colors.”


Chibi Terri holds a sign saying “Will Wrangle on a Contract Basis.”

Chibi Terri holds a sign saying “Will Wrangle on a Contract Basis.”

Does what Terri does for Geek Calligraphy sound helpful? Do you wish you had someone to do some of that for you? You can!

Terri also takes clients on a freelance basis.

Some things Terri can do for you:

  • Invoicing

  • Yelling at People Who Need Yelling At

  • General Unsticking

  • Social Media Plan

Visit her website: ArtistWrangling.com

We Used Up All Our Sick Days...

A large blue plush version of the rhinovirus, accompanied by a blue tinted microscopic image of same. Image courtesy of  ThinkGeek , where you can buy this cutie.

A large blue plush version of the rhinovirus, accompanied by a blue tinted microscopic image of same. Image courtesy of ThinkGeek, where you can buy this cutie.

by Terri

...so we're calling in dead. Both Ariela and I are getting over various forms of rhinovirus, and Monster* decided to celebrate Daddy coming back from California by running a nasty fever. So neither of us has the brainpower to be clever at our wonderful public. We'll be back next week to talk about the importance of employing** sensitivity readers.

 

 

*My 3.5 year old daughter, whom I do not publicly name on the internet

**Employing being the operative word

More Advice for Artists: On Contracts

Including Sample contracts for Ketubot and Teaching Workshops

by Ariela

In addition to the "Judaism's Influence on SFF" panel, I also sat on a panel on "Consulting & Contracting: How To Make (For) Money." We covered a lot of practical advice, ranging from answering specific questions from the audience to general advice (Find a nice person to do your taxes for you, they are worth every penny!).

This is what a sample of the first page of Ariela's boilerplate contract looks like.

This is what a sample of the first page of Ariela's boilerplate contract looks like.

One of the "brass tacks" sections that I insisted we cover was the basic parts of a contract. For me, they are:

  • Deliverables - make sure everyone understands what is being promised and what is not within the scope of the project.
  • Timeline, Breakdown, and Deadlines - make sure everyone knows what has to happen first and that deadlines work both ways; you cannot deliver the product on time if you don't get the necessary answers and pieces on time.
  • Copyrights, etc. - lay out who holds the rights to what once the project is done.
  • Payment - set the payment schedule and the projected cost, with a caveat that changes to the scope of the project along the way will change the price, probably increasing; include late fees if possible.
  • Provision for changes - lay out the process by which a party can request changes to the deliverables or contract, plus cost renegotiation.
  • Escape Clause - how can the contract be canceled?

We also talked about finding contract templates online. There are lots of them available. The Graphic Artists' Guild has some good examples. However, I mentioned that since my commission work - ketubot (Jewish marriage documents) - is so niche, none of the samples I found really covered the particulars I needed. At which point the other panelists turned to me and asked "Have you put a sample online for other artists?" And I went, "Oh, yeah, that would be a good thing to do."

So here: Sample Contract for Ketubah Art and Calligraphy

Please feel free to download it and alter it to suit your needs. It is not watermarked and does not have the Geek Calligraphy logo on it, and you should feel free to remove the attribution at the end when you adapt it for yourself. I want this to be as widely available as possible.

You may notice that it is long. Many sample art contracts are just one page. This one covers a lot of specifics to the ketubah trade, and there are many fiddly details to be worked out when the contract is to produce another contract.

While I am at it, I also want to make available my other mainstay contract, the one for teaching engagements. I mostly teach in my safrut (Jewish ritual scribing) hat, but I am available for teaching regular Hebrew or English calligraphy as well. And I won't teach without a contract.

Sample Contract for Teaching Engagement

This one is a lot more generic, and there are plenty of other sample contracts for teaching isolated gigs out there. Find one that covers your particulars.

Some Words of Warning

Now remember kids! Don't ever work without a contract unless you are willing to be stiffed completely for the project.

Unfortunately, even having a contract is not a guarantee of getting paid. Sometimes just getting a lawyer to write a threatening letter on official stationery is enough to inspire a client to pay. But then there are times you have to make a decision about whether it is worth contacting a collections agency or taking the client to small claims court to get paid or just needing to eat the loss. But if you don't have a contract, the chances of not getting paid are much, much higher. I know this from experience. And if anyone balks at signing a contract run away fast.

This goes just as much for work you do for friends and family as it does for work you do for strangers. Many friends are lovely and respectful about it, but others turn out to be nightmare clients. Spend some time on Clients from Hell and you will see complaints about people whom you thought were close to you expecting hours of free labor by dint of relationship. Your work is valuable and people do not have a right to impose on you just because they are friends or family.

While we're talking about the worth of your work, a topic on which I have expressed strong feelings in the past, let's talk for a moment about pricing. I won't go into specifics because I can't even begin to create a price chart for my own work, nevermind for someone else's, given the number of potential variables. But don't think that just because you are new to professional art-ing that you shouldn't get paid. Particularly please do not think that you are doing other, more experienced artists a disservice by charging. When you charge too little, you a) set up expectation that your prices will be too low in the future, and b) you cut the market out from underneath everyone. So for the love of whatever higher power you embrace, please charge what your time is worth and get a contract signed.