Once a month something like this pops up in my email —
From: Joe Blow, Comix Sexpert
To: your inbox.
I deeply apologize for this mass email. You are my favorite cartoonist ever. I am starting an exciting new comics anthology/magazine. It will include my own work craftily…
instead of being a huge dick about it and posting it online for the world to see, why don’t you
a) ignore it
b) respond no
c) appreciate that people in the world appreciate you
d) FUCKING DELETE THIS POST
e) are you a brat? can men be brats?
i’m embarrassed that people actually resent their fans publicly
Hey Lizz! So I can’t speak for Dash, but since I was one of the people who reblogged his original post, I thought your comment on it was worth responding to.
My issue isn’t invitations to projects I’m not interested in. Obviously, as a deeply insecure cartoonist, I want nothing more than to feel wanted every single hour of the day, and to be invited to contribute to EVERYTHING. I think I end up contributing to more anthologies than most - partially because I have a problem saying “no” to people - and I’m grateful for the opportunities to. I’m thankful anyone would want to give me the space to print my work at all.
But I felt like Dash was referring to a certain type of invitation that I’ve personally been seeing more of lately - mass, impersonal e-mails, being sent out to 70 different artists with no regard as to how any of them will actually read together in a finished book - messages that don’t read like an editor has given any thought to the actual content of the book, but is just trolling around to fill up pages.
Additionally, they’re often projects whose scheduling and deadlines clearly show they were slapped together without any consideration to the contributing artists’ time. Over the past month, I’ve been invited to around five or six zines, books or art shows that have all required me to finish the work in a month or less. None of them pay, of course. They’re projects that only exist for the sake of existing - because the editor realized he or she was a month away from TCAF and felt like putting something new out, or whatever. Any editor, curator, or publisher who has that little regard for the time and effort artists put into their work obviously doesn’t actually give a shit about those artists.
As someone who has been on both sides of the “Hey, contribute to my thing” e-mail - for both paid and unpaid projects - I think there is a way to go about asking that is respectful, polite, thoughtful and gracious, and I think more often than not, the solicitations I’ve been getting lately haven’t been any of those. And I don’t think it’s just me, since it’s a trend a lot of my friends have been complaining about as well.
Anyway, I thought Dash’s post was really funny and concise, and my post here isn’t either of those things, but I guess I wrote it anyway.