Page rates (the amount an artist gets paid for each comic book page they create for a publisher) are not uniform across the industry. Factors including experience, skill, professional reputation, established fan base, and relationship to the publisher all play a role in determining what a creator might get paid (See How Much Do You Get Paid Per Page). But if one aspect of the comics industry contributes to the lack of clarity in page rates, it's the implicit or explicit lack of discussion among freelancers.
This situation isn't unique to comics. According to Adina Solomon of the Columbia Business Review, companies across the board are trying to prevent freelancers who work for them from disclosing what they get paid. This creates an advantage for the publishers , but it is dangerous for freelancers who lack the information to negotiate their deals in a thoughtful manner.
"If there are legal restrictions placed over being able to freely share pay information, particularly in the absence of having a union or another entity that can represent you, freelancers are really left on their own. That’s really a hard place to be when you’re trying to figure out how to negotiate, what gigs to take, which ones you need to pass up because they’re not going to be worth your while.”
- Caitlin Pierce, director of the Freelancers Union
It also opens up the possibility of discriminatory factors like gender, race, and religion to impact page rates.
So what are your opinions about discussing page rates? Are the your trade secrets as a publisher or is it in your long term best interests to disclose them? Let us know in the comments section and if you want to read more about the business and legal aspects of independent comic book publishing,sign up for my free monthly newsletter today.
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