An Open Door Closes Quickly: How to Step into Opportunity Before It Disappears Forever – PART 2

Do you have the talent, as well as the inner resources and drive to enter the big leagues?

There are several comics creators who have done so, and who epitomise the idea of taking action. As a consequence they have been rewarded by getting publishing gigs, building up their body of work, gaining credibility in the publishing scene, as well as gaining high sales and a strong fan base.

Cartoonist and illustrator Jules Faber is one such person. In 2011 Scholastic Australia contracted him to illustrate Wierdo (with author Anh Do), which immediately won the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Book of the Year, and was a massive hit with kids. It became the first in a popular ongoing series that is about to see its eighth book released with no signs of slowing yet. His creativity and discipline paid off. He has since secured contracts with five more of the seven big Australian publishers—Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette, Harper Collins and Pan Macmillan.

Jules offers 5 tips for embracing opportunity:

  1. Set your intention – if your goal is to be a full time comics creator, writer or illustrator then you need to act professionally in alignment with your ambition.
  2. Say “Yes” to legitimate offers* – If you don’t want to do much work then you’re not going to get the corresponding offers. Be adaptable and fluid. If you want to work full time in an industry that you love then you have to be disciplined about it. In other words—Make hay while the sun shines.
  3. Act quickly – We live in the Internet age of instant gratification, and publishers are no different—they want things quickly and that’s because they are juggling a variety of jobs and managing several projects with detailed production processes all at the one time. Respond to emails and phone calls immediately. You don’t have the luxury of time if you want the luxury of people offering you jobs.
  4. Be reliable – Avoid making promises you can’t keep, as this is tantamount to career suicide. Meet your deadlines—publishers don’t want the hassle of chasing you. If you need to work 10 to 14 hour days to get the job done then do so. If you don’t then it won’t take long for negative stories to get around and your reputation will be damaged and you will be deemed unprofessional and untrustworthy.
  5. Create your own opportunities – In the publishing industry, people are constantly coming and going all the time. Work can be infrequent and sporadic and so it is important to keep the work momentum going. It is important to seize opportunities when they land on your doorstep, but also to actively seek them out. You can do that by regularly staying in touch with your publishing colleagues. Keep your face in front of them by catching up with them regularly. This way when something does come up then you are on their minds. Also, be proactive about initiating projects and pitching your own ideas. This provides a great excuse to go into the office. Whether or not they are interested in your proposal is irrelevant… you are showing your enthusiasm, motivation and initiative, which are positive traits.

By staying true to those 5 tips Jules was able to work full time in an occupation that he loves, build up his backlist, and illustrate and deliver eight children’s books last year alone. In the four years since delivering his first major book, he has now illustrated 23 books in his signature cartoon style with offers constantly rolling in.

Remember, opportunity waits for no one and doors close quickly. If you are not going to take it then somebody else will.


* “Legitimate” meaning a credible publisher, producer, comics creator or industry person who can offer you a contract to work on a project that will bring you an income or some kind of other value benefit. It does not mean somebody who offers you “exposure” or has shonky business practices.


© Julie Ditrich, 2017

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