How We Work With Authors and Illustrators

At O’Brien Press, our relationship with artists is at the heart of everything we do. For nearly fifty years, we have been recognised as one of Ireland’s most reputable publishers, and many of our authors have spent their writing careers with us. We understand the importance of the relationship between an author or illustrator and their editor or book designer, and of providing them with the best of everything from editing, design and production to publicity and marketing, distribution and rights sub-licensing to reliable and timely accounting. We ensure that artists’ copyright is respected, in terms of both moral and economic rights.

O’Brien Press is in receipt of funding from The Arts Council of Ireland towards our children’s publishing programme and follows its Paying the Artist policy of fair remuneration for artists and freelancers underpinned by open, fair and transparent dialogue. We offer our authors varying levels of advances and royalties depending on a range of different factors including the type of book (e.g. a full colour picture book or an historical biography), the profile of the author and expected publicity, and projected sales. Illustrator payments depend on the proportion of a book comprised of artwork and the scope of that artwork. We aspire to best practice in this area, not just minimum standards. We ensure that payments differentiate between advances, fees and expenses, and aim to comply with contractual terms and standards recommended by representative and resource organisations. Artists’ fees are ring-fenced within project budgets to protect them against budget overruns in other areas.

We are a member of Publishing Ireland and follow its code of practice on contracts, which must be ‘clear, unambiguous and comprehensive and must be honoured in both the letter and the spirit’. We deal both directly with artists and through agents. Our contracts include detail of what an author or illustrator is expected and required to deliver and proposed deadlines for delivery, as well as clauses on copyright protection, advance and royalty payments, sub-licensing rights (including translation rights) and the split in any revenue generated from this, annual statements, termination and reversion of rights, and arbitration. We aim for clarity on all sides at contract stage about what any given project will entail and the timeline we hope to achieve.

We welcome feedback on all aspects of our dealings with artists as well as suggestions as to how it might be improved.