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Virtual Event

Brush Up! #3 – What’s the Deal? Contracts, Negotiation and Publishing Models

21 April @ 20:00 - 21:00 BST

Virtual Event

How can you get the best deal for your comic book or graphic novel? What types of publishing models exist for comics creators, and which one is right for you?

Learn more about what to expect in your contract, what types of publishing models exist and how to negotiate better to empower yourself as a creator. Four panellists will come together to discuss all this and more, including Derek Brazell (Association of Illustrators), Emma Hayley (SelfMadeHero) and Elizabeth Haylett Clark (SoA advisor), chaired by comics creator and editor Olivia Hicks.

The session will be aimed at comics creators but open to all types of writers and illustrators.

This is the third of six sessions in the Brush Up! event series in association with The Cartoon Museum and the SoA Comics Creators Network.

Header image © Woodrow Phoenix

Send your questions in advance

If you would like to send questions in advance, email [email protected] with ‘Comics event – 21 April’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and try to answer as many as we can from the audience on the day.

What will this session cover?

  • Finding a publisher and getting commissioned
  • What kind of deal are you getting? Self-publishing, traditional publishing, contributory publishing and crowdfunding
  • Negotiation and empowerment – Looking after your intellectual property, protecting your work/ideas without losing control and principles of negotiation
  • Working for free – When to say yes (and how to say no)
  • Contracts – What can I expect? Common pitfalls and understanding key principles of traditional publishing contracts, such as grant of rights, advances, royalties, reversion, non-compete, first option.

Who is this session for?

This session is aimed at comics creators and graphic novelists of all types – whether your work is for adults, young adults or children – as well as other authors, artists and storytellers.


  • 5 minutes: Welcome and general outline of funding models
  • 35 minutes: Q&A chaired by Olivia Hicks with Derek Brazell (Association of Illustrators), Emma Hayley (SelfMadeHero) and Elizabeth Haylett Clark (SoA), including questions sent in advance
  • 10 minutes: Live questions from the audience
  • 5 minutes: Summary and closing comments


The line-up

Olivia Hicks – Comics Creator

Olivia Hicks is a comics creator and editor, with a PhD in British and American girls’ comics. She is best known for her independent comics Sarararara, Shark Wife, and Grand Slam Romance (co-created with Emma Oosterhous). She is represented by Britt Siess Creative Management, and lives in London.


Derek Brazell – Publications & Membership Manager, Association of Illustrators

Publications & Membership Manager at the Association of Illustrators, Derek Brazell advises members on contracts and licensing, works on the organisation’s campaigning for illustrators rights and produces Varoom illustration magazine. He has regularly spoken in the UK and at international book fairs on a variety of areas impacting illustrators.

His book on business for illustrators, Becoming A Successful Illustrator (2nd ed 2017), was co-authored with Jo Davies and their Understanding Illustration, also published by Bloomsbury came out in 2014. As an illustrator, Derek created a string of successful picture books for children, including his first picture book Cleversticks, published in 1992 and still in print, and Lima’s Red Hot Chilli for Mantra Lingua.


Emma Hayley – Managing Director, SelfMadeHero

Emma Hayley launched SelfMadeHero in 2007, after spotting a gap in the market for high quality graphic novels. Her background in publishing, following a postgraduate diploma in journalism at City University, London, has seen her work as a journalist, a film PR and as an editorial director for several small publishers. Since launching her own company, her focus has shifted to the business and entrepreneurial face of book publishing, while she remains hands-on in commissioning new titles. She was named UK Young Publishing Entrepreneur of the Year, as part of the British Book Industry Awards 2008.


Elizabeth Haylett Clark – Contracts Advisor, Society of Authors

Elizabeth Haylett Clark is an experienced member of the SoA contracts team, which vets contracts for fairness and advises on copyright and other issues raised by members in all disciplines.


About the Association of Illustrators

Established in 1973, the Association of Illustrators (AOI) champions illustrators and the illustration industry with education, promotion and campaigning to achieve a thriving industry for us all. www.theaoi.com

About The Cartoon Museum

The Cartoon Museum champions cartoon and comic art, highlighting its importance to culture and society. Since 2006 it has received 420k visitors, and built a prominent national collection of 4,300 cartoons, comics and caricatures, and a library of 18k items. The Cartoon Museum runs a well-attended school programme and sell-out school holiday workshops, and over 50k children and adults have attended cartooning, comics and animation workshops at the museum.

The Cartoon Museum closed on 18 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As an independent museum with no regular government funding, 75% of yearly income is through the door – admissions, shop purchases, schools and venue bookings. As a result, the museum closure has resulted in the loss of nearly 50% of the museum’s yearly income. The museum is currently fundraising for its survival, and during closure has been keeping cartoon and comic fans entertained with online exhibitions and activities.

To support The Cartoon Museum, please visit cartoonmuseum.org



Book your place using the registration form below.

The event is free to attend but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. DONATE HERE



We'll send you a link to join us and reminders before the event.

44 Going


21 April
20:00 - 21:00 BST
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