Not Getting Screwed by Contractors

Whether you’re a comic book creator/budding publisher or mercenary writer (like myself), dealing with other folks is part of the job… a big part. With projects hinging on the competency and interaction of everyone involved, dealing with other Homo sapiens can either be a wonderful or miserable experience.

Here are TWO BIG tips for staying in the wonderful pool.

First and foremost, money talks and bullshit walks. Which skips along hand-in-hand with, you get what what you pay for. 

If someone can get $100/hr, they’re not going to work for you for $10/hr. That means when you work with people for low amounts, you’re working with people who can’t demand and get moreAnd that poses a big question—why?

I know what you’re thinking—STOP. Don’t make excuses to justify massive price deflation. I’m a writer by trade, and a very creative one… I can come up with more excuses than you, and I can assure you, there are no answers to that question that bode well for your project.

In plain English—Standard Rates (Money) holds people accountable. It obliges them for what they’ve taken and compels them to perform for what’s to come.

As much as we’d like to produce comics at cheap rates, our desire does not trump reality. Comics require a lot of time and skill, which doesn’t come cheap… ever.

Working with someone undervalued is a huge red flag.

Even if someone is voluntarily undervaluing themselves: they’re your friend for example, or even if they’re getting deferred pay (the better end of the spectrum here), anytime you work with someone undervalued, you’ve just put your big toe in the hot tub of miserable experience. Be careful you don’t slip.


Second, there are only two kinds of people in the world, Knights of the Round Table (yeah, you know like King Arthur) and… everybody else.

Don’t work with everybody else… seriously, only work with Knights.

So who is a modern day Knight of the Round Table?

It’s a person who believes in something greater than the compensation on a project. Primarily their reputation, the work itself and their relationship with YOU.

Of course modern day Knights of the Round Table need to get paid, and demand a decent wage, but the pay is not their paramount motivator. It’s secondary to the other things mentioned above.

Knights are all about respect and loyalty. And this separates the people you want to work with, from the riffraff.

Spotting Knights is actually pretty easy IF you’re paying attention when you talk to people.

  • They’ll be proactive, not passive. Often providing or suggesting solutions, even when not asked for them.
  • They’ll always put you and the project first.
  • They won’t ask you to do something they wouldn’t do themselves.
    <I once had a guy get upset when I made significant alterations to a complex contract at the beginning of negotiations. The guy said I needed to redo the document and make all my changes in a different type color so it was easy to read. Ok. A week later it came back with all new edits and guess what, they were all in black.>
  • They do what they say, when they say it.
  • They don’t offer resistance to incidentals that take minimal time. <On one project a client asked me to write a quick letter of recommendation in an effort to entice an artist to join the project. My answer, “of course.” Every project deserves a little extra time and effort, grease for the wheels.>

In plain English, Knights are professionals. Anytime you work with people who don’t respect themselves, the industry and you, you’re in for rocky waters and a likely capsize.

If you keep running into people who bail on your project, can’t get your comic done on time or to the quality you demand, keep these two tips in mind. In may take a while to truly come to appreciate these tips, but when you do, you’ll realize…

Good people make or break your project. ▪

About the Author —
Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, amazon and in select stores around the U.S.  Visit for social media contacts and news on his latest releases.


One thought on “Not Getting Screwed by Contractors

  1. Brilliant, Nick. Extremely relevant as I just took an art job and would not shake from my rate. I know my worth. Keep ’em comin’, brother.

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