Twelve oxen under the sea

Twelve oxen under the sea… There is some reason for twelve oxen being under the sea, but unless one knows the whole story, it is at best mysterious and more like meaningless.

But maybe it sounds good…

Building backgrounds into a story is one of the areas that separates great writers from the hoi polloi (which is a posh way of saying blokes wot are like the monkey, and scratch where they didn’t ought to, and in public). It is particularly difficult in any story NOT set in something close to that chaotic mess we call the ‘the real world’ and mostly fail to deal with. We at least have a lot of referents for that. Great fantasy, Alien cultures, not much. (Alternate history is much easier in this sense). Not only is building a new world/universe really hard work – for both the author and the reader, it’s also very difficult to do well (which is why 90% of fantasy is just Hollywood Medieval with a few extra touches). It’s rather worse than dropping your reader straight into life in rural India, because that at least has a few normal modern US referents. A real fantasy world – Tolkien’s LotR for example, is very complex and rather like an oil-painting takes a huge number of layers to emerge as a complete and complex thing. Only it’s a lot harder than mere oil painting, in that the amount of ‘meaningless until you see more of the picture’ that a writer can get away with is very limited. You see, the canvas is the reader’s imagination, built on layer by layer. Fill it useful-later blotches, and… it’s going to bore the reader and have him not wait for those later layers of color.

This is where writing becomes far more art than science, balancing the story against the backfill, engaging the reader while you build up those layers. Doing it is hard, doing it really well… so the picture, complex, detailed and wholly different, develops without the reader being aware of it being done, masterly, beyond most of us.

There are of course variants of cheating to help. You can write the answers inside your shirt cuffs, but this may not be a great help to you or anyone in this type of exam. The key thing to remember (and do write it on the cuff it helps) is that 1) Baring an omniscient point of view narrator (as in the start bits of most Pratchett Discworld stories) your reader cannot know more than your characters. And the only senses and viewpoint you have to carry that to your reader… is that of your character. If your heroine thinks sleeping in the moist tentacular embrace of a sentient parasitic polyp normal… she’s not going to describe her bed as if she’s never seen it before. Moreover she won’t find it, or the little star-shaped bruises from the suckers and the gelatinous slime in her hair unpleasant, or un-usual.

2) If you have a reason to use referents that readers recognize WITHOUT idiocy of logical inconsistency, it makes life a shed-load easier. Blacksmithing is blacksmithing – even if the locals traverse distances by being projectile-vomited by Zwongs. They just won’t make horse shoes. (for heaven’s sake if you’re going to have horses AND Zwongs please give me a ‘why’. Or at least for me your books will receive the projectile part. I know that totally batty woman at Worldcon told Toni that you didn’t have to know or understand any science to write sf, and I am sure she’d include fantasy, and I am sure her audience don’t need it to make sense, but boring people like me do. If you write fiction you make stuff up. Plausible lies. It’s not that hard, and I gather women are better than men. Show me.

3) Do not make the obvious mistake of the tour of the Starship enterprise or as you know Bob. It really is better to focus on action and dribble bits in, than to do this…

OK. Your suggestions? And books that gave you a really different universe without you realizing the author was building it in your head?

Oh a quick question –ended up talking to a graphic artist/cover designer a few days ago – and looking for prices on her webpage. (for the record, she was pleasant, helpful and… a great poker player – um I assume she, could be wrong, but it doesn’t matter. The cover design I thought excellent, the artwork a bit photo-realistic for where I think the market is going, but certainly the artist has the skills to adapt to that IMO. Certainly a contender, if I were buying right now) I asked where they were, eventually. She said it depended on how complex the work was, and that she quoted accordingly. She said she’d had people take advantage of fixed prices, and since she’d taken them down, had more business. Blink. Now, I don’t know if this is a cultural anomaly (quite plausible) or not, but honestly I dread bargaining, and would hate to go into a shop and ask a price to find it too dear for me. If there are no prices, I just don’t buy. I’d like a ball-park at least. How do you feel about the issue?


  1. Re your last point, when I was doing custom woodworking, my most difficult task was setting prices. When I was a programmer, my worst skill was estimating the time required for a task.

    Re the woman who said you don’t need to know science… she must have been on the writing staff of Earth 2. Most don’t remember that horrible colonization TV show that died quickly, but not quickly enough. The producers were PROUD that they didn’t have a single person on staff who had done SF before. As a result they re-invented the wheel every step of the way, and got it square.

    1. Yes, not realizing that the conventions of writing sf (just like the conventions of writing mystery or romance or westerns) might not always be good but they are the product of a lot of evolution. They work, and mostly do so in a reasonably easy to read fashion. Two authors -Atwood and Winterson – spring to mind as openly despising sf — and to me their work reads like very early – bad – attempts to write it, as a result.

      I accept your point that it’s hard to set these prices, and estimate accurately – but that wasn’t my question – which is would you approach a programmer or custom woodworker or cover artist/designer, if you had absolutely no idea what ball even they’d ask for the programming/ cabinet/ cover. I would be embarrassed, but that could just be me, and where I come from. ‘If you need to ask the price, you can’t afford it.’

      1. I did this recently for editing, and as a result paid about twice what I ought to have invested in that project. Moral of the story? Shop around… Even better, find someone you can barter with. (I know, that’s not always possible!)

        1. When I’ve talked prices with my artist/illustrator, I’ve found that the process of dickering down the price makes ME more cognizant of how difficult certain elements of the scene are to render. And when I asked, what could I get if I spent $X, the answer was closer to what I was shooting for (more iconic) than what I had originally asked for.

          We like to think of dickering as a zero-sum game, but when dealing with creative types (and that includes software developers), it can be a positive-sum game as we discover how to make the work easier to perform.

      2. I’d rather have a ballpark for price of services. One way to do that and still retain freedom to price as necessary it to give a simple example and a complicated example, with prices. The potential customer may put themselves into the wrong slot when evaluating whether or not to contact you, but at least they were warned…

      3. Dunno if it helps you at all, but when I was on staff at the magazine, our cover artist pitch had a “how much for a cover design like *this*” and a “can I see some samples of your work, and prices you charge for them?” bit in it.

        This was of limited utility, but if you can get a handle on how much complexity you have going on on the cover: a spaceship, two aliens, and the hero OR a spaceship, a firefight with a dozen unique aliens, the hero, his love interest, the Big Baddie, and a giant tuna… For us, dealing with mostly amateurs and beginners, it worked out.

  2. ITs very difficult to proce artwork wothout knowing the complexity. If your artist is working mostly in 3d they either heed a library of existing models, to build the models, or to buy them off of turbosquid/renderosirty, thentexture and/or fice the testures from them, then set up and light the scene, then add post-processing… not an easy task. anyone that can draw or paint characters can usually finish a drawing/painting much faster especially if the image needs specific story elements (i.e. custom models)

    1. I agree with all that, accept, her, Dr Mauser’s, and your point. But that wasn’t the question. I have a tight budget, I do not ask someone to do the work of quoting on it (which is time and money), if I know it’s far outside my realm of possibly being able to pay. I’m embarrassed, and uncomfortable to ask the price of a wetsuit or a firearm (where there are ranges of prices in the same shop,) let alone ‘I can’t afford that’ and walk out. I wanted to know, if for example you wanted a piece of editing done (which sight unseen might take a hours per page or minutes) you would simply ask for a quote if you I had no idea what it could cost. For example if the editor said: price would vary on how much time it will take, but jobs typically range between 1-5 dollars per page… I might consider it, but if they said 10-20 dollars a page, I wouldn’t even contact them. Or if they said 1-10 cents a page I wouldn’t bother either. I would not just ask anyway if there was no price/ball-park, and people from my background would rather die (well, no, but they hate it. Even talking money is hard), but I have no idea just how normal or widespread that is.

      1. I *try* to quote people, but i usually either underestimate the time, or don’t ask for enough pay….

        1. when I was trying to get a job done they always gave me a price per hour and it was $90; needless to say I didn’t go that route because I had no idea how long they would take and that they never could seem or want to tell me

  3. Why do I have both Zwongs and horses? That’s silly, Zwongs are great between cities but, a caster and catcher are both necessary and take years to grow. Gotta go other places? horses! 🙂

    It felt like a challenge to explain why

    1. Ya know, that’s a lot more creative than what I came up with. My first thought was “Zwonging is undigified, best to let the peasants be flung about.” My next was “Well, Zwonging is expensive. ‘Tis the perfect thing for M’Lord and M’lady but as for the husband and I, we’re barely able to afford doing things the slow way.

      1. “Long ago the gods brought humans, horses and other four-limbed beings to this world”. [Wink]

    2. 🙂 And perfectly acceptable thus – if there is some logic as to how both exist in the same frame. “the horses brought from earth, originally, are not as fertile as zwongs” “wizard Dwergle still grows the best zwongs in his vats. I tried travelling in wizard Pompom one, and got puke on my jacket.”

  4. I don’t post prices for my business on my website, although likely I ought to… It’s a perpetual debate, because if you have one set price and don’t adjust for travel, etc, you wind up losing money. However, I do think that some sort of pricing arrangement should be made beforehand, and publicized (I usually give quotes based on time and distance traveled, for example) because to do otherwise is to invite yourself to be nickel-and-dimed to death. As for the artist, she sounds like she has learned that she was charging too little: the answer to that is to raise her prices, not to stop publishing them. Some artists (in my business included) hate price-shoppers, but I am sympathetic to them. I couldn’t afford me. I wouldn’t want what a cheap artist could produce (in my business) but I’d hate to commit to something without knowing what it would cost me.

    1. And, basically, if I had asked, I am saying “I like the work and want it for my book” – which for me then makes walking away difficult.

    2. Keeping totally mum about prices can discourage the shy shopper. But quoting fixed prices risks abuse. If I walk into a Maserati dealership, I have a good idea how much money I’ll need. Likewise, if i walk into a Ford dealership. Or a used-bicycle shop.

      A good thing has come of my home town’s competition. It provides a way of seeing hundreds of art projects and talking to dozens of artists who are vying for votes for their work. By just talking to artists and getting to know them, you can get a feel for what they can do and how hungry they are.

      1. If you walk into a Maserati dealership, you already know whether you can afford to drive out of it. If you walk into a Ford dealership, you probably know the same thing, but you also know that if you intend to drive out, you’re going to waste most of your day indulging the sales staff’s game of “let’s pretend there isn’t a fixed price for this car”. (Never having bought a Maserati, or even pretended I could afford to buy one, I simply _assume_ that they don’t bother with this charade.)

        But even though they intend to force their customers to waste most of a day negotiating, the Ford dealer still has “prices” listed. They’re not the real prices, of course, but they’re a starting point for the negotiations, and (like the gas mileage numbers, which are completely unrelated to actual fuel economy in the real world, but are produced by a standard and consistent process) provide a way for the customer to do apples-to-apples comparisons between various cars, so that once the time-wasting negotiations begin, he can at least limit himself to having to negotiate the price of the one car he’s going to eventually buy, rather than having to negotiate the price of every car in the inventory before figuring out which one he’ll get to take home with him.

        I understand, of course, that custom services like artwork and editing are different than fixed products like cars. The cost of producing a Maserati (or a Ford), transporting it to the dealership, paying off the local extortionists-with-badges-and-clipboards, and keeping the lights on, the employees fed, and the stockholders paid off are exactly the same regardless of who the customer is. And the customer is either going to buy one of the cars that is currently on the lot, or else he isn’t. He’s got a wide selection to choose from, but as wide as it is, it’s still fixed and finite and pre-determined before he walks in the door. None of these are the case for custom artwork or editing, because no two customers for those services get quite the same thing.

        But the fact remains that while every customer is _different_, most are _similar_, and there is nothing to prevent a provider from listing “typical costs” up-front, while explaining that each job is distinct and actual costs vary by requirements.

        I learned in my first days on the Internet, back in the early ’90s, that “contact us for a quote” (without any actual pricing numbers being listed) is code for “you can’t possibly afford this, but if you do contact us for a quote you’ll keep on hearing from our sales department periodically for the rest of your life, wondering whether you’ve come up with the $20,000 they want to charge for your $50 job yet, because they’re only equipped to deal with the sort of customers for whom coming up with $20,000 to spend on what they’re selling is merely a matter of persuading the right purchasing committee, rather than the sort of customers who are spending their _own_ money.”

        Artists and editors have to live too, of course, but the would-be customer browsing their web sites doesn’t know how many customers they can handle simultaneously, and thus what fraction of their cost of living each customer must bear. And it isn’t fair to force us to guess, with nothing to go on.

        1. I think there is an element of 1)If I price myself too low, perceived value suffers. 2)There’s a chance this guy will offer me $1000 for something I would sell for $100 – and then -as that is his bottom offer, I can probably get that up to $1500. If he offers $10, I can so no. It’s a gamble which the artist does not lose, except where the customer who would pay $100 walks away without making an offer. If you have lots of business, it’s a win, if you have not enough, and would be better off selling a lot at $100, than 1 at $1500 once in a blue moon… you do lose.

  5. I’m like you, if there isn’t a price posted, I’m not likely to ask or buy. I had a relative who owned/ran a metal fabrication shop, and sold some supplies out of it also, never any prices posted. If you came in and wanted something and asked the price, he would always tell you, “If you have to ask the price, you don’t need it.” I tended to agree with him, and very seldom bought anything from him, even though I knew he would treat me fairly, and his prices were always very competitive.

    Now that doesn’t mean I’m above haggling a price, but I want a figure to start out from know whether I want to bother or not. Most of the time I would prefer what I know is a fairly nonnegiotable price, but am willing to haggle if it will possibly get me a better price. There needs to be some indication that prices are open to negotiation on a website though, because if there isn’t an another site offers a fixed nonnegotiable price they will almost always be lower, and you won’t get the business.

  6. First reaction: I have a mental picture of a miniature version the great “sea” from Solomon’s Temple, except made of stone, being discovered by a SCUBA diver. The water and sea plants look semi-tropical, and diver has black gloves on. The ox heads are just slightly larger than the hand.

    Arrrgh! I so did not need another story idea ambushing me this AM! 🙂

    1. I just thought it was a straight (if somewhat obscure) Biblical reference.

      For your stone pool—more of a large basin or a small bathtub, given the size of the ox heads—how did it get under the sea? Captured Temple vessel (and many of those were stone), perhaps, and the ship founders. So what’s the story?

      (Oh, I know: it’s some space-warping material for which π = 3 exactly!)

      1. And that, good sir, is exactly the problem. Was it perhaps a small reproduction, bought in Jerusalem and taken elsewhere as a reminder of having made the trip and intended to be a gift for the local place of worship? Or is it a small reminder that could be hidden in plain sight, perhaps tucked away in a garden like the Lion Fountain in the Alhambra, where those who know, know and understand, and others think of it as a fascinating bit of garden art? And what happened that it ended up underwater? Or is the answer yes?

      2. heh, yes it is an obscure biblical reference to the first temple, to the decoration on the base of those pillars. But what ALWAYS bothered me (and it’s one of those lines that has stuck in my head since I first read it – oh 40 years back) because I just didn’t get the symbolism (and most of the decoration is symbolic in various ways) – in context – 1 Kings 7: 44 ‘And one sea, and twelve oxen under the sea’ Whut? Yes, I’ve read the the 12 tribes theory. But OXEN? Those are bulls without balls. And why under the sea?

        1. Well he did pretty much make the twelve tribes wander around in the wilderness for forty years so that they would grow a pair. So it isn’t that surprising that he viewed them as steers beforehand.

  7. Prices. The folks who do the cover art for most of my bigger pieces have a menu of options, each with a price, and then list the additional costs for certain services (more cover ideas, live model rights, purely original vs. using some stock images) so you can get a pretty good idea of what you are in for before exchange rates. I don’t like dickering, because I’m trying to budget for each thing I can’t do myself (copy edit, format entire books, major cover art).

    If I worked with an artist or other craftsman who did not list prices, I’d find something like what I wanted or needed, and ask how much that cost. Then I’d go from there.

    1. I don’t like dickering, and am always on a tight budget, and I don’t like to be offensive – the implied ‘your work is not worth that’ is sometimes taken as an insult, especially where the artist/craftsman assumes you have far mor money than you say you do, or actually do have.

      1. I don’t like dickering either, but am willing to do it if it is expected and will get me a better price. When my grandfather was alive though, he loved to dicker, my grandma used to get so mad because every year or two he would come home with a new (different, always used to the best of my recollection) car. He would go by car lots and dicker on cars just for the fun of it, every so often he would come up with a deal that was just to good to pass up, and my grandma would complain that there hadn’t been anything wrong with the old car.

  8. Asimov’s Robots universe was spectacularly done. The rules of the universe (as well as the Laws of Robotics) were well done and believable. It’s something someone should make into a DECENT movie that actually follows the STORY someday.

    Oddly enough, although the idea sounds prepsterous on the face of it, the 1632 universe by Eric Flint et al. is very well done too. And actually, the site is and is worth visiting because there are details there about how he built his world. THe books alone are a good reason to visit the site, but stay for the cool stuff. He has a style sheet on there that’s more than just a style sheet with some advice for new authors too.

    As far as the pricing thing, I guess I’m just more used to that type of thing than you are. I work in sales, and “How much does it cost?” is a question that I can’t WAIT to here because it means someone might be willing to buy. That’s just me though, so take it FWIW.

    1. 1632 is very well -meticulously – crafted.
      The problem, Jim is that if I had to ask… I wouldn’t most of the time (for a mass produced article it might be different, but let’s say a painting. That might also just be me.

  9. When I first looked around for artists, the list I started with had no prices available. My approach was generally “this is what I’m looking for, and this is my budget. Can we do business?” I got some replies that were “I usually charge 5x that for original art, sorry” to “Sure, I can work with that”. Seemed to work. But I am famous for the roughness and impermeability of my dermis 😉

    I vaguely recall reading somewhere that the “fixed price” concept was introduced by the Quakers here. They figured out what they considered an honest price, and refused to dicker. Which leaves people like me completely at sea in cultures where dickering is a way of life…

    1. Maybe we should not think of negotiating price as a beat-down, but as a conversation wherein we discover how much money is on the table and how much beauty can be produced.

      1. Steve, I’d like that – a bargain is where both the seller and buyer emerge thinking they got a good deal – and that is quite possible, but I really struggle to bargain. My background I guess.

    2. Oh me too. Countless sales to me have been lost because… I detest asking. And I know it’s not logical, and just me having cultural hangups, and being thin skinned.

    3. My problem would be setting the budget. Clearly, the best budget would be $0. But I would know I’d have to spend more than that. I could push the budget up to the breaking point where it would hurt a whole lot and there would be agony and gnashing of teeth trying to decide to do it anyway or scrap the whole project. Clearly, telling someone your breaking point budget is a bad idea.

      So I know I can’t spend $0 (because I’d even have to pay my kids for their artwork) but without any notion of what is a normal price (and conditions) for amateur art and no notion of what is normal for professional art, how does a person even throw that first low-ball bid out there?

  10. On prices, I think I’m more wit’ ya than agin’ ya in that regard. For something as variable as artwork, I think a scale is acceptable or even just an hourly rate. But no price? I might tend to think you hold your value very dear, and I have a budget, so thanks anyway. “If you have to ask you can’t afford it” is a fairly normal aphorism around here, as well.

    I’ve also noted a lot of artists are limited in their salesmanship skills. Your work may sell me on the idea of owning, but it’s probably not going to sell me on the idea of paying whatever price you want to throw out there. Engage with your customer, assess where they are and what they’re looking for and determine if you’re the right person to help them or not. Without condescension! You’re certainly never going to see me again, no matter how my fortunes improve nor how much I loved your work, if you give me a snooty “I’d never work for that.” Wanna bet?

    As to world building. I’m working on back stories and world building for a couple-three ideas at the moment, and trying to work out how to build them for the reader without giving them an instruction manual on how to put the blocks together. Remarkably difficult. So I’m going back over stuff I admired and sussing out what they did. C.J. Cherryh is one of the authors that paints vivid pictures of worlds, cultures and species. To have half that facility with the telling…

      1. Yeah, sometimes the pace is impacted by sheer information volume (even with those minimal brush-strokes). More often, for me at least, the pace slows as I come to grips with the subtleties of alien cultures, the ‘assumptions’ she deftly leads you to. That these ideas must underlie this cultural practice, so she never discusses them directly. Letting the reader work out the various possibilities leading to the present moment. And off goes my brain exploring various implications and relationships. Then I come back to the story and keep reading!

        I think (stress that think) much of her success comes from when she uses humanity or individual humans as a foil and plays the ‘alien’ culture as native. This allows the reader to play compare and contrast with what we know about humanity and how the POV is reacting to humanity.

        Wonderfully rich and (I’m finding) incredibly difficult.

      2. O.T. As a long-term Cherryh fan (when asked to name my top 10 sf authors she’s in with a good chance) I just found her actual writing style very hard ?stattaco? to get into in her sf. Once I’d pushed past the first 40-50 pages I was captured, reading it with no effort, but I recall really battling to start them

        1. I’ve found I have to approach her sideways, to get set for her style. I can’t just grab one of her books and dive in freely. But she pays dividends on the effort.

        2. As Cherryh was my first real s/f, I had *exactly* the same difficulty. In every one of hers. Oh, I still love her descriptions and depth, but honestly, that style… Yeah, I’d never leave the keyboard if I could do that.

          1. Cherryh is one of those authors I like (although not near top 10) and find very engrossing, but not a comfortable read. She is very talented, I to struggle with the first part of most of her books, but then she sucks you in and mesmerizes you, but it is kind of like the mesmerization of watching a cobra with it’s hood extended swaying gently back and forth. Fascinating, and you can’t hardly force yourself to look away, but not really a comfortable feeling.

    1. The artist in question was polite, pleasant, not condescending in the least. I liked their cover design a lot, my own taste in art tends to less photo-realistic (she had some pieces like that too). But she was also playing poker in that I came out of the conversation having no idea whether she valued her work in the $10 per hour, or $100 000 per hour, and no idea of the hours needed either.

      1. While accepting your acknowledged cultural concerns, I’d really have to say she’s approaching her business from a restricted angle. Like all businesses she needs customers, customers don’t necessarily need her. So she has to find the happy medium of educating her potential buyers on the costs.

        Unless she just wants to sell to those who don’t have to ask. And that’s a small pool to fish in.

        Though, probably, she’s trying to be cagey to avoid getting burned again. And might be getting burned without noticing.

        1. What I would like to see, would be a selection of work already done, with prices, and an explicit offer to discuss the differences in the examples, and what contributed to the difference in prices.

          1. I have seen that before, and it was an excellent, wonderful solution that almost met me halfway from “I don’t want to waste both of our times if your unnamed sales prices don’t overlap my budget.”

  11. I think it is a mistake to never show your prices, but I also think it is a mistake to be detailed in them. Particularly in an artistic services kind of business.

    Something like this would be good I think for many cover artists, editors, web designers and the like:
    I charge for my services based on my esitmate of the complexity and duration of the project. A simple quick boondoggle from standard parts could be as low as 100 spondoolicks. On the other hand if you want the fully customized megaboon ultradoggle version then prices start at 10,000 spondoolicks. I do offer reductions for quantity and I charge extra if it’s a rush job

    1. I should think a flat fee could turn into an expensive (for the artist) excercise. Rather like some contracts i signed without realizing how much work and how long had to be :-/ They’ve been a severe lesson to me.

  12. Caveat, I am not a full time professional illustrator but I have done a few commissions here and there. As an artist I tend to price based on medium, style, size and licence.

    So If you were to ask me to cartoony 9×12 poster for your business I would check my price lists and calculate the price like this.

    medium + style + size x licensing fee.

    The licence is usually a percentage based on what you want to do with the image. If you want permanent ownership that’s probably double what I would charge someone who just wanted a cartoon to put on their twitter page and didn’t care what else I did with it. If you were a large corporation and I charged you what I charged the twitter guy for an image that would be on all your merchandise and advertising for the next year it would be a huge financial loss.

    So you can see why it might be difficult to name a price up front. I want to know what rights you expect and for how long. Can I put the illustration I did for you in an art book, sell it as a print? put it in my public portfolio? It makes a difference.

    Each image that I hold full ownership for can be relicensed, or sold in a number of forms. I don’t do this with every illustration but I like to be compensated for not having the option.

    If your worried about having to dicker then the best thing to do is to take a good look at the artist’s portfolio and pick the piece you like best. Write up a description of what you want and ask the illustrator how much for your image in that style. Be sure to specify that you want a book cover and if you have a tight budget say so and ask what the price is for a non exclusive license as well.

    One more recommendation I have is to look at video game concept artists. If you are looking for iconic art over realism that’s what they do best. They also work fast.

    I hope this helps. I know it can be difficult to find the right person to collaborate with but they are out there.

    1. Yes katabatic – I get how difficult it is from artist’s POV. And I know a fair bit about the rights pricing too (I used to buy art for Jim Baen’s Universe – on a first exclusive use for 3 months, and thereafter non-exclusive use, Electronic reproduction only and only in the magazine in context with the story for which it was commissioned – and you know how many artists still thought that was extortion because you can’t buy art for that price – and I had to explain that I wasn’t buying the art, just those rights and as they retained the original artwork, and the reproduction rights and the non-exclusive resale electronic rights after the 3 months, that actually being the cover art for a David Brin/ John Ringo story could make that original worth a lot more.) And I am willing to compromise and negotiate and flex – But as LeLnet commented – I really need know whether the artist thinks they’re in a Maserati dealership, or a Ford one… or a used Trabant one. I might agree with them, but I’m wary about ‘SQ’

  13. You might find it worthwhile to dig up Gerald Williams 1976 study, and the repeat by Schneider in 2002. They were looking at negotiation styles, and found that roughly 2/3 prefer cooperative (cards on the table) while about 1/4 are aggressive (hiding my cards). In terms of effectiveness, interestingly, the cooperative style is considered much more effective! The repeat by Schneider indicated very similar results.

    Incidentally, the place that negotiations tend to break down is when one side is cooperative, while the other is aggressive. So if you prefer prices “up front,” it seems to me you are looking for a cooperative negotiation. There are probably some people who prefer an aggressive negotiation, with the cards carefully concealed, but… that’s a matter of style.

    Andrea K. Schneider, “Shattering Negotiation Myths: Empirical Evidence on the Effectiveness of Negotiation Style”, Harvard Negotiation Law Review (2002)

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