So most, if not all of you know that I work with Allen in his business and have worked with him since the 80’s, ok, 1988, which is still technically the 80’s. (This is mostly me, Vicki in this post along with Allen 😉) In the beginning… I was in school and worked with Allen doing mail-in art shows around the country and we went to a handful of large conventions. This is where and when we started and why it may be hard for me to give up control.
Allen does the art, I do the business aspect of our partnership. We are a two person business.
We have been talking about doing a book of Allen’s art for at least 8 years. We wanted to do it, really, really did, but it seems so daunting. And I, me, I wanted to do it. Like I do a lot of things around here. But I have learned that some things… specific things are best left to people that are trained in those areas.
Taxes, I would do our taxes from 1989 to around 1995 or 96. It was at the time that Allen got a royalty check from his first Magic Cards… I realized I didn’t know where to put it, for the best results, so I went hunting for an accountant. A CPA because I had heard that’s what I needed, I think my dad told me. Here in the States you need a CPA if you are audited by the Internal Revenue Service and don’t want to represent yourself. A Certified Public Accountant can go and represent you. And ours did when we got audited in the late 90’s. It’s a huge relief off my mind when you have the right person doing the right job.
And now back to our Kickstarter, our book. Not just Allen’s book, but it is a Flesk Publications book too. You see John approached us about 5 years ago at San Diego Comic Con and gently asked about doing a book of Allen’s work. I can remember talking briefly to him and telling him, yes, most definitely we are going to be making a book and thanks we will keep you in mind. Because… I knew I was going to do it. I can do it. I CAN! I had done 2 small sketchbooks (really mostly Allen designed them). We would do it. We could do it. I had watched Stephanie Law run at least 2 hugely successful Kickstarters. She does it all! (She is also an extraordinarily organized artist and business person.)
But I DO a lot (don’t we all?!)… I mean we together had, have a family and we also run this business. Allen does the art, I do the business and I am a mostly organized person. He likes to say I do all the “hard part.” That isn’t true, we are both very busy and when the priorities are straightened out, the book always got shuffled down the line.
Now fast forward and last year at the inaugural year of Light Box Expo in September 2019 we get to chatting with John Fleskes again. This time things converge and make us, make me see maybe I should open my eyes.
My NEED to control everything was making me stubborn and not seeing a possible way that may be a better way. Maybe, I shouldn’t be trying to do it all. As I once relinquished and handed my paperwork over to an accountant things started to tickle in my brain that maybe I should hand this over.
I had spoken to other people along the way about helping out with designing. I had worked with people along the way to organize all the material. But they were working their jobs and I was mine and as you likely know: any job expands to fill the time allotted to it… and since we had no deadline for making our book it kept prioritizing itself behind more urgent day to day things.
Then I had an extended hospital stay (the short story is that I had some sneaky blood clots in my right leg and foot. It’s ongoing but better now) That’s when Stephanie said, “Maybe you should call John.” After my foot was hurting so badly, we did reach out.
One week of working with John and the team at Flesk and Allen said, “Oh man, this is how fast things work when you are working with a publisher.” And he is right. John said I had a lot of things organized in a way that was easy for him to use and see, but he knew everything about what to do next. He had other professionals in his company and that he works with so that everything moved very fast.
So when the time is right, find a Certified Professional Accountant, find a good web designer and if you are like me, try and work with a publisher for your book. OH! And a photographer! I called the professional photographer that took photos of Allen last year, Danin Drahos.
He is a local photographer whose specialty is shooting portrait/music photography and he reached out to us to do a portrait of Allen a while back. When we started talking to John about the book I reached out to him to get some good shots of Allen in his studio. We had loved his portraits of Allen. When he quoted Allen a price, which was less than his regular fee because we have used him before. Allen said Yes, we will pay but not the reduced fee, we paid the regular fee because Allen said “You pay professionals for their services and I don’t want you to make less in response to consistently great work”.
We can’t always relinquish control for various reasons. Sometimes it’s because we can’t afford to and other times because we can’t afford not to. But when you can, it costs you less time, frustration and money to let those who specialize do their jobs. I could spend hours trying to DIY my way through things and sometimes that is necessary and often fun but (for instance) it took me a week to make a small stone walkway that a pro could have knocked out in a day but I loved doing it.
We contracted a builder for our fence that went down in the hurricane though… that was not something I could take the time to learn how to do at this moment and I’m glad we did.
So if/when it becomes feasible to work with other professionals and it makes your life easier, though it is hard to give up that control, it is very valuable in the long run.
Thanks for hearing us out and we hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season.
❤Vicki and Allen