Saturday, December 8, 2018

A happy ending

I wrote on Thursday about my disappointing experience with the new SAQA book, and posted a similar message on the SAQA email list that evening.

So I was pleased to read an email message last night from Martha Sielman, SAQA executive director.  She wrote, "I have just confirmed with Schiffer that they do offer a discount for contributing artists.  If you are one of the artists with work in the book, you can place a one-time order for up to 25 copies at a 40% discount.  You just need to pay standard freight.  SAQA will email the artists on Monday to let them know about this discount offer."

Perhaps not the ideal solution, but definitely a good thing to do now.  I'm glad the SAQA leadership apparently was listening to the opinions of us members and observers who called them out for not giving artists the respect they/we deserve.

I hope the next time a big, important book comes out SAQA will do the right thing from the start.

Update:  An anonymous reader, who identified herself as one of the larger donors to the SAQA book project, left comments on my blog post yesterday suggesting that it was unreasonable for me to suggest that SAQA pay for rights to publish artists' work.  She wrote:  "There are 240 artists in this book.  240 x your suggestion of $50 for rights of usage? $12,000....  If you think everyone is entitled to a copy, either pony up $12,000 or join the SAQA board and start doing the work for the next compendium."

Actually, if we're doing arithmetic, according to Martha's email last night, Schiffer Publishing is willing to forgo $19.60 per copy (40% discount off $49 list price) up to 25 copies per artist!!  That adds up to $19.60 x 25 x 240 = $117,600!!  And this offer seems to have come about within 24 hours, so apparently it didn't require a whole lot of hardball negotiation.  I am amazed at this sum -- clearly there's more profit sloshing around in the publishing business than we had thought.  Or perhaps Schiffer doesn't want to kill the golden goose.


  1. I think they were afraid of killing the golden goose!! However, I still will not have any connection with SAQA, especially with how snotty the "large donor" was to you!

    1. Yes, that was rather snotty, especially since she was not willing to sign her name to her what sounded like a dressing down.

  2. I have always felt like the members of SAQA were a "source of income" and not much else. Congratulations for being included in the book, though.

  3. Thanks for the update - very good news. In the future it would be wise for SAQA to state up front whether or not complimentary copies or reduced priced copies would be given if an artist agrees to have work published in their book. (I'm thinking back to my entering Sacred Threads and I think it was stated somewhere clearly that there would be a book of the exhibit available for purchase, very clear that there'd be no complimentary copies.) Let's hope this experience has changed the way they operate and not just be a one-time fix to quiet the motley crowd. ;-)