Organized on December 3, 4 and 5, the 11th edition of the SoBD Parisian fair is one of the thirty fairs dedicated to comics in France, which have established a remuneration for author signing sessions. An approach that continues to be avant-garde: if in recent years the remuneration of authors for their interventions (round tables, debates, etc.) has been generalized, that for the time dedicated to the signature continues to be a step that few organizers cross.
Since 2019, the SoBD festival has applied a flat rate of €60 for two or three hours of dedication: “ This amount is not huge, but we believe that it is not indecent either, considering that the minimum hourly wage is set at €10.57 “, explains Renaud Chavanne, president and founder of SoBD.
To finance this fixed price, the show has chosen to share the burden between two actors: the organization of the show, on the one hand, and the publisher, or the bookseller, who welcomes the author for the signatures at his stand. A 50-50 distribution, therefore, that operates on a voluntary basis. ” We propose this principle to all publishers and booksellers participating in the fair “, details the president, “ without commitment, knowing that we only participate if the publisher or the bookseller also participates on their part “.
SoBD prefers to leave freedom of choice to the structures of the show: “ Some refuse, sometimes because they don’t have the means: admittedly, comics have many small and financially fragile structures. In addition, the remuneration may be financed one year, but perhaps not the next, after economic difficulties. Publishers also invite foreign authors, and paying for the trips sometimes represents a significant cost for the structures. »
In other cases, the publishers have already provided a higher percentage for the author, on the sales of the discs in the halls: ” Since publishers sell direct, they get back the bookseller’s share, and sometimes the distributor’s share as well, allowing the author to earn a little more on the copies sold. “, explains Renaud Chavanne.
without hiding the somewhat complicated machinery » Regarding the management behind this payment for transfers, the president of SoBD assures us that the event’s approach could easily be extended to other events.
spread too much load
” The SoBD dedicated €17,661 to the remuneration of authors and artists, an amount 22% higher than the last comparable edition (9th edition of the SoBD, 2019 – the 10th edition was entirely digital) “says a press release. In addition to the amounts involved for the défraiement des auteurs et artistes (frais de déplacement et d’hébergement pour l’essentiel), the envelope is set at €23,808, representatives sent a quarter of the total budget of the SoBD – hors valorisation des apports in species.
” Everyone is aware of one thing: the presence of authors makes the event a success, so publishers, booksellers and organizers benefit from it. However, none of these actors can bear the burden of remuneration alone: the only solution is then to share it. “, indicates Renaud Chavanne.
In 2019, recalls the founder of SoBD, at the time of the first exchanges, the interprofessional structures were quite cautious regarding the remuneration process. “But when you contact publishers individually, there are enough enthusiasts to make it work. »
To pay the €30 required for its share of the remuneration, for 70 signatures, the show had to mobilize around €2,000, a fairly reasonable sum. The fair’s budget is made up of its own funds (paid attendance by exhibitors, traveling exhibitions, paid masterclasses, etc.), regional subsidies and contributions from sponsors.
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At the same time as the signatures, the fair remunerates the various interventions of the authors, according to the price scale proposed by the Center national du livre. The support of collective management organizations makes it possible to ensure this remuneration, in addition to the fair’s own funds.
Other Partner Wanted
According to Renaud Chavanne, the transfer fee model is completely transposable to smaller events, “ even those with only 3 or 4 authors “. Publishers such as booksellers, in a few sales, could also amortize their contribution to the remuneration of authors.
The founder of SoBD would now like to associate a third partner, an institutional one, who could increase the amount of signing fees, providing an additional €30. ” The National Book Center and/or the authors’ societies may share the necessary amount. If we make a quick projection, there are around 400 manga, comic and youth events in France per year, with around 6,000 authors, not counting the FIBD. This would mean approximately €200,000 to contribute for this additional part, which is really not huge if the amount is distributed among several institutions. »
The public could also start to contribute, considering, especially in comics, manga or youth, that a signed work earns a much higher value than that of the same title, originally…
It now remains to be seen if another barrier, not economic but symbolic, does not oppose the remuneration of the dedications of the authors in fairs and festivals.
Photography: View of SoBD 2021, credits to Susy Lagrange