Every year around the month of March, Bologna will be having the International Children’s Bookfair festival. This year, like any other year, Malaysia is participating this by bringing a lot of children’s books for rights licensing deal. My books will be there too and I don’t want to miss the act and give whatever support I can to help my books to be licensed internationally.
One problem that I always have is that I am not financially stable. Being an illustrator who works from home does not promise me a monthly fixed salary, it only depends on how many paintings or books that I can draw and sell. Since I am busy with book illustrations, I can only get at least one painting and few books (book stock as royalty payment from Oyez!Books) sold each month for few hundreds Ringgit. And out of the total amount, I have to set aside some hundred Ringgit for my son’s education fund. All the monthly bills are paid by my husband and I spend my money to buy grocery and what not. Book royalty will come in like once a year (from PTS) and that won’t happen until August for me to get the payout. And royalty is not much as well; it will be around RM500 if spread according to month for a year.
And so to ensure that I go to Bologna, I set Plan A; which is to seek sponsorship for my flight ticket. Plan B would be – try to get some book royalty advance and sell more paintings and books to get the amount for flight tickets. And I have to make it fast also as flight tickets will cost higher when the fly date is nearer. As for accomodation, I ‘kautim-ed’ that already as I got some early advance royalty for a recent book deal with Karangkraf, enough for me to pay my share for a room in Bologna with my illustrator friend, Evi.
Plan A started with me sending my proposal to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines early last month. They replied and asked me to send my blog’s traffic details for them to deliberate and after 3 weeks, I got a favourable answer; KLM agree to sponsor me! Yippee! And today morning, I went to meet KLM team to discuss their requirements and details. Alhamdulillah, it went smooth.
I am already excited to go. Remember that 2010 dream that I would one day return to Bologna’s Children Book Fair and stick my illustration and stuff on the Illustrators Wall? It will come true! And furthermore, this time it will be a journey of inspiration as I plan to do some research on my new books at the book fair as well as visit art places not to forget to do the thing I love; sketching.
And all thanks to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for making it happen for me. I will leave for Bologna on 21st March 2014.