IMPORTANT POLICY CHANGES FOR 2020
Hi everyone. This is not a happy post, and I’m sorry I have to make it. But I want to be fully open and honest with you guys about where I’m coming from. So I’m going to talk about the things we’re expected to hide behind that curtain of professionalism. I have anxiety (panic attacks and all) and depression. A lot of days, getting out of bed is hard. I do my best to meet my deadlines, and unless I get very sick or something serious comes up, I do keep them. Most days, I don’t manage much more than that.
I need to cut down significantly on the amount of custom work I’m taking on. My physical and mental health have really been suffering for the past few years, and I need to make some changes. I’ve been going too hard for too long, and I’m starting to crack under the constant pressure. And by starting to – I mean I’ve been cracking for years, and am in danger of breaking unless I make a significant change. If you want to skip ahead to the part about what this means for clients, scroll down – I have that labeled in its own section below.
I’ve been working fewer hours every year, but the stress I’m under hasn’t decreased. In late 2015 and all of 2016, I worked 90 hour work weeks. Every week. I took two days off all year – Christmas and my birthday. In 2017, 2018, and 2019, each year I decreased my workload from what it was the previous year. In 2019, for the first time in years, I finally managed to get down to a normal full time work week… on normal weeks. Not counting the weeks where I squeezed in extra projects and took on extra work, which, if I’m being honest, is most weeks. Though things are better than they were several years ago, and though my current system has worked smoothly (for the most part), I’m still under an incredible amount of stress and pressure from the amount of custom work I do each week.
Custom book covers are a lot of work and an incredible amount of stress, and from what I understand from talking to my peers I take on more each week than many other designers. The draft and revision process is stressful. Not knowing how many times a month I’ll be ghosted by clients who scheduled their covers a year in advance is stressful. Even for a normal full time work week, being under the constant amount of stress and pressure I’m under is too much. I can’t leave work at the door when I get home. I’m always home, always feeling that crushing pressure.
Over this year, I’ve come to realize that my custom cover workload needs to be cut in half, at least. The problem is that for the sake of my health, I can’t wait over a year for that change to happen (my current schedule is full until January 2021).
One of the problems has always been that my schedule has been booked so far in advance for so long. Any change I make doesn’t take effect for a YEAR, meaning I have no idea how changes will impact my scheduling and income until the new policy takes place. And then that time comes, and I find it’s not enough, and I have to wait another year for a new change to take effect. There is a lot of stress and pressure that comes with having a schedule booked out a year in advance. It’s financial stability, yes, but it’s also a LOT of pressure. And despite having my schedule closed to new clients for years, that pressure has never gotten better. And I’ve gotten to a point where making changes to improve the situation feels, honestly, hopeless and overwhelming, because any change I make with the urgency it NEEDS means that I’ll be letting clients down. But things have reached a point where I can no longer put that off.
I want to do everything for everyone. I wish I could do and be more. But I’m only one person. And for my mental and physical health, I can’t keep working like this.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR CURRENT CLIENTS
This means that I will be significantly cutting the amount of custom covers I work on and leaning more heavily on premades. I won’t be making the decision to cut anyone from my schedule – it’s up to you how you’d like to proceed, and you have options.
Prices will rise to the following rates.
SILVER TRILOGY BUNDLE: $1799 (Three Silver covers, three print covers, box set image, marketing bundle – $2125 VALUE)
GOLD PACKAGE RATE: $999 (Up to two revisions)
GOLD TRILOGY BUNDLE: $3199 (Three Gold covers, three print covers, box set image, marketing bundle – $3625 VALUE)
These new prices will take effect January of 2020. This price increase will impact all projects scheduled from January 2020 and onward. And I am so, so sorry to anyone this impacts who can no longer afford their scheduled slots. I do have an alternate option for you- please keep reading.
CHANGES TO CURRENT BOOKINGS
Because of the frequent cancellations this year, starting January 2020, current bookings will have a required 25% down payment three months in advance of your start date. If this is not paid three months in advance of your start date, when you get your normal three month reminder email, you’ll give up your slot. The remainder of your invoice will be due the day before the start date, as normal. All bookings from January 2020 and on will be changed to the $499/$999 rates.
IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD THE PRICE INCREASE:
I do have an alternate option for you if you’d still like to get your scheduled cover(s) from me. If you would like to transfer your slot to become a “custom premade,” you’ll get a discount and will receive your finished cover(s) faster. Whether you had a Gold cover or a Silver, your “custom premade” will be at a discounted rate of $249. The $249 rate is ONLY for clients with covers currently scheduled who are converting to the custom premade option, or for custom premade series continuations for currently ongoing custom series. Regardless of which package you’re on, this is a discount from what you’re currently scheduled to pay, as 2020 covers are currently scheduled as $349 for Silver and $799 for Gold. And your cover WILL be done sooner than it’s currently scheduled for. I can’t say how much sooner until I know how many projects will be canceled or transferred to custom premades, but I can move through premades much more quickly than customs.
What is a “custom premade?” You may have seen that I recently posted a form for taking premade requests. For these, you’ll give me the info about your cover and I’ll create it. There won’t be a draft for approval – you’ll get the fully finalized cover. No changes can be made to the art. The nice thing about this deal? I’ll probably get your whole series to you at once, with no long wait for later covers.
What if you don’t like it? You’re not obligated to pay (though I won’t make another). If it’s a new series, it will be posted for sale in my group/on my website (any titles and identifying info for your book/series will be changed before it’s posted for sale). I won’t re-sell a cover for an existing series with existing branding. I may make some MAJOR changes to the cover to make it very different and sell that new version, but I will NOT re-sell your branding for your existing series.
This is a great deal for any client who trusts that I can make a great, on-market cover, but it’s an especially great deal for series that are already started. We know what your branding looks like. We just need to finish the series.
IF YOU NEED TO CANCEL YOUR SLOT(S):
I completely understand, and I am so sorry. I’ll help your new artist get what they need to continue your series. If you need help finding a new artist, I can help you with that. I know a bunch of really great artists, and I should be able to help you find one (or a few) to contact.
PRINT AND MARKETING IMAGES
If you’ve ordered print covers or marketing images, or if you need to order them in the future, you’ll always be able to get them from me. Nothing will change as far as these are concerned.
AS OF RIGHT NOW, my schedule is closed to all future bookings. That may change in the future once I have a better feel for my new schedule/workload. I need to make sure that, whatever I do, I’m never booked out a year in advance again, and any new policies and booking processes will be made with that in mind. In the meantime, the CUSTOM WAITLIST and PREMADE REQUEST forms (particularly the latter) will be the primary way to continue to get covers from me. Without such a heavy custom workload, I’ll likely be able to move through the premade requests pretty quickly. The premade process is SO much faster than the custom process. There are already SO MANY requests on that form that I am SO EXCITED to work on as soon as I have time!
CUSTOM CLIENTS, PLEASE FILL OUT THE FOLLOWING FORM:
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR POTENTIAL NEW CLIENTS, AND FOR THE FUTURE
This means that the focus for my cover design business will be shifting more toward the “custom” premades and pulling projects from my custom waitlist to fill openings as needed. I don’t want to be scheduled a year in advance ever again. It’s too stressful. These options should allow me to create more covers for more people, all while having MUCH less stress.
This was a really difficult decision to make. It’s something I’ve known I needed to do for my health for a long time and have resisted. But after some really difficult recent discussions, I’ve come to realize that I have to prioritize my health before things get worse. The kind of stress that I’m under, especially combined with my mental health struggles, can be lethal. I want to be around making covers for a long time to come.
I’m so sorry to anyone who is negatively impacted by this change. I know there are a lot of you scheduled for 2020, and this will be a stressful transition for everyone. I want to work with each of you to find a solution that will work – whether that’s keeping our slots, transitioning to the custom premade option, or me helping you through the process of finding a new artist and sharing any resources needed to complete your series. I will do everything I can to make sure this transition isn’t a painful one.