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View Full Version : Feedback for book cover design website?



Natasa
07-20-2013, 04:34 PM
Hi everyone, I'm a freelance book cover designer I've just set up my website at Chocolate Covers (http://chocolatecovers.wordpress.com/) and would like some opinions on the FAQ/How it Works pages and whether any points of my contract are iffy and need changes/additions or further clarification.

Having read this extremely helpful post (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8153227&postcount=2), I'm most worried about not demanding payment up front, but given that I'm a newbie to the field and an unknown name I figured the chances of finding a client will plummet if I do demand it. Once I've gotten a few testimonials and have a bit more experience I think I can safely switch to having up front payment. Does this line of thought seem reasonable, or should I demand it from the start?

Besides that concern, if there's any other feedback/critique regarding the rest of my website I will gladly accept it.

ETA. I'm fairly sure this is the place to post this, but if not, mods feel free to move this to the correct subforum ^-^

girlyswot
07-20-2013, 06:17 PM
I wonder if you would be better asking for the $25 non-refundable deposit in advance, rather than expecting people to pay it if they choose to withdraw from the project.

girlyswot
07-20-2013, 06:18 PM
Also, I thought your website made it look as though you design children's book covers. Cute animals, but they don't seem to relate to your business.

Natasa
07-20-2013, 06:30 PM
I wonder if you would be better asking for the $25 non-refundable deposit in advance, rather than expecting people to pay it if they choose to withdraw from the project.
Hi! I did consider this option, but my main problem is having the client pay upfront/in advance, even partially, because it makes my service looks unattractive given that I'm a newbie and there's no guarantee to the client's mind that I won't run off with the money. At the same time it does make it more safe for me if I'm stiffed or the client withdraws, but I would rather look for another alternative although it doesn't seem look like one exists. So at this point I suppose your solution *is* my best option XD


Also, I thought your website made it look as though you design children's book covers. Cute animals, but they don't seem to relate to your business.
Thank you for the feedback. My designs are mostly young adult to MG but I guess if I want to expand I had better modify its outlook.

Alessandra Kelley
07-20-2013, 07:45 PM
Hi everyone, I'm a freelance book cover designer I've just set up my website at Chocolate Covers (http://chocolatecovers.wordpress.com/) and would like some opinions on the FAQ/How it Works pages and whether any points of my contract are iffy and need changes/additions or further clarification.

Having read this extremely helpful post (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8153227&postcount=2), I'm most worried about not demanding payment up front, but given that I'm a newbie to the field and an unknown name I figured the chances of finding a client will plummet if I do demand it. Once I've gotten a few testimonials and have a bit more experience I think I can safely switch to having up front payment. Does this line of thought seem reasonable, or should I demand it from the start?

Besides that concern, if there's any other feedback/critique regarding the rest of my website I will gladly accept it.

ETA. I'm fairly sure this is the place to post this, but if not, mods feel free to move this to the correct subforum ^-^

I would be cautious about some of the advice found in that post. "Most clients are idiots" is not a healthy businesslike attitude.

It is not unreasonable to ask for some payment at the start of an assignment, the rest to be paid at a satisfactory conclusion. This is a good practice even for those just starting out. It helps keep both the artist and the client focused on the work.

I find it best to foster mutual respect between the artist and the client.

As for your site, the color palette and mood (especially with those cartoony animals) gives the impression of a site for children. It does not match the palette and mood of your covers.

The "Copyright" section might be better titled "Rights."

girlyswot
07-20-2013, 08:15 PM
Hi! I did consider this option, but my main problem is having the client pay upfront/in advance, even partially, because it makes my service looks unattractive given that I'm a newbie and there's no guarantee to the client's mind that I won't run off with the money.

I'd say it makes you look more professional. At the moment, you seem to be bending over backwards to help out your clients and I get that's because you're new and you want the business. But as a client, I'm much more likely to want to hire someone who sounds as though they know what they are doing. You know how inexperienced you are, but your client doesn't need to. Fake it till you make it. Kind of.

Natasa
07-20-2013, 08:37 PM
Thank you both, I truly appreciate your words. I'll modify my website according to your feedback :)

Natasa
07-21-2013, 03:55 AM
After a lot of deliberation I've chosen the new theme of the website, hopefully it dispels the child-like impression. Any comments are appreciated!

girlyswot
07-21-2013, 02:35 PM
I think it looks great. By the way, I should have said earlier - I really like your covers.

Rachel Udin
07-21-2013, 03:57 PM
I would be cautious about some of the advice found in that post. "Most clients are idiots" is not a healthy businesslike attitude.

=P A joke.... and should be an in-joke.

But it is true that you will run into an occasional client that doesn't know what they want, but wants the results right away at the same time, but also thinks they know what they want. At which point you have to carefully ask questions and measure your losses v. going forward. (i.e. don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. If they get annoyed and want it faster, consider carefully.)

Because humans range. How to handle such clients needs another thread entirely. And I definitely won't joke then.

Asking up front, however, is professional, and there is a book guideline for it linked somewhere... though it's easy to Google. (It's by an association of graphic artists) That'll go over industry standards and practices plus give example contracts better than anything I post. Also help you not to undercut yourself or your fellow artist.

Cranky1
07-21-2013, 09:56 PM
I also like your covers! If I ever need to find a new one, I'd consider working with you.

EMaree
07-22-2013, 12:12 AM
Looks good to me. You've got some gorgeous covers, and your pricing and rights terms seem clear. I'd definitely consider you if I was e-publishing.

A small nit-pick: depending on the brightness of the user's monitor, the birds in the cage tend to bleed into the background. Took me a while to notice them.

Natasa
07-22-2013, 02:31 AM
I suppose my pricing method before was something similar to on-spec which seems to be a big no-no within the design community in the professional sense. Having considered everything said here and done a bit of research myself I'm now requesting up-front payment for all the reasons already listed in this topic—and I feel it's doubly important not to undercut myself or my fellow artist, as Rachel Udin said.


A small nit-pick: depending on the brightness of the user's monitor, the birds in the cage tend to bleed into the background. Took me a while to notice them.
My monitor must be one of those because I didn't realize there were birds there before but there's nothing I can do about it as the theme isn't modifiable, unfortunately. And having gone through hundreds of themes I would rather stick with this given that the nitpick is, well, a nitpick. Thanks for pointing it out, though! :e2headban


Looks good to me. You've got some gorgeous covers, and your pricing and rights terms seem clear. I'd definitely consider you if I was e-publishing.

I also like your covers! If I ever need to find a new one, I'd consider working with you.
Thank you both! Cranky, feel free to get in touch if/when you're in need of a cover :)

Kaarl
07-28-2013, 01:26 PM
The covers look great. Not sure what your old "cartoony/kids book" site looked like but the version I just saw works well enough.






Welcome to Chocolate Covers! My name is Natasa and We specialize in creating beautiful and attention-grabbing eBook covers for $100. Take a look at the kind of work you can expect from us and if you like what you see, please see how we work (http://chocolatecovers.wordpress.com/how-it-works) with clients if you’re interested in commissioning a book cover.




Those are just some suggestions. Even though you work alone I think "we" works better. I would recommend changing this across your site. You can consider it the royal "we" if you'd like. Up to you of course.

You have your name in the "About" tab hence the red. I feel it presents a more professional first impression removing it.

I'd also recommend putting a "Pricing" tab even though it is flat rate (and very reasonable for the quality of your work might I add)

I come from an Agricultural Systems sales background and in my experience people don't like to be hit with figures straight off the bat. You've shown them the value on the homepage, make them come to you for the price via a tab. When they see the quality of your work and click the Pricing section it will be a doubly nice surprise to see how reasonable your rate is.

All the best with your site and business. I have an ebook I want to selfpublish, when its polished and ready you are at the top of my list for cover work. Bookmarked ;)

Literateparakeet
08-20-2013, 01:03 AM
I love your covers. I think that Bloody Mary one is sure to give me nightmares!

Good luck!

veinglory
08-20-2013, 01:07 AM
Hi! I did consider this option, but my main problem is having the client pay upfront/in advance, even partially, because it makes my service looks unattractive given that I'm a newbie and there's no guarantee to the client's mind that I won't run off with the money..

IMHO a client who won't put down a partial payment is not taking the business transaction seriously, and probably is not a client you want. I say that as someone who has bought multiple covers, sometimes from established professionals, and sometimes from kids on Deviantart who don't even have their own website.

When I choose an artist I expect a standard business transaction including partial payment up front or after the thumbnail stage. Anything other than this normal approach would make me suspicious.

The covers look good, let people just assume you are an experienced professional. the website theme still seems completely unrelated and cartoony though.

kevinwaynewilliams
08-20-2013, 08:54 PM
I'm concerned about the implied endorsements. It appears that you have taken books by various authors and designed your own covers for them. That's well and good, but you need to explicitly state that you have done so without the author's permission and that they have neither used your service nor endorse your work. Unless, of course, you do have permission and they do endorse your work, in which case you should brag about that.