Changing Things Up in 2023

Clarity of the Mind and Moving Forward

2022 has been a challenging year for me both professionally and personally – forcing me to re-evaluate everything. And recently I discovered, quite by accident, a client (former) had published all of their books with another designer’s covers – never notifying me that they’d decided to not proceed with mine. All fine and no hard feelings – however, I wish the person had let me know out of professional courtesy at least. But it always gets me wondering what went wrong….if anything. A change in visions for the book covers? Lack of good communication? I know that as the process was moving forward, outside forces were pulling us in different directions….but I digress. Only one stumble in a long year filled with many challenges overcome.

What I have completed in recent months:

Here are many of the covers that made it to publication during the second half of 2022 – most, if not all, should be available for purchase on Amazon at this time. I enjoyed creating all of these covers, and I had a wide variety of subjects to draw from for these designs. Also, I was commissioned to format the interior files for three of these titles as well – still not 100% certain that I want more of that sort of work on my plate….time will tell.

I cannot close out the year without my usual grumble about the process of designing itself

I did enjoy many of my collaborations in 2022. I have a handful of brilliant friends as clients. I look forward to the next project with each of them. When it all comes together smoothly, I love what I do. I love to design! I love a happy client! But there are always the exceptions…..

When I accept a commission for a design project, I always lose my inspiration when a client micro-manages the project. That doesn’t happen as often as it did in the beginning of my career. But micro-managing a designer on our artwork kills our creativity. More than a few of the projects that I’ve carried through to publication are not my best work. Why? Because clients ignored, refused to take my advice, or simply had to have poor elements on their cover. My best work comes from being given the freedom to do my thing as a designer. Perhaps cover design is not my calling after all. I’ll continue to ponder on that idea in 2023.

I strive to produce only designs that I am proud of and know, with every fiber of my being, that I have given my best efforts to achieve the final product. But to achieve the best design, I must stop allowing anyone to dictate what I do. I’ve always begun creative projects with detailed input from clients (and I always will) – but I must end the practice of allowing the editing of my work to the point that the design loses its integrity. There are industry standards and design rules that must be adhered to as well. Part of my job is to keep an eye on the market – what trends in cover design are on those books we see on the best seller lists – that’s a big clue in what is selling. And we all want to sell the books we work so hard in publishing.

I want to give my clients my finest work to the best of my abilities every time – not sub-standard work driven by their opinions. This might sound harsh, but it is important to keep repeating. I have years of experience, skills, and practice at what I do – I’m a bit more of an expert at designing book covers (and what is actually selling books these days) than non-designers who commission me to create a cover for their novel. Trust the experts to do our jobs – after all, you’ve hired us for our skills as professionals. Give us your ideas, yes – but IN THE END, let the experts do their job. /end rant

Final thoughts…

I have much already planned for 2023 – I’ll be on the road (literally) quite a lot in the coming year, thus not going to allow myself to get too heavily booked up with design projects. I doubt that I will accept new clients for the time being either. And I will not be available often enough to take on short notice work. My next available slot as of this writing is in the month of March. And we’ll see how the summer sorts out, but I may re-think my career path by the end of 2023 – recently losing a close loved one has certainly changed my priorities in life. Time to follow a new path. I will always be doing something creative – but I’ve not yet discovered a truly comfortable balance in my career of design and my own personal pursuits as an artist.