Closing the Door on 2017

December 17th, 2017

Another year almost over and once again it’s time to take a look at what I accomplished and just what kind of year it was. Even though I blog pretty infrequently these days, I always want to sum up the twelve months that are just about to end (even if it is a tad early yet).

For starters it was my second full year of freelancing without a net. Anyone who knows me or has read even a little of what I have to say about working freelance knows that I held a full-time job as a court clerk for over 32 years and that I worked my freelance book design practice the last 25 of those years; and now I continue to do book design and layout as my sole form of gainful work. And when I’m not playing golf.

So what kind of year has it been?

I feel as if it was a slow year. And then I look back and see that I worked on five books this year, and did some clean up work on two other books completed in 2015 for an indy publisher that had shut down and then rose up again briefly.

I also want to smile at how my perspective has changed over the years and that I now call that amount of work “slow”.

A good amount of time was spent on an 800+-page book of photos and text in the form of short essays, as well as a question-and-answer format. The hundreds of photos required a lot of Photoshop work, editing backgrounds and playing with colors. That part of the project was pretty intense and required me to stretch my comfort level with Photoshop, so I had a lot of fun with that book. Despite all that, it was a case of—for the first time in years—where I severely underestimated the value of the job and took kind of a beating on what I was paid, considering the scope and amount of work. But that’s on me for underestimating.

At the same time, I got involved in another of what I’ve come to call “pay-it-forward” projects, taking one design-and-layout job for a young author, a first-year high school girl, and having that blossom into another fledgling indy publisher for whom I’m serving as Creative Director. I just sent the second book for my young author off to the printer this past week.

And looking forward to 2018 I already see a year that looks busier still. I have a handful of proposals and promising initial contacts out, at least a couple of which I honestly expect to result in projects. I have two PDF-only (not PDF for print) projects, both continuing a book I worked on this past year, translations of reviews of the works of Beethoven. The first of those is scheduled to start in January.

To all my friends and clients—past, present, and to come: Happy Holidays (whichever you celebrate) and here’s to a healthy, creative, and happy New Year.

Entry Filed under: freelancing,the business of freelancing

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bette Stevens  |  March 30th, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Hi, Stephen. Just stopping by to check out your blog to see what you’ve been up to…Wow, I can’t imagine working on an 800 page book and all those photos. So pleased to discover that you’re paying it forward with your design talents for a blossoming young author. Kudos to you and best of wishes to both of you. May your 2018 be overflowing with blessings! ~ Bette

  • 2. admin  |  March 30th, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Hullo, Bette. Thanks for the kind words. The 800-page book with those 300+ photos was particularly engaging and fun, as it required I stretch my Photoshop skills a bit. It’s great fun to be busier; the busier the better. And paying it forward only seems fair, as I had a number of people who took a chance on me when I had little experience and not much of a track record. I also had plenty of people who engaged with me online to help me learn my way. My best to you, Bette. I hope it’s a happy, healthy, and productive time for you, too!

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