Another Designer’s Musings Make Me Think

May 13th, 2018

A no-doubt well-meaning fellow on LinkedIn, after designing over a thousand book covers “and earning about a quarter of a million bucks from [his] design business,” is done with working as a book cover designer, because he wants to turn to writing full-time. And he’s created a bunch of templates and “ready covers” for DIYers to do their own design and layout on, as well as tutorials on YouTube. I’ll grant you that the sentiment is likely from the heart and a nice one.

But whereas he probably worked hard and each and every template and cover, he created them without a hint of knowledge about the books they’ll be used for. And that’s not original. In fact, it reeks of one-size-fits all bookmill work.

Then again, who am I to question the guy’s skills, experience, or success. After all, he’s made “a quarter of a million bucks” on “over a thousand covers.

Well, wait a sec! $250,000 for 1,000 covers averages to $250 per cover. That’s really not professional money in a first-world economy. And that got me to thinking about my earnings over the years. So I took to looking at all my records. Now, I’ve been freelancing as a book designer/layout artist for over 27 years. Twenty-five of those years my book design practice was a moonlighting enterprise. That is, I held a full-time “day job” (totally unrelated to graphic design, publishing, or making books) for those 25 years. During that time I worked on about a hundred books and earned almost $325,000.

I feel pretty good about what I’ve accomplished, how I built a book design practice to work at full-time after retiring from that “day job.” I’m thankful to that fellow on LinkedIn, because he got me thinking about all this to start with.

Entry Filed under: book design,freelancing,the business of freelancing

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