Should I shut down my site? Apologies and other frettings

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I’m very fortunate, and grateful, that people like my book cover designs and I keep getting lots of orders. I love doing them and am happy as a clam to work on them all day, fine-tuning things and playing with the best fonts, arrangements and colors. I feel I’ve produced some pretty great work.

But unfortunately, over the past few months – even after I raised my prices – I’ve been getting more work than I can handle.

This means it’s been taking longer and longer until I can start new orders. Recently I’ve had to refund two authors who were dissatisfied with the wait, and I hate that I took up their valuable time without delivering.

Although I’m usually pretty good about leaving an expected timeline of 2 to 3 weeks up on my site, I know that authors are anxious to see samples, and I’d love to have a turnaround of just a few days.

Should I close my site to new orders until I’m all caught up? Probably. The other option is raising my prices again, but I’m happy where they are and I don’t want authors to have to pay too much. Neither option seems like a solution, because eventually I’ll open my site and get overworked again. I could pass off some of the work to my friends or colleagues, share the workload (especially with the ebook and InDesign formatting I’ve been doing recently, or website designs, which take a lot of time).

For now – I’d like to apologize for not being faster. I hope someday soon to have improved my cover design services to the point where all authors will be ecstatic. Apologies and best wishes,

Derek

 

 

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  • Kaneisha
    Reply

    I’m about to be real bossy, but it’s only because you asked and I feel passionate about entrepreneurs charging what they are worth. You ready? Here we go.

    No, you should definitely not shut down your site! As a business owner, MBA, and author, my professional and personal opinion is that you simply need to do two things: 1) raise your prices and 2) prune your offerings.

    Right now, your lowest priced offering is $249, but someone going over to a site like 99 Designs (where I got my book cover for my book Be Your Own Boyfriend designed) would have to pay at least $299 starting out for a book cover.

    As an experienced book cover designer, your prices should start at $350 minimum, and go up from there. I understand that you don’t want to charge authors too much money. However, it’s better to charge more and actually deliver rather than have to turn people away who have already paid and who thought they were going to get a book cover.

    Secondly, you offer ancillary add-ons which are generous but needlessly time consuming. Why offer 300 or 700 words worth of editing? You are a skilled graphic designer with a passion for book covers. Leave the editing to a copyeditor, and regain that time. I don’t remember if you had any other non-core offerings, but I would leave those out as well and focus on just giving folks awesome book covers.

    Another option is to keep your prices low and hire other designers, but I don’t recommend that route as then your job would turn into managing those designers instead of being an artist like you are.

    It looks like you really love this! Keep your site up. Just raise your prices and laser in on giving people the most important part of what you do–awesome book covers that help sell their books!

    Great site!

    • Derek Murphy
      Reply

      Thanks for your comment! I’ve refunded about 4 authors this month so far, but we parted on good terms, and the other 20+ covers I’ve done this month have been well received. I’m feeling more on the ball now and am catching up. I agree I’ll probably have to raise my prices again (I just raised them in December…) but I’m going to try to plug through it for right now. Editing doesn’t take up much time – and I don’t feel right finishing a cover with poor back copy (or even worse, typos). And I was a pro copy editor for years before this, so I feel I add some value there. Authors pay to edit their book, but then take big risks with their sales copy, which is just as important. It’s mostly the formatting and ebook conversions which is killing me, but it’s such as obvious add-on service to book cover design, I feel dumb refusing to do it when authors ask. Anyway, appreciate the feedback!

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