I design book covers. I was just starting out when a client contacted me to do a bundle of five covers. Needless to say, I jumped on it.
Well, I shouldn’t have. The first red flag came when they negotiated my fare down to only 10% of what I would have originally charged. I should have declined them then and there, but I was new at this and needed the money.
Red flag number two?
Me: So what are the titles of the books?
Client: I haven’t picked yet. But start putting something together in the mean time.
Read flag number three:
Me: What are the plots?
The client listed five generic plots that sounded recaps of recent rom-coms.
These covers were for romance novels. The client had a few ideas for the layout they wanted – bulky, messy ideas, and I couldn’t talk them out of it. The big idea was that even though these were romance novels, they shouldn’t feature people. Just… “schemes.”
No, I don’t know what that means either.
Me: (after seven revisions) How does this cover look to you?
Client: The plot of my book is about schemes. You need to put more schemes in the cover.
Me: But no people?
Client: No people. Absolutely not.
Me: What kind of schemes are in the book?
Me: …Perfume is a scheme?
Client: Of course!
I put a perfume bottle on the cover.
Client: What are you doing? I said more schemes! How dim are you?
Finally, I broke off the relationship. I told them that clearly I wasn’t doing the job they wanted, and I wasn’t interested in continuing to do the work.
Two months later:
Client: So what - you’re not going to do this design for me anymore?
If that’s their idea of “trying to get someone back,” I doubt their romance novels are going to be any good.