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Hating Confrontation (The Rest of the Story)

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When last we met, I shared how I hated confrontation, and specifically the back-and-forth with a designer re: my book cover. So here is what has transpired since. 

Oh, wait! First, a little backstory. 

I sort of lost it when I got the last covers. I’d spent hours writing an email, very carefully explaining what I wanted and why the designs I was sent were not hitting the mark. And I’d like to add that in the comments of my last post, our WOW! editor, Angela Mackintosh, made an excellent suggestion and one I’d followed. To wit, send screenshots of book covers that are appealing and why. That way, the designer will have a better idea of what is expected and desired. 

It’s so time-consuming, scrolling through hundreds of book covers! Anyway, the designer had not produced what I considered anything close to the samples I’d sent. AGAIN. So I sat down and wrote a scathing, blistering email addressing every concern and frankly, it got a little (and by little, I mean a lot) personal.

I did not send that email. 

Once all the frustration poured out, I found I could consider the problem a bit more…shall we say rationally? (Because that email may have tipped into irrational.) I waited a few days and sent a more pithy and mostly not-at-all personal email. 

I included a cover that I liked from their very own website and wrote the following:

I put that cover above—it's one from your website's portfolio but I could have included dozens more from ********—because that's the kind of quality I keep expecting to see. After five unworkable covers, I'm wondering what to do next... Try another designer? Use a premade cover and refund the difference? Or refund my entire payment? Please let me know where we go from here—thanks! 

Within a few days I heard from my project manager. She apologized that the concepts hadn’t worked and said that, if I agreed, they’d like to start over with a completely new designer. (The timeline would be impacted, of course, though the timeline had already blown way by.) 

Now here’s the thing. My biggest issue with this company had been that I felt the assigned designer did not have the skill set to make the kind of covers that I’d seen plastered all over their website. And I feel like no matter who you are—newbie indie author or best-selling indie author—paying the fee for a custom book cover should get one a professional designer (and product). 

But here’s the other thing. I knew this company did excellent work and I suspected that they would not want to refund the money. So I felt like I had a pretty good chance of getting a senior designer who could actually design the concept I wanted and not a cut-and-paste mess. 

And you know what? He—or she—just sent me excellent cover concepts. So after a few tweaks, I’m hoping for a successful and happy ending to, as Paul Harvey used to say, “The rest of the story.”

~Cathy C. Hall (with fingers crossed)

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