Thursday, May 21, 2009

Publishing Frustrations #2: Freelancing.

I've been working in the publishing industry for over 15 years, and I've worked on both the client side and the freelancer's side, and it never ceases to amaze me how poorly some clients treat their freelancers. Publishers use freelancers because they're cheaper than hiring someone full time and paying them a salary with benefits. A lot of the time, freelancers get the short end of the deal, because, time is money, and the longer you spend on a project and the more the client requires you to do, the less money you make. Here are a few of the problems I've run into:

Late projects. The book is late, and it becomes YOUR problem. You only have two weeks to complete the lettering. If you can't get it done, you're an incompetent idiot, and we'll give the job to someone who can do it faster than you. Yes, this actually happens. And no rush fees are paid either. The majority of the editors that I've worked with never got their work done on time. Was it surprising that they were all men?

Editors making multiple changes and edits AFTER the lettering is done. So, if an editor doesn't have time to read through a translation before lettering is started, why can't I charge an additional fee for all of the extra changes? LOL

Clients who add more work than what is initially agreed upon. I've had a client offer to pay less than half of my normal rate to letter a book. After I finished the lettering, the client asked me where the table of contents page and copyright pages were (usually the job of a graphic designer), and THEN told me a month later to make a PDF file with bleeds and laid out back to front for the printer (also the job of a graphic designer) -- all of which he expected me to do for my low low page rate. He then was offended when I asked for an additional payment for the graphic design work (because his other letterers did the work for no additional fees). Needless to say, that was the first and last job I did for the client.

Clients who don't use the correct terminology. I had a client who would tell me to "percentage this" and to "colorize that." Excuse me? You mean enlarge or reduce this? And change the color of that? I'm sorry, I'm not a mind reader.

Clients who pay late. Clients expect you to turn in work on time, but when it comes to paying you, I've had clients take up to 120 days or more to send you a check. Too bad I wouldn't get any more work from them if I took them to small claims court.

Clients who don't give you proper materials to work with. 72 dpi files are NOT acceptable for print! My friend calls it the Rumplestilskin Factor. They give you straw and expect you to spin gold. :D

Clients who think that they are your ONLY client. When you're a freelance artist, you don't have a set income. If you don't work, you don't get paid. So, most freelancers have more than one client. But, often, a client assumes that since they're paying for your time, their jobs are your number one priority, and they want it done ASAP.

I'm a great believer in karma, and my message is this: Be nice to your freelancers, because, maybe one day, YOU'LL be the freelancer, and your current freelancer may be your client. ;)



Anonymous said...

Hahaha, most of these sounds strangely like a company we know.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't sound like fun. Good thing you love what you do. ;)

Allie said...

A friend sent me this link. It's hilarious!!

The Vendor Client relationship - in real world situations.

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