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Cover design cut-off

2013 October 19

I’m not sure if it’s compatible with freelancing “best practices” to say anything when a client relationship winds up; it may well not be, but in this case perhaps the circumstances make it a valid exception and, if not, who really cares.

This week brought what may very well be my last cover design commissions from John Wiley and Sons, my oldest client. The reason for this is to all appearances not a judgment on Modern Alchemy or my work. Wiley will continue publishing books and those books will continue to have custom designed covers, but in one sense their dispensing with my services is more like a client simply going out of business: if the people who actually work on the books remained empowered to hand out assignments I would likely receive them, but a corporate decision has closed down all design commissions from freelancers.

So it goes. Meanwhile, I am awash in cover design work right now; the inrush of commissions before the cut-off date tends to demonstrate the individual clients’ sentiment about all of this. As do a warm letter of reference from one US-based editor, and a lovely thank-you card received just today, hand-signed by everyone in the UK office. (The card’s from M&S, too; double-classy!)

Under the circumstances, it doesn’t seem absolutely final that this client will be gone for good, even when all of my in-progress work is finally completed, which will take months. We’ll see. If this is the end, though, it’s been a very good nine-plus years. Indeed it’s strange to wrap something up, like this; nine years is more than three times as long as my longest employment tenure. As a freelancer, projects end, and people come and go, but this is the first time I’ve had a regular, ongoing, long-term client relationship finish up. In some ways it seems amazing that anything should have lasted so long. “But,” per Patricia Pierce, “the time comes for every thing to have a rest.”

As that doesn’t yet include me, though, onward it is.

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