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PLEASE! Let Freelancer's Contact Clients for Clarification Prior to Using Connect Points!!!!

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Community Leader
Gary Val T Member Since: Mar 28, 2018
11 of 46

Okay, Tiffany, then how about UpWork informing potential clients that they should be prepared to be deluged with questions if their job description doesn't include as much pertinent information as they can possibly think of? Is that asking too much? No need to reply. I already know your answer. Smiley Wink

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Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
12 of 46

Gary Val T wrote:

Okay, Tiffany, then how about UpWork informing potential clients that they should be prepared to be deluged with questions if their job description doesn't include as much pertinent information as they can possibly think of? Is that asking too much? No need to reply. I already know your answer. Smiley Wink


Actually, you've missed the point completely. As those who went through this on Elance will attest, clients who do a great job of providing thorough information will be no less deluged.

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Community Leader
Gary Val T Member Since: Mar 28, 2018
13 of 46

Okay. You win. I give up. 

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Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
14 of 46

Gary Val T wrote:

Okay. You win. I give up. 


May as well. You won't change Upwork's mind.

 

I'm curious, though, about what information you need to decide whether to bid on a book cover job when your profile indicates that you'll work on any type of book.

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Gary Val T Member Since: Mar 28, 2018
15 of 46

That’s true, Tiffany, I will work on any kind of book. But only if what the author wants on the cover is something I’m confident I can do and do really well. For example, if they want a custom illustration of a character from the book I know I may not be the best guy for the job because I’m not particularly good at illustrating people, especially if the client is hoping for anything close to what’s generally referred to as “photo realism”. If it doesn’t have to be photo-realistic then I might be okay with it. But even if I’m okay with it, I have to consider that I’d be trying to create an image of a person whose physical attributes are likely already described in the book. That greatly increases the challenge and will likely result in several revisions based on the author’s feedback. This, in turn, increases the amount of time that will be invested in the job. And we haven’t even mentioned the visual context in which the character will be placed. Will it be a relatively simple background or something more complex? 

 

I also want to know if the book is fiction or nonfiction. If fiction, what is the genre? If nonfiction, what is the subject matter? The style of the artwork and the overall appearance for each is quite different. A good book cover will immediately convey the genre if fiction or the subject matter if nonfiction. I want to know these things for various reasons not the least of which is that, in every case, I want the cover to be as good, if not better, than the covers created by the designers employed by any of the big name publishing houses. That, really, is what every author is hoping to get. If it happens that, for whatever reason, I don’t feel I can meet that challenge then I won’t even bother with the job. But it's something I'd like to know before using my connects to bid on the job. 

 

I would also like to know if the author already has an idea of what they want on the cover or if they’re going to leave it up to me. Either one is a challenge in it's own way. But if I’m going to create something based on the author’s idea, I know based on over 12 years of experience, that it will likely require less time than if I have to come up with something on my own. I won’t bother to explain, here, why that’s the case. It just is.

 

I’d also like to know if the book is completely written or if it’s still a work in progress. I need to know because, if the book is still being written, that means the final page count has not yet been established. The page count determines the width of the spine portion of the cover if it’s going to be published as a paperback or hardbound as opposed to an ebook which, obviously, only requires a “front cover” image. Not having the final page count adds another level of difficulty to the design process in the case of a full wrap cover due to the actual dimensional requirements of the artwork in order to fit the book when it goes to press. This scenario could possibly lead to complications which would lead to more time to complete the job.

 

I also want to know which company will be manufacturing the book when it’s done. Why? Because various publishing services may have somewhat differing specifications for the cover art and, if by chance, the author is going to publish via a certain well-established company (whose name I won’t mention here) I will pass on the job because that company is too much of a pain to deal with.

 

So there ya go. Those are some of the things I’d like to know before using my connects to bid on the job. More often than not, job posts for book cover design work are void of any kind of helpful detail concerning what they want on the cover. Time and time again I see things like "Need a cover that is unique and really striking." Or, "Need a really eye-catching book cover." Or, my favorite, "Need a cover that will make my book a best-seller!" LOL! Well, okay, those are all fine and dandy headlines for the job post but the problem is that the actual body of the post is often not much more than a repeat of the job title with little else (if anything) to help me really get a feel for what will be required of me as the designer and whether or not I should even bother bidding on the job. 

 

Now, to be fair, I do know that the vast majority of people posting jobs for someone to design their book cover are first-time authors who have never been involved in the process of getting a book cover designed. That may account for the lack of detailed information in many of the posts. I am more than happy to educate them but I'd rather do it before I use my precious connects to contact them. That way we'd both get a better idea of what each of us will be getting ourselves into. Another probable reason for the vague posts is that I'll bet most clients don't realize the freelancer's situation when it comes to the connect points. They probably don't even know there are such things as connect points. They probably just think we can apply for the job at no cost to us. Therefore, they imagine if anyone is interested in the job they'll apply for it and any further information can easily be exchanged during an interview. I like to think if most of them understood the situation on the freelancer's end, maybe they would be more inclined to include more information in their job posts. I dunno. Am I just dreaming? ("You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." - J. Lennon) Smiley Wink

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Amanda F Member Since: Aug 8, 2015
16 of 46

Yeah I agree with Gary, designers, illustrators, web devs, and I am sure more certainly always need as much information as the client can give because there are lots of different styles and specifics that are needed to create the work. 

 

However, I don't agree to have any form of chat for freelancers to talk to clients prior to hiring. I do think something needs to be done about clients giving no information.

 

Why not have it so that when the client is making the description at first that upworks takes out the "this job was posted from a mobile phone" as that is certainly making the descriptions much more vague for the majority of the time that it is posted up with a job because clients then write less and excuse themselves that they are on a mobile phone with the scripted text. "This job was posted from a mobile device, so please pardon any typos or any missing details."

 

Then also when the client first writes the description, have something written there to ask the client to give as much information as possible so that freelancers can understand their exact needs for the project and that more information will help give them better results. Make it so they have to write at least a paragraph or 2 describing what they need as the usual bad descriptions have only 1-2 sentences that don't have any detail. Maybe even on the side give them good examples of how they should write a good description. Perhaps upworks could ask freelancers what information they normally need and try to get the client to write that information. 

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Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
17 of 46

Gary, that's a good rundown of considerations. I'm familiar with all of those considerations, as I own a small publishing company (though it's been dormant for several years) and have self-published multiple books. Wanting to know all of that before embarking on the project makes sense. Most of it, though, seems like it wouldn't be critical to deciding whether or not you'd want the job--that seems to come down mostly to the style of illustration. 

Still, I'm glad you took the time to write all of that out, because (as you obviously know) most of what you've laid out there comes as a complete shock to most authors self-publishing for the first time. 

I'm not sure what channels you use outside of Upwork, but a good website or blog with that type of information could become a good source of prospects for you.

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Amanda F Member Since: Aug 8, 2015
18 of 46

Illustration for a book cover is a type of marketing form as well and having as much information is important to be able to create it. It is important to know the target audience for one and the genre of the book. I do in fact think that Gary would need the information he is looking for and as much as possible would help him in making his cover right for the client.

 

Just because there are some types of jobs where you don't need so much information doesn't mean there aren't tons of other professions where you need it. Mine is one where you always need as much information in order to give the client what they need and for making the job proposal. 

 

So yes, a lot of what he said is needed in fact and most clients are not providing this basic information and in multiple areas of expertises as well. If they did their job posts would get better proposals and they have a better chance of completing the job successfully with information. There are some clients who are often unsure about what to ask which is why I think FAQs on the side or somewhere prominent for them while they are writing would be useful. You could have it listed by job type and it is like an accordian style dropdown or something simple for the UI, maybe even opening in another page so they can see it while they write.It shows some normal questions freelancers ask about the specific job type. For example, What information do freelancers ask for logo design? Some examples of what things you can tell freelancers in your job post: Freelancers want to know what your company does, what style of logo you may want, if you have any specific custom requirements, Is there an existing brand, what is your target audience, etc.   These could just be bullet points to make it simple maybe and also not be too overwhelming with just enough to start for the freelancer to make the bid, so a small list of things that could help in making a good description. 

 

It is such a simple thing to do and in a paragraph above the job posting area for the client it could state to try to be as descriptive as you can to help your project's success, and if you need any help on what is typically useful for a freelancer to know, see the FAQs on your left or at this link.

 

You will probably still get clients who don't post good ones but at least in doing this you are helping a lot of client make the job more descriptive which will help achieve the ultimate goal of clients being happy because an informed freelancer is one who should be able to come up with solutions and give a tailored proposal based on the information they are given. 

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Community Leader
Gary Val T Member Since: Mar 28, 2018
19 of 46

Amanda - Holy smokes! You have my vote for becoming the new top tier CEO of UpWork! Your suggestion is spot on! Seriously, SPOT-freaking-ON!  I actually thought I heard a massive chorus of angelic voices rising in a joyous "Hallelujah!" Unfortunately it will fall on deaf ears. It's so good, so well thought out and makes so much sense, that it would cause the decision-makers at UpWork to shudder in horror and reject it immediately. Still, thank you for a moment of hope, fleeting though it was.

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
20 of 46

Gary Val T wrote:

Hi Jennifer,

What about a one-time-only option to contact the client prior to bidding on the job? How much poop could that generate?


plz sir give me job

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