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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've seen other threads talking about cover artists not responding and possible communication issues, but I haven't found one that addresses the wait-time on the initial communication, directly.

How long has it taken for cover artists to respond to your initial communication? 

My initial contact is typically a polite e-mail that requests additional information towards hiring them for a cover.  I'm not writing, "I need it now!" or "You don't charge too much, do you?"  There isn't anything objectionable in my e-mail.

Do the cover artists who respond tend to respond immediately?  Do you have some that took a few weeks to reply initially?

Again, I wouldn't mind a response that reads, "I'm so swamped right now, I wouldn't be able to fit new work in until the fall."  I'm asking how long it takes to get any response whatsoever, so that I know whether to continue waiting or assume no response after one week means I'll likely never hear from them.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
 

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For any kind of request for service, not just artists, I wouldn't wait more than three, maybe four days (at the outside). If they can't check their email and at least respond with a quick, "No time now, drop me some details and we'll correspond more in the future," within a few days I don't trust them to respond when I need them. A week is very generous, in my opinion.
 

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You might try one follow-up email and wait a few days, not another week. There IS the possibility that your first email hit their e-mail's spam filter for whatever reason. If after the follow-up, you still haven't heard from them, move on.
 

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Jim Franz said:
I've seen other threads talking about cover artists not responding and possible communication issues, but I haven't found one that addresses the wait-time on the initial communication, directly.

How long has it taken for cover artists to respond to your initial communication?

My initial contact is typically a polite e-mail that requests additional information towards hiring them for a cover. I'm not writing, "I need it now!" or "You don't charge too much, do you?" There isn't anything objectionable in my e-mail.

Do the cover artists who respond tend to respond immediately? Do you have some that took a few weeks to reply initially?

Again, I wouldn't mind a response that reads, "I'm so swamped right now, I wouldn't be able to fit new work in until the fall." I'm asking how long it takes to get any response whatsoever, so that I know whether to continue waiting or assume no response after one week means I'll likely never hear from them.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
I send out multiple queries because of this very problem. I give them about 5 business days (a week). If I don't hear back from them within a week, I'm a little hesitant to work with them--only because if I have a question, I'd like to know how responsive they are. That said, I have heard back after a week a few times and the reason was almost always "I was on vacation." I completely understand that people are not going to post "Hey I'm leaving my house for a week on vacation, come on in thieves!" So depending on why, it may not matter to me.

That said, the ones I've ended up doing business with have always responded within 3 days.

Once I'm in a working relationship with them, I get to know their response times--one artist does take about a week to reply most of the time. She has, however, always been on time with deadlines and responds well if I let her know something is urgent.
 

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I ordered my cover through http://www.ecovermakers.com/ and Derek came back to me very quickly with a questionnaire about what I Wanted.

Two days later I had the first draft of the cover with exactly the elements I had asked for and after quick email exchange I had the final cover.

I really recommend the service.

Mike
 

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I met my cover designer through a post here on the Writers' Cafe. We had some back-and-forth (I was considering doing my own cover), and within a few days I decided to hire him. We immediately discussed a time-frame, how I envisioned the book, etc. He delivered precisely within the time frame, with a great cover. I'd recommend him: J. Simmons Illustration 
 
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I learned a long time ago to put "due dates" in my queries.  For example, I might say something like "I need to make a final decision by June 10th, so if you are interested in the job please get back to me before then."  Or, "If you could let me know if you have interest in this project in the next couple of days, I can send you more detailed information."

It's a tactic I learned called "closing the sale."  People are funny.  If they don't get a specific deadline, they tend to puch things off.  When sending a query to ANYONE, you need to clearly define when you want to hear back and what sort of information you are looking for.  YOU know what you want, but the other party is not a mind reader.
 

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When vendors don't respond, I drop them from the list. That's probably not fair to all of them, but my experience indicates its a sign of trouble all through the process. Better to just scratch them and move on to another.
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
I learned a long time ago to put "due dates" in my queries. For example, I might say something like "I need to make a final decision by June 10th, so if you are interested in the job please get back to me before then."
I am one of those people that need due dates! Or else, like Julie said, I will put them off. It's not intentional, just a matter of organizing.

Caedem - http://CaedemMarquez.com
 

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I compiled a list of artists that I wanted for illustrating my debut full length novel from most desired to least. I planned to query them in stages of 3-5 days rather than shotgun all at once and see who responded first. I was fortunate that the first artist on my list responded within a day. I was prepared to wait at least three days before emailing the next artist in line.
 

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I'm a cover artist and I usually have a rough draft within a day, if not hours. I did a seven title cover job within a day. It's difficult for me to imagine taking days and days unless the client wants hand-drawn art and if that's the case, I would direct them to an illustrator. :)

I have cover samples on my website (www.kimberlyvanmeter.com).

Kimberly V.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
I learned a long time ago to put "due dates" in my queries.
I wouldn't think it necessary to give a due date when it comes to responding to an initial e-mail. That said, my current approach isn't working with some of the artists, so I'll definitely consider it in the future!

Also, thanks to everybody for their responses!
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
I learned a long time ago to put "due dates" in my queries. For example, I might say something like "I need to make a final decision by June 10th, so if you are interested in the job please get back to me before then." Or, "If you could let me know if you have interest in this project in the next couple of days, I can send you more detailed information."

It's a tactic I learned called "closing the sale." People are funny. If they don't get a specific deadline, they tend to puch things off. When sending a query to ANYONE, you need to clearly define when you want to hear back and what sort of information you are looking for. YOU know what you want, but the other party is not a mind reader.
Great advice. This is the only way that I get results for my web pages and publications at my day job, so it's habit now.

Jim Franz said:
I wouldn't think it necessary to give a due date when it comes to responding to an initial e-mail. That said, my current approach isn't working with some of the artists, so I'll definitely consider it in the future!

Also, thanks to everybody for their responses!
The "due date" in the above illustration is not the due date for completion of the cover; it's the date for decision on who to hire.

I have only worked with one cover artist (current project - http://streetlightgraphics.com/). His first response was within 6 hours and subsequent correspondence has been within a day or two.
 

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I contacted several cover artists and only one responded, so she got the job. I like the idea of sending a date by which I need a response, I will use that in the future.
 
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Jim Franz said:
I wouldn't think it necessary to give a due date when it comes to responding to an initial e-mail.
Work a couple days in corporate America. You learn that lesson VERY quickly! ;D

My day job is for a large contract packaging company. I've got responsibilities to HR, Accounting, Sales, Design, and Assembly. People prioritize responses based on timelines. If they have thirty emails to respond to, they respond to them by perceived importance. An email with no date is pushed to the bottom of the list...and continues to get pushed to the bottom as new emails come in. Heck, even when people come to me and ask for help, I ask them for a timeline of when they need it done. "ASAP" is not an answer, nor is "whenever you get to it." I'll ask them to give me a firm time so I can prioritize tasks. For some people, after all, ASAP means "next week" while for others it means "last week."

For creative types, a query without some sort of timeline may get dismissed as a "fishing" expedition (particularly in light of all of the...eh hem...offers of exposure artists get.) By putting some sort of date in the query, it signifies you have a real project with a real job.
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
Work a couple days in corporate America. You learn that lesson VERY quickly! ;D
THIS!

I lucked out and my first and only query was Amanda at RazzDazz. I told her in the very first email what I was looking for and when I needed it (approx). Even though I had plenty of time, she still responded within 48 hours. May have been less, I don't remember. And I KNOW the woman is busy, so as far as I'm concerned, there's no excuse for not responding within 48 hrs.
 

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I try to respond as soon as I get the email.

It definitely shouldn't take more than a few days depending on when the email was sent. If it's over the weekend, give the artist until Monday or even Tuesday to get back to you. If it's during the week they should be professional enough to respond within a day or two.


Oh, I forgot to mention that most designers who work with publishers professionally, like myself, try to schedule projects in advance, sometimes one to two months before the deadline. So expect to have a bit a of a wait. However, once a project is started it shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks unless you are asking for something complicated and time consuming.

Amanda
 

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If someone doesn't get back to me in three or four days, I'm going to move on to the next person on my list. And if you're going to be on vacation, you need to set up an auto-response indicating that. It's not really any different than the person who cuts your hair posting a sign saying when they're going to be out of town ...

 
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Give it a couple days, shoot off another email. Don't be afraid to proposition multiple artists simultaneously to begin with.
 
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