Chasing a designer. Advice please.


Active Member
Apr 24, 2016
Wirral, England, UK
I've commissioned a professional designer to do a book cover for me, but he's dragging his heels and has missed his deadline.

I know he's working on it as I've seen the roughs, (and they're excellent), but he seldom responds to my messages and cancelled our last meeting.

It's payment on completion, so that's not the issue, but I have self-imposed deadlines of my own and want the cover before I can meet them.

My designer is an ex-colleague and has his own business.

Any advice? Do I just keep badgering him? Or is there a better way?
A couple of points come to mind:

- underestimating how long a project will take is common
- lack of communication is bad

However, if you're asking for a cover, why do you need to have meetings, and what sort of messages are you sending? You only need to have sent two: 1) here's your money to start the job, and 2) polite enquiry after a deadline has passed as to whether everything's on track.

I suspect your friend is feeling over-worked - very common is one-person companies - so be careful you're not inundating them with unnecessary attention. As you're paying on completion there's always the chance of already paid work taking up their time - and more than expected. If you've sent something, leave at that.

It is always a good idea to have a plan B.

It is always a good idea to overestimate how long everything will take. +50% estimated time is actually good practice.

If it falls through, check out the list on Smashwords.

There is no easy advice to this for people outside the situation to give.

Always agree clear goals with clear time lines, written down, with a copy each.
Last edited:
Without damaging your relationship with an ex-colleague, I don't think there's much to do except wait. But it's a lesson learned: never give the bloke your business again, his behavior is incredibly unprofessional.

Did they give you "mates rates", though? If so, that changes things -- they might have underestimated the cost of the work required, or full-price work might be taking priority. It's still rude to not communicate with you, but they may also be afraid of ruining a friendly relationship.
Update: He got back to me not long after I posted this thread.

The cover is excellent, so I will use him again - but this time I'll know his deadline is a work of fiction, and that he won't reply to me every time I ask something.

Hey, we live and learn!
but this time I'll know his deadline is a work of fiction, and that he won't reply to me every time I ask something.
That's pretty common.
And then getting nothing or a poor job.
So getting a job you are happy with is a BIG plus. Glad to hear you got a good cover.
It's common with artistic stuff that it it's done when it's finished :)
Love the cutout art style! Definitely seems worth the wait, looking forward to seeing your cover when it's revealed. :)

Similar threads