You don’t get rich in publishing. Mind you. Some do okay. Or they wouldn’t have posh offices on the Strand or in other locations in London. Even so, compared with other big companies and multi-nationals, publishing houses are the poor cousins. Most of us are in the industry because we love books and writers.
I went to a seminar on design yesterday at the InternationalAnthony Burgess Foundation, run by Literature North West. Talks in the forms of Power Point presentations were given by David Pearson and Alistair Hall.
Pearson designs for Penguin, mainly covers. He knows his stuff, and as well as showing us many beautiful examples of his work, he talked with enthusiasm about how he worked.
Hall, equally talented and very diverse in the projects he undertakes, showed us some of his work but talked at length about a project that is run mainly by volunteers.
Pearson has also set up his own publishing company with a partner. They don’t make much money but they do publish exquisite art-rich books.
Both designers have to work on spec as well as on commission. They obviously do manage to make a living by their art but because they do so much and to such perfection, the hourly rate is not good.
But do they care? I suspect not. Goodness, I work all hours God sends on writing, publishing and promoting them both. I do have to ensure that I get paid properly so that my work is valued correctly. Often that is not easy. But it is a vocation, not a job, in the end. The days and weeks whizz by. I no longer feel the need for holiday or retail therapy, though relaxation and inspirations is important and attending this seminar was a form of both.
Perhaps Hall’s project demonstrates very well what I’m what I’m saying. Check out http://www.ministryofstories.org/news/hoxton-street-monster-supplies-needs-your-product-ideas/