The process of collaborating is the lifeblood of any creative project, communication and trust are essential. Open communication is the best way to make sure that no surprises come up. Before committing to anything, be clear in the services that you are wanting and about payment. That is the biggest problem with dealing with middle-men, the lines of communication are intentionally blurred. Streamlining does have its benefits but a lot is lost by not getting to know the person you are dealing with. If you can deal with a person directly, get on the same page about your vision, your project will benefit immensely.
Surprisingly, establishing trust and communication are the biggest problems that authors face in the publishing process, and the main reason for this blog. Working with middle men requires you to micromanage each step yet with creative collaboration, micromanaging hinders the freedom that creativity requires. If you can establish trust and make your vision clear, a true creative process can begin. With the right team in place, collaboration can be a lot of fun and beneficial to your initial vision. The more the illustrator/graphic designer/editor is able to let his imagination soar, within the set parameters, the more likely you are to benefit from their area of expertise. The more you micromanage the creative process, the less likely he is to bring added value to your project. The more constrained the graphic artist feels, the more likely he is to strictly adhere to decorating, without letting the creativity flow.
The more information you can provide upfront, once the parameters are set, let yourself trust the experience and creativity of your team. Be clear in providing descriptions and instructions, providing any significant details that are important to your vision. The more you can communicate upfront, the less likely you are to be surprised down the road.
Trusting your service provider is a very important part of the synergy of the creative process. Choose wisely. You should be able to trust that they have the necessary skill and experience that your project requires and there should be transparency throughout the process. If things are unclear from the start, if they are “passing the buck,” rest assured that hidden expenses and unexpected changes and delays await.
Some common indications of bad service providers:
- delay in responding to emails or calls
- anonymity or being thrown into the customer service limbo
- lack of examples of previous work or references
- unwillingness to provide immediate answers or “passing the buck”