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Being a Starving Artist Sucks Paperback – May 19, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 502 pages
  • Publisher: Can-Do Graphics, LLC. (May 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981622003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981622002
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,587,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeff Lippincott on July 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
I loved this marketing and client interaction book aimed at freelance design professionals. Interestingly, it is just as applicable to solo practitioner attorneys and other self-employed professionals. It's really a wonderful small business resource that provides practical advice from an author who has been there and done that. Included between its covers are six chapters and two appendices as follows:

0. Introduction
1. Mastering client interaction
2. Running an effective design business
3. Marketing & promoting your design business
4. Negotiating, pricing & protecting your work
5. Real stories, real clients, & some really hard lessons
7. Conclusion (pp 495-496)
A. Workbook exercises for the success-driven designer (pp 442-494)
>>Managing client relations
>>Running an effective, money-making business
>>Marketing & promotion
>>Money, pricing, & more money
B. Recommended resources for designers (pp 497-498)

Technically speaking Appendix A was listed in the book's Table of Contents as Chapter 6. But I thought it was misplaced there. I didn't really have a favorite section or article in this book. I liked the whole book.

Back in 1990 I decided to open my own law office after quitting my CPA job with one of the Big 7. At the time I was hungry to start my own business, but I was clueless as to what was involved. I wasn't a networker, and I was not well versed on marketing tools and techniques. Basically I could have used the instant book back then and not learned the hard way as the author of this book says he also did. The price of this book and the time spent reading it will definitely be a drop in the bucket for any young professional venturing out on his or her own as an entrepreneur.
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Format: Paperback
I have worked in the graphics industry, primarily in signage and then corrugated packaging, for over ten years. I have always been creative, I love design, and I know I want to be a designer in a creative agency setting. Although I've done several freelance projects, I certainly didn't want to jump straight into freelance full-time; it's not the right time for me. I don't have a BA in Graphic Design and no agency experience, so the anxiety of trying to break into that kind of work created feelings of frustration and low self-esteem. I definitely felt I needed some guidance and this is when I learned of Jeremy's "Being a Starving Graphic Artist Sucks" book.
The initial chapters on being confident really struck a chord with me. At the time I purchased the book I had unfortunately just been laid off from work. Knowing that we all suffer, at least in some part, with confidence and self-esteem issues, both personally and in our creative work, it made my predicament a little more bearable to know I wasn't alone in my thought process.
It has great information for all designers in general - not just specifically freelancers, or would-be freelancers and is laid out in a simple, easy to read format with lots of nice white space and readable fonts, so my eyes don't ache! There's so much valuable information and as a resource book, you will find yourself picking it up frequently to refer to relevant chapters. It's easy to thumb through sections at random, since some topics will be more relevant to the reader than others. Chapters on Managing clients, preventing miscommunication between parties, pricing your work and not letting clients take advantage of you were all great chapters that explain how best to handle things up front to alleviate frustration down the line.
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Format: Paperback
There's lots of great, practical advice in here for starting your own design business. The tone is very down-to-earth and encouraging, inspiring confidence in the reader that being a business person on top of being a graphic designer is not really so hard. My only problem with the book is that it sometimes makes it sound like the design work itself is not really as important as being able to "talk the talk." This attitude is bolstered by the design of the book itself, which is kind of terrible. Concepts are poorly organized, typesetting is cramped, and there's ugly clip art filling all pockets of white space.

Maybe that's not an entirely valid criticism of a book that isn't meant to be a design manual. But I worry that serious artists could be put off by such things, while those who are less interested in filling the world with good design will unfortunately be persuaded that they can make a fast buck with a little self-promotion. For instance, a lot of emphasis is placed on getting feedback from your clients about the look of your own marketing materials. This advice would make sense if having a personal style and vision were not such important aspects of being a reputable designer. Anyone who has produced good design for any length of time will tell you that it usually happens DESPITE client feedback, not because of it.

However, if you can ignore the money-over-quality overtones and remind yourself that you need to know about quality AND making money, the content really is very useful. I transitioned from in-house design into freelance while reading this book, and it definitely helped me avoid many problems that might have prevented my business from becoming as successful as it has over the past couple of years.
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