Hello My Name Is

New Name, New Direction

I spent almost 20 years building up my reputation as a book designer under the name April Martinez. In June of this year, I got married and changed my last name.

New Name: McMillan

This is the perfect opportunity for me to start anew in the book design world — new last name, blank reputation, fresh start, new direction. Back in March, I wrote that I was no longer open to new clients. Today, I’m announcing that I’m open to new clients again, with a caveat.

I do still have my full-time day job, which means the book design work is still a side hustle, but my married status now means that my income now helps to support two adults, two kids, and two pets, instead of just me. Full-time job, full household. So, while it would be nice to have the extra income, I still need to make sure the book design work is kept to the weekends. That means I’m now open to only a very specific two types of clients.

New Direction: Open to Special Clients

Those clients (hopefully with long lead times and short emails) are:

  1. Publishers.
  2. Well established self-publishing authors with a steadily growing backlist of five or more books.

The reason behind this is pretty simple. Because my time is limited, I can’t spend a lot of it explaining the process to new or inexperienced authors, answering the inevitable questions about expectations, specifications, industry standards and conventions, and the like, or I’ll simply never get around to doing the actual work.

Authors who just finished writing their first book can be fun to work with — the excitement and the feeling of novelty is catching, and I have enjoyed freely sharing my knowledge with those eager to learn. In fact, I am happy to explain how things work to people new to the industry, just not in one-on-one emails and not as a vendor to a client.

That said, part of my new name, new direction goals involve using my blog and my social media to educate new authors and new cover artists. So, if you are a publisher or well established author, April McMillan awaits your business, and if you are new to publishing entirely, stay tuned as I build a reputation for my new name by telling you all that I learned when I was April Martinez.


Currently Not Open To New Clients

When I last redesigned this web site back in July 2020, just a few months into the pandemic, my goal was to rebrand GraphicFantastic and market my book design services to a whole new audience. I was working full-time as a graphic designer at a retail company, but I was struggling financially; I needed the supplemental income of a side hustle, and my aim was to beef up the secondary income that my book design work provided.

Since then, I became very busy dealing with huge changes and switched day jobs. I was hired as head of recruitment marketing for the county, and the pay is considerably better — much more commensurate with my experience and extensive skill set, which means the freelance work is now no longer as necessary as it was. So my campaign to develop this site became stillborn; the time and the need were no longer there.

That said, I will continue to do book design for my existing clients, the publishers and authors that I have happily serviced for years, and I might occasionally accept referrals through people I know personally or through people I’ve worked with for years. However, I’m not open to new clients at this time, at the very least not at my old rates. The extra income is nice, but at this point in my life, time is a commodity that is even more precious to me.

But just because I’m not open to new clients, that doesn’t mean I won’t still update this site every now and then with book design content of some kind. I still feel that my experience can benefit people, and I love the idea of sharing what I know about book design. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions; I have many colleagues still working full time in the publishing industry who would love to help you, and I can refer you to any one of them.

Web Site Redesign

Welcome to the new GraphicFantastic! For years the site was simple — a small collection of static HTML pages and JPG covers — but for a very good reason. I was too busy doing cover work to spend much time on the web site displaying it. I have some web design skills, but keeping up with an evolving content management system and markup language wasn’t on my agenda.

Enter 2020. It’s time for a web site redesign. So please excuse my dust.

The gallery is at this time displaying only half a dozen of some of my recent covers. I’m in the midst of major computer housekeeping, cataloging almost 20 years of art and design files, so the gallery section of this site will likely grow. If you’re familiar with my work, please contact me and let me know your favorites.

Tentative plans for this blog include some basic how-to tutorials for the die-hard DIY authors, behind-the-scene videos of some of my covers, author bios, book synopses, marketing ideas, and general industry news.

Be sure to check back often.