I love having the ability to self publish. Let me say that first off. Love it!! Love it! Love it! I love the creative independence the most. Love that it allows complete control over the way in which I present my work to the world. I know….so dramatic, but hear me out.
We self publishers get to dream up stores, put them to paper in our unique way—the way that best aligns with our ideals and goals, and we get to share them with readers. It’s been more than a notion, hammering out the details required to present our work dressed in its Sunday best. But it’s what we do, and we love to do it.
One Saturday morning I attended yet another class on all things needed to self publish. I sat happily at the front, like the good student I strive to be, following the speaker, smiling and nodding my head in agreement with just about everything she’d said, until we arrived at the topic of book covers. Cue the sound of a record scratching as the needle is abruptly lifted and the soundtrack comes to a screeching halt. Really, I’m that dramatic.
Much to my dismay, I learned that a good book cover means everything. If your cover art looks unprofessional, one should just hang it up, throw in the towel, off with your head, hit the road Jack, and all of that. Unprofessional covers can affect everything. No one will read you if your cover looks amateurish. And don’t even think about reviewers—they’ll outright laugh at your book and refuse to review it. I know, more dramatics, but you get the picture. It’s hard out here for the cover-challenged.
The speaker was kind enough to show us her personal progressions of covers, from those designed by a good friend, to the final one, designed by a professional designer. A friend of my daughter, provided the work for my covers and yes, I could see, the professional cover did look, in fact, more professional, and yes, my covers could stand a revisit. That was a painful personal admission for me the non-conformist, let me tell you.
I left my class with the goal of finding a cover designer. Yes, I could see the value in having a professional book designer at the helm. But I was also annoyed at what felt like another somebody telling me how to be, how to dress, so the cute boy in class—that can’t see past my attire(or my covers) will like me.
“Fine, I’ll show you a cover,” I said into my car. “I’ll just wrap my books up in brown paper and tie them up with a string. There, take that you cover police.” So what. It’s my nose that I’m cutting off and the idea took hold. An anti-book cover-cover. Let’s see if it could be done. Guess what? It could! Rebecca Swift(www.rebeccaswiftartworks.come) has done it for me. And it’s been so much fun, too. She’s a genius, that Rebecca.
I inadvertently came up with a signature look for my books. From now on, all the books that I write under the More than Skin series will have some version of a package, tied up with string. The packages will be old or worn, or others will be new, with some tied with ribbon or yarn, or whatever Rebecca’s creative brain comes up with. And that brings me back to the start of this post, and reminds me why I’m so grateful for the opportunity to self-publish. Cue the music, an old Frank Sinatra ballad. You can here me singing loudly into the night sky, I did it my way!
Self-publishing has and will continue to be quite the learning experience for me. I’m so sure of that. It’s cool, though, to have the opportunity to figure out ways to do what’s expected of us in a way that reflects our individual style, and that alone leaves me feeling super grateful.