Designing the Self-Published Book: Part I

I am in the middle of getting my first book, A Place In This Life, ready for launch at This involves much reading and time spent building things to spec. In the process, I’ve procured the clean copy of my manuscript from my agent, and am working with an old designer friend (old as in I’ve known her for a long time) to create the cover. That part seems to be more daunting that prepping the words for digital land.

Now, being that I’ve been living in publishing/advertising/marketing for about two decades (God, that long?), I’ve dabbled rather heavily in graphic design. For a time I even fancied myself a designer and could wing my way through Quark and Pagemaker (the predecessor to InDesign – a gift to all of us folks). To this day, I can do layouts that work, without going too far into “neat and creative outside-the-box-ville.” However, this all falls to the wayside when it comes to designing a cover for my own darned book.

I am daunted by the formula necessary to create a book cover. What works? What do I like? What does my YA audience like? Colors? Font type and size? Sex or no sex? How much verbiage explaining what lies behind the story? Most of all, do I trust myself to do my own artwork that will represent my best writing?


Why not? Because I know that while I can do design, I know for sure  that I can write. And when you get down to it, why push the limit at such a crucial time as going to press with your baby – your story? Call it caution, call it cowardice. Or call it a day. I am enjoying the self-publishing process first through my writer’s eyes, and those of my designer friend who will carry the vision from the front cover and all the way through.


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