Why I Design Book Covers

I have dreams of doing it all: one day getting traditionally published while still publishing independently. I also want to have my own publishing company, one with a focus on BIPOC writers who typically get overlooked by agents, publishers, and the vendor algorithms (no matter what they all say about inclusivity, just take an honest look at the top-selling authors, books, and agent lists). So, learning how to do everything—writing, editing, designing, and publishing—as an indie author is giving me the foundation I need to achieve all those things.

When I wrote my first book over six years ago, I used a publishing service to help me with editing, cover design, book formatting, and publishing. The final product was good enough to make it into libraries and bookstores across Canada, but it definitely could have been better. The problem was, I didn’t know enough to make it better. Self-publishing was totally new to me.

Later, when I got into fiction, I became obsessed. I focused hard on writing, then editing, then learning how to draw with Illustrator. I discussed in this blog how and why I ended up doing my own cover designs, but, really, the big picture reason was this: world domination. Just kidding. The bigger reason was that I wanted to know how to do everything.

If you want to publish amazing books, you must have high standards; to have high standards, you should know what work goes into the creation of a book at all levels. You’re at the mercy of “experts” if you outsource services. How will you determine if your book is well edited if you don’t have a strong grasp of grammar and punctuation? If you’re not digging the book cover, how will you effectively communicate to your designer what you think is off? I’m not saying writers need to master all aspects of publishing because that would be too demanding; I’m doing this for myself because I have bigger plans for my own career as a writer and publisher.

After getting positive feedback on my writing, my covers, and my website, I’ve been feeling confident enough to venture further into my author career by offering my services in editing and cover design. As an analytical person, I love editing and proofreading; I was never much of a drawer, so I was surprised to learn how much I loved illustrating too. Below are some of my cover samples.

They say to do what you love, so that’s why I’m trying to do it all. You can only get better at the game by doing and learning. Now I’m offering author services in cover design and copy editing, and I’m hoping this part of my journey will help me elevate my game so that I can effectively run my future publishing company.

Author: Donna Fernandez

Author of women's fiction.