I had to post this. I really can’t believe it.

I’m at the point where I can start seriously looking for a cover designer for my book(s). I want a simple design, mostly type, with a magazine-style illustration. Nothing outrageous or overtly sexual, in fact, I’d like to stay away from that. So I’m querying freelance cover designers, much like I queried freelance editors. The response is the same too, that is, when they bother to even write back.

I can understand an editor may not want to read an entire book of material that they find offensive or threatening. But a cover designer? If they’re embarrassed about doing a cover for me, they don’t have to put it in their portfolio but they’ll still get paid the same.

Instead of being hurt and frustrated like I was during the finding-an-editor process, now I’m just mad. This is beyond stupid. It’s nice to know that the moral fiber of America is being protected by the freelance book-production industry. I’ve done enough research to know that I’ll have problems finding a distributor and may have problems finding a printer as well.

I’ve thought about taking all this overseas where they can’t speak English and don’t give a rat’s ass anyway, but the cost of air travel, plus the cost of producing the book, makes it more reasonable to get this done locally (in a hemispheric sense).

I’ve thought about producing the cover myself. I have the Photoshop skills and could learn enough Illustrator and InDeisgn to get by if I needed to. Free cover templates are available everywhere on the Net. But I have no design training and can’t draw to save my life. I’d like a really nice cover and that requires a professional.

So here I am again, complaining in amazement. The amount of crap that is published every year is astounding, especially when you add in the violence, drugs, drinking and unsafe-sex stories (none of which I’m advocating). This knee-jerk reaction from supposed professionals has gotten really old. I’m sure I’ll push through this to a new level of understanding and awareness of humankind, but right now I’m massively irritated.

The only conclusions I can draw are: I’m the most depraved, disgusting thing they’ve ever come across and having to read my e-mails contaminates them. I’m some sort of sexual boogey-woman to them. They’re not as professionallly-minded as I thought they were. My definition of “professional” is not their definition. Finding a talented, budget-friendly, open-minded cover designer is going to take a while.

PS: Sometimes things work out with a little complaining. It looks like I might have found my designer today, a few hours after posting this. Yay! I’m really beginning to hate the kicked-in-the-teeth feeling I get from too many judgemental rejections. Their quality of work is excellent and I hope the price is right too, although that’s not my first concern anymore!

5 thoughts on “i’m scary

  1. Have you tried contacting editors and cover artists from Canada? Canadians can be more openminded about these sorts of things, especially in Montreal where alternative lifestyles are *far* from demonized. It’s also cheaper than outsourcing overseas. Or, since you’re on the west coast, maybe try the San Francisco area, I hear that whole area is pretty chill.

    You could also try posting an ad (free) on Craigslist specifying what you’re looking for, that might work.

    I joined a writer’s group, even though I’m fairly introverted and don’t like “group” events, and was flooded with resources. Hanging out – and making friends – with fellow writers is a good idea too. But, then again, I don’t plan on publishing anything for another 10 years, and I’m not expecting to make any profit from it.

    Anyhoo. Hope it all works out for you.

  2. Niomi,

    I haven’t seriously searched in Canada yet, but I should. My editor is Candian and I’m very happy to have found her. She doesn’t know many cover designers but does know other production people (I’ve asked for recommendations).

    Craigslist is an excellent idea and I forgot about it. You may be surprised at the reaction of San Franciscoans, this is the main area I used when I searched for an editor because I thought I’d easily find open-minded people. Nope.

    I joined a self-publishing group at Yahoo and have searched for designers there (a few listed). I haven’t written anyone yet, getting a bit shy about it.

    Thanks for the suggestions, especially Craigslist! I’d looked there for an editor but forgot about it this time around.


  3. Amanda,

    I have come to the conclusion that most people in this country are complete morons, and now I have proof, at least for the 3/4 here in Texas that voted for the constitutional amendment. These peoples opinions are utterly worthless, just ignore them.


  4. I realize I’m getting in on this a little late, but I do have something to add.

    There are many reasons why designers do not take on projects of an “adult” nature. Firstly, there’s always the chance someone will find out who designed the cover. There will always be records – either when the graphic artist sends the grayscales to the interior designer or uploads the files to the service bureau. Probably not a big deal, but if a designer doesn’t want the local PTA moms finding out or she does a lot of religious books, it could be an issue resultingin lost revenue and embarassment. The two industries do not mix – “adult” literature and religious literature.

    Secondly, the licensing restrictions of stock art usually prohibit using images on projects of this sort. It does sound to me that you may actually be seeking the services of an illustrator, which is not necessarily the same as a desiger.

    You mention templates. The layout is only a small part of the issue, the resolution and color gamuts, etc. are the technical end of things that can end up costing you money. If you send your file in RGB, you’re going to have a lot of color shift with change over to CMYK. If you don’t understand what 0/0/0/100 means, your bar code will probably not scan. You need to realize a hard edge on your spine is going to cause print issues and that you can’t simply use the default black in PhotoShop because your printer will probably send the file back and ask for a 240 black. None of this is rocket science for sure, but if you don’t know what it is, you’re going to have a really lousy cover or end up spending $$ to have it resubmitted, edited, reprinted and so on.

  5. Netta,

    I scrapped the idea of doing the cover myself or finding a cut-rate designer once I sat down and really thought of the work that needed to be done to produce a quality cover that a printer could reproduce. There’s a LOT of technical details that I do not know and will probably never know, hence my search for professionals. (And you pointed out a couple more details that I did not know about. Learn something new every day.)

    As to their “fears” about someone knowing they did the cover for me…well, I’m the one writing the book and promoting it. My neck is much more on the line than theirs will ever be. Although I tried to target designers who had a wide array of books in their portfolio, since I’m writing on such a sensitive subject, it would’ve been impossible to find someone whose portfolio consisted of adult work. The knee jerk reactions I recieved had nothing to do with their fears about personal reputations. No one ever mentioned their reputation to me, so I can only assume the response is based on their own biases, not an effort to keep their portfolio “clean.” I also doubt that most people allow local community standards to censor their work (and their income). But maybe I’m wrong and the freelancers in the publishing industry are very attuned to their local communities. They certainly aren’t believers in a free press, that’s for sure.

    I like your commentary! It seems you have some printing or design experience.


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