Do you judge books by their covers?

What’s the most difficult part of publishing a book? You know, a few months ago I would have told you it was writing the story, but I’ve learned that a lot more goes into the publishing process than I ever knew.

Let me back up, because I haven’t posted on here for a long time. My apologies for that.

What I’ve been up to

This January, the members of my critique group decided to start our own small press. It’s one of those crazy ideas that’s been rattling around in my brain for years, but I never had the impetus to do anything about it until I went to Realm Makers last August and listened to a catalyzing keynote speech by the amazing Jeff Gerke. And to my shock, my three friends didn’t think I was nuts. They were all in.

crosshair_logo_smallSo that’s what I’ve been up to, building the foundation for the impending launch of Crosshair Press. Part of our discussions in the very beginning dealt with what books we would launch our catalog with. And as much as we wanted to start accepting outside work, since none of us have any practical experience in the publishing industry, we were hesitant to start with someone else’s work.

I could just imagine myself if the situation were reversed. I trusted a new publisher with my book, my baby, my dream I’d spend 12 years building. They publish it, and it flops. Epically. As an author, how would I feel? I’d feel angry and betrayed and hurt.

We didn’t want to put anybody through that. So we decided we’d try to launch our small press using our own work. That way, if it crashes and burns, the only dreams on the line are ours. We’ll establish our business model with our own work starting January 2015, and then we’ll open to outside submissions June 2015.

But what we’ve learned over the past four months is just how much goes into founding a publishing company. My goodness. This is complicated. But we’re getting through it, and I’m getting more and more excited every day. Especially since the first book we’ll finish is my own—Nameless!

Working through the process

In the last few months, I’ve been through copy edits and beta readers and proofreading and interior layouts and the latest challenge has been the cover design. I’ve posted a few things already on choosing your beta readers and dealing with a content edit, and I thought it might be helpful to post about the process I went through to get an awesome cover.

Now, this is the process we used as a publisher, but maybe it can give you some insight on cover designing if you’re self publishing.

I’ve met people who can design their own book covers. That’s not me. I have a working knowledge of Photoshop but not on the level required to design a cover worth looking at, so I knew immediately I was going to need to hire a graphic designer.

Where’s a designer when you need one?

99esignsThere are always online sources for graphic designers. The top one is probably, which offers all sorts of really awesome options to get truly professional covers at a fairly reasonable price. But we decided to go a different route. We all know graphic designers personally, and we wanted to go with someone we knew, primarily because we hoped to ask them to help us publicize the book.

So that’s why we chose to go with a local designer rather than a service like 99designs, but of course your choice is your own. And you may not know a designer like we did.

But of course we couldn’t just know one graphic designer. No, we had to know three. So how did we choose?

Tune in next Saturday to find out!

A.C. Williams

Amy Williams left a lucrative career in marketing to write novels about space cowboys, clumsy church secretaries, American samurai, and alternate dimensions. Along the way, she also discovered a passion for teaching other creative professionals how to use technology to make life easier. Through video instruction or one-on-one coaching, she teaches software, blogging, basic graphic design, and many other useful skills that help creative entrepreneurs get stuff done minus the frustration.

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