Behind the Scenes

Publishing: How much of your own design work should you do?

Show Me the Light Cover Art FINAL

This is the cover of my first book. There are many like it, but this one is mine (that’s a military joke, so if you get it…. smile 🙂 )

A large part of the reason why this cover makes me smile, is because I did it myself. After more than a decade of editing work produced by teams of creatives, I got my own quality time with Photoshop. I took the photos, I wrestled the layout, I grinned at the screen like a goof every time something simple actually happened the way I hoped it would. I liked the process, and I like the result.

The publishing journey is filled with videos, articles, and people telling you to hire out everything under the sun. You cannot possibly edit, you cannot possibly design your own cover, you cannot determine your interior design, they say. While there is a kind of truth and merit to these arguments, I’m not completely convinced. (Aside: please edit well. Show Me the Light spent 30 days in focused editing with two other sets of eyes, and underwent at least eight revision cycles.)

The arguments that you “absolutely cannot and should not” do any part of the creation process yourself neglect to consider God.

What if God wants you to learn something new? What if God wants to work on you during the process? What if the purpose of your call to create a book has nothing to do with the book, and everything to do with the process?

Before you assemble a team and hire professionals, pray. Creating my own book cover was the first time I’ve pursued a formal photography project since I gave away my camera gear years ago, covered in sand from Afghanistan as it was (read more about it, here.) The process was immensely healing, and the result did not matter so much. God was working on me.

I’m not saying you should never hire out work. He gave us all varying gifts and talents. If He is telling you to get something out there, then by heaven, get it out there and get all the help you need! Let nothing stop you. But while you’re immersed in the Internet, listening to all of these “experts” tell you what you can and cannot do, don’t forget to pause before you shell out cash or question your abilities. Remember the great Who you are creating for. Your work belongs to God, always and forever.

Pause. Pray. Proceed accordingly.

Enjoy every moment of it.