Thank you tenfold Nathan Shumate for being the defender, advocate and promoter of professional book cover designers and saying what has been long overdue and necessary against the prevailing winds that are diluting a once glorious creative venue called The Book Cover!
Creator of ‘Lousy Book Covers’ by Nathan Shumate, author
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The reasoning which can prompt a writer with no marketing or design experience to feel qualified to be his or her own art director, or even artist, is seductive: Who, after all, knows and understands the book better than its author? Especially among those who have never been published professionally (i.e., by a third party), the finished book probably represents a labor of love, carefully crafted directly from the heart’s desire in moments snatched from career and family. If the purpose of a cover is to express in instant visual impressions the gestalt of the book within, who better to know intuitively and unerringly how to reveal the appeal of the book than the one from whose mind and heart it sprang?
The reasoning, I said, can be seductive. Unfortunately, it can also be flat-out wrong. Print design is a mode of communication all its own, and there is at least as much study and experience involved in gaining a competence in design skills as there is to becoming a credible wordsmith. If you don’t think that a cover designer is automatically qualified to write a book to go with his cover, you should admit that the converse is true: a book’s author is not automatically qualified to design her own cover.