I Designed My Own Cover...and I'm Not Sorry

In all spheres of the writing community, one taboo prevails--authors cannot, should not, MUST NOT, design their own covers. That's why the cover reveal for my debut poetry collection, Paper Daisies, was such a nerve wracking leap of faith.

Throughout middle and high school, I was an avid painter. My sweet-sixteenth birthday party was a canvas and paint-water wonderland. On our first in-house date, my husband and I collaborated on a small, acrylic piece together. The rest is history. But, marrying an award-winning artist comes with pressure; a little bit of you-stay-in-your-lane, I'll-stay-in-mine. Not that Dear Husband has been anything but supportive and encouraging when it comes to my artistic endeavors--I quit painting from my own pride and nothing else.

Then, this past December, I finished writing a novel--101,000 words over the course of a year. Finishing that project felt like nothing. Felt like a very depressing end to an exciting adventure. I did it! Time to edit. But, wait a second...whatever happened to that poetry collection I finished back in 2018? In my working lull, I made a fast and easy decision. Paper Daisies would be resurrected (and published) while I plodded away on those manuscript edits. Your girl can't live without a bit of excitement.

I pulled out the horribly formatted printed copy of Paper Daisies, finished the red-pen markup, and began a rewrite. Suddenly, I felt productive, again. Excited, again. Bona-fide inspired. On a whim, I pulled out a sketch pad and started in on the rough design of a daisy. And there it was. On the first try. The future cover for my poetry collection.

Rendered with gel pen, Crayola markers, and some creative photo editing, the Paper Daisies cover became a perfect reflection of my writing, working style: do-it-yourself from beginning to end. Poetry is so dear to my heart and deeply personal, I usually don't share it with anyone. Publishing poems was not something I wanted done through a traditional publisher. It had to come from me--beginning to end. That included the cover and all the raw moments of learning how to DIY. I'll never apologize for all the things I've learned because of the decisions I made concerning this volume.

Designing my own cover inspired me to continue learning, trying, creating. It led to self-taught book formatting, (a crucial, design skill that will come in handy once my publishing company, Stuart House Press, opens services to the public) and self-taught confidence; the ultimate skill that can't be sourced from anywhere but within. This is the end result.

Paper Daisies will launch at the end of March as a celebration of self, history, recovery, and entrepreneurship. The take-away? The cliche mantra is true. I set my mind to it and did everything.

The Paper Daisies Cover Reveal Video

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