Persons of Color in Book Cover Design - Overcoming Fear in Publishing
Several times during the development of my upcoming novel, I experienced doubt with regards to the creation of its cover. I read several blogs that discussed the drawbacks of using “persons of color” on book covers. One blogger in particular stated that book covers depicting persons of color do not sell with the same magnitude as those depicting non-persons of color. Interestingly, he did profess his partiality for ethnicity in authorship and discourse. Another blogger stated that some publishing companies will not market a book that depicts persons of color, and would change it. I figured that I would bypass the literary bureaucracy through self-publishing. And for anyone who desires to self-publish, you deserve the right to control your vision as you see it.
Nonetheless, underlying my doubt was a fear of racism.
I had been working on a novel about an African-American male. Then I realized that if the person doesn’t like African-Americans, they won’t ever purchase my book. A book cover depicting imagery that was inconsistent with the content would most likely annoy the potential reader and thus, result in a returned product, in addition to a bad review. Their hopes of a potentially interesting read would be dashed by an illusion. In my opinion, it is best to market with integrity, especially if your intent is to publish multiple literary works. The practice helps to build credibility amongst audiences, and defines character in authorship.
With regards to fear, it is psychologically debilitating. For the unwary, it can destroy your motivation to accomplish anything. Get your fear under control!!! As I have found in having the drive to achieve various goals, encourage the self to stay the course towards achievement. Additionally, surround yourself with people who encourage you and build you up. All of the conditions for success may never be visible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve it. Have you ever driven a vehicle in a blizzard where you couldn’t see beyond the hood, and yet, you made it home without accident? I remember living in Cleveland, Ohio in the mid-2000s, and some days the snow seemed as if it would never stop falling.
But I had to report to work anyway; my manager always said: “see you when you get here”. I commuted from Euclid, Ohio to Parma Heights, Ohio on Interstate-90. My car spun around on the Interstate one night as it slid on compacted snow. Fear lined my stomach and I was certain that it was going to be released in some unfortunate manner, the outcome of which I’d have taken to my grave. Nevertheless, I made it home without damaging the vehicle.
You may never know all that stands before you, but you must advance anyway if you are to succeed. Control your fear, and grab onto the reigns of faith. If you fail to restrain your fear, you may never realize what could be otherwise.
Be well, and God Bless!