suechedshotSue Campbell has been a: roller skater, frosty-rootbeer mug-washer, tomboy, graphic designer, mom, wife, writer, younger, goatherd, domestic diva, world traveler, avid reader, birder, photographer, cheesemaker, poet, pauper, princess, queen?

In all seriousness, I am a freelance book designer who works with a small special projects publisher. I have been working in graphic design over 30 years, and in book design/packaging for about 8 years. Given all the kinds of graphic design jobs out there—for me, nothing is better than packaging the words of a writer in a way that enhances their beauty, reinforces their message, and sets a tone for the experience of the reader.

Book jackets or covers can be beautiful or not beautiful (purposefully), but they definitely do have an effect on the sales of the book, and indeed I think they set up an expectation in the reader for what kind of reading experience the book will be. They are very important—and designing a great cover is challenging. It’s not so much what to design, as eliminating the other possibilities, leaving just the right choices. But book design for me doesn’t stop with the cover or jacket. I do all of it, the interior design and production, manuscript prep, typesetting, image editing, and image prep.

In addition to the many “text” type books I work on, I also get to do some illustrated pictorials such as histories, and those are particularly fun to do, and children’s books too. I’m an off again, on again writer with several projects started and none finished. I now know that’s the hardest thing—believing what you’re writing is good enough to stick with it. But I do go to a writer’s critiques group here in beautiful Boulder, Colorado—a great bunch of folks all struggling with the same thing. I’m learning a lot and making good friends.