April McMillan, cover artist and book designer

Name: April McMillan (née Martinez)

Hey there! I live in San Diego county, and I have a husband and two step-kids. I work full-time in marketing and branding, and I “moonlight” in book design. That said, this is no ordinary side hustle, and I am not the typical hobby cover artist hoping to build up my portfolio and clientele.

Experience: 20 Years as a Cover Artist & Book Designer

I began designing book covers in 2003, before Amazon and the big name publishers entered the ebook business. Mostly self-taught hobbyists ran the e-publishing industry back then, but I’d already been working full-time professionally for several years as a graphic designer, in the financial and retail industries, spending my free evenings and weekends making personal art. As a result, my style of cover design — artistic, with the balanced composition and clean typography of a production graphic designer — was in huge demand, so I worked steadily for a number of e-publishers over the years.

I was Art Director at Liquid Silver Books for nine years, and I was the senior Cover Artist at Loose Id for 14 years, from their grand opening to their closing up shop. I was the sole cover artist at Ravenous Romance when they opened with the ambitious goal to release one ebook every day, and I had a number of my book covers hit the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists while working at Sourcebooks. I currently regularly design book covers for Zumaya Publications and Lyrical Press, a digital imprint of Kensington Books.

I started at an exciting time in e-publishing. My work brought some new and obscure authors the attention they needed, and many of those same authors were lured away from “the indies” by traditional publishers as a result. Those who stayed in e-publishing enjoyed huge royalties and steady sales, and when Amazon and the big publishers finally realized what a gold mine the ebook business was, the gentrification of the industry really took off; they saw how well the e-publishers were doing and soon outperformed them.

The e-publishing boom has passed, and many of the indie e-publishers have closed, but I remain — marketing manager by day, cover artist and book designer by night. Now that all the big boys have entered the market, it’s harder than ever for any one book to get noticed, let alone bought. The finite amount of readers out there have a finite amount of time to read, so they can afford to be picky — of all the books available in the marketplace, the ones with effective cover art get a second look.

Good packaging is good marketing. If you’re ready to invest in your book as a marketable product, I’d love to help you.

To learn more about me, click here.