By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
At 18, Emily Wittig has already put the faces on more than 100 books.
Wittig operates her own business Emily Wittig Designs.
A photographer as well as a designer, Bowling Green High School senior creates book cover designs for independently published authors, giving their work a more distinctive look than they otherwise may have.
A serious illness helped to launch the enterprise. When she was 11, she was diagnosed with severe scoliosis, curvature of the spine, and required surgery. Her recuperation involved a year of no physical activity. A librarian at the middle school recommended she check out Goodreads.com as a way of discovering new books.
Through the site, Wittig connected with author Micalea Smeltzer. They hit it off. Wittig loved her “Fallen” series of vampire romances. Smeltzer was 18 at the time. “She was the first indy writer I read,” Wittig said.
Their conversations didn’t turn to business until Wittig launched her enterprise a few years later when she was 15.
Smeltzer had reformatted the inside of her books, and wanted new covers. Wittig took on the job.
Typically self-published authors use templates provided by online publishers. Wittig can offer something distinctive.
At first, the designer said, she tried to read some of each book she worked on, but that’s no longer possible.
Smeltzer “has pretty good idea for what she wants to do with covers. She can be picky. For her it’s easy to get an initial concept because she has an idea of what she wants.”
Smeltzer remains one of Wittig’s favorite writers. She finds herself rereading the “Fallen” books. “I really like her style of writing.”
She has covers done for two forthcoming Smeltzer books.
But most of the other writers “don’t have anything written or aren’t confident enough to share it. They give me a little synopsis.”
And “some people have no idea what might work,” she said. Asked what she’s taken away from her business she said: “I think learning to work with people especially the ones that don’t know what they want. Having the patience to work with people who have different ideas and different ways of doing things, it’s a little tricky even now.”
Wittig doesn’t get to read as much now because of her academic schedule. She’ll graduate this May having earned 42 credits at Bowling Green State University.
That’s where she’ll continue her career studying Visual Communications Technology, a mix of graphic design, interactive media, photography, and print.
She’s already taken a couple courses in her major though most of her course work was concentrated on getting her general education requirements out of the way. That means she should be able to do her first co-op placement during her first year.
“Initially it was tough because college is so different,” Wittig said of going to BGSU as a high school student. But she’s ready. “Now I feel confident going in as an actual college student. I know how to interact with my professors and the people in my classes.”
Wittig said her parents, Craig and Lisa, have been very supportive. She’s a middle child between older brother, Logan, and younger brother, Carter.
She’s also found time to volunteer. Last summer she worked at the Wood County Library on science projects with elementary kids in a program sponsored by Lubrizol.
She even considered going into forensic science, but her creative side won out.
Wittig is looking forward to landing a job in design, possibly from one of the three co-ops. Still she has no intention of closing the book on her first business venture.