Stuff I get asked a lot:

How did you get into designing books?Design was sort of just a hobby that gained steam. I worked at a bookstore for 4 years and learned a lot about what sells there, especially which books sold to which types of people.
Did you go to design school?No, I have a business degree in entertainment management. This feels rare in the publishing industry though — it seems like every other designer has a Graphic Design degree and/or an internship with publishing.
How long have you been designing?I downloaded Photoshop when I was 14, making custom wallpapers for myself, or sending funny pics to friends.First design job was at 18 for my school's marketing department.I had an internship with a corporation and got jaded, took a break from design for a few years (kept some freelance work with local businesses).I started book work with Faceout in October 2022.I'm 28 now, so that's about a decade of 'actual' design work. A little over a year for books specifically.
Do you have advice for someone starting out?Allow yourself to suck for your first year.The best way to learn imo is to copy your influences. Recreate whatever design catches your eye as an exercise. Once you learn how your influence made it, you now have that in your toolbox and can apply it to your own style.
How do you land freelance gigs?I don't do that much freelance work — all my covers are through my agency Faceout Studio. AFAIK most freelancers seem to be NYC artists who just make cool stuff and get the attention of publishers, I could be wrong though I really have no idea how freelancers make their way into the business.
How can I get an interview for book design?I tried for about 3 years to land a book design job. I was pretty aggressive about it. Penguin and Hachette had dozens of openings during COVID which gave me a nice kick to get in the industry. I lucked out big time with Faceout Studio who was a local company. I think meeting them in person had a huge influence on me getting that job.
What should my portfolio look like?More than anything it should only be your best work. If you think it's mediocre don't show it. 5 great things are better than 20 okay things.Your portfolio layout matters. It is a design in and of itself. Presentation is everything. (For instance, this is a Google Site — it's completely free and looks pretty clean). This is the easiest thing you can do to stand out when someone is looking at hundreds of applicants.One other thing I did was make fake book covers and created a section on my portfolio that was applicable to the job I was applying for.