Self-publishing authors need a publishing team to help with all the stages traditionally published writers get done for them.
The self-publishing market has exploded since 2010. But this means that as a self-publishing author, you must carry out all the stages your traditionally published peers get done for them.
The Self-publishing Learning Curve.
At first, self-publishing seems like the easy choice, with no rejection letters, no negotiating royalties, and no forced deadlines. However, when you investigate self-publishing more deeply, you soon realise that a lot goes into publishing a book beyond simply hitting publish.
There are many departments and specialists within a traditional publishing company, each playing its part. As an indie author taking the self-publishing route, you’ll oversee the editing, designing, typesetting, proofreading, distribution, marketing, and finance surrounding the publication of your book.
But you don’t have to do all of this alone. Finding the right people to help you get your books out is essential. Thankfully, when self-publishing started to take off, many people who had worked for traditional publishers decided to do freelance work instead. They like the freedom and flexibility of working as a freelance provider and the access to self-published authors.
How to Create the Best Team to Support Your Book
Let’s talk about two of the many hats you can delegate:
- Cover design
Finding the Right Editor
The most important factors affecting your relationship with your editor are your personality and writing style. Because every writer is different, it’s less likely that one author’s advice about a good editor will translate into a good working experience for another.
When looking for an editor, it’s best to look for an editor who specialises in your genre. Reach out to three or four and see how they work; look at their social media. Good editors usually ask for a small sample of your work; this lets you both get a feel for the relationship before you commit to working together. Taking these steps is even more important when looking for a developmental editor; you want someone specialising in editing your genre!
When you hire an editor, it’s all about developing the right kind of relationship. That’s why it is crucial to reach out to several people, get quotes, and get an idea of what type of feedback each editor will give you.
The best way to ensure you will have a good relationship with an editor is to check out their social media. Do you like their posts? Can you relate to their writing and communication style? It’s perfectly normal to contact a few editors until you find a good fit.
The editor/author collaboration is a special relationship, and you must make sure your personalities match as much as possible before you agree to work on a larger project together.
After the editor receives your submission, they’ll likely have additional questions. Typically, after an editor responds to you, a natural conversation takes place.
If, after you send initial information to an editor, that conversation doesn’t take place, you should look for another professional.
Finding the Right Cover Designer
The most crucial factor that affects the cover design is your genre or category. Ask authors in your specific genre or category for advice and recommendations on cover designers.
Communication is always vital. If you start a project with a £500 budget and find a cover designer who says they’ll design you a cover without asking questions, that’s a warning sign. You haven’t said what genre your book is or whether your cover design is for a print book or an ebook. Those are fundamental questions that any good cover designer would ask.
It’s always good practice to send your designer images for inspiration. Find two or three covers on Amazon in the genre of your book that you like. When you send those to the cover designer, that’s going to give them an idea of what appeals to you, and then they’ll most likely begin a conversation with you about the specifics of your cover.
You must hire a cover designer with experience with book cover design, especially if you don’t. If you are an experienced indie author, you can take on an inexperienced cover designer because you’ve been through it before. But if this is your first project, you want someone who knows the ins and outs of cover design.
You’ll want someone who:
- Knows the type of images that will work for your genre cover.
- Knows the kind of typography that will work for your genre cover.
- Knows how to lay out your cover so that it looks right.
- Has to experience the problems that can occur when designing a cover.
How to Get the Best Out of Your Team
It may seem strange, but it’s probably best to work with editors, marketing assistants, and cover designers with fewer clients. If you work with freelancers with fewer clients, they’ll have more time to devote to your individual projects.
Communicate, communicate, communicate! If you’re not honest about a problem at the beginning of the process, it leads to miscommunication, hurt feelings, and bad relationships throughout the entire process. Bad situations like this mean losing time and money for you and your team member.
The longer you wait to let your freelancer know there’s a problem with your project, the more likely it is that you won’t be able to publish your project on time. Don’t be afraid to tell a freelancer that you don’t like how the project is going early.
Experienced freelancers will ask the most questions up front because they know the process and all the issues that might pop up during their work. They’ll want to have as many solutions for those potential problems as possible before they put in the time and effort to do the project.
If you’re on a tight deadline, you must contact multiple specialists for the position you need to fill. It’s also important to brief them thoroughly about the project so the rest of the process can go smoothly.
Feel free to ask me any questions you want. My inbox is always open, and I’m happy to recommend freelancers for your project from my extensive network of friends in the industry.
For more helpful resources about self-publishing and the craft of writing, check out my Resource Library.