You have a great idea and a great story. You've heard about indie and self publishing and have been thinking about it for awhile. However, you know all the steps involved but don't know where to start. You just know it’s a TON of work.
The book publishing industry is going through the quickest transition because it is the last to go digital. As a result of this shift, authors no longer need to go through the traditional gatekeepers to publish quality books and are moving towards self-publishing. Putting together a quality book involves not just writing it, but getting it edited, then formatted, then designing a cover, and having a marketing strategy around it. It’s easy to get a book onto a reader’s device but confusing to put the whole thing together. It’s the paradox of digital publishing.
However, because the industry has shifted towards digital it *is* possible to assemble a team of professionals to create an outstanding book. Before you start anything, make sure you come up with a budget before you approach your prospective book publishing team member. You can see a breakdown of expected costs in today's earlier post, Costs of Self-Publishing.
Necessary team members:
At some point or another you will need to find someone to do:
1. Developmental Editing
When looking for a developmental editor it’s important to choose a developmental editor who has experience in your genre or specializes in your book topic. It’s also important to have an editor who you connect with. Also, make sure that you at least speak on the phone. I always recommend doing a face to face via Skype. You should also get a sample edit, most editors will do a sample edit on a few pages so you can get sense of their style. Also, when looking for an editor take a look at some of the other works they’ve edited.
2. Copy Editing
Copy editing is a crucial step in the publishing process. A copy editor goes through and catches spelling mistakes, adjusts for grammar, punctuation, and consistency. So how do you find the right one? Make sure to get a list of the work they’ve copy edited. Next, ask them to do a sample copy edit of your manuscript. Also, check out to see what others have said about their work. (BiblioCrunch has a rating and reviewing system).
3. Cover Design
It’s important that your cover design be optimized for print, digital, thumbnail sizes and how it looks on an eReader.When looking for a cover designer be sure to check out their portfolio and that they’ve actually created a cover similar to what you want and that they’ve designed covers in your genre. For example, if you have a YA novel you don’t want someone who designs text book covers.If you’re publishing an eBook make sure they’ve done eBook covers and not just print covers. Be sure to check their reviews as well. Also, you might not like the first draft so make sure when you negotiate your contract or terms you indicate the number of proofs or concepts you’d like to see before you hand over any money.
4. Formatting and Conversion
Finding someone to do formatting and conversion is pretty straightforward if you have a book that is all text. It gets a little complicated when you have a picture book or a book with illustrations. When picking someone to format or layout your book into the various formats (mobi, epub) you should pick someone that has done books similar to yours. For example, make sure you get samples of the work they’ve done. If you are publishing a graphic novel, make sure that the publishing professional you choose has published graphic novels. If you are doing a childrens’ book make sure your professional has done similar work.
Some people are just good at writing and might not be able to do their own book marketing. If you decide to outsource your marketing it is important to first come up with a marketing plan so your marketing person, pr person or publicist knows what your goals are. First-time authors might just want more readers for their book and don’t care about sales. In this case it would be useful to hire someone who has experience in creating campaigns with book giveaways and has demonstrated a certain amount of new readers. If you’re trying to increase your social media presence it’s important to hire someone who can successfully do this for you. At the end of the day it’s your book and you need to know what you want out of your marketing plan. It is essential however to make sure that the person you pick does have experience marketing books in your genre.
One place to find such talent is via BiblioCrunch. BiblioCrunch is a platform that connects authors with the talent they need to publish their book and get it out into the world.
- Post your job description with your desired budget, being specific about what you are looking for, the skill sets you need (editor? book cover? conversion to eBook?), and your expectations.
- Get ready to choose the perfect bid from among competitive proposals. Review work histories, past client reviews, and online portfolios. If you have someone specific in mind, reach out directly using the Publishing Professionals Directory.
- Use the online project management system to send messages, chat, upload files, and track progress.
Focusing on the above and making sure you know what you want will only maximize your book success!
Miral Sattar is founder and CEO of BiblioCrunch, an award-winning services platform for bloggers, journalists, and authors who want to seamlessly publish their stories in eBook format. The platform brokers the interaction between a community of rated and reviewed publishers, authors, designers, editors, proofreaders, conversion specialists, marketers and enhanced eBook experts to help create exceptional digital books She has worked in the media industry for 11 years, most recently at TIME where she launched several digital initiatives. Her writing has been featured in TIME, CNN, NY Daily News, among other media publications. She has a MS in Publishing (Digital + Print Media) from NYU and a BS from Columbia University in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. You can follow Miral on Twitter @miralsattar.