Self-publishing: Do you have a team to help you?

Self-publishing used to be a last resort for writers. When they couldn’t find a traditional publishing house to back their book, they decided to put it out themselves. This is not the case any longer. Self-publishing is often the first choice of authors.  They like the control they have over their project by doing it themselves.

If you are going to self-publish your book, it’s good to put together a publication team to help you.  It’s not mandatory, but it might be helpful to use some or all of the following people…

Writer: That’s you. At a minimum, you need to have yourself on the team.

Critique group: Many writers meet regularly with a critique group and gain from the comments they make as the writer writes the book. When you show your work to a critique group, remember that you don’t need to implement every suggestion they make. Implement the ones that hit you as helpful. Ignore the rest.

Editor: When you’re ready to publish, you’ll want to find someone to edit your book. I suggest you use a professional freelance editor. This will cost you a little money, but it’s worth it. Many of your writing friends might offer to edit for you. Choose carefully, many writers are good at writing, but not the best at editing.  It’s best to use someone who is trained to ferret out problem spots and mistakes.

Designer: You may be able to lay the book out yourself if it is not too complicated a design. If you are going to use lots of pictures and tables with captions, it’s best to find a graphic designer to do it for you.

Proofreader: When you finally have the manuscript just the way you want it, have someone (preferably a professional freelance proofreader) go through it one more time. Sometimes you can use the same editor, but it’s always good to have another fresh pair of eyes look at your manuscript. In any case, I highly recommend that you have someone proofread your manuscript just before it is published.

Cover Artist: The cover of your book is very important. It’s the first chance you have to attract readers. If you aren’t an artist, it’s worth the money to find an artist to design the cover for you. That way, the result is a book that looks just the way you want it.

You may think that assigning pieces of your project to these people defeats the purpose of doing it yourself. Maybe it does, but if you don’t have editorial or artistic skills, it’ll be well worth your while to have others on your team. The result will be a much more professional product that you’ll be proud to promote.

Did you self-publish?  Who was on your team?

About loubelcher

I'm a freelance artist and writer. I enjoy anything whimsical and my art and writing generally concentrate on the lighter side of life.
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8 Responses to Self-publishing: Do you have a team to help you?

  1. Shakespeare says:

    I self-published a book on local lore and ghost stories, and since I’ve got a Ph.D in English, I tackled the editing myself (with some helpful non-editor readers to go through it). One of my best friends is a photographer, and she took some graveyard pictures for the cover for me, setting the mood AND using a local (haunted) cemetery, too!

    Overall I’m glad I self-published. It would have been impossible to publish otherwise, given the nature of the book. Not sure if I’ll self-publish my fiction, though.

  2. loubelcher says:

    Shakespeare… thanks for sharing your experience. I love hear how it went for others. Sounds like an interesting book.

    Lou

  3. Jennie says:

    I have my first book — a short story collection — coming out in the next week or two. My team’s pretty small — just me and one of my best friends. She’s a fantastic editor who’s been editing my fiction for a decade. I don’t have a formal critique group, but some fellow writers have looked at various stories and pieces of the stories during the process and offered feedback.

    Part of the reason I’m able to handle things with such a small team is because my FT job is as a newspaper editor with experience in page design and graphics, so I have the skill set to do my own cover and book layout.

  4. loubelcher says:

    How wonderful that you have page and graphic design talents… and editing too. It’s wonderful that you have a friend who is an editor also. I find that no matter how hard I look, I always miss something of my own. Thanks for commenting.

    Lou

  5. JJ says:

    I agree with those post; it’s very important to release the most professional product as you possibly can. Some folks–like Shakespeare (see above)–can handle the editing on their own, but most authors need help in that area. So hiring a team of pros is a great idea. Also it’s vital to have an eye-catching book cover. Readers do judge a book by its cover after all.

    When I self-published my inspirational novel, I hired an editor, designer and actually ended up creating my own imprint…which now helps other authors self-publish. Just because you self-publish doesn’t mean you’re completely on your own…

    • loubelcher says:

      Thanks for your comments. Yes, often writers who edit shouldn’t do the final edit on their own books. So much of it is in our heads, we can miss errors because we drift off for a moment. Good to hear from you.

  6. JJ says:

    *I agree with this post

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