I am a self published writer OR possibly you could describe me as an Indie because I have my own publishing house, Mercia Books.
I have already blogged about how to self publish and how I went about doing it. What I wanted to touch on in this article was what I feel is critical to the self published writer – the need to build up a little team of people that bring their own expertise in order to publish well edited and well presented books.
The roles of the team members are dependant on what you can manage your self and where you need help. But you need toÂ spendÂ time finding the right people you can deal with in the way you want to deal with them. This often comes down to personalities, working habits and hours, ease of communication.
You can’t do it all alone!
What I want to say is that a self published author needs help to make a success out of publishing. If you use a self publishing company much of that might be done for you and providing you are content with the companies choice of cover artist and editor that is fine. However firstly you may prefer to use your own contacts and secondly, dependant on the company you may in fact find that you HAVE to source these your self or would prefer to.
What roles am I talking about? Well this now depends on you. As author you have written the book. You have sweated blood over it and made it the best you are able. So you can write. The question is are you able to edit the book? Can you design the cover. How are you at IT? You may have some of these skills but it is unlikely that you have them all and even if you do, can you spare the time to do all of them.
This is a role that I would argue that you SHOULD NOT do yourself. Obviously as you write the book you will revise it several times and you will in fact undertake a lot of editing in the process. However you reach a point when you need to hand over the manuscript to someone else. There is no harm in bringing in First Readers to give you feedback and spot a glaring anomaly but eventually you need a professional editor to work through, chapter by chapter and scene by scene and help you polish the manuscript to the best it can be. Take a look at my article on the basics of editing fiction for more on this.
I personally use a superb editor called Jo Field (link on my website)
You may be able to do this your self if you possess the skills BUT a good graphic artist will be able to come up with ideas and suggestions to give you a cover that folk will pick up:
There is also more to design than just slapping a few images onto the page. If you are self publishing you may be dealing directly with a printer who will expect print ready files set out to strict specifications. In my case Avalon Graphics can do all that and provide me with a file for uploading to my printers.
Internal Artist and Drawings
In the case of The Last Seal, I engaged a sketch artist – Gill of Helion’s Art to draw the characters of The Last seal. These add interest and value to the book.
Someone is going to have to design all those bookmarks, postcards etc that you want to be able to give away at Book Fairs, school visits or wherever. Again some folk may possess those skills but a decent graphic artist can manage all that for you.
You Tube Video
Book trailer videos are all the rage these days so finding someone to design and create one should be part of your plan.
Websites and blogs
The website and blog should be the focal point all your promotional material points to. But that means it MUST look good and work well. So bringing in a web designer is a sensible part of the plan.
You may decide to bring in a marketing manager to help manage your publicity campaign for you. These are not cheap and you need to weigh up the benefits against the costs.
Converting doc manuscripts into e-books involves a few stages that some people may find too hard. If you lack the technical ability you may need to employ some-one to do this.
Printer and distributor.
If you are self-publishing via a company you probably do not need to worry about this. In my case, Mercia Books is a publisher and I use Lightning Source to print the books. They have a distribution arrangement with Amazon, the book depository and can ensure the book is listed on line. Getting it into book shops is vastly harder and usually relies on personal contacts or showing enough interest exists in the book.
So those are some of the elements and roles that I use and which provide THEIR expertise to helping produce books for Mercia Books.
Do you have other suggested job that you need to fill as a self published author?