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 in droves.
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.
Confused about all the options? Well, don’t be. It *is* possible to get publishing house-level quality for your book by creating your checklist for creating your publishing team.
The Necessary Team Members
#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. Don’t pick a travel editor for your romance book. It’s also important to have an editor who you connect with. Sometimes, authors hire someone without speaking on the phone at least once.
I always recommend doing a face to face via Skype or FaceTime. 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.
#3 Cover Designer
People judge a book by a cover. They will judge how it looks on a black and white Kindle and how it looks on a phone It’s important that your cover design catch the reader at first sight.
Before you hire a designer check out the Book Cover Design Portfolio to make sure your vision and your designer’s vision are the same. Also, make sure they’ve done illustrations or covers that look like what you want. If you have examples of books you like, it’s always great to give that direction to your designer.
#4 Formatting and Conversion
You can do this piece yourself if you’re tech-savvy enough. If you prefer to hire someone, it’s 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.
Also, if you’re looking do a print book make sure to ask them to create a print ready PDF for you.
You can do this yourself by following the instructions to get your books distributed into the various retailers. However, if you use a third party they do take a percentage of each book sold.
• Amazon distribution instructions
• Barnes and Noble distribution instructions
• Apple iBooks distribution instructions
• Kobo distribution instructions
Some authors are really good writers but really bad self-promoters. 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.
Before you work with anyone make sure you check their LinkedIn, Google them, and checked out the works they’ve edited along with any reviews they’ve gotten. Also, be sure to come up with a payment plan whether it’s 15% up front or 50% up front.