As the self-publishing author think of yourself as a subcontractor. You must put together a team of people, with the right tools, that work together to make your novel the best it can be to catch the eye of readers new and old. You wouldn’t build a house without the right tools, don’t shortchange your novel.
- The first tool in our magical tool belt is you, the author!
You are the architect. You have built the novel from conception to completion. It is your pride and joy so now that you are done writing what you have to say lets polish it up and make it the best it can be.
- The second tool is a beta reader.
This person can be a friend, co-worker, family member, or someone from your writing group. Make sure this person will be honest with you and give you honest feedback on what needs help and what works. Take their feedback and re-write and re-work areas that need it. When your novel is the best you can make it move on to magical tool number three.
- Magical tool number three is an editor.
Yes, use an actual editor. You want an unbiased opinion and a fresh pair of eyes. Do not use Aunt Alice, your best friend, or your next door neighbor unless they have an English degree. Don’t be afraid to ask around at conferences, author blogs, and writing groups for recommendations. If an editor is good, authors will recommend them to other authors. Price is not always a gauge on quality. I wouldn’t necessarily pick the cheapest but I wouldn’t pick the most expensive either. You may not always like what they have to say but a good editor will tell you the truth about what needs to be done without losing your voice in the work. You want a qualified editor that you are comfortable with. If you are looking for an editor feel free to check out my website for more information.
- Fourth tool is the magical graphic designer.
This person will create a book cover that makes your book shine if you pick the right person. You want your cover to scream “I’m interesting, pick me up and read me” not “Hey, I’m self-published and I didn’t want to spend any money.” Choose wisely and get recommendations from other authors. Be specific when hiring a graphic designer. You want someone who knows how to create print covers AND eBook covers. I just had an author come to me in a panic because the professionally created cover was continually rejected for their eBook and the graphic designer, after four tries and four rejections, said he didn’t know how to fix it. The designer had already been paid and the author was stuck. Insert my fabulous graphic designer and web developer, Dustin Solmonson, who stepped in and saved the day on short notice.
- The last magical tool needed is the eBook formatting master.
Formatting eBooks can be extremely tricky, tedious, and time-consuming. If you are not very computer literate leave it to someone with experience. Sometimes the experts want to pull their hair out because blank pages drop from the sky with no rhyme or reason and unexplained extra spaces can appear in the middle of sentences. Once again ask for recommendations from other authors in your writing group, blogs, and at conferences. This person can usually help format your paperback if you ask. If you are looking for someone to format I am available. Refer to my website for more information.
It is very important to find quality people you are comfortable with. Yes, I offer editing and formatting services but that does not mean you have to go with me. I point out these five tools so that your self-published book looks and reads professionally. I cannot stress enough how important it is to always present a professional looking product for the best results. When you publish a novel , think of it as your most important job interview. Be prepared for it by using the correct tools to let your story stand out, not your mistakes.
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