We’ve all heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, I’m here to tell you that it definitely takes a village to publish a high quality book. Initially, authors might choose to take on the task of self-publishing alone – after all, it is called SELF-publishing. But self-publishing is not the same as DIY!
At first, authors might think that by doing most of the work alone they’ll be able to cut costs and save some money. Or maybe they don’t want to or aren’t comfortable giving up control over their project. However, authors often learn pretty quickly that in order for their book project to succeed they’ll need to hire professional assistance.
Enlisting the support of the right people and assembling a team of professionals from the very beginning will help ensure the project is a success. So let’s look at the players on an Author’s Dream Team.
Professional Author’s Assistant
The publishing industry is a whole new ball game for most authors and even if they have had experience with traditional publishing there are many parts that are taken on by the publisher that must now be done by the self-publishing author. One of the most dangerous things about undertaking self-publishing alone is the fact that you don’t know what you don’t know.
What are all the steps involved and in what order should they be done? How quickly can the book be published? How much money should it take to publish? What are the options for printing and distribution? How do you decide the price of the book?
A Certified Professional Author’s Assistant can answer many of these questions and help coordinate the publishing process from beginning to end. They have been trained in the process of self-publishing and can be an invaluable source of information and a guide to help assure that you publish a professional quality book. Think of an Author’s Assistant as part consultant and part project manager.
Professional Editors and Proofreaders
Lack of professional editing and proofreading will brand your book as an amateur project. Nothing will get negative reviews faster. This is an area that you must have help. It is not possible to edit your own work – even editors seek other editors when they write themselves.
There are many levels of editing and you may need multiple rounds of editing. A developmental editor will work to be sure the structure of your book is the best it can be and conveys your message to the reader in a clear understandable way. A copyeditor will go through the manuscript line by line and searching for mistakes, consistency, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Professional proofreading will catch anything that may have been missed by the copyeditor as well as mistakes introduced during layout and layout formatting.
Book Designers and Layout Experts
These are the people who will design the packaging of the book so it will appeal to the target audience. Both the cover and the text inside must entice the reader to buy and read the book. It is not easy for someone who has not done this before to make the right decisions, so it is critical that the author find professionals who have had success in creating book covers and book interiors that sell. Often, the cover and interior design and layout will be done by a single designer.
There’s a professional standard of what a book should look like and you can see thousands of examples in any bookstore. It is important not only to get the book published, but also to publish it meeting all the professional standards so that it can compete effectively with all the other books on the market.
Marketing starts during the publishing process to build an audience and interest in the forthcoming book. Your marketing expert will also be instrumental in planning and executing your book launch strategy. In many cases, marketing of your book will be integrated with the marketing of your larger business.
Marketing and launch activities will include building an online presence to include a website, email list building and email marketing, blogging and social media outreach. The marketing coordinator may do most of the work themselves or may employ a team that includes website designer, social media experts and sales copywriters.
So where do you start?
We highly recommend that an Author Assistant be the first person you recruit for your Dream Team. You can browse our Professional Author Assistants Directory to find assistants who have demonstrated mastery of the curriculum in the Professional Author’s Assistant Training program. You can also submit a request for proposal that will be sent to members of the directory who will then contact you if they are a good fit for the services you are seeking and are currently accepting new clients.
Your Author’s Assistant can serve as your team captain and help you identify and manage the rest of the team.