Editing, Cover- Design, Proof-Reading and Formatting were not probably in the periphery of your thoughts when you first sat down and opened up that blank page and decided to tell your story. However, when you’ve completed your final draft, it suddenly dawns on you that these are now things that you have to consider and that this is going to cost you money.
As an indie writer/self-publisher you’re looking at ways to save money. The last thing that you want to be doing is forking out thousands of pounds before you’ve even uploaded your book.
The reality is that you want to give yourself the best chance of success and that means that you’re going to have to pay something.
Book Cover: I lasted all of five minutes trying to design a book cover on Photoshop. Oddly, I didn’t have the patience for it and I knew that I needed a professional. Poorly designed book covers stand out a mile and not in a good way. If you haven’t got a friend, brother, sister, great-aunt Maude who designs book covers etc, then start doing your research. It’s as simple as speaking to writers and find out who did their covers. I found my book cover designer through the 99designs contest.
Editor: There was no way that I would have attempted to edit my book myself. You reach a point where you can no longer ‘see’ your words and it’s impossible for you to kill your darlings. You need someone independent and experienced to edit your work for you. I know that you’re thinking that the final draft that you’ve produced is perfect. I’m afraid that it’s not. There’s a lot of crap in there that needs to be cut out with a fine red pen. Choose your editor wisely! Do not go for the cheapest option. Again, seek recommendations and put together a short list. Once you’ve done that, make sure that you check out samples of their work. Remember, this is not just a business transaction. It’s an actual relationship. My editor, Keidi Keating aka ‘The Book Angel‘ is absolutely brilliant.
Formatting: You have to format your book. This cannot be avoided. Your book may look perfect in microsoft word but the minute you upload to Kindle. Well, it’s complete carnage. Paragraphs inexplicably end, great white space appears in the middle of a scene, sentences start on line one and end halfway in the middle of the next page. You need to format your book. To be honest, this is something that you can train yourself to do. I know many writers who have used Scrivener to format their ebooks and I’ve even tried it myself. It can be done. However, I wanted my book to be perfect and I wanted to avoid suffering a mental breakdown as I went through the formatting process. Again, after doing my research, I hired Polgarus Studios. I emailed my book to them and in four days a perfect kindle and print version was ready.
You may be the person that everyone wants on their team when you’re playing Pictionary at Christmas but that doesn’t mean that you should be designing your own book cover. Just because you have made the decision to self publish doesn’t meant that you have to and should do everything yourself.