Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It Takes a Village

by Elizabeth Sharp

That old adage It takes a village never applied more than it does in self-publishing. Many people think of writers as solitary beings locked alone in an office huddles over a keyboard. The truth is that while there is definitely some of that, there’s a lot more to it. Thanks to the rise of the ereader, authors no longer have to throw ourselves at the mercy of the big publishing houses and all their teams of editors, cover artists, and the like. So many people are involved in producing one book. Why should self-publishing be any different?

So who all does an author need to get their book publish worthy? Editors, cover artist, yes, but also beta readers, formatters, book bloggers… The list goes on. And that’s not including all the not necessary but recommended stuff like trailers and swag. So let’s break it down and look at what you need to populate your publishing village with.


The first and most obvious people you are going to need is an editor. Or rather two of them. The first editor will go through and note anything wrong with your book, whether it’s grammar or story related. The second editor will take a look at the whole story and correct grammar and punctuation, tightening everything up.


The proofreader is the last stop for spelling and punctuation. They’re going to catch all the misplaced commas and forgotten apostrophes. This can be the same person as one of your previous edits, though I personally find =I trust a second set of eyes better.

Cover Artist

I’ve already covered this pretty well in another article, so I’ll keep this brief. Your cover is a marketing tool. It doesn’t need to tell any part of the story, but should be attractive and compelling, making sales for you the moment folks see it. So pick a cover artist who blows you away, and trust the talent that won you over.

Beta readers

Before a product goes to market, every major company has a beta run. Why should your book be any different. You’re not looking for your biggest fan, your proud mama or your best friend. You need someone who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth, has a critical eye and grammar skills you trust. For me, the first thing my mom told me after reading my first book was all my mistakes. I now harness her skills for good and she is one of my beta readers.


One of the toughest parts about epublishing is that you can’t just type it in Word and send it off. Preparing a book is an involved process that can get kind of involved. Yes, there are programs to help you and guides to, well, guide you. And you most definitely can do this yourself. But I save myself the hassle and have someone else do it.

Book Bloggers

Amanda Hocking, love her or think she’s a sellout, showed the world indies can be successful and make a lot of money. And the way she did that was through relationships with book bloggers. I can never stress enough how important they are for getting your work out there. I’ve made some great friends through my connections with bloggers, and met some great people. I have nothing but admiration for the hard work and skill that goes into creating their blogs, and they do it almost daily. So start forming relationships early and maintain them.

The most important thing I can tell you about the self-publishing community is to be human. We are a large yet tight-knit community. And the toes you step on today might belong to someone you might to to ask for a favor tomorrow. So be kind, check your attitude at the door and remember to always be gracious because no one owes you. And without your village, I guarantee you’re not going to find success in the publishing world.
Posted by Bethany Lopez Author On 4:37 PM No comments


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