Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I'm Needy: Assembling a Publishing Team for the Indie Author/Publisher

I'm jumping in the self-publisher/author-publisher/indie-author pool. This means I am in charge of recruiting people for #TeamKAK. I alone am accountable and responsible for the business relationships, the project schedule, and the end-product. I alone am responsible for paying for it all.

Believe me, there is nothing quite like staring at one's coin purse and weighing that against the amazing talents out there ready and willing to be part of an indie author's team.

It's the sort of stuff that makes a control freak like me cackle maniacally.

People on my team so far:

Development Editor -- The editor who takes the 500ft view and the 50ft view of my story.  She's responsible for flagging flaws in plot, pacing, character development, voice consistency. She is the head of the WTF Bureau. In choosing the right dev editor, rely a lot on referrals and recommendations. Make sure the editor is experienced in your genre. Since this will be my first published book, this is where I sunk the largest portion of my budget. Readers will forgive a lot of things, but they won't forgive a shitty story.

Copy Editor -- Once I'm done atoning for my sins with my dev editor, in comes the copy editor. She'll police my random capitalizations, comma addictions, and hyphen abuse...among other things. She'll also ensure magic is used according to my world-rules, and flag any MIA characters, clothing, or conflicts.

Cover Artist -- Choosing who will design my book cover is simultaneously fun and frightening. Perusing artists sites is a glorious immersion in amazing talent. It's like Saturday Morning Cartoons meets the Louvre. You've the photographers, the image manipulators, and the original illustrators. Imagining the possibilities is enough to make your head explode. Prices here run the gamut. We're talking $100 - $5,000.  I made my choice based on four things: Artistic Talent, Professionalism, Price, and Packaging. As long as you're booking a cover artist at least three months in advance of your desired launch date, you should be fine with the other key deciding factor: Scheduling/Availability.

Cover Designer -- This person may or may not be the same as the cover artist. Some amazing artists just do the art; they don't do the whole cover design. So you might need an actual cover designer to merge image(s), font-faces, and text into what becomes the cover. Let me assure you, the look and placement of text on the cover is just as important as the image. There are some beautiful images utterly ruined by 1990s WordArt. If you're going to offer a print version of the book, you'll need the front, spine, and back designed.

Formatter -- I'm opting to outsource the headaches of preparing my document for print and digital formats. Formatters are experienced in dealing with the quirks of proprietary systems. There are four or five digital formats depending the retailer. Then there are the pretties and poltergiests in the print version of the book...I... yeah, nope. 

I've chosen one design firm who will take care of art, design, and format. They're even doing up a fantasy map for the front-matter and supplying the banners for my social media pages. I know I'm going to make a lot of mistakes in this process, so I'm minimizing points of failure. Further to that point, my dev editor is managing the copy editor selection and process. Frankly, she has the connections and I don't.

Distributors & Printers: Smashwords or Draft2Digital? CreateSpace or LightningSource?  These are big companies not individuals, but they are still part of the team.

Now, the group of people I don't have slated for the first book are the marketing and promotions folks. I'll add them to my team for the second book. For now, I'm giving myself wiggle room to learn the processes, timelines, goofs, and glitches.

Those of you who have trod this path before me, am I missing anyone?


  1. I commented and the ether ate my words! Oh well, I was just sending you the very best wishes - I love self publishing - and I hope you'll ENJOY :-)

    1. Curse that ether. ~shakes fist~

      But thank you! There's a very high chance I'll be pestering you at various points throughout the process. :D

  2. Good luck KAK! I sat in on some self-pub sessions, some scared me and others made it seem so simple my 5 year old could do it. I think I will stick on the 'not ready/too scared to jump into that pool' side. Have fun with it! It will be fun to see where it takes you!

    1. Thanks, Alexia! So far, the scariest part--unique to self-pubbing--is owning the financial burden. But that answer might well change at various points along the way, quite probably on the day I hit "upload now."

      stay tuned... dundunduuuuuhn!