You’re not just an author, you’re a publisher
There is more to making a book than just writing it. You will need an editor, a cover designer, and possibly an illustrator.
In this new world you are not just the author, you are also the publisher. So all of these decisions fall on your shoulders. Don’t worry that is a good thing.
With the first Kevin book I didn’t hire an editor. That was a mistake.
Consequently there are a handful of copies of my book in existence that have two typos in them. My fantasy is that those copies will be worth millions some day. Until then they are just books with mistakes. But the wonderful thing about the 21st century is that when they were discovered it was fixed very quickly. As in, less than 24 hours kind of quick.
I did hire an illustrator to illustrate the book and design the cover. I did that right.
You will need an editor and a cover designer to make your book look professional. In other words, that it doesn’t look “self-published” or pathetic. If you publish, remember you are competing against millions of other books. Do everything you can to make yourself standout.
You’re competing against millions of books.
Even with just an ebook you will need an exceptional cover. Yes, your mom always taught you to never judge a book by its cover. Ironically that saying doesn’t work in a bookstore. Your cover is exactly how potential customers may decide to give your book a try. In the Kindle store or iBookstore your cover is competing against tons of other book covers. Make it look professional.
Sorry mom, people do judge a book by its cover.
You will need to hire someone to help you, yes it is an expense, get over it you’re a publisher.
So where do I hire someone?
I used Elance, and probably will for the foreseeable future. I found Carla there, and she did an amazing job.
I am in Virginia, and she is in the UK. That is a great example of how the 21st century is different, and how business is different. Carla and I never had to meet face to face to work together and make wonderful illustrations. I love that.
What I did was post a job posting on Elance. I wrote that I was a teacher who attempted to write a children’s book and that I wanted an illustrator. Because the book is only around 1000 words, I attached the text of the story to the job posting. That was something I did right by accident.
By posting the text several illustrators differentiated themselves from the group by posting illustrations from the story as they saw.
On a side note trust me when I say that you see someone interpret your work, it will blow your mind like nothing else.
47 illustrators applied for the job. Only a handful took the time to draw the character or a scene from the story. Others would just say, I can do it for X amount of money. No effort, no nothing.
What those that did it right is very closely related to Ramit Sethi’s Brief Case Technique. There’s a lesson and another full post here in interviewing for any job. Maybe I’ll write that at another time.
Hiring someone online is a 21st century skill that everyone will need to learn at some point. Plus being the person that is ultimately in charge is a nice change from always being an employee. But hiring someone to work with you is just the beginning of the process. I will write more about how Carla and I worked together in an upcoming post.
In this new world you are not just the author, you are also the publisher of your work. That is a great thing.