Today Rachel is back for part II of hiring the staff one needs to make that novel a success. Take it away, Rachel!
On Friday, I told you all about the editorial services you might want/need for your self-published story (or for one you’re hoping to spit-shine before you submit for traditional publishing consideration). Today I’ll be talking about some other services you’ll either need to do yourself or hire someone else to do for you. By and large, I recommend the latter if you can afford it. Odds are a pro will do a much better job than you can (unless one of these tasks falls under your skill set), and it’ll also keep your time free(r) for important things like writing your next book.
Layout Artist: Once all your edits are done, you’ll need to hire an interior layout artist. This is particularly important if you plan to make your book available in print, since that involves so much more than just slapping a cover on a Word doc. You need someone with the right software (like Adobe’s InDesign) to make all your pretty drop-caps at the start of each chapter, format your layout so that the page numbers are always at the outer paper edge regardless of which side of the page they’re on, pick fonts that are interesting and readable, and leave enough white space for aesthetic pleasantry.
Cover Artist: The next thing you’ll need is a cover artist. If you’re handy with Photoshop and have a good visual eye, you may be able to do this yourself with stock photos. Odds are, a professional or even a talented amateur will do a better job. Since we all know that covers—fairly or unfairly—are usually the first thing to attract a reader to your book (yes, even if it’s an ebook), this is not a place where you’ll want to cut corners. Speaking of ebooks, make sure that your cover shrinks down into a recognizable and appealing thumbnail, since that’s how it’ll be displayed on most sites. If it looks great in 6×9 but I can’t read your title in 66×99 pixels, then you need to start again.
File Converters & Marketers: Last are file converters and marketers. Both of these can be done yourself. Smashwords.com allows you to upload a very carefully and precisely formatted Word document (yes, they provide instructions for said formatting) to its “meatgrinder,” and spits back out clean files in just about every format you could ever want, including the all-important .pdf (readable on almost all devices), .mobi (for Kindle), and .epub (for the Nook and many others). They do not charge you for this, but be prepared to spend a good few hours fixing the formatting in your novel-length Word doc according to their detailed instructions so that the meatgrinder will function.
As for marketers, there are many people ready and eager to sell you things you really don’t need. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to market, because you totally do. Not even the greatest book in the world will sell if nobody knows it exists. I’m not going to get into marketing in this post—that’s a topic for another (dozen or so) posts that others have covered better than I could ever hope to. But I will say that if you’re willing to spend 30 to 60 minutes a day doing your own marketing, and a few weeks educating yourself about how best to go about that, you’ll do just fine.
Tune in to my next post to find out what these services might cost you, and what you can expect to get for your money.
Rachel is an M/M erotic romance author and a freelance writer and editor. She originally dipped her toes into cable news and book publishing, decided the water was cold and smelled kinda funny, and moved on to help would-be authors polish and publish, write for websites and magazines, and ghostwrite nonfiction.
Currently she has a contemporary BDSM collection (Sublime: Collected Shorts) and two M/M erotic romance novels (a high fantasy adventure titled Counterpoint: Book One of Song of the Fallen, and a modern-day slavery alternate universe story titled Anchored: Belonging Book One) in print. Her third novel, Crescendo: Book II of Song of the Fallen, will release in the fall of 2011 with Guiltless Pleasure Publishing; and her first novella, an M/M cyberpunk story co-written with Aleksandr Voinov titled Break and Enter, will release with Samhain Publishing around December of 2011.
You can find Rachel at RachelHaimowitz.com, tweeting as RachelHaimowitz, chatting in the Goodreads forums, and blogging at Rachel-Haimowitz.blogspot.com. She loves to hear from folks, so feel free to drop her a line anytime at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com.