First, the caveat:
It's wonderful that today's world offers a path for writers to share their stories even without the support of the traditional publishing industry. Not every book is right for traditional publishing, and certainly we've all heard about writers who were rejected by traditional publishers, only to hit it big in self-publishing.
But make no mistake. Self-publishing is not a short-cut to success, fame, or fortune.
Doing it right, that's the trick. Putting out a quality product that can stand proud alongside traditionally published works, that's not so easy. In self-publishing, you take on the responsibility for doing all of the things traditional publishers do before a book ever sees the light of day.
Self-publishing means it's all on you. You have to arrange for editing. You have to arrange for book design and cover art. You have to get yourself an ISBN number and get yourself listed in all the right book databases. You have to arrange for pre-publication reviews and put together the marketing plan.
Sure, you can self-publish. Lots of people do. But if you're going to do it, do it right. You owe yourself and your customers that much.
This page is by no means a primer on self-publishing. There are plenty of other websites out there which do that. This page is just a list of resources in some of those areas, ones I've used or can speak to, that I feel comfortable recommending to others.
I am by no means the only developmental editor in the world. If my waiting list turns out to be too long for you, you might also contact these people:
- Elizabeth Lyon. Elizabeth has been a developmental editor for something like thirty years. She is incredibly good at what she does.
- Stephen Parolini. Stephen is definitely a writer's editor. As someone who, like me, is an active writer he brings his own personal experience to the job of developmental editing.
- Erin Brown. Erin is a refugee from the New York publishing scene, who worked as an in-house editor for many years before staking out on her own as a freelancer. If you need someone with that "industry touch", she's your gal.
Line and Copy Editors
Just about every person who has ever self-published (myself included) has at some point told themselves they didn't need a line editor or copy editor. "I'll do it myself," we tell ourselves. "I'll run spell-check." You can, and you should, do both of those things. But you should also be aware that a professional editor will spot things you'll never see and that spellcheck can miss. Things which will make you feel like a right idiot if you let your book go out into print that way. I have learned the hard way that only a fool skips out on hiring proper line and copy editors before publication.
- Anne Crawford. Anne is a copy editor who is also fluent in both literary and technical Spanish if you happen to need that. I can vouch for her personally, as she is the copy editor I have used for all of my personal book projects.
If you don't know what a book designer is, then to be honest you're not ready to self-publish a book. These are the people who handle the interior layout of your book--the typography, margins, font selections, page headers and footers, copyright pages and other front matter, front-cover title and author name, back cover text layout--all that stuff you never even stopped to think about it. A good book designer is the difference between someone seeing the first page of your book and saying "oh, this looks self-published" and saying "hey, this looks like a real book."
- Joel Friedlander. Joel is a book designer of some long standing. I'm not entirely sure whether he still does book design work or if he has shifted into more of a consultant role for self-pub people, but check him out.
- Nathan Everett. Nathan is somewhat hard to get ahold of, but is an excellent and meticulous book designer. He's the guy who does all of my books, which look just fabulous on the inside.
So, so, so many tragic self-published authors think they can do their own book covers, or as "a friend who can draw" to do one for them. If you are thinking about doing your own cover, don't. Just don't, unless you know you have the appropriate expertise and experience. Trust me, you don't want to see your book show up here.
You need a real cover artist. Really.
- Melissa Hudson. Melissa is someone I found through the PNWA mailing list. She is a fabulously talented artist who I have used on covers for this forthcoming book project and another one in the works. She has also helped me a bit with the design of this website.
- Book Creatives. This is a family-owned book cover shop based in Utah. They did the cover for Blackpelt for me, at surprisingly reasonable cost, and were very easy to work with. I would happily use them again.
- 99designs. I have not used this service personally, but people have told me that they've had good experiences using it for book covers. The model is an interesting one: you tell them what you have in mind, and the website arranges for many artists to submit designs for your consideration. You choose the winner and work with that artist to arrive at the final design.
A grab-bag of self-pub information (and if you know of some other good resources, please let me know!).
- What to know about taxes and Kindle publishing. This is a helpful, high-level summary from Intuit about what self-publishers should do in order to handle their tax obligations properly.
Want to be listed here?
If you are a freelancer or small business owner who offers editing, art, design, or publication services to independent authors and would like to be listed on this page, please contact me.