Finding a Creative Publishing Team

I recently published my first eBook and it felt like such an achievement to me. After taking the time to work through a couple rounds of editing and then thinking through more changes after the Advance Reader Team helped me see where it could be improved, I felt ready to upload to IngramSpark to generate a paper version. Hurrah!

For me, a book isn’t “real” until I can order a paper format. Much as I love how digital products can generate royalties for their authors and creators, until I can hold something in my hands, it feels like a figment of my imagination. I crave the embodiment of something with weight and a cover that I might pick up in a store.

IngramSpark didn’t accept the fact that I didn’t yet have a professionally designed cover to add to my file. File rejected: bummer. I had hoped a “placeholder” cover would suffice could put off the process of locating a designer while I reviewed a bound and printed version.

What was I waiting for? I’d found my editor, Kay Grey, by putting a post in LinkedIn for an editing project. Within hours I got 8-9 applications. But only one person read the post closely and reached out to me to find out more about the budget. I was delighted when after viewing her website we connected and it seemed like a fit. Kay has made the book miles better than it could have been with my own editing.

Why couldn’t I find someone via LinkedIn for the cover design as well? Most professional designers might not work with just a one-week turnaround, I reasoned. But if I found someone who knew upfront that’s what I hoped for, maybe I could find them out there. Indeed within hours I received 8-10 applications again. I closed the post and took a look at the portfolios. One stood out in particular. I reached out. She scheduled a conversation. Turns out we have so many common interests I was delighted. She was able to take the art that I’d commissioned from a friend of mine, and turn it into a cover I really love.

Mock-up of the cover design; slight changes will be in the final version to be released in January.

This was not something I could have generated on Canva. It required an eye for visual art, competence with InDesign and an understanding of my vision for the overall project. And while there are many free tools that exist for eBook covers, I believe a physical book needs a professional to make it shine. So grateful to Natalya, who helped me visualize how this book might appear on my shelf (and hopefully for others) someday.

As authors, we can find the support of editors, artists, and cover designers to focus on our gifts. I have a deep appreciation for beautiful art, but that’s very different from actually making it. As indie authors who publish work ourselves, this can seem daunting at first. But taking it one step at a time, and being patient, it’s not so hard to find collaborators.

I’m already at work on the next book(s), which have been starting to present themselves in my morning freewriting sessions. Grateful to have worked with some amazing professionals that may accompany me on future book journeys if their schedules align.

Where have you found your best collaborators? I am curious to know.

Warm wishes for a lovely solstice or whatever holiday you celebrate.

Cristy

8 thoughts on “Finding a Creative Publishing Team

      1. Self-Publishing sites that start as “free” until it’s time to just about publish. I’ve seen some YouTubers give the warning, lol. Yeah $3K-4K later after paying fees for editors, book cover, and other general stuff regarding publishing. I was disappointed to find that out, but no $ loss to me. Lol.

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      2. Oh, gotcha! Well, it was technically free to publish via KDP/Amazon. And it was free to publish via Draft2Digital. I joined ALLi (the Alliance of Independent Authors) and they have a coupon code for publishing on Ingram. Otherwise that would have been $49 to upload, and $25 for revision uploads. I understand that because it’s a paper version that requires actual people to set it up, not quite like digital publishing.

        I really appreciate the indie author community at ALLi. They have a watchdog group that monitors “vanity publishing” outfits that try to sell authors a package of services but are really out to rip people off.

        I paid for editing because I needed and wanted it. I paid for art because I don’t make art myself, but had an artist friend that I thought might enjoy it. Then I paid for cover design because a few hundred dollars to do it right ends up paying off in the long run. People do buy books for their covers, and I don’t want to have something that looks like a shoddy project.

        The Self-Publishing Advice Podcast by ALLi is something I’ve listened to since this summer, and I’ve learned a ton from them. Cost of a membership is less than $100 a year and that seemed very worth it to me since I plan to publish a book a year (or maybe two) now that I understand the process.

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      3. Thanks for the extra info. I don’t always go by what one or two people say, but a lot of times there is deception behind their videos. I appreciate your truthful input. Thank you so much! And yes, I would need a lot of assistance if I were doing a book too, because I’ve never done one, but at least would have an honest base to reach that goal. đź’Ž

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      4. Oh, totally. I understand what you’re saying.

        You are right, there are people out there who want to “sell” you something. I only trust people like Jane Friedman, Joanna Penn or Orna Ross (director of ALLi). They are “real life” authors who are truly open about earnings and new business models.

        I am looking to use my book as a tool for building my coaching practice, and also to help get consulting and speaking engagements. So having something I can hand to a potential client is important to me.

        My editor charge a penny a word per round. So for a 30k manuscript (~125 page) that was $300/round. Art can cost what you want it to cost. Cover design seems to range from $200-800 but depends on the experience of the designer. So for eBooks, I think people can publish relatively cheaply.

        What I understand is that for most authors, the first book isn’t where the money is made. It’s once we have a “backlist” when the momentum starts. So in my 5-10 year plan, I think generating books as assets that can make money is where I see the return. Also the joy in writing is why I do it. 🙂

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