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.
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.