They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same principle holds when it comes to publishing a high quality book. It takes a team of professionals who have experience in working with books and publishing.
Assembling the team of professionals that will be involved in designing and producing the book is one of the first steps in planning your self-publishing success. In working with many authors we have had the opportunity to develop relationships with several people in each of the following disciplines and can help match you up with the people who will be best suited to your project. Here are some of the people you will definitely want on your team:
Editor — No matter how many times you review your own work you will need a professional editor who has experience working with books of your genre. DO NOT try to use your brother’s neighbor’s daughter who is an English teacher to do this function! Someone who is experienced in book editing is doing more than just checking for grammar and punctuation. They are checking for structure, readability, consistency and flow in addition to the things that an English teacher will watch for. This is the number one place that people make mistakes that make their book less than professional quality.
Cover Designer — Book cover design is very different than other types of graphic design. Your cover is one of the most important parts of your book marketing. The cover needs to fit with your genre and give the reader an idea of what to expect from your book. It needs to be bold enough to stand out on a bookshelf and be read from at least 4 feet away. Since most people will view it online it should also be readable and stand out when it is shrunk down to a small thumbnail version which is the way it will be viewed when it is listed as search results. An experienced cover designer will take all of these things into account.
Interior Layout Designer — This is often the same person as your Cover Designer but it can be a different person. Interior layout should be done on specific layout software, not a word processing program. There are definite conventions used in book interiors and an experienced designer will be sure your book follows those so that it looks professionally published.
Indexer — If you are publishing a non-fiction book you will likely need to have an index. Many professional indexers have a Library Science background and will use specialized software to produce an index for your book.
eBook Converter — Offering your book as an eBook for Kindle and other readers will require the book to be converted into a Mobi and/or EPUB format. While some books can be formatted with automated software (often referred to as a Meatgrinder) I usually recommend professional conversion. It will assure that your book is presented well in all digital formats.
Proofreader — Professional proofreading is an important last step to minimize typos and layout errors. A final proofread can sometimes catch errors that have been missed along the way. People who have been involved in the book can miss errors since the mind sees what it expects.
Printer(s) — There are several different choices to print your book. Most self-publishers will use at least one print-on-demand digital printer. Depending on your plans for the book and quantities needed you may also choose an offset press printer for larger quantities of print books.
These are the people who will help you get your book from a manuscript to published book. There are other team members you will want to assemble to help with the launch and marketing of your book. We’ll talk about those in a future post.