The process of writing is often a lonely, introspective one that must occur in a relative vacuum with only soft music and coffee to keep you going. But self-publishing is a team sport. Here are the members of my team, why they are important, and members I'd like to someday include:
1. Alpha Readers, Beta Readers, and Critique Partners
Yes, this is probably better put onto the writing side of things, but having my book go out to several pairs of competent eyes at various stages is absolutely important to the publishing side. After I get feedback from each and every one of them, incorporate their recommended changes, and polish to perfection, I know I've produced the best possible story. Then I have the confidence to move forward with the publishing process knowing I have a good product.
Where to find: Sites like Scribophile are great for swapping critiques
2. Content Editor
Even after I get good, solid eyeballs on my work, I still want to send it out to someone who can look at the entire piece from an editing standpoint. Does the story have good pacing and flow? Are the characters multi-dimensional and interesting? Are my sentences varied in structure and word choice? I need one good clean sweep of the whole piece. This part often hurts my little author heart, but it's a necessary one. By the end, my work is so much stronger and I'm over the moon happy about how it turned out. Each and every time.
Where to find: Facebook has a huge emerging community of editors looking to start their businesses and offer really reasonable rates for great work. Start here!
I've used a proofreader as an editor and a separate proofreader, and both work so this one is up to you. I like the idea of having someone go through my book with their eyes only looking for commas, misspellings, and tense issues. However, it is an extra expense, so sometimes I go for doubling up just to keep my costs down.
For my most recent title, I worked with Dave Hollis as both content editor and proofreader and was so impressed with the quality of his work and the lightning fast pace at which he worked. I'll definitely be asking to work with him again!
4. Cover Artist
Some people are those talented types who can do both writing and graphic design, I just don't happen to be one of them. My early cover attempts were pretty simple and not very effective at reaching my audience. Now I work with a super talented artist to create my beautiful covers. Kit Foster of Kit Foster Design is fast, communicative, and a sweetheart to boot. Having someone really kind and positive on my team is a big one for me. I can't imagine working with anyone else!
Where to find: Joanna Penn has a great list of cover artists on her blog.
5. Blogging Team
At the core of my business sits a group of amazing, dedicated bloggers. They receive my books first and leave well-written reviews on the release day. There are only a few dozen of them, but without them, I would never be able to launch my books or reach new readers. They are absolutely essential to this business.
Someday, I'd like to add:
1. Bookkeeper and Accountant
I'm not terrible at math but I don't love it. I'd rather be writing, so while this isn't a necessity, I'd definitely like to find someone who could take over this role someday in the future.
2. Graphic artist
A big part of marketing is graphics like teasers, trailers, and promotional images. While I do these all for fairly cheap on Canva, I'd love to be able to hand over the reins to someone more artistic and with a mind for marketing.
Someday, I'd like all my books to be in multiple languages, and that means translators. Sites like Babelcube offer services, but I haven't figured out exactly how I'd like this to work, so it's still in progress at the moment.
Regardless of which parts of the publishing process you decide to tackle first, you need a supportive team behind you. I always choose to work with people who run small businesses (like I do), who are committed to producing a great product (like I am), and who are kind, positive influences on my work sphere (like I'd like to be). Each author will assemble the team that works for them, but it's important to remember that no one can do this job alone. Everyone needs a good team!