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5 Essential Team Members in Self-Publishing

on May 20, 2013

Writers are introverts by nature; they derive their energy from within. And when you think of how solitary the pursuit of writing is, it all makes sense. In order to thrive in the writing lifestyle, a healthy dose of introversion is necessary.

That’s why, to many of us, self-publishing seems like such an appealing option to get our work out there. You may think, “What? Expose the world to my unadulterated story without the influence of agents, editors, and other gatekeepers of the traditional publishing industry? Sign me up!” With the advent of user-friendly self-publishing platforms like KDP, self-publishing seems like something you can do all by yourself. And for a natural introvert, that’s money!

Really, however, writers must have a team behind them to succeed in self-publishing. Some have gone it alone, but it’s a rare author who’s also proficient at social media, book cover design, marketing, copy-editing, running ad campaigns, and designing websites. The most successful self-published authors, a la Joanna Penn, hire experts to help them throughout the publishing process. By using the expertise of others, the writers’ strengths can shine even more.

Since self-publishing my first short story, “A First Time for Everything,” I have learned a lot about team-building for indie authors. Here are five team members that self-published authors should have, and why they’re so necessary.

Self-published authors are most successful when they have a solid team around them.

Self-published authors are most successful when they have a solid team around them.

Five Crucial Members of the Self-Publishing Team:

  • Editor: A copy-editor checks for grammar, punctuation, and typos that the author may miss even after rounds of revisions. Other editors go more in depth, combing the manuscript for plot flaws and consistency.
  • Book Cover Designer: Unless you’re also a graphic designer, putting together your own book cover is not recommended. People really do judge a book by its cover, so why not have yours look as professional as possible? Searching for an eye-catching book cover on a budget? Check out Tugboat Design http://www.tugboatdesign.net/ They have loads of pre-made covers that they can customize for your book. Each pre-made design is sold only once, so no one will have the same cover as you.
  • Website Designer: If you’re anything like me, you’re passable at technological things, nothing more, nothing less. But to catch the attention of your readers, you have to create a dazzling website! So hiring a company to put one together is money well-spent. A company called Tiny Frog is in the process of completing my website. Check them out at http://www.tinyfrog.com/ They also specialize in search engine optimization (SEO), to make authors more discoverable to readers doing online searches.
  • Marketing Firm: Marketing companies help authors to create their “brands” to reach their target audiences. They conduct market research to find out the likes and dislikes of the target audience, and they help authors to run ad campaigns. However, marketing firms are very expensive. A cheaper solution is to employ a company to design your author logo, which can be used on your website and business cards. Mine was designed by Tiny Frog. Then, you can advertise on Facebook using your logo; Facebook already knows people’s likes and dislikes, so it’s a great way to reach your audience. I just kicked off my ad campaign on Facebook, and it’s already brought many new visitors to my author page.
  • Supportive Friend and / or Family Member: I saved the best for last. In order to succeed as an indie author, you have to be 100% in. Sometimes, you may seem mildly obsessed. That’s why it’s so important to have at least one friend and / or family member who’s as obsessed with your writing career as you are. For me, that person has been Antonio, my fiance. We make an ideal team: I’m the artistic, passionate writer, and he’s the marketing and technological expert. While I’m honing my craft as an author, he’s researching SEO and Facebook ad campaigns. We learn from each other, and it works out famously.

So to all you self-published authors out there, build a team, and you’ll go far!

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