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Monday, January 25, 2021

The Journey to Self-Publication, Part 15: Building a Publishing Team

I've gotten quite a few questions about why I finally decided to delve into self-publishing and how I'm doing it, so I figured why not create a new blog series!

Every Monday, I'll be sharing a piece of the self-publishing puzzle---from how I came to this choice to writing, editing, marketing, sales, and everything in between. Please remember that this is simply my experience, how chose to do things. Others do things differently, and that's fine! So, your mileage may vary, but in the end, I hope seeing yet another way of tackling self-publishing will help you on your path. 

Need to catch up on previous posts? Find them here:

In Part 5 of this series, I discussed the need for CPs, Beta Readers, and Editors, and this post will piggyback on that a little, but mostly, I want to talk about building your own personal publishing team--why you need one and how you can find people who will work hard for you.

For anyone who's been following this blog series, or for anyone who's ever published a book before, you know it's a lot of work, and there are a lot of various stages and constantly moving pieces. And that is the #1 reason why you need a team to help you -- It's nearly impossible to publish a book all by yourself. While I'm sure there are authors out there who can do it all on their own, why would you want to? 

Personally, I don't have the necessary skills to do a lot of what needed to be done, like cover art and formatting, so I had no choice but to hire people, and yes, it was an expense, but overall, it was money well-spent. Not only did I get high quality products and services, I made some lasting professional relationships, but best of all, I made some wonderful friendships. 

Here's my publishing team:

Rosie Somers -- Editor
Laura Heritage -- Cover Artist & Book Design
Kris Riley -- PA Extraordinaire 
Andy Garcia-Ruse -- Audiobook Narrator
AleWin Enterprises -- Book Trailer Creation & Video Editing
BookSirens -- Book Reviews
Nicki, Kris, Rhonda, Milica, Tammy, Annie, and Wendy -- ARC Team

As you can see, I have quite a few people helping me out on this venture, and I am beyond grateful for each and every one of them, because I wouldn't be where I am in my self-publishing journey without them. 

How did I find them? Simple. I asked...

1. Took Stock of Current Contacts. I took some time to go through my contacts via my email and social media to see who offered the services I needed. Working at Anaiah Press gave me an advantage in that I already knew people who had experience in publishing. I reached out to several of these people first.  

2. Asked for Referrals. After going through my personal contacts, I then asked for referrals from trusted friends.

3. Utilized Social Media. I searched Google and Twitter for services and opportunities. In fact, that's how I stumbled upon BookSirens, via Twitter. And it was via BookSirens that I found my dedicated ARC team.

Once I had a list of people and companies I was considering working with, it was time to do my research. I needed to make sure they were all legitimate. But how can you truly know? Well, I guess you can't, but there are steps you can take to be well-informed and minimize risks. 

1. Ask People You Trust. This goes hand-in-hand with item #2 above. If you get a personal referral from someone you trust, you can be relatively certain that whomever they recommended is on the up and up. When someone has had a good experience with another person or company, they are super eager and willing to tell anyone who will listen, so definitely listen when friends tell you who is good, and who to avoid. 

2. Google. Seriously, Google is your friend. Search and then read everything you find--good and bad. If a company has a website, spend time visiting it. Look over every page to see how they present themselves. Is their site professional? Up to date? Do they have online reviews? If so, read them. Are they listed with the Better Business Bureau? What's their rating there? Do they have any major complaints filed against them? 

3. Ask Questions. Contact the company directly. Ask for prices and whatever other questions you have. Don't be shy. Obviously you don't want to be rude or unprofessional, but don't be afraid to be direct. Any reputable company won't have any trouble answering your questions. Pay attention to how long it takes for them to respond. I'd say 48-72 hours is a reasonable amount of time to wait, unless their website says otherwise. But if it takes weeks or longer, that's a red flag. Some important questions to ask:
  • How much will it cost? What do you get for that price?
  • Is there any sort of refund policy? 
  • How long will it take to get the product / services? 
  • What rights are you / them granted?
  • Is there any sort of conflict resolution policy should you be dissatisfied with the product or service?

4. Trust Your Instincts. I cannot stress this enough. If you've got a funny feeling about a company or something just doesn't seem right, don't work with them. Go with someone you feel comfortable with, someone who has similar values, and who shares your vision for your book(s). 

Next time, I'll be discussing book trailers and whether or not they're worth the investment. I'll also share my marketing strategy for my book trailer. 

Got questions?

Drop them in the comments!

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