♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Being the CEO. How do you handle all the tasks you must juggle in this writing/
publishing world? Do you hire out certain tasks? Why or why not?
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! If you’re new to the series, the authors included are grateful for your reads and appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Be prepared to become a regular reader.
A lot of authors don’t realize that they are the head of a small business. When you endeavor to become published, as I’ve written about before, there are tasks that reach beyond just writing. A good number of you are already familiar with this, probably working on your second or third novels by now. However, it cannot hurt to reiterate what is involved.
Picture yourself as the CEO of a business. Your product is your finished novel. What would you need to have in place to produce that book? Other than capital, you need employees to work on different tasks. First and foremost, you are the writer creating the bulk of the product you plan to sell. Next, you’ll need an editor, a proof-reader, a designer, and a cover designer. The tasks don’t stop there, but those are the main check boxes. If you’d like a little more information on what to expect, please note the following: you’ll need to manage your selling platform (social media, website, internet sales points, appearances such as signings). And, you’ll need a person to manage your calendar and keep up your supplies.
That sounds like a lot! Well, it is, and it’s what you’re responsible for doing if you want to be successful. Being an author isn’t the glamorous image you see in movies. It’s very hard work, and most of it happens behind the scenes. Many first time authors think the majority of items listed will be done for them once they get the holy grail contract, but it won’t be. I’ve published alone and I’ve published with a company. Unless you’re a big time author, and even they must do their own bookings and other tasks in many cases, you will be responsible for getting it done. Mainstream publishing can give you some additional credibility, but if you haven’t already built that around you, then it is very unlikely such a publisher would consider your work.
Outsourcing, if you can afford it, is a great way to manage all the tasks that are sure to fall on your soldiers. Of the list above, do you know which items are absolutely required outsourcing? I hope you said editing, proofreading and cover designing, likely the website, too. Our threshold for working with and understanding the technology used in
the publishing industry is expanding as we become more used to computers and all they can manage to do, so other items, including a website, are usually within the purview of the modern author. In my personal experience, the items highlighted in this paragraph as absolute outsources, were the things that I hired out for. The reasons behind this rule: the author shouldn’t edit their own work as they need a second set of eyes to truly achieve a good edit besides a skilled professional; the marketing and design aspects of the cover and website require their own expert. If you think you’re that expert, you should still hire someone else.
I’m an experienced writer and editor. In fact, my day job utilizes those skills. Still, I would not edit my own work. You can do rewrites and polishes, but don’t rely on them to be enough. In addition to that, a proofreader who is not your editor should be hired. Hiring just about anyone for this job is sort of reasonable, so long as they have clerical or writing experience. Someone who does this for a living, however, will be worth every penny. Consider that they are finding all the mistakes and polishing them out, a secondary editor. I’ve been blessed to work with fantastic editors and proofreaders in the past. They helped make my book into the vision I had for it. Going on my own would not have developed the high-quality product I am proud to offer my readers today.
Cover designers and book designers dress your work. Visual art is a passion of mine, but I am under no delusions that I am the best artist to dress my book. Again, the vision that I have for my book can often times stretch beyond my comfort zone. That’s why I hire out. Every mistake would make me nuts. Book designers format your book to work well with all publishing platforms. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then you can really create a headache for yourself—with mahy long hours and lots of tears.
With my first publication (Blue Honor in 2009), I did as much as I could to help ease the cost. I then used the money from my sales to afford a good editor and cover designer. I handled everything else, including web design. My next publication received some white glove treatment, and it shows. A print of the cover hangs in my home to remind me of the fantastic team I had assembled around my work.
Sadly, we don’t always get to hold those teams together, which is true of any business. Our workers are often hired from under us, or move on to other projects and lives that make them inaccessible for what we are planning next. Thus, an interview process should be constructed and tabs kept on the publishing-verse, so one can find the best team for their project when needed. (This is a great reason not to be a jerk to other authors. Cutting yourself off with a bad attitude can make it much harder to find good people to work with.)
I don’t miss my old website, but I was proud of what I had created at that time. Each step in my work opened doors to better options. My advice: do the best that you can with what you have, and use the successes that you gain along the way to build a better platform, and make meeting your vision possible.
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