I’m now getting to that most dreaded of tasks; the act of self-publishing. In preparation of undertaking this task, I have been doing some research and have come up with a few questions I’m hoping my esteemed writerly friends might be able to throw some light on, namely;
Writer services; how many and when to use them?
In ‘the game’ we’ve all heard of beta readers. The poor ‘schmos’ who plunge through the polished draft and provide (possibly) the writer’s first solid feedback on the story. Gems. Absolute gems.
But where the heck does one find these gems? I have heard of people who’ve made friends and / or do tit for tat deals (you scratch my book, I’ll scratch yours). But I’ve also heard of sites where you can access readers, such as Scribophile. The worrier in me wonders about the legitimacy of the people on such sites, and how to avoid potential plagiarism using external sites, so I wonder how you’ve handled the beta reader situation?
For the record, I’m willing to discuss tit for tat beta reading with other writers if you’re at all interested!
External Editing Services
Content editing. Copy editing. Line editing. Are you confused? Because I sure am! From what I can tell, content editing will see someone go through your manuscript with an eye for plot and structure issues, while copy and line editing is more to do with tightening up language and grammar. Writerly friends, chime in now!
The real question is, whether these services are necessary? Did you hire a professional content or copy editor? Or did you do it yourself? Did your book suffer either way for your decision? If you did get some professional help, how did you know who was reputable and what was a fair price to pay for service? I have asked this question in the past and received a ton of varying answers; hoping for more wise words to add to the collection this time around!
Book Cover Services
I don’t believe anyone who says they ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. I know I sure do (though an author’s tried and tested last name sure helps too). With self-publishing taking off, I’ve seen a glut of book cover designer websites out there – from those that allow the writer to choose from pre-made covers, to sites with teams of artists on their payroll, who design something semi-bespoke for the writer’s needs.
What did you do? Did you purchase a pre-made cover or did you opt in for something created just for you? How did you find either option? Can you recommend a great cover artist or service?
External Formatting Services
With the rise in self-publications, and through copious research, I couldn’t help but notice the rise in services offering to help aspiring self-published writers get their books formatted for the various online print services out there.
Again, necessary or not? Did you engage in a formatting service? Did you navigate through the Kindle Lulu Smashwords et al ‘format builder’ by yourself? If you did it yourself, was it easy to navigate or do you wish you’d purchased help?
Which Self-Publishing Platform?
Formatting questions inevitably lead me to ask, which platform do I use? There seem to be number of platforms available, though some appear more popular than others. They all come with copious amounts of research and stories highlighting pros and cons, and each claims to be the superior platforms for a variety of reasons.
Which platform did you use? How did you find the experience? Did you try different platforms with subsequent releases? Is there anything you wish you’d known before beginning your self-publishing journey?
I beseech my learned friends to come forth and share their knowledge, horror stories and triumphs. You may just save a life today with your wisdom (that life being my long-suffering husband’s as I descend into slow, tortured madness over all this and go postal!) – and your experiences and knowledge will likely be well-received by others in our blogosphere.
Because at the end of the day – being a writer is hard!