Self-Publishing Services up Close
If you are considering (or have decided) to self-publish your own book, a key issue is the self-publishing services you select. Not only is it important how you select self-publishing services but how you manage them. In this article, I give a general outline of the basic self-publishing services you will need to publish your own book. Becoming your own book publisher is similar to building your own home. It is a large time-consuming project with many pieces that need to be coordinated in chronological order.
What Self-Publishing Services Will You Need?
First of all, be clear which services you will use to publish your book. Just like being your own general contractor to build your own home, some things you may chose to do yourself. Make a decision before you start which services you will hire and which you will do yourself. I have outlined three basic areas of self-published services you will need to create a professional self-published book.
DESIGN SELF-PUBLISHING SERVICES
1. Book Cover: Do you judge a book by its cover? I certainly do. If there were one service I would hire above all, it would be the book cover design. You will want your cover very graphic and simple as possible, to include a compelling graphic, title, subtitle, and author name on the front cover. On the back cover include an author biography, and a sales pitch synopsis of the book. An ordinary graphic artist will not necessarily know how to create a great book cover. Look for someone who specializes in book covers or who designs solely book covers for their career.
2. Interior Images: If you are publishing a children’s book, or a photography book, or simply want images, illustrations or drawings, you’ll most likely want to hire an artist to create these. Be sure, most of all they create them in a 300 dpi resolution and deliver them in a digital file compatible with the interior design software. Mostly likely if they deliver these images in a jpg file, that will suffice for the interior designer to place the images into your book document. You will need to specify exactly to your interior designer where to place any images, illustrations or photos.
3. Interior Design: Unless you are ready to learn book interior layout and purchase an expensive art software program, hire a specialist to create your interior design. Laying out a book interior is highly detailed and complex. Header design, front matter, back matter, page numbers, table of contents–these are all very complex. If they have never designed a book cover, this is very time-consuming for them to learn. Not only are there many components involved, but the other issue is that the digital file will need to be made to exact printer specifications. This is very tricky with someone who is not familiar with these issues.
EDITORIAL SELF-PUBLISHING SERVICES
1. Content Editing: Please understand there is a difference between editing, copy-editing, and proofreading. Lots of new writers get this all mixed up. These are orchestrated in chronological order. Copy-editing and proofreading follows content editing. A lot will change by the time you are ready for proofreading, and why proofreading something that is no longer there? Basic editing concentrates on content, flow, consistency, and chronology. If you write about something in the first chapter and bring it up later, is it clear? Does it require redefinition? Are the chapters really in the proper sequence? Editors work with content, organization, and communicating meaning. Who are you writing to? What is the age and educational level? The content editor makes sure the basic content is in order and understandable. They remove superfluous words, order sentences properly, correct grammar, and reorder paragraphs, pages, or chapters. They also clear up confusing areas. A good content editor will catch error such as asking if the name of the city is Greenwich, New York, or Greenwich Connecticut.
2. Copy-Editing: This is a more detailed process and focused on punctuation, headings, and formatting. What a lot of novices do not understand is that there is no “right” answer per se on many punctuation issues. Most editors, copy-editors and proofreaders use a style guide to solve this problem. That English teacher who corrected your papers with red ink…what style guide was she using? These punctuation rules are not as “black and white,” or “right” and “wrong” as we were educated. There are many judgement calls, the most importance is usually consistency. Check your style guide choices and ask your help to use the same style guide when they are editing, copy-editing and proofreading. The most popular and long-standing style guide is the Chicago Manual of Style.
3. Proofreading: This is the last step in the “editorial process.” Proofreading is mostly concerned with spelling. If you run spell check throughout the process of writing your manuscript, this will be easy to do. Proofreading also catches instances where there are two words in a row, when “you” is meant to be “your,” words being left out, and other such strange occurrences with wording. Sometimes a good proofreader is also a copy-editor and you can ask them to do both. However you must pay for both services, as these are two distinct processes. To get the best results, I suggest a specialist in each of these areas, and also everyone to instruct everyone to use the same style guide, or you’ll find your book a bit of an inconsistent mess.
BASIC PROMOTIONAL SELF-PUBLISHING SERVICES
1. Headshot: You will need a photo for the back of your book cover, and honestly, a normal snapshot is not professional. Look for a portrait photographer who knows how to take headshots, with good lighting. A full length photo is too small and includes too much distracting background to use for the back of the book cover. You will also need another shot for the interior of the book for the page entitled “About the Author.”
2. Basic Branding: Develop a basic branding image or icon for your author name. This image will go on your FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE PLUS, and I recommend starting a Goodreads.com account as well. Create a tagline and be sure to create a consistent look and feel throughout all the social media platforms when you begin to announce the availability of your book.
3.Your Book as a Marketing Tool: You may or may not become a best-selling author, and this depends on many variables. However, in any event, take advantage of your book as a marketing tool by creating a full-page ad at the end of your book. This promotion could be for your other books published and your other services available. Your book is an excellent marketing tool to launch workshops, seminars, or consulting. You’ll need a graphic artist to help you design this ad.
Hiring self-publishing services can make the difference in how professional and attractive your published book is. In our next post we will talk about the different ways to find self-publishing services for hire; and how to manage those people. If you prepare and manage them correctly you can cut your costs for these services by at least 50%.
Here are a few names that may be integral for editing, copy-editing, indexing and proofreading services for books & articles:
Seaside Creative Services: [email protected]