In my previous post, The Future Of Self-Publishing, I mentioned that the infrastructure needed to create a robust and healthy self-publishing industry is slowly developing. One key aspect is author services, but what are they and why should you care?
Any self-published author knows just how much hard work goes in to preparing a book for publication and how many new skills authors need to develop if they are going to truly do everything themselves. From story analysis and development to cover design to typesetting, publishing and marketing, there’s a vast range of skills that the true DIYer needs to develop. But what if it turns out that you’re rubbish at cover design? Or that you can’t get the distance you need from your story to do proper analysis and development? Or if you find ebook formatting too confusing and esoteric?
This is where author services come in.
Suw Charman-Anderson, Contributor
An Introduction To Author Services, Part 1
Forbes.com, June 21, 2013
FAST-FORWARD to present day, and in my book, Creating Books Secrets, the three big concepts are:
- the Modern Author,
- the Book Creation Cycle,
- and the Golden Age of Books.
And they’re all related.
When I started publishing, self-publishing was still kind of taboo. It meant you couldn’t find a publisher and your book was sub-quality. Even today, they’re out there! But so are the good ones. Independent authors are learning or delegating the skills involved in taking a book from rough draft to on the bookshelves. They’re now producing books that rival or exceed traditionally-published titles in all aspects – artistic, technical, and even commercial. The million-dollar contracts offered to indies are proof enough.
The Modern Author understands this and produces professional-quality books regardless of how they publish. The Book Creation Cycle notes established and emerging best practices and breaks them down into steps anyone can make sure are taken. The Golden Age of Books is emerging. It’s an age where both traditionally and independently published books rival each other in many aspects, creating competition that leads to even higher quality, innovation, and emerging new genres.
Even sales methods are being innovated upon. Author Erin Mahoney (Girl Power, Positive Vibes) was the first to tell me about “pop-up bookstores” that can be found at conferences now. Not to mention the very definition of “book” is evolving. And it’s exciting, if you ask me. When something appears like a book, seems to be a book, but is not quite what we think of as a book, it forces us to boil down exactly what a “book” is, and invite and enjoy new forms of it. And here we are!
I realized after a great initial consultation with an author that because I only offered full services we had to part ways. That day was one seed of the evolution my practice has now gone through and I now offer services to those of you who have a draft already, or simply, because you truly are a modern author, would like to hire specific services a la carte. I now offer services for modern authors in three ways:
- The GET ME PUBLISHED! Package, with editing: If you have a complete but unedited draft, $2,500 to get you fully designed and broadly published,
- The GET ME PUBLISHED! Package, without editing: If you have a complete and fully edited draft, $1,500 to get you fully designed and broadly published,
- AUTHOR SERVICES: If you only need certain tasks completed, $250 per five hours of any services I perform.
GET ME PUBLISHED!
In my full-service collaborations, we truly create a book together. You are the “author” and I am the “writer.” We discuss goals and plans, and starting with just an idea or folders of your notes and materials, we normally add recorded interviews and create the content for your book. But what if you already have a fully written draft? If you do, the GET ME PUBLISHED! packages are designed for you. The only difference between them is one includes unlimited editing and the other is for those of you who have a fully edited draft ready to go. I normally advise clients not to share their drafts with others until we have a fully edited draft, and even then the sharing gets broader in stages if you follow my recommendations, which are touched on below.
First, here’s what we mean by “editing:”
DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING, also called “substantive,” “structural,” or “comprehensive editing,” is done to improve the overall content, structure, and flow of your book. It takes into account the author’s intended purposes for the book and seeks to make it valuable in those ways for readers. Others charge $10 per page.
COPY EDITING looks for errors, fixes them, and makes improvements in grammar, spelling, diction, and (I would add) author’s voice, to accomplish a clear, readable, consistent, and accurate book. Others charge $5 per page.
Once your goals and purposes are known and we have an edited draft it’s time for the beta reader stage. I’ll prepare an “ARC” (advance reader copy), also called a “galley,” and we’ll send your draft out to advance readers we both find, then consider their recommendations. We’ll also gather advance endorsements. This is then a great time to seek a contributor for a foreword, preferably someone who adds credibility to the book.
Your GET ME PUBLISHED! package includes cover and interior book design, and we’ll survey your cover designs if you wish. Along the way I’ll consult and advise on building your author platform and infrastructure, and can even recommend other pros for web design, marketing, and publicity if you wish. Then it’s time to make a publishing decision.
Most clients self-publish and retain all rights, control, and royalties, but you might also consider a crowdfunding campaign like Publishizer or seeking an agent. I’ll make recommendations and coach you through whatever direction you decide upon. You might also consider seeking corporate sponsorship. If you go with a traditional or hybrid publisher I’ll work with them for a smooth transition, or we’ll get you professionally self-published.
This means after designing your book I’ll format it for ebook and for print, and you might have cover designs for paperback and hardcover as well. With your completed files, I’ll assist you in creating a publishing account, most likely with Ingram, and orient you to the platform where your book will become available for sale to over 39,000 retailers worldwide, set up in such a way booksellers will be willing to order your book and have you for book signings.
This platform is also where you will be able to order author wholesale copies. I can often get my hands on a publisher’s coupon for free uploads to Ingram (saving you hundreds, possibly), and I’ll assign you some of my own ISBNs (saving you hundreds). Your book will be professionally designed and appear on sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com, iTunes, KOBO, Google, and thousands of others unless we decide upon an alternative publishing strategy. I recommend a preorder period ideally of 90 days, and I’ll then coach you through your launch as well.
Of course, we should discuss the steps to make your book an Amazon Best Seller as well as other best-seller lists, along with your new life and career as a best-selling, published author! And there are lots of opportunities for well-published authors!
PayPal encourages you to pay with a PayPal account, but if you look below that on the page that opens next, you’ll see a grey button that says “Pay with Debit or Credit Card.”
With one investment of $250 for a block of five hours, I’ll perform any services you need in the creation of your book. In addition to those listed, this includes coaching as well. And like my coaching, we’ll mark off time spent in video or audio conferences in 15-minute chunks, or 5-minute chunks of time when I’m replying to emails. What do you need help with?
- Developmental editing (concept, organization, flow)
- Line editing (use of language and style)
- Copy editing (readability, correction of errors)
- Interior book design for print
- Ebook conversion
- Ebook cover design
- Paperback cover design
- Hardcover (jacket + flaps) cover design
- Marketing book description
- Edited press/author bio
- Assistance with beta-reader campaign
- Assistance with advance reviews campaign
- Publishing advice (Self? Traditional? Hybrid?)
- Publishing platform suggestions
- File creation for uploads
- Help with uploads (publishing) and metadata
- Production and distribution advice
- Assistance with proofs
- Launch consultation and assistance
- Business development advice
- Advice on author infrastructure (web, email)
- Sales funnels creation
- Crowdfunding advice
- Crowdfunding campaign proposals
- Crowdfunding fulfilment
- Video book trailers
- And more!