I know the name points toward a one man show, but self-publishing is a team effort.
No single man/woman is capable of greatness on their own, this I honestly believe. Seriously, name a person who achieved greatness without help from others…I dare you.
I encourage self-published authors to get involved in as much as they can, to learn new skills,and generally get their hands dirty. However, if you think you can do it all by yourself you have another thing coming.
I know this from experience. If I tried to create Beyond Parallel all by myself I wouldn’t be confident come launch day. As it stands, I’m pretty darn happy with it. I’ve worked hard, sure, but I have many people to thank.
In this post I want to highlight three types of team members that I believe all self-published writers NEED. Of course, there are many more who can and will join your party at some point down the line, but this is the foundation for a successful story.
1: A Professional Editor
I don’t care how talented of a writer you are, an editor should be part of the process. Hiring Susan is single handily the best decision I’ve made for my writing.
There will be people reading this with English degrees and creative writing qualifications and maybe a whole bunch of short stories and poems and published works in their locker. I don’t care! You NEED an editor to guide you through this journey.
Sure, they’ll pick up on mistakes and errors, but more importantly they’ll push you and challenge you. He or she will ask you to clarify, expand, and dig deeper. In my opinion this is the difference between a reader reading, and being fully immersed.
2: BETA Readers
Another vital member of your team. You may have one or two or five, but the point is you should have them. They may come in the form of fellow writers, readers, teachers, critique partners, friends or mentors. The wider you spread your wings the better.
I don’t think it’s important for your BETA to be a professional editor or anything like that, but they should love reading and understand writing better than the average joe. These people are the ones who will pick up on the things you and your editor miss, which trust me, is rather a lot.
Again, it’s the opinions they offer that matter the most. Your BETA Reader takes the form of an average reader who will buy your book. If they’re confused or seek more info, you may want to listen and adapt your story.
I’ve personally got a mix of age, gender, and location (America and England) to help me. The feedback offered has been amazing, and in my opinion has helped Beyond Parallel become a much better story.
3: A Community
A community can come in many forms. It might be a forum, your own email list, a group of friends, or a writing workshop. The point is to involve a group of people who vary and represent the average reader who may or may not pick up your book.
For instance, I’ve recently called upon a couple of communities to provide feedback on some Book Covers. I liked them all, but I quickly discovered they weren’t good enough.
You’re more than a writer. You create blurbs and covers and websites and adverts. You will be highly skilled in some of these areas and a complete novice in others. A community can point you in the right direction and help you go from okay-to-great.
Filtering The Chaos
The problem with all this? You’ll be faced with many contradictions and a wide array of ideas.
Your biggest job as a self-published author is to filter out the good from the bad. Listen to everything, but question it all. If you don’t agree with it, and can’t get on board, don’t change it. This is your book and your heart and soul, so whether the feedback is coming from your editor or a BETA or a community member, think hard about whether you agree.
You can’t be stubborn and dismiss it immediately. Like I say, take everything on board and listen A LOT. Only choose what’s right for YOU, though.
And remember, sometimes you have to hire someone. Some people have a budget of thousands, whereas others don’t. YOU WILL have to spend money on your self-published book, this you can’t avoid.
BUT, if you involve the right people at the right times, you may be able to dodge a lot of the cost and do it yourself. If you try to do everything on your own with no other feedback, I’m afraid greatness will be hard to come by.
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million