When to bring in the pros. 

When I dove into the world of indie publishing, I assumed it would be a quick and easy process of figuring out how to format, publish, and do a little marketing and promotion. I had no idea the level of involvement it would require and the amount of information out there to digest in order to put out a product that has any hope of finding an audience. That said, it’s been a fun challenge to try and make heads or tails of converting documents, understanding Amazon algorithms, and to dip my toe in the waters of blogging and networking with other indie authors. But now that our first book is complete and we’ve decided what our budget is for the project, it’s time to turn to the professionals for help.

Since this might ultimately be nothing more than a vanity project, I didn’t want to pour thousands of dollars into this one book, but I do see the importance of putting out the best work that you possibly can. Cover art is hugely important for attracting readers; it’s your first selling point, aside from the blurb (which should read like the back cover of a book.) So I searched around for a fabulous cover artist and found the wonderful and talented Natasha Snow. She took our ideas and molded them into something that we’re really happy with, and we’re thrilled to be able to share the cover for our first novel, Iris. I know for a fact that I couldn’t have put together something that looked even remotely professional, so for me, this one was a no-brainer. If you aren’t a graphic artist yourself, definitely hire a cover artist.

I would have loved to have the money to sink into a developmental editor, a copy editor, or a proof reader, but that’s not in our budget at this time. Instead, we went with a professional formatter to turn our book into something that will translate well and look good across all of the different types of e-readers. This was important to me, because as a reader, I can forgive a typo here and there (so long as it’s not egregious) but when a book has crappy formatting, it turns me off completely. I tried my hand at it by using Calibre to see how hard it would be, and while it wasn’t rocket science, I do think there’s an art to it and that it requires someone who knows a more about code than I do. (And also I couldn’t get my table of contents set up right, which made me want to break stuff. So there’s that, too.)

At this point, we should have our final document back from the formatter next week, and I’ll upload it to all of the various distributors. It’s a really exciting time for us as indie authors, and for me it’s been an amazing exercise in patience, trial-and-error, and just finding and accepting my limitations. I absolutely cannot wait to see our book available for sale, and you’d better believe that we’ll let you know as soon as it’s out there!

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