So you have written a book, or formed a new company, or want to revamp your identity/brand as an author…fantastic! Congratulations on writing your masterpiece. No doubt it took you several laborious months (or even years) to write, edit and edit again until now you are ready to share your literature with the world. So what now? You need some professional help if you want your book to look its best, right?
The greatest advice that anyone can give a new author is to hire professionals to help them best present their manuscript to potential readers. Get your manuscript professionally edited, formatted, and a solid cover design before uploading anything to retailers. A great place for overall self-publishing advice is HERE by Helen Hollick as my area of expertise is book cover design and marketing.
And coming to my main point directed at authors on self-publishing a novel – plan ahead. I cannot stress enough that those of us working as professionals within the publishing business are often carrying multiple jobs within any given week, and we schedule new projects several weeks (sometimes months) into the future. Mainstream publishers often take months (can be a year) to process and release new titles as well – even assisted publishing companies need time to process new submissions.
Please do not assume that when you are ready to get your book on Kindle, you can instantly get it formatted, copy edited, and a cover designed within days. You might get lucky and find a few folks who are willing to do a quick job for you, likely you’ll pay a rush fee, but overall do not count on or expect that. Think of all the other authors who have been patiently waiting to have their manuscripts properly processed for publication – you place the professional in a tight spot when you ask us to rush your job ahead of those who might have been waiting a month or more for their own manuscript to be taken care of.
I recommend contacting publishing professionals up to two months ahead of the time you plan to release your book. Give as much notice as you can so the professionals can work you into their busy schedules without added stress of short notices. While you might have taken months, even years, to write your book, designers and formatters are constantly processing books for numerous authors at the same time to meet demands within the industry.
And if the professional you have contacted is indeed booked up for the next several weeks, this is a good sign that they are in high demand and actually know what they are doing. I would be wary of someone who isn’t busy in this business! Also, look for professionals with a formal education in their field – this especially refers to book cover designers. They should have at least a two-year degree in graphic design to truly understand formatting, typography, and layout: all key elements in designing a successful, balanced, and professional book cover. This does not refer to traditional artists whom you can license artwork to be used for your cover design – you will still need a graphic designer to properly set your typography over the artist’s artwork.
I have written advice on how to communicate with a book cover designer in THIS blog entry for more details on the process of book cover design.
We publishing professionals are your partners in this business and wish to do all that we can to help bring your manuscript to press. All that we ask is for common courtesy and patience as we are busy individuals balancing work and life on an often insane schedule. Coffee usually plays a big part of our days too. *laughs* That and wine! *cheers*