Independent publishing has become the mainstay strategy to selling books, building an audience or even attracting an offer from a trade publisher. After all, the marketplace is the new slush pile.
If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that there’s more to publishing and selling books than just writing a manuscript.
In the article the two key factors that will create this year’s successful authors, I cover how successful independent authors understand that standing out means having a better product and more visibility.
But let’s not downplay the reality that independent publishing successfully, requires having more than one cog turning at a time. To get more accomplished at this in a shorter space of time, it’s important for authors to do a couple of things.
- Let go of the ego or belief that controlling everything, simply means doing everything yourself. It’s just not the case.
- Once you’ve acknowledged this, start building your publishing team of family, friends and professionals to help you achieve more in less time, without sacrificing quality.
Some first time authors attempt to do what they can with their first book, before appreciating the value of delegation. It’s best to delegate to another person who is better and quicker at the task than the author.
A simple change of approach
The idea of creating an author support team around you and delegating, isn’t a common topic found online. It’s not something writers and authors are consciously thinking about.
Many of them, particularly fiction and children’s authors, don’t start their publishing journey with years of business or marketing experience behind them.
Understandable, but that’s why we have this blog as a resource for education, right?
Most importantly, you don’t need years of business or marketing experience to successfully independently publish.
You just need the right mindset and a small supportive publishing team.
This shift in mindset is key for successful authors and if you do the same, it will make you a better business author than 90% of those other authors out there. You don’t need many thousands of dollars, you don’t need a publishing army, you don’t need any degrees or diplomas.
It’s just about being smarter with your time and how you spend your energy.
Do this by building a small group of people that become part of your publishing team, who you can delegate tasks to that you find difficult or don’t have time to do. This alone will make a dramatic difference to your publishing endeavors.
Your publishing team
Start with those around you.
For example: I have a few clients who have their spouse or close friend do some of the tasks. You can find an article on Joanna Penn’s blog The Creative Penn, from the spouse of an author describing how she helps with his platform tasks. You could say it’s the closest thing to an author cloning themselves.
The author can delegate specific tasks which frees up time to do things that are best left to the author, such as emailing important contacts, creating special “launch only content”, and talking with reviewers and bloggers.
Examples of tasks the author can delegate are:
- Ordering print copies
- Checking Facebook and Twitter
- Doing research
- Contacting professionals such as good copyeditors and book cover designers
- Publishing blog articles that the author has written
- Helping with book launch or event organisation
Hot tip: Google Apps are fantastic for simple collaborations between a couple of people. Google Calendar and Google Docs are excellent free collaboration tools.
Then look at contracting professionals for the high-level production tasks.
It’s important to do your research and stay clear of publishing pirates. Start by asking your writer and author colleagues for recommendations. Remember that it’s important to see examples and what value is provided by the professional or service.
There’s much more to considering professionals than simply price (big mistake often learned the hard way).
- Ask about what’s included in the service. Is the professional performing the task accessible to you?
- Do they have time to schedule your project in and when? (You don’t want them rushing.)
- Very important; what after service support do they offer? (You don’t want to be left in the dark.)
Working with reliable, professional and respectful people can make all the difference to the process of creating your book.
Looking at your publishing team on paper, you might have something that looks similar to this:
- A close friend or spouse who takes care of miscellaneous tasks you assign to them
- A second friend that is “on call”, who can help with various tasks, particularly during the book launch phase
- A copyeditor
- A book cover designer
- A print typesetter, e-book formatter, or both
If the publishing team you assemble on your first book works well, you’ll ideally want to work with the same people again. This will make for a smoother collaboration on your next book because you’ll know what each other’s expectations are.
With your publishing team assembled, your publishing venture will be much more enjoyable with a lot less stress. The process will run much more smoothly and you’ll have a commercial quality book you can confidently sell.