22 August 2017

Advice From This Indie Author

I’ve mentioned here before that I have not been happy with my first two book covers. I went out of my way to purchase beautiful graphics, but when it came to the actual design of the covers, I didn’t have the knowledge or the proper software to create professional covers—something striking—something that pulls people in. Besides, I’m a writer not an artist. Designing covers is way beyond my capabilities. I just don’t have an eye for it. I know what I like, but I can’t achieve it on my own. So, I had to rely on the template provided by Createspace. For my first book that was okay because I never expected to write a second book. I never expected to have a blog. I never expected to start building my author platform. And I never thought about branding.

Now that book three is almost ready for publication, I had to rethink things. It was time to take my writing and my branding more seriously. So, I hired a professional to design (or redesign) my book covers. She has done an amazing job with Vocation and Incorruptible. Once she redesigns A Future Spring, I will reveal all three. Then you will see first-hand exactly what I am talking about.

I now have a strong piece of advice for other indie authors who may be just starting out: hire a professional—for proofreading, for editing, for designing your book covers. If you don’t have the money, save up or ask for a payment plan. Invest in yourself and your writing.  Most people in the industry are freelancers and are eager to work with you, so hire a professional. Of course, it has to be the right professional, so shop around. But, hire a professional. It pays off in the end.

I’d like to expand even further. Don’t rely on friends or family for services. I can’t emphasize this enough. Why? For many reasons, which I won’t get into here, but I will give you one very good reason not to rely on friends or family: you want a professional job. And it keeps things simple. You pay for services rendered. Most friends won’t take money or they argue about price, or they just don’t know how much to charge. Then you have the added burden of trying to determine the cost of a service for yourself. Sometimes that works out; usually it doesn’t. When it comes to your writing (all aspects of your writing) you want a professional who will give you honest feedback and who receives honest payment for an honest job.

Last, reach out to other independent authors on social media. There is a wealth of information out there. One of my online friends led me to my book designer. Make connections--network. 

In truth, as an indie author, you are limited. You don’t have a team of people to do your marketing, branding, publishing, and designing. Everything comes down to you. You have to create your own team. In some ways that is empowering. You get to make all the executive decisions, but you also have to take all the blame when things don’t turn out quite right.

Over these past four years of my writing life, a lot didn’t turn out quite right. But, that’s okay. I’ve learned a lot! 

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