Thursday, April 25, 2019

Talents Beyond Your Talent

Self-publishing is a wondrous world which is entirely under the control of one person – you. However, No one person possesses all the skills necessary to do a great job publishing a book. You can sit in front of the keyboard for hours and hours a day and let your imagination pour out. Eventually, the right words will fall onto the piece of paper or screen, and they might assemble themselves into the story you were trying to tell. If you are doing a great job at that, everything else beyond it will be something less. There is editing, which no person should ever even attempt to do on their own writing, and artwork and marketing copy and graphics and so many more things. Having just finished my latest opus, I thought I would share some of the talents I found that are on my global team.

When I talk about editing, I mean beyond that initial draft into what you think is the final copy. Having worked with four editors at this point, I will tell you that their personality is every bit as crucial as your own because whether they mean to or not, they will have some input into the style of the story you wrote. It is more than just checking your grammar, there are many computer programs to do that for you, it is a matter of checking your style and making sure that you're keeping your own voice and perspective. An editor will help you find a monocle to put on one character while making sure that all of the characters do not sound like you.  The best editors I've worked with have come to me through Professional Book Editing Services. Mention my name, and you will get an extra 5% off the cost of your editing. They edit any written word, not just books, and if you send them up to 1000 words, they will provide a sample of their work. I was edited by Joanne and Dr. Joe.

Most of the other talents I needed were what I consider artistic. Rather than looking for all of those talents in a single company, I went to more of a gig-based approach using something called Fiverr.  Fiverr is basically a repository of expertise that you can hire to accomplish a single job. This can be anything from designing the cover of the book to writing letters and other promotional type words. The good: They have lots of talent ready, willing, and able to provide whatever service it is you want. The bad: They seem to have a lot of turnover. A lot of people I used for my last book were no longer working with Fiverr. It doesn't mean it was negative for the provider, in one instance I was able to track down someone I worked with in my last book and found they had moved on to become an independent provider. 

One thing to keep in mind, the old adage of getting what you pay for does not always apply equally in this environment. Some of these folks are just starting out and undercharge for superior work. Also, people are charging an extraordinary amount of money for a mediocre product. Before you sign up with any provider, send them an email with a brief description of what you are after, their response and response time will tell you a lot. Take a little time to explore the providers that interest you before committing. Caveat emptor.

One thing I really like about working with Fiverr is most of the folks who have provided services have also been open to collaboration in the process. Below, is the evolution of the cover for my most recent release, Blood Upon the Sands.  The artist I worked with was Akira007, he lives in Germany and was a student at the Royal Danish Academy.  I gave him a basic concept, and then we worked our way through it jointly until we came out with the finished product. I like the end result.


Turning the cover into something for marketing required another gig from another provider. No problem Fiverr has artists ready to help.  I called upon the services of Prooodesign from Morocco. He quickly provided me with 15 different designs, even though the gig only calls for 10. 

Once I had graphics, I contacted Pepita1 in Bulgaria.  She put together a really nice banner for my Facebook page.  Eyecatching and it included all three of my titles, plus logo.

Ferncottleswell provided some really fired up marketing words which I used for my description. I have to admit, I was drawn to her by the profile picture, I'm not going to give it to you here, you'll have to go to the Fiverr site to see it.  She has to be showing off one of the most excited and joyful expressions you could ever hope to see. I felt there was no way a person could display that excited expression and not have the same feeling in their soul. I was not disappointed. If you couldn't tell by the name, she is from the UK.

For my back-cover description Quickprowrote, my only US provider, produced a really well thought out narrative. At the time she delivered it, I was actually busy with other things and didn't have time to collaborate with her too much directly. So, I rewrote a little of this and a little of that and came up with what I eventually used.

Each of the people I named above, are still available on Fiverr as of this date. I would go back to every one of them again without hesitation. The only cautionary words I can offer is that most of the quoted delivery times are far too optimistic. You will usually receive something by the deadline, but if you have a little more time to spare, you can work with the provider and come up with something really fantastic. Only two of the providers listed made the delivery time, but in the end, every one of them gave me their best effort.