I’ve been intentional about gathering my teams. I have several: health team, (primary care doctor, dentist, chiropractor, massager, physical therapist and mental health therapist, followed by various specialists as I’ve needed them.) I’ve got a financial team, a home maintenance team, a work team.
And I’ve been building my writing team. What a wonderful process, to have each person appear in my life just when I need them! Not that I didn’t have to look—I did—but when I needed them and asked them, they came.
When I started this journey I didn’t really know what, or whom, I needed beside a computer and a lot of time, perseverance and coffee. The roles became evident as I proceeded, and whether you self-publish or traditional publish, every writer should consider recruiting these people in this modern age of intensive manuscript development.
Here they are:
- Beta readers: the best betas represent your potential target audience. I love it when I can get another writer to be a beta-reader, but I’m also aware they often DON’T represent the audience who would buy my book. I’ve collected several wonderful beta-readers who are there for me with every book, giving me real-world reader feedback. These ladies give me the ‘straight dope’ on whether the first draft is working or not from a reader perspective. I also have a couple of writer’s groups I read with for feedback.
- Expert readers– these are your consultants, various folks with the kind of background you need to lend authenticity. I am thrilled to have some wonderful experts on my team. Recently I added Dr. Rex Couch, retired M.E. from Kaua`i to my expert team- he was the “main man” on Kaua`i for many years, and in high school gave me a tour of the morgue I never forgot. He’s a classmate’s father, and through Facebook I tracked him down and asked to read my morgue/body scenes- his expertise has been invaluable in tweaking the lingo and procedural stuff my Forensics for Dummies book just can’t cover.
- Professional editor– many writers I know try to skip this step to save money, or because they are good at reading other people’s work and think they can do theirs as well. I DISAGREE. In fact, while I can line-edit my own work, I find I cannot the eagle eye of my professional editor If you haven’t got a good editor, get one. They’re worth their weight in gold, because we’re too close to our work to really see it. (Plus, in this self-publishing era, you need someone with more expertise than a beta-reader to give the thumbs-up that gives you confidence to press the “Print” button on a new book.)
- Copyeditor: this person is ESSENTIAL even if you do without a structural editor. A good copyeditor grammar checks, fact checks, tracks timelines and so much more than mere typo checking.
- Proofreader: I have an awesome Review Team that fulfills this function. A few trusted readers, or a paid professional is another way to handle. Don't skimp on this step! Readers will let you know if reviews how little they appreciate typos. Getting one-stars for this reason just sucks and should definitely be avoided at all costs.
- Agent: whether or not you go ‘indie,' agents are still a huge asset. My agent helped me find my editor, and gave me tough editing as well. Whatever happens with deals or no deals, I’ll always be grateful for her being the cornerstone of my ‘team’ and believing in my work enough to get it ready and get it out there—all for no compensation until we sold stuff.
- Cover Designer: find an artist who can do this. There are many. KindleBoards is a good source of many solid professionals in different areas! Please, do yourself a favor: unless you went to college for graphic design, don't try to do this yourself. A good designer knows what's trending in your genre, and that can make you sales!
- Inputting, formatting/book development: Every book needs to be created. Vellum has revolutionized this process! Highly recommended. Again, Kboards is a great place to find a pro to help build your books.
- Assistant: A good personal assistant (PA) is worth their weight in gold. They can make graphics, newsletters, help with ads, run your Facebook fan group, load your Twitter with content, enter you in contests, deal with fans, and in general, help you build your business. I began with one gal for 10 hours a month; I now have a close to full-time Business Manager.
- Website team: This can be tricky. You need a solid company that can grow with you, but not one that will overcharge. Again, check KindleBoards for good references for folks who specialize in book/author websites.
- Bookkeeper/CPA: At a certain point, your author-preneureal business will grow to the point that you need others to help with the number crunching. Again, asking around for referrals is the best way to find folks who specialize in working with creatives and their needs.
- PR/Ads/Marketing: there are various companies who can manage this area for you. Personally, while I've tried several, I've had best results working with my assistant and experimenting with the various platforms vs. handing this off to others. No one will care about your ads effectiveness like you do!
Who do you have on your “team” and who can you do without? Did I forget any role group that would be helpful?