It is quite possible to do much of the work I hired out yourself, and thereby save yourself production costs. The less you pay to create your product, the less time it will take for you to break even and begin making money with your writing, all things being equal. All things aren’t equal, however. Many sets of eyes may substitute for a professional editor, but your best friend alone will not. While you may have a strong artistic bent, unless your design skills are those of a professional, it could take you weeks to learn the skills you need to create a passable cover.
Don’t forget that your time is valuable too. Every minute you spend on production chores is time you can’t spend on writing or promotion. You have to decide which scarce resource you want to spend.
I chose to invest money instead of time. I want my self-publishing efforts to look as good as anything a reader could buy from a large publisher. I’m a professional and I want to produce a product that won’t detract from the story. I’ve read a lot of criticism about the covers, editing, and formatting of self-published books. I didn’t want to make those mistakes so I hired professionals to do the production work. I also decided to create my own logo and publishing label, Castle Rock Publishing because it sends a stronger message to readers and reviewers that these books are quality products.
Here are some of the resources I’ve used to educate myself, and to get the job done professionally.
Best Overview I’ve Read of the Subject:
LET’S GET DIGITAL by David Gaughran
Excellent Blogs on the Business of Writing (Treasure troves of guidance in various areas):
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Great Digest of Writing Info:
The Passive Voice
Adelle Brinkley at With Pen in Hand
My Digital Formatter:
My POD Formatters:
Smashwords will send you a free list of inexpensive digital formatters and cover artists for the asking. Ask for “Mark’s list.”
WE ARE NOT ALONE: The Writers Guide to Social Media by Kristen Lamb
HOW TO PUBLISH AND PROMOTE ONLINE by M.J. Rose and Angela Adair-Hoy
AIMING AT AMAZON by Aaron Shepard
PLUG YOUR BOOK: Online Book Marketing for Authors by Steve Weber