Hello Friends and fellow Bloggers! A huge thank you to Frankie for inviting me to guest blog today. I write erotic fantasy & SF romance. Like Frankie, I’ve been on a self-publishing (SP) journey this year, too, and we’ve been able to share information and tips about our discoveries. I had a demanding IT job to fit into my schedule and decided early on that outsourcing would be a necessity. I want to share with you some of what I’ve learned about working with vendors.
I had decided I wanted a professional and well-maintained web site, and that all my eBook covers would be commercial. I engaged an experienced cover artist who created a beautiful first cover for me, and was excited to find out she also created web sites. It seemed like a perfect fit. My first mistake was to assume that the artist would communicate and meet deadlines in the same way that other vendors I’d previously hired in my IT career had done. That wasn’t the case, and as a result I decided to search for another vendor. That decision would change my release timeline drastically. Rae Monet Inc. had a fabulous reputation. They were also booked solid for two months. Not willing to do things half way on something so important as my web site and covers, I accepted the delay as a lesson learned, and pushed back my first release to this month from August. That was the best decision I made. The web site creation process, the hosting, maintenance, and technical details were all expertly managed by Rae Monet and her team. I was told up front, and in detail, what to expect. They guided me through the process of getting vague impressions out of my head and onto both my web site and my next book cover GABRIEL’S RELEASE. They always explained the consequences of any design decision from a reader perspective, and steered me toward choices that would work logistically, not just artistically. Several times during the finalization stage, I asked for a change and it was completed within the hour. This is the kind of vendor you want to work with–or at least I do! My experiences so far tell me that Rae Monet Inc. is the exception though, not the rule.
Another task I outsourced was ebook conversion from Word to the various eReader formats, which would enable consumers to read my work on a Nook or an iPhone just as easily as they could on a Kindle. I quickly discovered that not all ebook conversion vendors offered formatting tasks (cleaning up your document and helping to prepare it for the conversion). Formatting and conversion were often considered separate, or at least separately billed. Here again, I ran into communication issues where I received little information up front about the process. Although I was pleased with the final outcome, I haven’t yet settled on a formatting and conversion vendor I want to use for all my books.
I’d suggest keeping the following in mind as you test the waters with any vendors:
- Many do not offer contracts and do not give much information up front, making it difficult for someone new to make well-balanced decisions–so ask questions. Ask about the process, the turnaround time, and ask what is “not” included. Price shouldn’t be the determining factor.
- Choose vendors that work the way you do and have a communication style that suits you. Don’t be afraid to try more than one, and don’t be afraid to move on to another vendor if your requests are not being met.
- Don’t rush the process, especially when you’re first starting out. Take your time. You’ll have a better product at the end of the process.
- If you’re considering outsourcing publishing tasks, it’s important to find vendors who match your communication and work style. Quality in every part of the process from draft through conversion will make an overall impact on your readers.
- Finally, find other SP authors you can share tips and information with, and don’t forget to have fun!
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments I look forward to hearing from you.
Roxy’s eShort BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, available now, is a steamy tale about an alien who disguises himself as an elf and invades a woman’s dreams.