“Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.”
The simple truth is that you will need a team to make your publication a success. Yes, there is a lot of technology available that can simplify tasks and help you do things on your own that in times past you would be required to hire a professional, but you simply cannot impact the entire world with your message if you are the only person doing the work.
Building a publishing success team is the fifth part of the seven-step platform building process.
I’ve divided the “publishing success team” into four functions that every author will need whether they plan to self-publish or partner with a traditional publisher-Writing Team Members, Administrative Team Members, Marketing Team Members and Sales Team Members. (Note that authors who partner with a traditional publishing company will probably find most of these team members on the traditional publisher’s payroll.)
Writing Team Members
- Developmental editor: The developmental editor focuses on polishing the big picture of your book’s message. Unlike other editors, this editor is the most likely to require you to talk with them about your vision for your book. This editor will help you clearly define your book’s goals and analyze how the book’s paragraphs and chapters should be organized to attract and engage the readers you want.
- Copyeditor or line editor: These are the editors who specialize in knowing the difference between using the word “who” or “whom” and know when it is best to use a comma or a semi-colon. They focus on reviewing each line of your manuscript to make it easy to understand. They do not need to talk with you in order to perform their job. You are likely to spend a lot of time going through multiple rounds of revisions with copyeditors to produce the best manuscript possible.
- Proofreader: This type of editor performs the final review of a manuscript and checks for any typographical errors-such as awkward spacing- as well as spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. It is highly recommended that proofreading be completed before the book is formatted and again before the formatted content is printed to make sure there were no errors introduced by the formatting process.
Administrative Team Members
In his book “Platform: Get Noticed In a Noisy World,” former Thomas Nelson publishing company CEO Michael Hyatt recommends that you recruit these three people when you are ready to build your platform:
- An Assistant: This is someone who can help you make the most of your time by taking on the smaller administrative tasks like checking your email, replying to routine inquiries, booking appointments and even booking travel. This can be a part-time person who works as little as five hours per week. Hyatt recommends using EAhelp.com. But if you are on a tighter budget, you can get help from FancyHands.com or even 247VirtualAssistants.com.
- A Bookkeeper. I am a big fan of DIY tools like Wave Accounting and Quickbooks, but performing bookkeeping tasks and tracking your book related business expenses can drain your time as your platform grows. There’s nothing wrong with starting out by doing it yourself, but as you grow look into taking advantage of professional services. I use Wave Accounting and I love that they offer Pro services where bookkeepers can audit my books and check my work as I need it instead of charging me monthly fees.
- An Attorney. The more successful you become, the more you will need the advice and services of an intellectual property lawyer who can help you avoid bad deals. You can start by contacting your state’s bar association to find lawyers in your area. If you are concerned about costs, consider using LegalShield services that can give you access to a lawyer for less than $20/month.
Marketing Team Members
- Literary Agent. This person is your advocate who walks you through the publishing process because they like you…and for the 15%-20% sales commission. They submit your book to editors, help you negotiate contracts and more.
- Marketing Professionals. Stay on top of current trends both online and offline through the services of book marketing professionals. Both TheIndependentPublishingMagazine.com and BookCentralStation.com allows you to read reviews for service providers.
- Graphic Designers and Typesetters. These artists have the skills to help you design a book cover, book layout, and other promotional materials that will display your work in style. You can find them using the same resources provided for finding a marketing or publicity professional. I’ve also worked with Sally from AzaleaCreations.com and highly recommend her design and promotional material printing services.
- Event Planners. They can organize book tours, speaking engagements and other promotional events that turn your written message into an experience. You may be able to find these professionals through BookCentralStation.com.
- Printers/POD Distributors. This team member should be a proven company that can put the finishing touch on your physical books. You can find these professionals through referrals on TheIndependentPublishingMagazine.com and BookCentralStation.com.
- Sound Engineers. If you are publishing an audio book, these are the pros who help you stand apart from the competition. If you are publishing your audiobook through Amazon’s ACX.com, you can find sound engineers through their platform. If you are recording your audiobook in a professional sound studio, you probably have access to a sound engineer through the studio.
Sales Team Members
To minimize the risk of continuing to sound like a broken record, I’ll just tell you now that TheIndependentPublishingMagazine.com and BookCentralStation.com are great for helping authors find experts in the following roles if your publishing company doesn’t already have them on staff to assist you.
- Distributors. These are the companies that handle the details involved in getting books from the printers to the retailers that sell them. Big traditional publishers tend to distribute their own books. However, self-publishing authors and authors who partner with smaller publishing companies may be interested in browsing BookCentralStation.com to find the distributors with the most connections with the markets they want to reach. Authors who choose to manage their own distribution can do so using a POD Distributor.
- Publicists. These are the people who specialize in connecting you with the media producers who get you free publicity…all for the cost of the publicist’s time of course. Even authors who get the six-figure book advances tend to hire at least their own publicist. In addition two the two resources mentioned above, Smith Publicity is a huge player in this market and Steve Harrison’s RTIR offers great opportunities to get in touch with talk show producers for even less than most of Smith Publicity’s prices. Harrison’s RTIR has helped launch books like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” “Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul,” and the “Dummies” series, so you’ll notice that I mention him a lot on this topic.
- Sales Representatives. Traditional publishers are likely to have their own trained sales reps, but self-publishers and authors with smaller publishing companies can find marketing companies that specialize in sales. One company worth noting is book marketing guru Brian Jud’s Premium Book Company.
I don't claim to make this an exhaustive list of all the roles you'll need to fill to make your book publication effective, but I hope this gives you an idea of who should be on your core team. Question: Are there any other team members you think you'll need to make your book a success? I'd love to read your response in the comments below. Image By: Eckhard Pecher (Arcimboldo) (Own work) [CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products or services I have mentioned. The sources above are only included because they are the best I have found in their respective fields based on my research and previous experience. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."