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1 THE BEST LITTLE BOOK PROGRAM - LESSON 4 Hiring Your Book Cover Designer, Editor and Formatter With Karin and Drew Rozell Karin: Today we re talking about getting your book production team ready. Before covering what you need to know, first let s talk a little bit about why we recommend you start setting up your production team, like your book cover designer, before you re done writing. First, it is incredibly motivating to see a draft of your book cover design. When you have a cover, this is when this whole process starts to become real to most of our authors. This gives you a glimpse of the finish line that has a tendency to keep you moving forward. Second, as a business owner, you can start using your book cover for promotional purposes -- in your keep-intouch communication, signature, social media and more.

2 Third, book covers take time. As soon as you re clear on the general format of your book, starting the production is a good idea. I also want you to remember that when you get your book cover design done, it doesn t mean that it s set in stone. You can always have it tweaked later. That s the beauty of not having to order 1,000 books or going through the traditional publishing route. You can tweak the inside or outside of your book at any time. Drew: What I notice as I get ready to hire a cover designer is that I suddenly start to other book designs and notice, What do I like? What do I not like? What are some of the aspects of other books that I find attractive? Whether it s the font or images, there s a lot to design. So just allow yourself to notice other book covers, start imagining what you want yours to look like and take notes. Also, keep in mind that it may also be very helpful to have finished writing your introduction to your book because the clearer you are about what your book is about, the better. The graphic designer for your cover is going to ask you, What is it that you want? What is this book about? You re going to want to be able to convey all these things clearly. 2

3 Wait until you re pretty clear on your book s tone and direction first and use the information in this Lesson when you re ready. Karin: It s worth mentioning that you re going to want it professionally designed because the book cover is what sells your book. Homemade book covers typically don t turn out that great. Drew: Also, this is YOUR book, so when you see it for the rest of your life, you re going to want to be in LOVE with the design of it. So give yourself the time and space to get this right. Karin: Okay, so that s some good background and mindset information. Now, let s dive into the things that you re going to need to get rolling: the cover design, the editing, and the formatting design. Design refers to the front and back covers and spine of the book, and the interior formatting of the book with text, margins, graphics, page numbers, and how the table of contents is laid out. While there s no right or wrong way to do your book, we have found that the person who formats the interior of your book is usually not the same person that will be doing your graphic design for the cover. 3

4 These tend to be different skillsets, so you ll likely be hiring one person to do your cover, and another to do the formatting of the interior of your book. Having said that, some of our authors have found an all-in-one designer who does both. Next, when you have the content of the book together, you re going to want to hire a great editor. This is so important that we created an entire bonus section in the Lesson 4 Action Guide for hiring a great editor, how this is different than just a proofreader, how critical finding the right editor really is to the quality of your book. Make sure to read those notes in the Action Guide. Let s dive into the content of Hiring Your Book Cover Designer, Editor and Formatter. KNOW YOUR RESOURCES The first step in hiring your book s support team is to know your resources. We re going to give you some suggestions as to what has worked for us. Your job is to explore these resources and see which options fit best with you. Let s start with some resources for your cover design, and as we just mentioned in the introduction here, we recommend that you get this process going while you re in the thick of writing your book, when you re feeling good 4

5 and clear where it s all going, but you still have some work to do. All of these resources are covered more thoroughly in the Action Guide for Lesson 4, so check there for more detail. Let s start with our recommended book publisher (which we will also cover in Lesson 5), Vervante.com. While Vervante is primarily a print-on-demand service we recommend you use to publish your book and to create your products, they also offer just about every service you ll need to get your book out into the world except editing. Specifically, Vervante can do your book cover design, your book formatting, and setting your book up on multiple retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you re interested in keeping this simple and straightforward (instead of having to manage multiple people doing multiple jobs), Vervante is worth considering. We cover the pros and cons of each option in the Action Guide, so you don t have to keep it all straight here, but briefly we think having Vervante design your book is great if you want your book cover to match an existing brand look and feel as that s what they do best. If you re looking for something brand new or cutting edge, you might want to consider some other options. 5

6 Drew: The next resource we suggest checking out for your cover design can be found at 99Designs.com. I discovered this service while in the midst of creating the cover for my second book and I was so pleased with the process and outcome that I will continue using them going forward. When you go to the site, they do a good job of describing the service, but in a nutshell, 99Designs is set up like an online contest where multiple designers are competing for your business (aka crowdsourcing) by submitting actual cover designs for you before you even pay them. You decide at what dollar level you want to hire someone (my cover cost $299) and people start submitting covers immediately. It s really cool. In my experience, over 30 designers submitted covers over a week. You weed out the ones you don t like and give feedback to the promising designers. I ended up with two really strong designs, shared them with my tribe on Facebook for their feedback, and ultimately chose the one I really liked. Again, you can delve more into the pros and cons in the Action Guide, but personally, I will use this service again for sure. It works well. 6

7 Karin: The next resource to consider is the freelancers site, Upwork.com (this is a merger between Elance.com and ODesk.com). This a website where you can find service professionals from all across the world ready to get stuff done for you, and pretty much at any price point. You can set the budget. Drew and I have used this site a lot for our books and also our respective businesses, everything from cover design, book formatting, to editors, to audio transcriptions. It s an affordable way to set up a support team for yourself and a very valuable resource to explore. Using Upwork for your cover design would work like this. You post your job description (we give you an example in the Action Guide) and budget and freelancers will start submitting their bids and portfolios immediately. You can see the designers past work and read reviews from their other customers in making your decision as to whom to hire. Again, check out the pros and cons of Upwork for cover design in the Action Guide but the main difference between this and 99Designs is that you re choosing one designer (and agreeing to pay them) earlier on Upwork. 7

8 This can work well if you find someone who s work you really love right way. So this is just the first step, knowing your resources, doing some exploring, getting your mindset aligned with creating a great support team, and ultimately making some decisions. We recommend that you consider completing your book cover before moving onto the next task of hiring an editor, and you ll want to have your editing and proofreading done before hiring your formatter. One step at a time seems to work well. Now, let s jump into exploring your resources for the very important job of Hiring a Great Editor for your Book. Again, when you go to the Action Guide, you ll find a Bonus overview on the process of hiring an editor and what to expect. Briefly, the role of your editor is to make your book better. Your editor s job is to make your writing clearer, sharper, and more on point. As you ll see in the Action Guide, some editors focus more on the content, your book s structure, flow, tone, and organization and not so much on the grammar or typos (leaving this to a proofreader). So in hiring someone, you re going to want to have some dialogue about this, so your expectations and agreement is clear. 8

9 If you want to write a great book, hiring your editor is not the place to skimp. Every great book has a great editor behind it, working their magic. While we ll offer some resource suggestions, the bottom line is that hiring an editor is very similar to hiring a personal coach. Hiring an editor is a very personal decision as this is a very personal relationship, so you re going to have to do your homework, and see what feels like the right fit for you. We encourage you to work with someone who gets your work, who can see your vision, and who has professional chops as an editor (versus your friend who s good at finding typos). That said, if you don t have a great editor in your professional network, our first resource for you to consider would be Upwork.com. Many of our authors have found really good editors here, and the process is the same as we described for using Upwork to find a cover designer. Again, we provide an example of the job description we ve used to find and editor on Upwork. You can always post a job here, get some editors to bid on your job and see if there s a good fit there. You don t 9

10 have to hire anyone if there s not a fit. In short, if you re starting from scratch, Upwork is a good place to start, get some ballpark pricing, and see what s out there. A note on using Upwork for any of your team When the bids come in for a job, I immediately delete all the people who look like they ve just copied and pasted a response. It s really evident. They say, Dear Sir or Madam. I think, You didn t even check to see what my name is. Delete. I also immediately delete those who have typos in their bid. Delete. I only consider people who look like they re organized, have their stuff together, paid attention to what I wrote, clearly did a little bit of homework, looked up my website and wrote something personal to me. That eliminates a lot of people. The second thing is I immediately look at their work. Does it resonate? Does it look good? I whittle it down to two or three people very quickly that way. So keep those tips in mind if you re using Upwork. Moving on, you may have heard of our other resource for finding an editor. It s called Google. J Really, there are so many options out there today, and it s 10

11 always changing, do some poking around online to see what resonates with you, especially within your book s specific genre. You could also post something on Facebook and ask your friends to connect you to an editor. In the end, it all comes down to who you feel gets you and is easy to work with, so we encourage you to follow your inner knowing here. And just to offer you a ballpark, Drew s last editor charged him by the word, and for his 23,000-word book, he happily paid $400. Prices vary of course, just giving you an idea here. Keep in mind that as you dive into the hiring process and get lots of people responding to you, it can feel overwhelming. Take a deep breath and know that you can totally do this. You don t have to spend hours analyzing and deciding who you re going to hire. In fact, it can be quite quick if you are paying attention to how you feel. Your intuition is a wonderful hiring tool, so use it! Finally, check out the Action Guide and give yourself plenty of time and space to find the right person for you. Okay, when your book cover is ready and the editor has your content in tip-top shape, then it s time to get your book formatted for printing. This is just how you want the hard copy of your book s interior to look to the reader, like 11

12 the font, chapter headers, page design, margins, table of contents, graphics, and so on. Karin: Let s jump into exploring your resources for the very important job of Hiring a Formatter for your Book. Formatting your book comes when you re ready to go to print. In other words, the cover is done, it s edited, and you know what size you want the book to be. Now, you just need the interior designed to your specifications and preferences. Again, it s possible your cover designer may also do formatting, but it s more likely that you ll be hiring someone else to do this job. Fortunately, this is all pretty straightforward work. Here are the resources for you to check out for your book s formatting, and as always, these are in the Action Guide. First, there s Vervante again. If you want to keep things simple, they ll take care of this for you. It might cost you a few extra bucks, but if you re already going to take our recommendation to use them as your book s print on demand publisher (which we ll cover in Lesson 5), the ease of this solution is a worthwhile investment. The second resource, one we ve had a lot of success with 12

13 is Upwork. In general, we ve found people who work at very reasonable rates, include ALL the files you ll need to publish across platforms (the PDF for print, the MOBI for Kindle, EPUB for Barnes and Noble). Drew got his last book formatted and all the files for around $100. We list the pros and cons of each resource in the Action Guide, and you ll see that unless you have lots of photos or interior graphics, this part of the project is pretty straightforward. After you explore your resources, it s time to make your decisions. Drew: Making decisions quickly is a skill you ll want to develop for yourself. To move forward with your book, time and time again you re going to have to pull the trigger on making a decision -- from the cover design, to hiring an editor, and a formatter. And when you re hiring new people, you going to have to remember to trust yourself to say, This person feels good to me and I m going with them. What we re trying to do is minimize this learning curve for all of you. You re going to have all the resources right in the Action Guide. But it does require you to immerse yourself in the process, to make lots decisions fast, and to just trust yourself. 13

14 None of this is really that difficult. It just takes a little bit of attention. Once you have these relationships, the other side of the mountain is that now you have a team. You have ways of getting support to get a new book and products out into the world whereas most people just say, I would like to do this, but they never quite do. Once you get these resources in place, you can really leverage them time and time again. Karin: I already have a relationship with my book designer. She knows how I work, what I m about and the next book is going to get it done much faster because it s already been done once. That s what we want for you. The ability and desire to replicate what you learn again and again. In fact, Drew paid a lot to get his first book designed and branded, but he has used the exact same design files over and over again for a half dozen products he has created, from the journal he gives to participants of his workshops, to all the home study courses he sells. It s the exact same design files with different copy on the front. In that way, the design work has paid for itself over and again and again. Drew: It s also worth mentioning that both Karin and I hired people that didn t work out over the years, and it cost us some money, but that s how you learn. I could say, I did 14

15 that wrong. I made a mistake. No. That s part of business. You try things, learn from them and move on. Karin: I didn t know what to look for when hiring my first editor, and ended up hiring someone who was really just a proofreader. She charged me by the hour (instead of by the word, which I now strongly prefer) and I ended up paying her almost $700. Drew read her work and said, This is not good. There were still typos and the book didn t flow easily. I couldn t see them anymore because I d been staring at my book for a long time. When I fired my first editor and handed it over to a professional editor, someone who would actually improve the way I write, clean up the sentences and do more than just look for typos, I saw a huge difference. And I paid only a few hundred dollars for that. But I had to learn through experience. Now, obviously we re trying to drastically cut down on your learning curve and keep you from hiring unhelpful people or companies, but if some relationship doesn t work out, it s not the end of the world. Just make changes and move on. By all means, don t beat yourself up and don t give up. Drew: What we re saying is, in the end, jump in and get your hands dirty with this work. It s the only way to see how all this comes together for YOU and your great book. There is no right way or wrong way to do any of this, really, 15

16 though you won t know what s right for you until you dive in, make some decisions and get some experience for yourself. Karin: Okay, that s it for hiring your book cover designer, editor and formatter. Take it one step at a time and you ll do great. See you in the next Lesson! 16

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