How (and Whether) to D.I.Y. Your Indie Book Project — Part Two

May 21st, 2015

What’s Worked for Other Authors When It Comes to D.I.Y. 

Last week I threw out a few suggestions for ways you can D.I.Y. (“Do It Yourself”) your indie book project. These were general ideas, so as a follow-up, I went back to a few of my indie author clients and colleagues to ask them where they were specifically able to cut corners and make self-publishing their book affordable or even—imagine this—profitable. This is what they had to say.

Gillian Armour, author of Your Fashion Blog Start Up Guide: for Fashion, Image and Style Professionals and a whole bunch of other books for budding style consultants:

“I have self-published 17 books and I’ve only spent money once. Everything else I did myself. I already knew a lot about layout, PDF conversion, and the parameters of printing. I am not the type who would pay for something I can do myself, which is why self-publishing can work.”

Now, keep in mind that Gillian runs a design-oriented business and is a tech-savvy entrepreneur to begin with, so learning new design programs does not stretch the bounds of credulity for her. If you, like Gillian, are tech-savvy and design-oriented—and have enough free time—you could probably D.I.Y. at least your book cover and the inside layout.

Gillian sells her books on Amazon and her website, Fashion Stylist Institute. Her books are meant as standalone guides as well as texts to complement the online courses she offers to style consultants through her web business.

Caylie See, licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, entrepreneur, and author of a to-be-published book (which I helped her edit, and am really excited about, but can’t tell you about just yet):

“What I learned with Yum Yum Tonics [really groovy vinegar drink company Caylie also launched—this woman is a creative maniac!] is that it was incredibly stupid to manufacture and deliver the product myself. I should have given the production and delivery to a professional company already good at doing those things. It would have been way more efficient, because those types of companies are set up to do their thing economically. For me, it was time consuming and required a steep learning curve.”

How does this translate to a book project? Well, same thing: hiring an expert who is already great at editing, design, page layout, etc. saves you money in the long run because 1) it gets done right the first time and 2) it frees you up to spend your time doing what YOU are good at.

Also, Caylie has a really great friend who is an excellent professional editor who is working for future rewards in lieu of immediate payment (ahem) out of love for Caylie and this book idea, so Caylie has that going for her! If you have a professional editor friend in your back pocket, by all means, call in a favor. Keyword: professional.

Tom Bentley, freelance writer and editor:

“This sounds too much like a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ (which it is), but every book project should be reviewed by a professional editor—sometimes editors—and that includes books written by editors. The cliché about being too close to your work to see the cracks is accurate. But in my case, I needed to save money on the book I’m about to self-publish, so I did all the writing, the editing, the proofing, and the formatting/conversion to an ebook—and I’ll be doing the submitting to Amazon. The cover was basically designed by my girlfriend, with lots of back-and-forth input between us. I have long years of editing experience, and she some design experience, but I’d never advise going this route. But then again, I never take my own advice.”

I have to caveat Tom’s input, because I’ve read parts of his newly published book on developing your writer’s voice, and I have never met a writer so adept at editing and proofing his own work. I myself rely on others to proof my work for me—even blog posts like this—because it’s too hard to see mistakes in your own writing. But, for what it’s worth, Tom did it, so,  maybe you could, too! For more about Tom, see his website.

In the final installment to this self-publishing D.I.Y. series. I’ll talk about the Outside Eye Hierarchy of Book Publishing D.I.Y. Stay tuned next week!

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One Response to “How (and Whether) to D.I.Y. Your Indie Book Project — Part Two”

  1. [...] caveat, though: like I mentioned in Part Two of this series, you can only D.I.Y. what you are actually good at. If self-promotion is not your thing and you [...]

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