If you’re an indie author looking to self publish, there are definitely ways you can do it yourself at very low cost. Amazon KDP doesn’t charge, for one.
But a self-published author faces a minefield of choices. There’s covers (and face it, people do judge books by their cover), editing, formatting, and of course marketing.
The main aim of this article is to help you navigate this minefield.
Avoid scammers. Especially in editing. Don’t go to freelance sites and pick the first, cheapest person you see. My advice is to join Facebook groups and talk to other authors. Word-of-mouth recommendations are like gold.
Do your due diligence. Whether it be a cover designer or an editor, ask for samples of their work. Ask for testimonials. A good service provider is happy to show you all these things. After all, an edit is a big investment. A good cover can cost quite a bit, too. You don’t want to take on someone who’s shady. Why should you? As the client, you’re bound to be nervous of handing over your hard-earned dollars (or pounds or rupees).
So here’s what you do. Get as many samples and quotes as you can. Some quotes will be cheap, some expensive. But compare the quality of the work with the price. Are you getting what you pay for? Or is it expensive just for the sake of it? Try to choose the person who is the most thorough and whose editing (or art) style most matches your own. Decide if their price is worth it.
A lot of people who are new in their industries will be prepared to work for free, or at very low cost. Again, getting samples is very important. They might be hugely talented and have impressive degrees, who can say? It might indeed be a bargain. But at the same time, it all hinges on whether they actually can do the work. Remember that a person with decades of experience and glowing reviews is more expensive for a reason. But if they aren’t willing to work with you, they too might not be the right fit.
In the end, go with your gut. If somebody sounds too good to be true, they probably are. If you’re going through a site like reedsy.com – you’ll pay more, but you have guarantees that if you aren’t satisfied, you have recourse.
Style, recommendations, samples, price, and feel. It’s not a lot to remember, but it’s yards away from blindly picking someone and hoping for the best.
I also would like to recommend a Facebook group for indie authors called 20booksto50k. It has so many units to help authors learn about the pitfalls and intricacies of self-publishing. Everything from choosing your cover designer to writing your own ads. Give it a look, it’s all free. There are even conventions.