Look, it ain’t that difficult to get. The publishing world changed, has changed, is changing. The rise of Publish on Demand, the advent of electronic book readers and the explosion of Amazon into book publishing innovation has blown the doors of the guarded sanctuary. That place you had to get into before you could even consider getting your book published and out in front of a global audience.
Yep, all that has happened and now, unlike the old model of Vanity Publishing, any writer can have their book published professionally at practically nil cost.
Except. You can’t. Seriously. You can’t. Unless you have some seriously gifted professional friends.
You need to spend some money to meet some fundamental requirements, for the simple facts are these: If you (as a reader) pick up a book, you expect it to read well, be grammatically correct, have the words spelt properly. If that’s what you expect as a reader, then that’s what you should be striving for as an author. Yes, one or two typos will squeeze through any system (and lucky you if you have the early editions of Harry Potter with the typos in them) but there shouldn’t be a plethora of them. You shouldn’t have them littered throughout like potholes, juddering the eyes of the reader and jolting them off the page and into the real world of having to question, “Why did there appear their? That’s is not write.” (See what I did they’re?)
Secondly. Your cover needs to look like a professionally designed cover. It needs to be genre-specific if you hope to entice the reader to pick your book up (or electronically click on it) it must be appropriate. Amateur covers look amateur. If your reader doesn’t get attracted to your book by the cover, they won’t be attracted to it. Turns out that whilst you maybe shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, people do. Almost exclusively.
Some recent forums and online “winning formulas” will tell you that editing and cover design can be done by yourself. They will tell you that you don’t need to know how to write a decent story to get yourself famous. They’ll tell you that you don’t need to spend any money in getting your name out there and becoming unbelievably successful. Mmmm… I suppose I follow the old adage, if it looks too good to be true, then it is.
You do need an editor. It’s as simple as that. You do. They cost money. You need a cover designer. They cost money. You need to either have someone help you through the pathways of Publish on Demand (those services cost money) or you learn about the interfaces from an online training course (that costs money) or you spend a lot of your own time learning all the interfaces (and your time IS ultimately a cost).
So, if you want to be a writer and a published author, then do yourself a favour and try to be as professional a one as you possibly can be. Learn the systems. Put your best efforts forward to an editor and they will make them better. Make the outer cover a thing of beauty, or at the very least, fit for your genre.
Other Indie Authors will thank you, for all of us are responsible for raising the standards of Indies, such that they compete with the traditional pathways. If we do that, then one day soon readers will simply not know if they are reading an indie publication or a traditional publishing house.