The need for professional editing and cover design

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From my blog

I’m new to the indie author world. I feel sometimes like I’ve jumped off the top of a 50 foot waterfall into a pool below that could be 5 foot deep with rocks so I break my neck, or 500 feet deep and I drown trying to get back to the top. Fortunately I have other indie authors, with much more experience, to act as my lifeguards and spotters and make sure I can survive this sometimes overwhelming process.

There are a couple of major things I’ve learned thus far in my journey to being a published author. I’m sure I’ll learn more as I continue through this trip, but right now I can share what I have learned.

Don’t edit your own book. I don’t mean to leave it as a first draft and then send it to an editor. She won’t even look at it past the first horribly written paragraph. Revise, revise, revise, and THEN send it off. Because by the time you’ve revised it again and again you can no longer see any of your errors. You skim through it because you’ve read it and know what happens. An editor has fresh eyes. She has eyes that have learned what to look for. I know what I’ve written, but I’d be willing to bet that even though I’ve revised and re-revised At Death’s Door four hundred times, it still has continuity errors, grammar snafus, and myriad other issues. I’m paying good money for someone with a professional eye to take my work and help me to polish it into something worthy of asking strangers to read it.

We’ve all read a book that we could hardly make it through, or have put down completely, because it was apparent that the author never took the time to have a professional scour their work and make it right. Don’t fall into this trap.

Another lesson I’ve learned is not to skimp on a book cover. Unless you are a professional graphic designer, don’t try to create your own book cover. Confer with someone who does it for a living, discuss what you want, let him or her make a cover that compliments your book and draws in potential readers. As much as we’re told not to judge a book by its cover, we all do it. I have refused to even read the blurb for a book because its cover is so horrendous. Maybe that’s shallow of me, but I guarantee I’m not the only one to do it.

When my cover designer finished with my cover and sent it to me I literally got goosebumps. I’ve stared at it a million times in awe and excitement. I can do some basic graphic design, I know my way around photoshop, but I never could have created something that will get the attention that a professionally designed cover will.

Sure these are only two small lessons, and I know for a fact I’ll learn many more as I go, but these two stick out in my mind. Next time I’ll talk about PR and marketing yourself as an indie publisher.

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