The many hats of an indie author

I have been indie publishing for close to three years now. I originally had a publishing contract. I won't give names. But I didn't like the way they handled marketing or lack thereof. Plus, their covers weren't all that great, in my opinion.

Through trial and error, I have learned that indie publishing is time-consuming and extremely rewarding when done the right way. It is a ton of work. But, if you have the head for it and the time to dedicate it is well worth the hard work. Keep in mind, you have to wear many hats other than being a writer. I'm not going to touch on the writing process today, though. That is a different beast and something that is learned. But the entire creative process, to me, is the most fun. I love creating a world for people to dive into and get lost in—more on that in another post.

The roles I am going to talk about today are what you, the author take on without a publisher's support. Yes, many small presses don't have the resources to commit fully to all of these. But the big ones do. However, many of us find that the whole process is even more rewarding when we take it all on ourselves. But, unless you are a design guru and formatting expert, some of these tasks have to be outsourced if you want a quality product. Otherwise, you may just turn off potential readers.

The first role I will discuss is editing. And, yes, editing is a job that shouldn't be skipped, no matter how perfect you believe your book to be. However, trying to find a freelance editor in today's market can be a daunting task. Before this, I do as much self-editing as I can using online tools such as Grammarly and Pro Writing Aid. If you elect to use these, I would opt for the premium versions, as the basic ones are pretty limited. Remember, these programs never take the place of a human editor. One of the main concerns of professional editing that most indie authors have is the cost. Reedsy can be an excellent tool for finding freelance editors for just about any budget. The platform is straightforward to use, and they also have an online support chat for any questions you may have. In the Reedsy editor, you can upload your manuscript and have it converted into epub and Mobi for Kindle. But, I prefer to send that to a human professional.

I want to discuss the next roles of book formatting, ebook, and paperback cover design. When I started this journey, I was a little overwhelmed by the number of formatting and cover designer companies I found online. How do you know which one is the best? How do you find one to fit your budget? You probably want one that delivers quality but also won't break the bank. That's when an author friend of mine suggested Damonza. I have never looked back! Damonza is a full-service design company based in New Zealand. I found it much easier to hire a company who both formats and designs covers since these two depend on one another. They are pleasant to work with and really professional. Damon is the owner. He's a real pro and will work with you until you get the desired product.

I will share what I have learned through the publishing process in my next post, from uploading your book to KDP to choosing the right tools to find great keywords. Keep in mind, the above are just suggestions. You may find others that work for you. These have definitely worked for me and freed up my time to concentrate more on writing and less on the technical aspects. It can do the same for you!

Stay safe, and God bless!


John is a disabled/retired U.S. Army combat Veteran turned author. When not writing, he enjoys being outdoors, spending time with his wife and shooting his guns. Browse his website for more info or to find out about upcoming releases.

My office work space, minus the firearms on the wall!


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