I was as green as they came when I started in this business. I knew nothing about the publishing industry. It just happened to be the first industry I started to work with after I switched careers to achieve a better work-life balance for my family.
I came from an emergency services background, so publishing was all new to me.
My first job as a freelancer was for a hybrid publisher in Maryland. I worked as a project manager and did it all. I organized the editors, formatters, and cover designers and ensured they were loaded to various platforms. I worked for this company for almost two years, and during that time, I got interested in formatting and interior design.
Formatting isn’t a career you can go back to school for as it’s not a career you probably ever heard of before entering the publishing world. I started using Microsoft Word, and it quickly became apparent that I couldn’t do what I needed to do to format the books the way they were meant to be. They just didn’t look professional enough for me, and I knew there had to be a better option.
When I switched to using InDesign for all of my formatting, it almost stopped me in my tracks.
InDesign is crazy confusing when you first start out, but after months and months of training, learning, discovering, and a little hair-pulling and crying, I became more proficient with it.
I love the aspect of taking a dull and boring Word file into something clean and professional looking.
But my love falls with children’s books. I love all aspects, from the planning of the illustrations to the text placement. I love watching it all come together and seeing an author’s idea or concept become a physical book they can hold and share with readers.
While I love children’s books, it also falls naturally on me, as my husband and I have been publishing our children’s books since 2016. We started with nonfiction books but quickly moved to children’s books.
Our other books were just a step into the publishing world, but wow, did we make mistakes in the early days.
I won’t even tell you how many times we have gotten our books edited over the years. We used freelancers on Fiverr or Upwork for almost all of our editing at the time. We found out later that after some bad reviews, we needed to sort this out, and if we were going to take self-publishing seriously, we needed to get serious about our investment into our books.
I could handle the formatting, but editing is definitely out of my realm. So when we found Mary Metcalfe, I will say she saved me from throwing in the towel. She helped take my team at Indie Publishing Group to the next level as she helped find the right people with excellent editing skills.
The reason I created Indie Publishing Group was for my clients that wanted it all in one spot. They didn’t want to have to work with a bunch of different companies to finish their book. So, once I got my team of editors in place, I moved to illustrators.
Our team has slightly changed over the years, but their work has never changed. They can take an author’s idea and create the most amazing illustrations that bring their stories to life. I have added more services to assist our authors with their publishing goals over the years.
When you first start out, it’s like being a deer in headlights.
You have so much information coming from all different directions, and it’s up to you to figure out what works for you. Keep in mind there are a lot of scam artists around, so just make sure you do the research and don’t get taken advantage of.
I honestly think all of the mistakes we made in the early days have helped us spot a lot of potential issues before our clients publish, helping them avoid a lot of the mistakes we made.
I do know that budget is always the first thing many of us think about as a self-published authors, but always remember that once you publish, you can’t remove bad reviews. They stay forever, so in the excitement of releasing your book, just make sure it’s as professional as possible. If you only have a few reviews, the bad ones will be in people’s view, decreasing your chance of a sale.
Until next time, keep writing and keep dreaming.