Publishing a book is a complex experience. While some people enlist the help of professionals to support their self-publishing plan, many also reach out to friends and family for support. That can be moral support, but it can also be practical: friends and family can be a great asset in helping you execute various aspects of your campaign. They can help extend your reach, and they can save you time and money. The key is to ask for specific forms of help and to be clear about your expectations. Here are some key ways in which you can go about reaching out for help:
No one can take the place of an experienced substantive editor who is trained to help an author shape a manuscript. But a friend who is a voracious reader and excellent writer can read your manuscript and make astute editorial observations that will help clarify the text and ensure coherence and consistency. Ask your friend not just to provide general feedback on your manuscript, but to look for specific issues that a substantive editor watches for. For example:
- are my chapters structured in a logical way?
- is the pacing of my book consistent?
- are there gaps in the information I’m providing, or have I failed to explain things that a reader would need explaining?
- if my book contains dialogue, does it seem authentic?
A friend with an eagle eye who pays close attention to details would make a great proofreader for your book. After your text has been laid out by a designer, a friend can review the proofs with fresh eyes. At this stage you don’t want to change the text in any substantial way; you should ask your friend to look for errors such as inconsistent page numbers or running headers, spelling mistakes and typos.
Your friend or family member who has a marketing background can be a great help in your publishing plan. Ask your marketing-savvy friend to help you build a multi-pronged strategy for promoting your work. He or she can suggest creative ways to engage your communities, networks and key influencers to help you get the word out about your book – either online or offline. A marketer with experience in web design can create your author website or consult with you on building a book page onto your existing site. And a friend with communication design experience can help you create marketing collateral such as sell sheets and postcards.
Harnessing the talents of your friends and family members in a focussed way can enhance your publishing experience. Contact us if you’re interested in exploring other ways in which you can build your support team.