Isn’t it terrible that you’re writing an incredible book that you know will sell, but there are so many things you need to do to get it out there that it seems like you’ll never get it published? Do you feel so overwhelmed that sometimes you just want to stop writing and give up? Create book writing team to get your book done!
By using volunteers, you will get far more done, more quickly, and with better quality – and you’ll stop hitting your head on the wall because you can’t get it all done.
Writing a book is rarely a task performed by one person. Instead, smart authors know that writing teams are the ticket for success. Some of your team will be paid for their efforts, and others will volunteer to help for no charge. Sometimes you can offer something in exchange for their help, such as a signed copy of your book, an acknowledgement within the book, or being public recognition for their help.
It’s always wise to seek out help from others. The act of writing can be a very introverting activity, but proofreading and editing, beta reading, book covers, illustrations, research, interviews and a plethora of other tasks can, and should, be done by members of your writing team. For example, every book should be proofread by someone else, preferably a skilled proofreader, and book covers are best done by professionals (author-created book covers often do not result in good sales.)
Authors who create their own book covers are asking for lower book sales.
Outsourcing simply means hiring a person outside your business to do work for you. These are also referred to as contractors or consultants.
While in theory you, the author, can do everything yourself, you will get more done and have higher quality using outsourced services. However, be discerning on your choices: outsource individual tasks and not the creative process. In other words, find people to proofread, create book covers, and so on.
To keep costs under control, keep in mind that you can find excellent professionals on sites such as Fiverr.Com at reasonable rates.
Proofreading and Editing
Careful reading (and rereading) of a (yet to be finally printed) document, to detect any errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar. It may also involve checking of different elements of a layout (such as headlines, paragraphs, illustrations, and colors) for their correct dimensions, placement, type, etc. Every author knows that (despite the spelling checking abilities of modern word processors) a human proofreader is indispensable. Also called proofing. BusinessDictionary.com
You should always proofread your books yourself at least twice to find any basic errors such as:
- Is the book organized in the best possible manner?
- Does it flow well?
- Is the message delivered correctly?
- Does the introduction grab the attention of the reader and entice them to get into the book?
- Does the conclusion wrap things up well?
- Is everything properly cited?
After you validate that your book is as good as you can make it, you should send it to at least one other person, or a proofreading service, to be proofread.
Not getting a professional to proofread your book is asking for trouble because there will almost certainly be a number of grammar and spelling errors, and that can affect both your reputation and your sales.
Creating a Book Index
At first glance, a book index is just a list of words and phrases along with all of the page numbers where they appear in the text.
However, creating a book index is best done by a professional indexer (yes, there is such a thing). Readers don’t need a list of every single occurrence of a word or phrase. That would be utterly useless. What they need is a list of the important references within the text. For example, in a book about training dogs, you wouldn’t want to include every page containing the word “dog”. That would be silly. Instead, you’d like to include just the important points – perhaps the definition, a list of the breeds and so on.
Professional indexers are professionals for a reason. They have developed the skills necessary to find a text’s core concepts quickly, including those that may not be mentioned specifically by name. How to Index Your Book (And Why I’ll Never Do It Again), Kathleen Fitzpatrick
An indexing professional has been trained to understand the meaning of your manuscript and create an index that gets readers to the right pages in your book to answer their questions.
Book Cover Designers
Designing a book cover and creating the art for a book cover are two separate skills.
An artist, for book covers, creates the image (or images) used on the cover. Note you can use images from stock photo sites for your book cover. BUT you must ensure that you have the legal right to use those images. You can’t just find a picture on the internet and create a cover from it. Pixabay.com is a great place to find good quality free graphics.
A designer uses that image, combined with fonts, text, colors, shading, shadows and other techniques to create a cover that tells readers both consciously and unconsciously what to expect from the book. They understand, because they’ve been trained, about works and what doesn’t work on a cover.
If you want a truly great cover, your best bet is to hire a good book cover designer. They will probably use a stock image of one sort or another, combine it with other elements such as font’s text, shading and color, and produce a cover that works.
If your book is not selling, the very first place to look is the cover.
Many authors get into book publishing because they have artistic talent and see they can use that to create illustrated books of one sort or another:
- Coloring books
- Comic books
- Children’s books
- and so on.
In my case, I wanted to publish coloring books – I thought they might sell well – but since I’m not an artist, I went to Fiverr.Com and hired people to create the art for me. That turned out to be a good move. The prices were good and the quality ranged from good to very good.
You may include people on your writing team who contribute to the book itself. These could be co-authors, book coaches, writing coaches or people who write individual sections or chapters. Depending on their role, they may need to be compensated in advance or from royalties. Ghostwriters, for example, are usually paid in advance, while co-authors share in your royalties.
To create a book that is as good as it can be, you’ll probably need the help of a few volunteers. These are people who are willing to do things to help you with your project without getting directly paid for their efforts.
Volunteers are also part of your writing team. Some of the tasks that you’ll need help from volunteers are described below.
Writing Critique Groups
One of the best things you can do to improve your writing skills, and to make a better book, is to attend writer critique groups. These consists of anywhere from 3 or 4 writers to as many as 50, all with the intent of receiving help for their writing and helping others get better.
You can find critique groups in Meetup.Com. Once you find one, attend as a guest. Bring along a few pages to read. Other writers will provide a few minutes of critique on your work, and you will have the opportunity to help them with their work. Believe it or not, helping other writers can be just as valuable as getting help.
People to Write Book Reviews
If you want to sell books, you need to get at least 20 book reviews on Amazon. The more reviews you can get (mostly positive ones, of course) the better. Verified reviews, meaning the reviewer bought the book, are more important for Amazon rankings. Unverified reviews (the book was not bought by the reviewer) was not purchased by the reviewer.
Getting book reviews is one of the biggest difficulties for most writers.
As soon as you have a final copy of the manuscript, start passing it around to people to read, and ensure you let them know you’d appreciate a review on Amazon. According to Amazon’s terms and conditions, you cannot demand a review in exchange for a copy of your book, and you cannot influence the rating or quality of the review you receive in any way.
After you’ve written and checked over your book, and after you’ve had it proofread, send it to a few people to read.. These are called beta readers, and the idea is for them to give you advice on the material that you’ve written.
Except in special circumstances, avoid using family and close friends as beta readers. You want to get people who are going to ruthlessly (although nicely) tell you what needs to be corrected, and friends and family often will withhold advice that you need to “spare your feelings.”
The point of acquiring beta readers is to garner information that will help you write a better book. 5 Things You Should Know about Working with Beta Readers, Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas
It’s far better to get critique from a few beta readers than to receive negative reviews on Amazon.
Receiving advice from beta readers and critique groups is far better than poor Amazon reviews.
People to Help Spread the Word
Getting your book out there and known to the public, especially when you’re just starting out, is one of the most labor intensive and confusing tasks that must be accomplished. There are daily, even hourly, tasks that must be performed to keep your name in front of your audience. Note that I said “your name”, not “your book”.
That’s because one of the worst things you can post to social media or send to your email list is “buy my book”. People will just tune it out – unless they see you as an expert or authority.
You need to craft messages to your audience that help or entertain them. Once you’ve become known, liked, and trusted in their minds, they will purchase your books. This technique is described in my book “Network Your Business to Prosperity“.
To succeed, you need to find people who will help you spread the word. You can write an article, for example, for your blog, then ask your writing team to post that on all of their social media accounts along with a brief testimonial.
Where do you find people to help you spread the word?
- Members of your writing critique group.
- People on your email list.
- Friends or connections on your social media.
- People you meet at networking events.
- Members of your church.
- Members of the local Chamber of Commerce.
How do you get people to help you promote your book?
- Give them free PDF copies of your manuscript.
- Create some special freebies, chapters or stories which are only given to volunteers.
- Create a contest, giving a nice gift picked randomly from your volunteers.
You get the idea?
if you want to supercharge the sales of your book, find a few influencers who are willing to help you promote your work. The ultimate opportunity would be to be interviewed by Oprah or on national television. If you can pull that off, you’ve got it made.
However, you can find influencers for your niche just about everywhere you look.
- Famous authors
- Public Speakers
- Keynote speakers
All you need to do is introduce yourself to people who appear to have influence. In person, walk up and shake their hand, talk to them, and get their contact information. Work to create a relationship. Once they know you, like you and trust you, you’ll find they may be willing to help.
Your book needs to be promoted to more than just social media, your blog and your email list. To make your book hit the big time, you’ll need:
- Interviews on podcasts, radio shows, and television.
- Mention in major book reviews.
- Promoted in major email lists.
Finding the right person or company to help with promotion, marketing and public relations can push your book into the big times – or onto one of the bestseller lists.
Acknowledgements of your Book Writing Team and Writing Volunteers
Everyone who helps with your book needs to be acknowledged. This is just plain good manners, and it helps build a stronger bond with your team. People like to be thanked for their efforts. If possible, some kind of reward is also appropriate.
Where can you acknowledge them?
- In the acknowledgements section of your book. Thank each person individually. Don’t say “thanks to my writing team”. Instead, thank each person in a sentence or two for their contribution.
- On Facebook and other social media – Every once in a while, thank someone on your team publicly.
- In your email newsletter and blog
You do not need to acknowledge or thank people in your promotional materials.
Conclusion, the Value of Book Writing Teams
As you can see, writing, publishing and promoting a book requires many different talents. Most authors get overwhelmed because they “are short of money” or “prefer to do it all themselves”. However, there are many people out there who will be delighted to help in one way or another. Just remember that you need to return the favor by acknowledging their contributions, helping them when they need things done and so forth.
A book often requires the efforts of many people.
- Actual contributors or people who actively helped with some or all of a book
- Proofreaders – those who check for grammar and spelling errors
- Beta readers – people who read the book and provide feedback.
- Friends – sometimes authors ask friends for help with formatting, ideas and so forth.
- Critique groups – Often writing critique groups are used to help polish a work.
- Artists who help with cover or interior art.
- Marketing people – those who help promote the book.
- Admired people or authority figures – sometimes someone was a strong influence in the past and is one of the reasons a book was written.
So as you can see, there may be many people who help an author get a book to print. I’ve only named a few.
The smart thing for a writer to do is build a book writing team.
The smart thing to do is to put together a book writing team comprised of volunteers and well-chosen contractors to help you get your book completed. If you don’t have a lot of money, you can still build a team by exchanging services, giving away free copies of your book and so on. You can also leverage sites such as Fiverr.Com to find inexpensive help, and use volunteers from your network.
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