Strength in Numbers
I’ve mentioned that for a brief time I signed on with a small publisher. There were pros and cons to the arrangement – obviously too many cons since I am now independent again. But there were pros. And one of them was having help.
Help comes in many forms. With a publisher, it meant the promise of having an editor, access to a cover artist, and marketing. Plus there were the perks of having a bunch of other authors to share encouragement, tweets, posts, and celebrations! Writing is a lonely game, and sometimes a frustrating one. Having an instant bunch of new friends helped alleviate the isolation.
But the publisher didn’t work out.
I learned a lot of lessons from that experience. And one of them was that small publishers often hire some of their authors to do the services they provide: like edit and cover art.
Wait. Authors are multi-talented people?
It’s true! I’m not talking about what happens when an author tries to self edit, but when you have an author who is also a professional editor. Or a professional artist. Or maybe they are a marketing guru. The thing is most writers have day jobs that utilize a variety of skills beyond wordsmithing. We have many talents. And banded together, we can function very much like a small publisher – just with the added benefit of keeping the copyright to our work!
I realized that mid-winter and I started hitting up other author friends as I made an exit from my publisher: Do you want to swap skills? See I have a studio art AND English degree (and ecology too, but unless you need some world-building ecosystem help I don’t see much benefit to that skill for swapping!). I’ve made my own covers (love Photoshop!), created world maps, and have some character sketches brewing. Plus I come from a family of computer family people so that those horrible nuances in formating styles and such for e-book or CreateSpace uploads are pretty much no sweat for me – and in some weird fashion I even enjoy the challenge. But I can’t edit. I learned more about grammar in my French class than I ever scooped out of High School English.
I quickly learned the other thing about writers is that they are pressed for time. So though I had interest, I found no commitments to creating an exchange of service. Until…
I’ve known Scott Bury from the Guild of Dreams. What I’d forgotten was that he’d put together a great bunch of authors under the brand of iAi – independent Author’s international. This collaborative of authors exchanges services such as cover art and editing. Sound familiar? Well it gets even better – they guarantee professional quality too!
Really. Removing the stigma of less than professional quality that haunts the indie book genre is the manifesto of iAi. That is even more of a goal than I’d pinned my hopes on creating. So when Scott invited me to join iAi, you bet I jumped at the offer! The timing is perfect as I’ve been hoping to offer some author services beginning this fall. Now the other members of iAi get to be test subjects! I don’t think Scott told them that part… But what better way to see if I can create covers and maps for other authors than to actually try to?
This relationship is new, but I’m looking forward to not only having my work professionally edited, but helping other authors achieve formatting or artwork that they’d have a difficult time affording or finding time to do without this very nifty swap arrangement. Scott has my member profile up on the iAi website. Check it out – and while you’re there check out the other authors and their books. I guarantee they are good!