Last week, I talked about the business of writing, meaning taking a businesslike approach to the process of getting your writing out there into the big wide world. Even if you don't intend to create an officially registered business, it's worth asking yourself how serious you are about the whole process and how businesslike you want to be.
Being businesslike simply means applying suitable disciplines and making informed and deliberate choices to stack the odds of success in your favor.
As I've researched the ins and outs of self-publishing, it's become clear that an independent writer hoping to make a serious go of self-publishing has to juggle an awful lot of hats along the way.
That doesn't mean you actually have to wear all these hats, but you should at least be aware of them and decide what (if anything) you need from each.
Skipping the rather obvious role of actual writer (which is probably what most of us would like to concentrate on and skip all the rest), there are other obvious roles directly related to writing a novel, such as researcher, editor (in various flavors) and critiquer. Many of these, you may well do largely yourself or with the help of critique buddies.
These get you the meat of your product - the words on the page. To turn this into a marketable product (assuming you don't have a traditional publisher to do this for you) you need to throw in things like cover artist, graphic designer, book designer and formatter. Most of us would do well to get some expert help in these areas.
That gets you the content, and from there it seems a deceptively easy step to publication - pop it up on Amazon in a few minutes and wait for the $$ to roll in.
Wellll...you certainly can do that, and therein lies the problem. It's so easy, and a lot of people are doing it. Trouble is, will it achieve your publication goals - and do you even know what those are?
To be businesslike in all this, there's a milliner's paradise of ancillary hats to consider. Just from a quick brain dump I came up with: business owner, business planner, project manager, accountant, resource manager, lawyer, contract manager, promoter and sales person, web site designer and administrator ... maybe you can suggest some more that I've missed!
Of course, as I said earlier, you may not actually need all (or even any) of these. But before you discard them out of hand it's worth understanding what they might bring to the table and whether or not they might help you reach your goals. Some might be useful disciplines even with a traditional publishing deal. After all, the publisher's first interest is their own bottom line. Who's really looking after the dreams and ambitions of you, Solitary Author Inc.?
The question to ask in each of these roles is: how much (if anything) do you need to support your publishing efforts, and how much can you/should you do for yourself?