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In the new age of self-publishing, it can seem lonesome (perhaps daunting) if you’re a newbie writer with no ties to the profession.

It’s one thing to write a book, the ultimate solitude activity, but when time comes for the next step—editing, cover design, formatting—whom do you turn to?

Invariably, most would conduct a search on Google, resulting in an endless amount of service providers. From one-shop vanity presses (such as Lulu and iUniverse) to freelancers, whom do you select? Is $500 too much for a professionally designed cover? Is ten cents a word to edit your manuscript too little, suggesting that you’re dealing with an amateur?

Navigating through the endless amount of self-publishing books and its unlimited strategies for success can be quite time-consuming, almost to the point of nauseating.

After skimming the first few pages of results, I was about to give up until I stumbled upon Dara Beevas’ Indie Author Revolution.

Concise and well written, Indie Author Revolution provides invaluable information about what it takes to publish your own book. It would be the first of four books I would read on the topic and, interestingly, it just so happens that it was the perfect introductory book.

Not knowing any other self published authors, I found myself sifting through Dara’s book hoping to discover whom she hired to put her manuscript together and give it a professional polish. Although the author used her employer, Beaver Pond Press (a vanity press), to create the publication, she had listed in the acknowledgements the names of the cover designer and the editors.


Even though I had obtained the photo rights from Associated Press to publish a photograph of Alex Haley for the cover of my book, I still needed someone to lay it out. You can’t just slap a photograph on and call it a cover!

So, I turned to Dara’s book.

Her designer was Ryan Schiefe, owner of Mayfly Design. I contacted Ryan via email and explained the project and what I was looking for, hoping he’ll provide the services for a reasonable cost. He was prompt to respond. For an additional fee, he was even willing to format the manuscript, which I was more than willing to allow him to do as well.

While Ryan worked on the cover, I was still seeking an editor. Although I had already had the book edited twice before by Barbara Alexandra Szerlip, who did a brilliant job, I wanted a second set of eyes.

In Dara’s book, she listed ten individuals who helped edit the manuscript.

Oy vey! I only needed one.

I began with the first name listed, Amy Quale.

Little did I know, Amy and Dara not only worked together at Beaver Pond Press, but also hosted a blog, Wise Ink. The blog, of course, is all about self-publishing.

Amy Quale and Dara Beevas, founders of WiseInk.

I contacted Amy and she was more than eager to edit my book for an affordable fee.

In the end, both Amy and Ryan exceeded my expectations. They were easy to work with and prompt in making their deadlines. After reading a few horror stories from other writers in the blogosphere, I felt fortunate.

Even though you may feel alone in the self-publishing world, you’re not. Turn to other indie writers and see whom they’ve hired.

If it’s good enough for them, it (most likely) will be good enough for you!

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