day twenty one: creating your A-team

On day six, I spoke of giving yourself deadlines

I have found the best way to meet these deadlines and see them as real and not fabricated or willy-nilly? 

Create an A-team.

For me, this looks like beta readers, critique partners, editors, cover artists, PR-mavens, and bloggers. 

Aside from my husband (who's also definitely part of my A-team), beta readers and critique partners make sure I get the book done. They expect updates. They want me to publish the best book possible, and so they challenge me with my writing. They get excited for me and never tell me to give up. These are my ass-kickers and cheerleaders, and they are my first layer of sharing my story with the world.

My editor is the second layer. She's also encouraging, but realistic. If a scene needs rewriting, she won't let me get away with mundane description or passive dialogue. She knows I want excellence for the narrative, and so she helps me get there. She considers universality and helps me reach for resonance so the reader (read: people I've never met before) can find my book and love it just as much as the people who know me and want to support me. 

Finding a good cover artist is just as important as any piece of the indie puzzle. Regardless of what people say, they judge a book by its cover. Snag a designer who can create a cover that takes people's breath away, and you've battled much of people's misconceptions about indie authors. esist the urge to create a cover yourself. Unless you have design experience, this is never a good idea. Trust me. I've done it. 

Once I have the edits done and my beta readers have read the book once or twice or ten times, and once I get to see the cover that makes me all teary eyed with emotion, it's time to consider my PR strategy. Over the past year and a half, I've learned priceless information from Inkslinger PR, who I trust with blog tours, cover reveals, and release day magic. When I wanted to share my cover the second I got it, Kelly stopped me. When I wanted to drop my price forever, Kelly stopped me. She asks me the important question: why? And with my answer + her PR staff, we're able to create a beautiful plan for each release. My PR team is the second to last layer because they connect me with those who will read my book first and tell others about it. 

Those beautiful souls are the bloggers. We cover this later, but without the bloggers, I would have no book. Bloggers tell the truth. They are the zealots behind the stories that capture your heart. I've had difficult reviews; I've had rave reviews. And you know what? Every time a review passes my feed I say a little breath of thanks. I know it in my bones: I would not be where I am today had it not been for bloggers who shared EVERY SHATTERED THING with their audience. 

Who do you have in your corner? Who is cheering you on in the stands? These layers are vital when you reach the stage of marketing, because it can be so difficult to wade these waters alone. Find your people. Love them well. 

And keep writing.

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Posted on October 21, 2014 and filed under indie publishing, writing.