Many years ago, I acquired a German-made car. For its upkeep, I would visit a car mechanic that worked on all types of cars, regardless of their a course in miracles podcast. With this mechanic I ended up at his shop a couple times of year, which grew tiresome. My car still had problems and bugs pretty frequently. I eventually switched to a mechanic who only worked with German cars, which ended up costing me more than the generic mechanic. But now, I found the service to be better since the shop’s expertise was with German cars. After the switch I was only visiting the mechanic about once a year. Even though I was spending more, I ended up saving money because I wasn’t going to the mechanic three times a year, and I was getting better tune-ups for my car.
As we all know, book publishing is a cooperative effort. As someone who will be publishing a book, you have two primary options: work with the help of a book publishing company, or independently hire individual freelancers. A book publishing company comes with a consulting manager and the team’s publishing services, but for a higher price. Independent freelancers who will take a job in book publishing will usually cost less.
Enlisting the help of a publishing company or hiring freelance is one of the first basic decision towards determining the quality, cost and overall spirit of a book project. Please remember that to publish books which are successful, how much money you have left after book printing will not be your biggest factor. Instead, how that money was spent, and if it was spent well, will be the biggest indicator of your book publishing success.
When shopping around for publishing services, you want to make sure you are getting the best possible book for your buck. The number one reason people use freelancers in publishing is to save money. At face value, you may find cheaper prices with individual freelance book editor-however costs can crop up in other areas. When you work with a book publishing company and its team, they know the industry. Some of the costly pitfalls in the book publishing process, such as errors in layout recognized too late, or a novice book editing job, can rob your book of serious value.
In the case of book editing, hiring your copyeditor individually by freelance can be a huge mistake. It seems that 3 out of every 4 clients I speak to already have a copyeditor in mind for their project. “Oh yeah, I’ve already taken care of the book editing.” Who is being hired to ensure the quality of your book? Is it someone who works inside the book editing and book printing regularly? Are they up-to-date on the most recent publishing standards? Often I ask a freelance book editor what standards they are using to proofread, and they had no idea themselves. Publishing standards are ambiguous at best, and can change from month-to-month depending on literary trends. Even though many authors are talented writers and even spectacular at grammar, they should never be the book editor of their own project. I repeat, do not be the primary book editor of your own book! An excellent, well-presented book is only possible with professional and quality book editing. An unqualified freelance editor will demean other areas of your hard work.
A benefit of working with book publishing companies is the connection to other industry professionals. A book packager should have a rolodex of publishing contacts from inside the publishing network who are experienced. When packaging and printing books, you’ll want to know the best book editors and book printers to employ, and a book project manager will resolve this quickly. On top of their skills, experienced contacts bring cooperation and cohesiveness to a project, especially when they are used to working together. In an effective book publishing company, the illustrator has already worked with the layout designer for several previous projects, the copyeditor is used to working with the project manager, and each person knows their role in the book’s journey. Cooperation and easy communication between a familiar team is both time- and cost-efficient. By hiring freelancers individually, you run the risk of employing people who have never worked with one another, who have unbeknownst levels of different skills and expertise. This often leads to difficult communication and disjointed work.
The Bottom Line: You get what you pay for… which can be a disaster in book publishing! Sacrifices in the book’s editing quality, or a mistake big enough to “stop the presses” is incredibly costly-and far more likely to occur with a collection of independent freelancers. Hiring freelance takes time, money and a little blind faith from the author wanting to publish. For some, the lesser cost and independence of finding their own freelancers is enough to overlook the risks in a book’s quality and results. However, investing more money for the assurance of expert management and consultation from a book publishing company will be your best investment.