What does a Publishing Consultant do?

I’m often asked what I do and how I work with authors. Just what is a Publishing Consultant, and do you really need one?

Think of a Publishing Consultant as the Producer and Creative Director of your book project. What we do is listen to your ideas and goals, and read what you have so far. Then we sit down with you, to educate and advise you on the best way forward to accomplish your objectives.

There are currently six paths to publishing: the Big Five and other traditional publishers, small presses, assisted and hybrid publishers, indie or self-publishing, and social publishing through an author’s own platforms. The Big Five – Penguin Random House, Harper Collings, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan – are often seen as the gold standard of acceptance into the literary community, but there are pros and cons to every publishing option.

Often, a Publishing Consultant is also an Editor who has experience developing and organizing book themes and content. It’s always a good idea to have fresh eyes on your manuscript, so meeting with a consultant is a good place to start.

In my role, I see myself as your publishing partner. I’m on your side; I want the best experience and outcome for you, and I’m with you every step of the way. I have over 25 years of experience as an editor and over ten years as a producer of memorable and marketable books. I do what I love and I’m very interested and invested in your stories and your success as an author.

It’s Time to Write Your Book

When I tell people what I do, their eyes widen in surprise. I’m not a magician, but I do make something happen that’s hard to accomplish alone. I’m a book finisher. I am an independent editor who helps people write, polish, and finish the book they’ve been meaning to write.

Coming face to face with an editor is a moment of truth. It’s an opportunity to explore your ideas out loud and make a commitment to yourself. Is this the year you’re going to write your book?

The fact is, 80% of us want to write a book – but only 1% get it done. We’re all so busy with work, family, and daily life, none of us has the time or the headspace to devote to writing.

Books seem like lofty goals. Someday, somehow, that book will get done. And yet… it doesn’t.

That’s why an editor can be helpful. We listen to your ideas, take copious notes, and then give you feedback to help you shape your ideas into a completed book – whether you’ve started writing or not. We set up a structure with deadlines and offer regular feedback and support.   

Most potential authors have a desired outcome in mind. When they finish their book, they’ll keynote at an upcoming conference, speak at a special event, or attract and influence valuable clients.

Writing a book is a brilliant business move: your book can establish you as a thought leader in your field. When you introduce yourself as an author, people look at you as an expert and this opens doors to your career advancement.

So, how does this work?

One of the first questions I get from a client is, “How will I get my book done on time and on budget?” 

The answer I give them is: “We’re going to self-publish.” I say “we” because they’ve come to me for support and guidance. “We’re going to produce a professionally edited, impressive book at a reasonable cost.”

“Wait,” you say, “self-publish? Isn’t that for writers who can’t get a ‘legitimate’ publisher?”

Self-publishing

Actually, self-publishing has come a long way. It is no longer considered a “vanity project” when you publish independently. It is now considered a smart, expedient, and professional option in a crowded marketplace.

Interestingly, some books that are independently published are picked up by traditional publishers later. Ever hear of The Joy of Cooking? Irma Rombauer, a homemaker, had it printed in 1931 by a company that made labels for shoes. Joy was picked up by a publisher and, to date, 18 million copies have been sold. The Tales of Peter Rabbit and What Color is Your Parachute? started out the same way. So did Fifty Shades of Grey.

These authors and others who’ve become successful, either via independent or traditional publishing, have worked at it every day. We’ll talk about your writing practice and marketing tips in my next blogs.

The hard truth about traditional publishing today is that fewer than 1% of submitted manuscripts are accepted by Random House and others. And most of us don’t want to spend 5-10 years chasing down a publisher, and then 5-10 more years writing and rewriting to that publisher’s specifications.

This is why I advise self-publishing. There are many options that produce impressive results, and self-publishing achieves my clients’ goals:

  1. Creative control of the content, flow, and design of your book.
  2. Guaranteed publication by a certain date.
  3. Professional results.
  4. Value for your money.

So if you want to write a book this year, hire an editor. An editor will guide you through the process of completing and publishing your book.

If you don’t have time to write your book, hire a ghostwriter to compile and transform your content into a book.

Or hire me: I do both.

In my next blog, we’ll talk about the top 4 print-on-demand options for self-publishing your book.