Choosing or Starting an Author Service

There’s an old statistic that I first saw probably in the 1980s, stating that 81 percent of the population believed they have a book in them. At that time, only a handful of those people actually wrote their books. Today, I’d say that most of them have written a book or two. And the publishing industry has exploded in many different directions in order to keep up with the expanded needs of authors.

What happens when the dynamics of an industry changes as much as the publishing industry has? How do others react when they see so much activity suddenly occurring in one field? Many people jump on the bandwagon in hopes of getting a slice of the pie. While some people fall into sweet deals that come about as a result of major changes, others quickly become aware of opportunities created by current trends. And they all strike out to become book editors, cover designers and even publishers.

It used to be that if someone was in the business of editing, cover design or even publishing, it was assumed that they knew what they were doing and that they had a work ethic standard authors could rely on. Today, it seems as though there are a whole lot of individuals who are offering services to authors and starting businesses without nearly enough savvy, work ethic and skills. Some of you have learned this the hard (and expensive) way. Others of you might be considering jumping in and starting a publishing or editorial service in hopes of helping some of the thousands of new authors seeking publication each year.

But before you launch a business, hang out your shingle or sign up with a company or service, make sure that you are getting what you need and desire. A good start toward either of these goals—operating a successful business within the publishing realm AND choosing the right business or service for you and your project—is to educate yourself about the publishing industry.

Join publishing organizations such as SPAWN and IBPA. Subscribe to industry magazines and newsletters. Read books on the subject—such as my book, “Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author.” If you hope to become an editor, study Mary Embree’s latest book “Starting Your Career as a Freelance Editor.” Both are available at and most other online and downtown bookstores.

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