The Death of Traditional Publishers? Part 11: Spawning New Entrepreneurs!

In the new world of “Author-Straight-To-Public” publishing, tasks done by the traditional houses now fall on the author. But few of us are graphic artists/video competent/promotional whizzes. And we have already discussed how impossible it is to successfully edit our own work!

This is the moment when energetic go-getters will sit up and say, “But I AM a graphic artist/video competent/a promotional whiz/an experienced and competent editor! I should offer my services!”


Let’s say I want to independently publish my Ecuadorian same-sex vampire historical time-travel epic because – at 250,000 words – I’m having a hard time convincing the NY publishers to take a chance on it. Where do I start?

Obviously, the first thing is to get it polished. Enter ENTREPRENEUR #1: Independent Editors! For a fee (a penny a word is what I’ve seen bandied about) they will edit your manuscript and clean it up. Make it shine. Worth every – literally – penny!

Next, I need a cover. If I don’t have any art background, or am not techie enough to do it myself, I’ll want to hire someone to design it for me.

Enter ENTREPRENEUR #2: Freelance Book Cover Designers! These professional artists will design your cover to match your expectations – and your actual characters. Here are two I have met, though there are many more out there: Anastasia Rabiyah: and Dawne’ Dominique (Contact info is on their websites.)

But what if I DO have some skills? Where can I get the components to put together my OWN cover? Enter ENTREPRENEUR #3: Freelance Cover Models! Okay, I used the plural here. But honestly, the only one I have found (Do you know of others? Please share!) is Jimmy Thomas.

On his site, Romance Novel Covers Jimmy poses both alone and with female models in a variety of costumes and settings. Don’t be put off by the name: professionally shot, the photos are perfect for a variety of genres! And they are very reasonably priced.

Brilliant, Jimmy.

Now that I’m edited and have a cover, I can upload to CreateSpace, Kindle, Nook, iBooks (But only if I own a Mac. In typical Apple fashion they aren’t playing nicely with others), and Smashwords (who covers ALL formats – even iBook. So there.) on my own. But how do potential readers know I’m worth it?

ENTREPRENEUR #4: Freelance Reviewers! There are a ton of blogs and websites that will review your book for free. One, however, takes it a step further: Apex Reviews. For a very reasonable fee, they will review your book, create a trailer, and post it everywhere.

Speaking of which, ENTREPRENEUR #5: Book Trailer companies! A caveat to this: most of their prices are so high that I’m not sure they drive enough traffic to justify the expenditure. But you CAN make your own trailer very simply with PowerPoint and a conversion program.

Which brings us to ENTREPRENEUR #6: Teaching Other Authors! I teach classes on creating your own Book Trailer through Savvy Authors (Check it out if you are interested!). MANY authors teach classes through a variety of websites! And we all make a little money doing it. But the entrepreneurs RUNNING the classes? They make a lot.

Are you getting the point? If there is a corner of the publishing market that independent authors need filled, quick-acting and skilled entrepreneurs can jump in… ARE jumping in.

Is there an unmet need that you have as an author? Post it here and we’ll see if anyone can help… Or start a business! 🙂


6 Responses to “The Death of Traditional Publishers? Part 11: Spawning New Entrepreneurs!”

  1. 1 Amy K. Nichols 06/22/2010 at 12:04 AM

    Hi Kris,

    Just wanted to let you know I have over 15 years of graphics and web design experience, as well as 13 years of writing experience, both professional and creative. I design websites, logos, marking materials, book covers, business cards, you name it. I also provide freelance editing services. All custom work. No templates. Awesome rates. Check out my site at to see samples of my work.

    Amy K. Nichols

  2. 3 PJ Friel 06/23/2010 at 12:42 PM

    Hi, Kris!

    Thank you for this information! I’m currently working on a fantasy fiction novel so all of this will come in very handy in the not so distant future (if all goes according to plan!).

    I’ll be taking care of the book cover & probably the video myself because I’m an artist and am very tech savvy. (I did all the work on my website – & just recently did a book cover for Stacey Kennedy’s “A Deadly Whisper” which is being published at Cobblestone Press.) But the editing & reviewing will be services for which I’ll likely need to hire out. Apex looks promising!

    Thanks again!

    PJ Friel

  3. 4 Frankie Robertson 06/23/2010 at 5:34 PM

    Kris, once again you’ve summed up the situation quite succinctly. Thank you!

    If you or any of your readers are interested, I posted a review of *How to Publish and Promote Online* by M.J. Rose and Angela Adair-Hoy today on my blog It’s an incredible resource.

  4. 5 Theresa Meyers 06/24/2010 at 4:51 PM

    Great post, but I’d like to add that publishing the book is only half the battle. Marketing, promotion and distribution are the other challenges out there for printed books. Certainly a lot of authors can do the online promotion themselves, but have you ever pitched a radio show, a television producer? Do you know how to make the most of that interview? Create a press kit or write a feature article for a newspaper?

    One more entrepreneur you’ll be looking for is the freelance Book Publicist and Marketing Expert. *waves hand*

    A lot of them you’ll see are basically mailing houses. They’ll stuff packets and mail them to reader’s groups or bookclubs or librarians. They’ll place ads for you. I have staff to do those things, but primarily I deal with media. I’ve been specializing in book publicity for nearly ten years, and been in consumer product public relations and corporate public relations for over twenty years. I’ve gotten authors on LIVE! With Regis and Kelly, helped get my clients interviews in big daily papers, news shows, and been flown to NYC by big publishers to prep their NYT bestsellers for going on national television. Check it out. Lots of free DIY stuff and classes available

    That’s my day job. I’m also a fiction writer published with Harlequin and soon with Kensington so I get the reality of what authors are facing financially. Coming at it from both sides makes a difference in perspective.

    Theresa Meyers

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