Whom to hire before you write the first word of your book

By: Jennifer Harshman, guest blogger

Do you know whom to hire before you write the first word of your book? I bet no one even told you that there was someone you should make arrangements with before you begin writing, and I apologize for that. I hope this post will remedy that situation. The person to hire, at the very beginning (or as close to it as possible), is a writing-and-publishing expert (also referred to as a writing-and-publishing professional, guide, or coach).

Hiring one is not what most people do.

Most authors go through the following steps, in this order. They:

There is no writing-and-publishing expert in that list.

If they get stuck anywhere along the way, most stop; their book goes stagnant. Some hire a coach at that point. Getting help is smart, regardless of when it’s done. Hiring a writing and publishing guide at the very beginning is the smartest move. It saves you time, money, and massive headaches all along the way; and it can help you completely prevent getting stuck. A writing-and-publishing expert can lead you through the process from concept to completion, editing and all. Some serve as project managers, handling every aspect and every subcontractor for you. Others coach you through a more DIY approach. Just as in many fields, the fees, offerings, and schedules vary from provider to provider, and even from book to book. Knowing what you prefer and the budget you have available will help you decide whom to hire.

Here’s what the process looks like if you go about it the wisest way. You:

So much simpler, isn’t it?

A side note that unfortunately still needs to be addressed: Some people believe that they are so good they don’t need to hire anyone, much as my cousin Hal* believed he could fly when he put on a cape. It was cute when Hal was three, but not so much when he was twenty-five. Authors who take their work seriously and are familiar with the field know that having an editor, proofreader, formatter, and designer work on their book is part of putting forth a book that’s worthy of their status as professionals. The readers of this blog take their work seriously and either know or are in the process of learning about the field.

It’s not such a common phrase these days, but we used to hear that someone was “putting the cart before the horse,” meaning that the person being referred to wasn’t doing things in the proper order. Perhaps he was purchasing a home before he had a job, or proposing marriage before he had a ring. The authors who follow the bulleted list above are putting the cart before the horse. Most write their book and then find someone to help them clean it up. Buying a cart and a horse is absolutely better than not doing so. Doesn’t avoiding the need to clean up something by doing it right in the first place make even more sense to you?

How can you do the smartest thing with your book? Find someone you can trust to help you with it, from the very beginning. If you’ve already started, all is not lost. Go ahead and find someone anyway. Sooner is better than later. It’s far better to have guidance along the way. Then there’s much less of a mess to clean up at the end. It saves you time, money, and hassle; and it helps you put out the very best content you can, so that you can get your message out to more people, more effectively.

Here’s to your success!

*Name changed to avoid awkward family gatherings.

Jennifer Harshman is a writing-and-publishing expert serving several publishers and numerous independent authors. Jennifer began editing professionally in 1992, and specializes in serving entrepreneurs and communicators who write nonfiction. You can find her at HarshmanServices.com or on her Facebook page.