What’s Your Measure of Quality?

One of the blessings of indie publishing is that you retain creative control over the final product. You determine the title and cover, you create or approve the back cover copy, and you determine the quality of the text. (Side note: Assuming that the text is good, simply because you wrote it, is probably not the best way to ensure the highest quality product. Editorial services, whether through Abbott Press or another professional editor, are a great idea for any author.)

That’s what this is all about, right? The expectation – and your obligation to paying readers – is to work hard to make your book as good as it can be. This means putting a lot of thought into title and design, making sure that your manuscript has been reviewed by trustworthy beta-readers who will give you honest feedback (not your family), and – if you can afford it or have a friend in the business who’s willing to help – a professional line edit.

Ultimately, what’s “good enough” is up to you – which means any shortcomings are your responsibility.

I don’t say that to scare you. Every writer has to deal with that same issue. But traditionally published authors have the luxury of abdicating some of their responsibility for the work, because someone else – a marketing director or creative director – typically has final say over how the work looks and feels, and the editor will have a great deal of influence over how the story reads. Oftentimes this is the great advantage of traditional publishing, but it also unfortunately requires that you give up control. The project is no longer wholly yours, but that of numerous professionals who leave their impressions upon your work, for good or ill.

So when you’re thinking about the quality of your manuscript, be honest in your assessment of it. Could it benefit from another set of eyes? When talking to a designer about cover concepts, keep in mind what type of design is going to attract your intended audience and clearly convey what your book is about. This holds true for the title as well, particularly when it comes to works of nonfiction.

Creative control is one of the biggest and best benefits of indie publishing. Make sure you don’t squander it by settling for anything less than your best. The rewards of putting in the extra effort will be realized as readers find, read, and respond to your book.

Why did you choose to self publish your book?