I recommend authors look into hiring a book shepherd for a current or upcoming writing and publishing project. A book shepherd is someone whose expertise in acim and publishing will help you throughout the entire book process. From cover art, editing, dealing with Amazon to locating a printer, a book shepherd will assist you from start to finish.
I am a proponent of using a book shepherd because there are so many things to know about in the book publishing process and so much is swiftly changing it’s extremely difficult to keep up with it all. It takes a person with experience to guide you along the way and that’s what a book shepherd does. Hiring a guide is a concept that’s been working for humankind for thousands of years. If you were going to a foreign land and wanted to see and do as much as you could would you read a guide book or hire someone to show you? Consider yourself fortunate if you can afford a book shepherd as it is well worth the money spent.
Dan Poynter recently compiled a comprehensive list of book shepherds. At the top of his list is Shel Horowitz who explains his role: “Basically, I walk unpublished writers through the process of becoming well-published authors. I start by helping them determine if they should publish traditionally, self-publish, or subsidy publish–and then help them complete all the steps for their choice, then work with them on the marketing as the book nears completion.”
Tanya Hall is a unique book shepherd in that she works for a national publisher/distributor. “So instead of working in a vacuum without any up-to-the-minute feedback on trends, pitches, etc like most book shepherds operate, I have the luxury of a sales force and team of experts behind me to guide the direction I give to my clients. Most of our clients “in development” go through an editorial project development phase, followed by any number of services ranging from design to printing to (if accepted for publication/distribution by our review committee) distribution and marketing.”
Mike Ball, award winning syndicated columnist and author of three books, offers unique assistance to new authors from his position on the front lines of the publishing wars. “Hey, it can be complicated, time consuming and downright confusing,” says Ball. “I just helped out an elderly author who got completely flummoxed by the forms Amazon threw at him. I understand it can be a daunting task for anyone. That’ why I am happy to assist for a reasonable hourly fee.” Simon Warwick-Smith says, “We are a one-stop shop, from cover and interior design to physical printing, and eBooks, to sales, marketing and publicity. Been in business for 20 years with a long list of satisfied clients”
“One of the biggest challenges in writing, publishing and marketing a book is to know what to do when, and how to do each step,” says Beth Barany, a book shepherd, creative business consultant for authors and publishers, and an award-winning novelist. Beth says that authors come to her because they need customized support for wherever they may be in the process, whether it’s brainstorming sessions to overcome writers block for writing a novel, figuring out how to publish their helpful nonfiction book, or getting support and gaining ease with social media marketing for their mystery novel. A big advocate for self-publishing, she works with her authors to help them write, publish and market the book through the channels that makes the most sense for their overall goals, timing and budget, including traditional publishing. To find more about Beth Barany, and to sign up for a complimentary 30-minute session.
The Bottom Line: If you can afford to spend a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on a book shepherd, I highly suggest you do so as it will help save your sanity! There are so many exciting changes in the book publishing business it’s practically impossible to keep up with them all. The book shepherd will help you through the entire process or just a piece of the process where you need it.