When you’re getting started on your publishing journey, you may feel alone and overwhelmed. Publishing is a complex process whether you’ve chosen the indie or traditional path. And even if you know you can or should build a publishing team when going indie, how do you choose that team? How do you budget for them?

To start, you may want to consider:

  • Critique Partners
  • Beta Readers
  • Editors
  • Interior Formatters
  • Cover Designers
  • ARC Team Members

I know that sounds like a lot, but when you think about it, publishing houses have most of these for their authors. And if you’re looking to make a career out of self-publishing, you should do so as professionally as possible!

We’ll talk budget later, but don’t worry–some of these positions are filled by volunteers or swapped with other authors. You don’t have to break the bank to produce a quality book.

Now, let’s break down what each role is and why you might want to add one to your publishing team.

// Critique Partners

Critique partners, or CPs, are fellow writers who swap critiques with you. They’re a great resource because they can offer an artistic and professional point of view about your project.

Ideally, they’ll be around your writing level or a few steps higher so that they can help you find the more nuanced areas of your manuscript that need revisions.

➡️ Read more about critique partners here ⬅️

// Beta Readers

While CPs provide the perspective of another writer, beta readers provide the perspectives of your potential readers.

Beta readers provide feedback on your book from a reader’s point of view rather than a writer’s or editor’s POV. This helps you test your target market and see how real readers might react to your book.

➡️ Read more about beta readers here ⬅️

// Editor(s)

Every writer needs an editor. Every editor needs an editor. Let’s say that one more time for effect! Every writer needs an editor. Every editor needs an editor.

While I don’t hire out proofreading for my blog, I always get help for the books and longer projects I write. And I’m a professional editor!

If you have some really awesome critique partners and beta readers (and are an experienced storyteller), you may be able to skip over developmental edits, but definitely hire an editor for copy or line editing. It’s easy to lose sight of errors or hard-to-read spots in your text. Readers might forgive a few typos (literally a few), but you want to put your best foot forward. A professional editor helps you do that.

➡️ Read more about professional editors here ⬅️

// Interior Formatting

Though there are websites, like Reedsy, and software, like Vellum and KindleCreate, you may want to hire out interior formatting. If you aren’t tech savvy or just want your formatting to look really good, then look into recruiting a formatter for your team!

They’ll lay out your pages, standardize your formatting, and can help you dress up the pages to look unique and pleasing to readers.

// Cover Designer

Your cover designer will design your book’s cover, spine, and back cover. Unless you have the skills necessary to produce a fantastic, professional cover, always hire out. Covers are important because they’re the first thing to grab your readers’ attention. If you aren’t able to design one yourself–and most of us don’t have those skills–factor a cover into your budget.

// ARC Team

An ARC team consists of a handful of readers, bloggers, and other people who will receive an advanced copy of your book in exchange for a review once it’s published. Traditional publishers send out ARCs to hundreds of readers, but you don’t need a team that big. Five to fifteen trusted people on your ARC team will help you get your initial reviews in and spread the word.

Keep in mind that while ARC readers have good intentions, they may forget to post a review or may be slow to read your book. Because this is a volunteer position, remember to be kind and patient. Give them a nudge if you need to, but be polite!

// Budgeting for Your Publishing Team

While sticking to a budget is important, it’s also important to remember that you’ll likely have a better product if you invest some money. Professional editors, cover designers, and formatters help make your book the best product possible–nobody can do it all themselves!

Editors can cost anywhere from a penny a word to over a hundred dollars an hour, based on not only the editor’s experience but the length of your project and the amount of editing you’re getting done. Editing is also where you should spend the bulk of your budget. For copyediting on a 50,000 word novel, you can expect to invest $500 to $1200+ for copy editing.

A cover might cost you anywhere from $25 to $300+. If you want to save some money on a cover, see if you can snag a premade cover for your genre. You can also always update your covers later as you get more money to reinvest.

// Recommendations

I highly recommend Evenstar Designs for interior formatting of your book! Julia has an array of packages available to fit every budget and need, and she’s a pleasure to work with. Her work is really amazing, and if you want your book to stand out, she’s the one to go to!

And if you need an editor, I’m available for any project. New clients receive 10% off their first project. 😉 You can click here to learn more about my editing services, or just shoot me an email at hannah@btleditorial.com to schedule your free sample edit and discuss your editing needs.

(I don’t have recommendations for cover artists at this time, but you can always check out Indie Author Central and The Creative Penn for some recommendations.)

If you’re looking to connect with other authors and potential beta readers, be sure to join the Between the Lines Writer’s Nook Facebook group!

// More Resources

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to email me at hannah@btleditorial.com or ask a question in The Writer’s Nook Facebook group. I’m happy to help!

You can also reach me on social media at @btleditorial.

If you’re looking for more information on self-publishing, download the free checklist and check out this blog post: