Publisher (noun): Jack/Jill of All Trades

Myth: With a manuscript and a boatload of cash, you too can be a publisher.Fact: With a manuscript and a boatload of cash, you can get a badly printed book. But that does not make you a publisher.

The differences between self-publishing and independent publishing aside (that’s for another post), it takes much more than money and words to be a publisher. Graphic design, marketing, editing, typesetting, accounting, networking, advertising, advanced word processing, web design, computer skills… the list goes on. Every publisher needs to either know these or be able to pay someone who does.

Case in point: I had a photograph that I needed to use as part of a book project. It was a beautiful photograph. The one problem was that there was an area of black overlapping brown and when reduced to the standard thumbnail size and printed in grayscale, the black/brown became a giant blob.

Enter Photoshop.

But trust me: extracting black from an adjoining dark brown takes a certain amount of skill. And a lot of time to get it right. This is time you’re investing into the project, not time for which you’re paid. With any luck and excellent marketing, you’ll recoup your expenses with sales and hopefully make a bit on the side. Maybe even enough to cover all those hours, so long as you don’t look at the per-hour rate. Don’t count on minimum wage!

It’s not all about money. We don’t get into independent publishing for the money. We get into it for the love of books, being part of turning a manuscript into a book from which people benefit.
Understand, however, that there is a copious amount of work that goes into that manuscript-book transition. Lots of things you need to know how to do, or need to find people to do (and do WELL), before you ever get a copy of that book in your hands.

Including Photoshopping the occasional photograph so that it meets the level of quality for which you want to stand.

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