The Value of Service Providers

Before I decided to self-publish, if anyone had told me how much work it is  in addition to writing,  I may have continued in my attempts to secure a literary agent in an effort to traditionally publish through a publisher. After self publishing for almost a year, I now have new appreciation for the freelancers who offer editing, formatting,  cover-design and tax preparation  services to self-published authors. All of these services take much time and effort.

I learned to do  everything, but still use the services of a freelance editor because even though I edit and revise numerous times, we never catch everything when it comes to our own writing. We writers know what we meant to write, what the story’s supposed to be – and that’s often what we read, so we miss things that don’t “jive” with that.

But I do everything else myself. I format my manuscript for eBook and paperback publication. I publish with Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon. And I learned photo editing to create my own book covers. It took a month and a half for me to learn and get comfortable with photo editing. I just did an illustration in which I put the image of a woman into a backdrop and then put another woman’s face on her body – the face of the character in my pending story. Admittedly, putting another face on a body was new for me so it probably took longer than it would have if I’d done this before, but it took two and a half hours to accomplish this and it’s still not quite as professional looking as I would like it to be. So, I’ll be working on it some more. 

Oh, and I also prepare my own  state and federal taxes. However, I worked for the Hawaii State Department of Taxation for fifteen years, so I have to admit that I had the background to be able to do my own taxes. If I hadn’t had this experience, taxes would not have been easy for me to catch on to it.

Hiring those who provide services can run into quite a bit of money, but good formatters, editors, cover designers and tax preparers earn every penny they charge. But my experience in self publishing has taught me that I like being able to do as much of the process as possible; I like the control and enjoy the creativity.. 

Here is the image that took two hours and twenty-five minutes to create. The Library of Congress photo of the barber shop is one layer. The woman’s body is another layer and her face is the third layer. For the face, I took another image, cut the face out, brought it into the barber-shop image and then had to scale it down to fit the woman’s body. As with each new project I take on, I learned a great deal and reinforced other things I had learned.

This next image took me an hour and fifty minutes to create. Again, it’s three “Layers.” They are: 1. the barber shop; 2 the the woman’s body; and 3. the woman’s face (which I cut from another image).The woman’s body and the face had to be scaled so they fit in the barber shop and the face had to be scaled so it fit the body.

The story that these illustrations will go with is one set in the late 1800s in which the man female character learns to be a barber.

My journey in self publishing has given me a new appreciation for all the skilled people who offer their time and knowledge to all of us.

Teachers, attorneys, doctors, caregivers, janitors, food service workers – all of those who make our lives better deserve to be valued and paid a wage they can live on without having to resort to two and three jobs.