Your Creative Team

     I’ve often said that writing is a solitary experience, but once you have completed the actual writing process and have a complete – or almost complete – manuscript, you need to begin to develop a creative team that will help you move your work from manuscript to published book.  But who should be on that creative team? Obviously, most people start with the people they know, family members or friends they respect. They allow them to read the manuscript and get their reactions to it. This can be a great place to start, but when it comes to developing a creative team, it is not where an author should end.

Family and friends can offer good advice, but they are rarely truly objective. Because they love you they may not be really honest in their critique of your work. They also may not have the expertise to judge it appropriately. I often hear people say, “My mother is a teacher, she’s excellent at grammar, so I had her edit my book.” Or, “My best friend is a really good writer, so she looked it over for me and she says it is fine.”

Yes, you do need someone to check over your grammar, but that is not all you need. You need an editor to read your book looking for:


  • Missing or incomplete information or explanations
  • Grammar and spelling errors
  • Consistent and appropriate grammatical style using a style manual such as Chicago or AP
  • Ease of reading and a style appropriate to the audience

I’ve used the word “style” twice in my list, each time to mean something a little different. “Style” refers to the consistency of things such as the use of numerals versus written numbers, italics versus quotation marks for referring to books and periodicals, and other details that if not consistent are subtle signs that say unprofessional.

“Style” also refers to the way in which a book is written. A book aimed at an academic audience will have a very different style than one aimed at the mass market, for example. Before you ask someone to read your work, make sure that they understand your target market and know the style of writing appropriate for it.

So who should be on your creative team?

  • Your Publisher: He or she will oversee all of the details of the project and make sure that nothing is forgotten.
  • Your Editor: Your publisher may edit your work or may suggest a professional editor to work with you.
  • Your Cover Designer: While many people have artistic friends who offer to create a cover illustration, you will need a professional graphic artist to develop the front cover, back cover and spine. This person should be an expert in a graphics software program such as Adobe Illustrator as well as Adobe Acrobat.
  • Your Marketer: You should consult with a marketing professional about your website, social media and other ways to get the word out about your book.
  • Your Publicist: You may also want to hire a publicist to help you promote your book and yourself as an expert in your field.

The last few months before publishing your book are both exciting and hectic. There are so many decisions to be made, particularly final decisions on title, cover design, and even the order of chapters or specific wording of certain passages. Don’t give in to the temptation to ask everyone you know for an opinion. I’ve noticed that for each person I ask, I often get at least two opinions – usually conflicting. That means that if you show your neighbor, your best friend, and three people in your networking group two different versions of your cover you will have at least ten opinions. That way lies madness!

When you begin the publishing process, choose three to five professionals as your creative team, and stick with them. It really is the easiest way to complete your book.

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