writing notes
Publishing,  Self-Publishing

Selecting an Editor and Cover Artist

Two of the most expensive aspects of self-publishing are using professional editors and cover designers. While the necessity of these is hotly debated, the reality of putting out a sub-par product is low or non-existent sales. This week’s guest post from spec-fic author Franc Ingram shares her experience working with the pros. 

Selecting a Quality Editor and Cover Designer: Tips for Self-Publishing

After working with a small press for two other projects, I decided to self-publish Heirs of Eternity for a couple of reasons. One was to gain experience in the rising field of publishing. Secondly, after spending a year and a half writing I knew self-publishing would give me the shorter timetable I wanted to see my work in print.

Finding a Cover Artist

I found my cover artist through his work on deviantART.com. I liked his pieces so much I ignored his lack of experience with book covers. While I love the results, some formatting issues took forever to correct.

Tips for finding the perfect Cover Artist:

  1. Make sure the artist has experience with your genre, including whatever subset your novel is. An Epic Fantasy cover is worlds away from Urban Fantasy even though the main genre is Fantasy.
  2. Be sure the artist is flexible. Insist on a mockup and at least three revisions as part of the agreement. A bad cover can be a dark cloud over the entire project
  3. Be sure the artist can tailor fit the cover to the size of your book. If yours is 6×9 300 pages, then your artist needs this information ahead of time to get the perfect fit. Certain colors look better in glossy versus matte. Your artist needs to be able to work with these minute details to make the perfect cover for you.

Finding an Editor

While an author and an editor can have a love-hate relationship, for work to get done there must be more love in the equation. I found my lovely editor through my writer’s group. She’s a woman who loves books and understands the creative drive to write, but found her talents were more suited to editing than writing. She is an avid reader of multiple genres so she knows the ins and outs of a good story no matter what the setting, and since we know each other personally I had no problem trusting her with my novel. Unfortunately, we were building our businesses at the same time so the editing took longer than either one of us expected.

Tips for anyone looking for an editor:

  1. Make sure they are well versed in the art of storytelling no matter what the genre. Ask if they offer before and after samples, so you can get a good idea of how their process works.
  2. If you need help in a particular area make sure she/he is clear on how to help. It will do you no good if you get edits back that still leave you wondering if your weakness has been addressed. For example, I have a problem with description. I need notes on not only what to describe, but why the description should be added in that spot.
  3. Make sure your personalities match. You don’t have to be best friends with your editor, but you’re putting out your money for a quality editor. You choose who you work with. If your conversations back and forth are cold, leaving you wondering where you stand, then it can make the editing process arduous and your work will suffer. When you communicate with them make sure they’re interested in more than just the money you give them.

In the end, Research + Hard work x Patience = A good working relationship and a quality project.


Franc Ingram is a Sci-Fi writer who loves to write about damaged heroines/heroes and extraordinary technology. Personally, Franc is an animal lover, having a Lab mix named Mya. Franc loves planes, green tech, a fine white wine, good food, and books of all genres. Lives and works in Northeast Ohio.

Find her at www.facebook.com/steampunkwriterxx and https://urwhatureadblog.wordpress.com/

Her book Heirs of Eternity is available here: www.createspace.com/6792057 and

M.L. Keller is a freelance writer and editor. Her blog "The Manuscript Shredder" is focused on helping emerging writers hone their craft.


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