The Game Changer: Your Dream Team
How to Land the Right Resources

Congratulations on making the decision to self-publish: you’re about to embark on a thrilling, self-made journey. It’s an exhilarating process; after all, you are 100% in control of all decisions and all the success. But self-publishing also demands a great sense of responsibility and execution focus. A key component of self publishing successfully means having to move into the business management phase, and begin to actively see and retain top publishing talent to enhance your manuscript and bring it to life.

The team you assemble will be the game changing factor in your success. Getting the right experts with the right resources, skills, and talents allows you to bring your manuscript on par with the ones produced by big publishing houses. Following your lead, your dream team will make you shine with a fantastic finished product, cementing a reputation you can be proud of.

1. Research: First, you have to research which resources you need. Among the types of service providers you may need are an editor, artist, indexer proofreader, illustrator, publicist, printer, eBook conversion service, distributors, interior layout designer, photographer, cover artist, among others. Which experts and resources you need will depend on the type of manuscript you are looking to publish. For example, a children’s book may require a more complex set of artists than a book of poems. If your book has no illustrations you may not need an illustrator, but you may need an industry attorney to advise you on intellectual property for your area. You should always, always hire a stellar editor first. Your editor will help you envision and deliver a better, more concisely-written manuscript. Moreover, you editor will help you by cleaning up language, organizing, indexing, and proofreading. A great editor will provide guidance on how to best express yourself eloquently. You should budget a significant amount of time for editing, as it is the first and key step in creating a foundation for your project’s success. All other resources and thinking will follow from grounding your manuscript in the vision supported and developed with your editor. The editing process is key and can take years. Other resources will become equally valuable as you move through the process—and I will address those issues more thoroughly in later articles.

To conduct your research for all your experts, go far and wide. Do online research. Ask for recommendations from your network, from authors you like and respect. Look for it in the books you enjoy, put it out on social media, and advertise for it on talent platforms such as The wider your net is, the more prospective leads you will get, thus widening the possibility of finding the right fit. Do the due-diligence.

2. Interview & Qualify: Based on the initial conversations, if there is a sense of a fit, do a formal 30 minute interview. To prepare, ask the expert to share samples of his/her work in advance, references, and anything else they deem relevant to your project. You should also prepare for the interview with written questions for the expert. There are many online questionnaires, but ultimately you want to ask questions that give you visibility into how the expert would approach your project, their professional style, communication preferences, availability, rate, availability to take on new projects, and time frames for starting and finishing your job. The more understanding you get during the interview, the better equipped you will be to make the right decision. Don’t be afraid to dig deep and ask tough questions. After all, this is a job interview, and you are assembling your dream team: you only want rock stars! Also, make sure to check ALL references.

Self-publishing requires hard work and perseverance, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to bring a project of personal passion to the world. Assemble a dream team of your own to help you get there. In the next month’s column I will dive deeper into other aspects of selecting your team of experts. Stay tuned!

Marija Bulatovic 2014

Marija Bulatovic 2014

Born in Yugoslavia in the 1970s, Marija Bulatovic, along with her parents, immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s just ahead of the 1990s Yugoslav wars and the breakup of the country. An accomplished business professional with years of experience driving enterprise business with Fortune 500 companies, Bulatovic graduated from Colgate University. Marija Bulatovic lives in Seattle with her husband and son.