Common explanation of the difference between a dog and a cat: Dogs have masters. Cats have staff. If you're going to run a home business, you'll need to start thinking like a cat.
Self-publishing is something of a misnomer. The process of taking a book from ﬁrst idea to a spot on someone’s bookshelf requires the help and talents of many people. The work used to be done by huge publishing houses. When you decide to self-publish, the responsibility for all the many tasks involved falls squarely on your shoulders. You are already the author, the editor-in-chief, and the business owner. You cannot hope to sit isolated in your little home ofﬁce and do everything yourself, no matter how talented you may be. The success of your book will depend upon how well you assemble a team of assistants. Here’s a look at the staff I have assembled. Perhaps it will give you some ideas.
My most important hire was my husband. Of course he was already on board to give me moral support, but as time went on, he took upon himself three important roles. First, he is my travel agent. Once I decide on the need for a research trip or agree to do a talk, a book signing, or a conference appearance, he takes over. He plans the itinerary, books our accommodations, and provides the transportation. Second, he is my mail clerk. He’s much better than I at packing and wrapping, and he never seems to mind a quick trip to the post ofﬁce. I can count on him to mail single book purchases or handle large book shipments. And third, he is my ofﬁcial photographer. Whether I need a special shot for an illustration or some general pictures to help me set a scene, he is there with his camera. You can see a sample of his work on the cover of Beyond All Price. He also comes with the advantage of being inexpensive. His salary is $1.00 a year, augmented by clean laundry, home-cooked meals, and endless affection and gratitude.
My business plan recognized that I would need to hire a design artist to create the book cover and a layout expert to make sure that the ﬁnal book meets the exacting standards of the publishing world—page numbers, attractive fonts, spacing, chapter titles, and ﬂourishes all in place. Since both those areas are way beyond my expertise, I hired both functions through the production company who contracted to produce the physical book.
I found another source of staff members at a company called Vistaprint. I got started there by ordering my ﬁrst business cards for Katzanhaus Books. From that one order, I learned about their other great promotional items and ended up buying a magnetic sign for the side of the car, postcards, brochures, a tote bag, and several other items with my own logos on them. Then I found that they also provided hosting for websites and blogs, as well as domain names and e-mail addresses for companies. I was able to use their services for all my promotional and web-based needs.
To learn more about my staff, see Chapter 2 of The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese