Getting help with publishing

If I complete the writing and editing of my non-fiction book regarding the science of obesity, are there people out there who can take over from there? Prepare the manuscript for uploading to Kindle, Kobo, etc? Upload? Thank you!

If you don’t have the networking to get referrals, there are market style intermediaries for finding freelance designers, such as Fiverr and UpWork. As you’ll quickly find, there are loads of people (and agencies) out there that specialise in this, and the problem will be more finding the good ones from the chaff than finding anyone at all.

My advice toward that end would be:

  • Don’t look for “Scrivener-friendly” designers. All a designer will need is a manuscript format (like your good old 12pt TNR)—and that’s not hard to scrap together with a fairly minimal amount of learning the compiler. That’s not to say there aren’t good designers that know how to use Scrivener, just that selecting by that in and of itself is an unnecessary constraint, like only looking for designers from the city or town you live in.
  • The skills you would want to look for are InDesign (and Photoshop and Illustrator, which are less directly related but will still typically be used for any art that goes into the book, like decorative elements or cover designs). Some lesser known titles would be Affinity Publisher, LaTeX and Quark, which are equally good if you see them. These are the kinds of tools a good designer will be using. If they talk about this software in their profile, or have it tagged, it is a good sign that they know what they are doing, or at least know where they should be putting their efforts if they are new to the field.
  • Look for people that speak of design, and not just “I will format your book for Amazon”. The latter could just mean dumping your text into a Word template they use for everyone else and calling it done. (Word, by the way, is not good at all for making books and a huge red flag if that’s what they use.) There are people out there that can’t even do that, so I suppose they are providing some kind of service, but what you really want is someone with a portfolio of designs that proves they put effort into each book. You want someone that will help make your book distinct and individual, but foremost finding someone like that will mean better service all around, because it means they care about what they are doing and aren’t just trying to make a quick buck off of people that would otherwise upload a raw .docx file to KDP and hope for the best.

These are all rules of thumb of course, and they are my opinions, but I feel they can help one avoid common mistakes at the least.