I type this as Debora formats my manuscript for CreateSpace, the Amazon platform for POD (Print on Demand) book copies. I can't count the number of emails that have zoomed by my eyes since I decided to go Indie with my book; not to mention the avalanche of decisions from logo to cover design.
First I needed to hire an editor. The manuscript was in good shape, thanks to the careful eyes of previous readers and editors, but I wanted the final copy edit and polish that would normally have been done by a publisher. And completely fresh eyes. I narrowed it down to two. There was a considerable price difference between them, but that wasn't the deciding factor. I asked them to edit ten pages of my manuscript and went with the one that best satisfied the fine line between edit and preserving my voice that leans towards lyrical. I'd met both of them. I had presented at a writer's conference several years ago with the one I chose, Harvey.
Harvey also sent me a PDF that explained how I could publish myself. My eyes glazed
over on page 3 and the words delegate screamed in my ears. This is when Harvey referred me to Debora. He had an e-publishing company but I wanted POD copies as well. She did both; he suggested I work directly with her. This met my book was destined for three different platforms, with a different format for each one: Createspace for the POD copies, Kindle and Smashwords for the E-books. (Smashwords will probably soon work out a deal with Kindle, but as of now they do not include Kindle on their long list of e-book distributors.)
My e-motions ran high with the blitz of responsibility. I sent Harvey my manuscript, heard nothing for 2 days and started to panic. OMG, I'm going to get the manuscript back and not recognize it! I sent him a tactful email to check in, acknowledging that my style was probably a challenge and "how are you doing?" He wrote back and suggested I keep breathing. I smiled. I fiddled a bit with his final product, but his work was amazing.
I could have paid $4000 for an edit. I could have paid $1020. I paid considerably less based on concrete samples. I'll discuss the design and format prices later, but writer beware, it's a hungry world out there. And editorial choice is just the beginning.