One of the big changes in self-publishing in recent years is the birth of what’s called “agency-assisted self-publishing” (there’s a good explanation of this term in this article from Writers Digest, and a follow-up here). (In every case that I’ve heard of, including mine, this is an option only for writers who are already clients of the agency providing the service. There may be exceptions, though.)
In this scenario, the agent provides assistance in many of the aspects of self-publishing that normally get taken care of by the publisher. In my case, these were: copy editing, formatting, and cover. My agent, Lara Perkins, sent me a list of copy editors, formatters, book designers, and cover artists with their fees and areas of expertise, and her experience with them. I wasn’t bound to her recommendations (in fact, I tried to sign the copy editor who had done a brilliant job with King of Ithaka, but she was unavailable) but I was glad to have them, because, really, what do I know?
One thing I did know was that I really wanted to follow her advice as to cover artist—Joe Cepeda, who did the gorgeous cover of Esperanza Rising. His sense of color, motion, and light would be perfect for my book. I was so lucky that he had the time and interest to create the cover for The Song of Orpheus.
The deal we have is that Lara collects her standard commission after I’ve earned back what I paid out for the above services.
I’ve also taken on some additional expenses that do not have to be met before she takes her commission. More on these next week.