I hear it over and over again as an Indie Author, "We need to support one another." I agree because we don't have access to the same resources more traditional authors do.
Often it is a case of using social media and other advertising venues to the best of our ability, but to me the best advertising in the world comes from reviews and word or mouth. If a book comes highly recommended to me by a family member or friend, you can just about bet I'm going to buy it.
Indie Authors are a tight knit community but they should remember one thing...without the other members of the team it takes to polish and finish a book so it can be published there would be no book. Although most editors and cover designers get paid for their work, we still need to support them just as much as we support one another.
Admittedly, I'm new to writing and trying to get published. I have asked for and received a lot of advice from many different sources and there are as many schools of thought about what does and doesn't work in writing and publishing as there are about how a child should and shouldn't be raised. There seems to be a running theme in all of the advice I have gotten and that is, You get what you pay for. This seems to be especially true when trying to decide on an editor.
I have researched the many types of editing there are out there. I've seen many, many sites who charge by the word, by a certain word count equaling one page, flat rates per page with no word count restriction, and too many other ways of pricing that it makes my head hurt. The popular way of thinking seems to be the best editors charge the highest prices and if you're not paying through the nose then you're not getting the best possible result. The same seems to be true for graphic artists and cover designers.
With this being my first attempt at writing a short story and publishing it, I certainly can't afford to pay the big gun editors, artists, and designers to help me. I can, however, afford to hire someone who performs these services at a lower fee than the big guns. There are people just as talented at what they do who do not charge an arm and a leg for their work. Yes some have more experience than others and as always it is a case of buyer beware, but these little guys need our support just as much as we need theirs.
There are some things everyone should be doing before hiring any outside help to work on their manuscript or book. Don't base your choice of professional solely on their price. I realize as much as anyone that price is always a concern, but you should contact the person. Get to know the person you will be working with and let them get to know you. Take the time to discuss the direction in which you want your project to go. If you don't like the answers or the vibe you get from one person, move on to someone else. You deserve a working relationship you will be happy with and your work deserves the best. Both can be accomplished if you just do a little homework.
Ask for samples of their work. If a "professional" refuses to give you at least one sample of their work to look at, that is a huge red flag that reads, "Run for the hills!" I believe it would be harder for an editor to share their work with you due to copyright infringement and most of them using "track changes", but you should still be able to tell if they do quality work by reading an excerpt from one of their past projects.
The same thing applies to graphic artists and cover designers. You should have no problem obtaining samples of their work. Again, shop around and contact them before you make any decisions about who you're going to use. You should also know exactly what you are going to ask them to do for you. If you provide graphics, make certain using them doesn't break any copyright or other laws. And even though you have an idea of what you want done, be open to their suggestions. These are the people who do this sort of thing all of the time so they have knowledge authors and others may not.
It all boils down to this. We openly and freely support one another as Indie Authors and ask others to do the same for us. It is time we help the other little guys in the business too. We're all one family working toward the same goal, getting the best books out there possible and hopefully making a few dollars while we're at it.