Reedsy Helped Me Start My Own Indie Publishing Company
Christina Enquist shares her experience assembling the team of professionals that helped launch her debut novel, The Immundus — and her very own independent publishing company, Odolf Mingan Publishing.
I was on safari, traversing my way through the rugged terrain of social media, seeking the elusive and coveted book editor. Not just any editor would do. I knew I had to have an editor with experience in editing young adult and science fiction, preferably someone who had edited bestsellers and award-winning novels.
I tried reaching out to editors on Twitter and got some bites, but I was concerned about handing my manuscript over to a person whose qualifications I wasn’t sure of. It was then that I happened upon a Mark Dawson podcast where he talked all about Reedsy. I began to investigate Reedsy myself and was instantly hooked. Thus ended my safari, as I found a prize better than I imagined: an entire herd of talent.
I knew that I had found my resource for top talent, one that could support me in starting my indie publishing career. I didn’t have to worry about hiring full-time or even part-time employees. I could hire professionals per project/book by contracting them through Reedsy.
I am gearing up to launch my debut young adult dystopian novel, The Immundus. The story is set in the year 2828 in Domus, the world’s last remaining country. Domus’ population is dwindling as the result of a mysterious disease called allagine. When 16-year-old Nia is recruited by a research company pioneering a cure to allagine, she witnesses something she shouldn’t have. As she sets down a dangerous path that uncovers national secrets, Nia must decide not only what kind of person she wants to be, but how far she’s willing to go to save humanity.
In order to make The Immundus the best it could be, I connected with professionals at different stages of my book’s development.
I contracted two editors to get my book ready for the presses. Katrina Diaz Arnold served as my developmental and line editor, while Parisa Zolfaghari worked as my copy editor and proofreader. Both of these women were wonderful to work with and provided exceptional feedback to help me shape my story and tighten the lines.
For example, Katrina was instrumental in helping me determine where to end the book — not always a straightforward task when writing a trilogy. She also made me aware of areas where I needed more thought or dialogue so the reader could fully understand what’s going on — which is crucial in any novel with dense worldbuilding.
Parisa added additional depth to my story: she not only provided copy edits to make sure my punctuation and grammar were appropriate, she also provided some of her own developmental recommendations — even adding a few more scenes to raise the stakes of the novel’s central conflict.
Typography/Book Design/Cover Design
My first attempt at a cover involved working with two friends: one of them took photographs and the other developed the cover based on the vision of what I wanted. They both did a fabulous job in supporting my book — but in the end I realized that my book needed a professionally designed cover.
I like to think I hit the jackpot when I found Rachel Lawston on Reedsy. On top of designing the cover, she also handled the inside design and typography of my book. The cover she designed was beautiful, entirely her vision based on a summary of my book — and the consensus from my entire team was that it represented The Immundus perfectly.
Publicity and Marketing
Emily created a publicity plan that included contacting media outlets and book review groups, securing me guest blog posts, and connecting me with COS Productions who created my trailers. She was also willing to act on my request to send my book to the publicists of other authors and celebrities.
Laura planned out all the promotional actions I would take on a weekly basis, such as publishing blog posts, sending out quotes via social media, publishing chapters on Wattpad, and posting excerpts on my website. In Laura’s marketing plan, she even included what topics I should write about each week. This was so helpful because half the battle for me when writing a blog is figuring out what to write about in the first place.
Laura and Emily worked together when developing their plans, ensuring that their efforts were working in harmony. They both reviewed the print (e.g. flyers, bookmarks) and digital marketing material (e.g. social media headers, quote blocks) that Rachel created. They reviewed my website as it was being produced, providing feedback along the way. Working with Emily and Laura on marketing and publicity impressed upon me the importance of teamwork in bringing a dream into reality.
I was right on target when I chose Simon Appleby to create my website. He and his team created the page from scratch based on a few samples of websites I sent them. The process was interesting in that Laura, Emily and I were able to see frames and provide feedback regarding the framing of the site before the actual development began.
On my website, people can view an extract, buy my book, add my book to their Goodreads, and view my trailer(s). If a reader is interested in keeping up-to-date with my book, they can also join my mailing list and if anyone has questions for me, they can contact me on the contact page. Simon and his team did a remarkable job and you can check out my website at christinaenquist.com
Since I started working with the professionals I found on Reedsy, I have learned so much about the publishing industry and its standards: from learning about widows and orphans thanks to my copy editor, to understanding bleeds and crops from my designer, my team helped me acquire the knowledge I needed to become an indie publisher.
The Immundus is available for pre-order on Amazon!
Please share your thoughts, experiences, or any questions for Christina Enquist in the comments below!