As a self-published author, I've worked with many different caliber people in my industry. With Romance Book Club, I wanted to make sure it had the best possible debut I could give, so I made some huge decisions. I have to give credit to my husband for those decisions, because he made a point I just couldn't disagree with. If you are trying to market something to the public why would you work with people that aren't professionals in their field? My husband works in the automotive industry, so while he has very little understanding of the publishing world, he's considered a leader in his area of expertise. That area requires him to made advertising decisions, and financial ones that affect his company, so when he speaks about business I listen.
When he offered to back this project, I knew exactly what I wanted to do if I had the ability to put my book out in the best possibly light. I hired a professional editor, cover designer, and decided that if I wanted to give the public a product they would be proud to buy, then I needed to have things done by people who knew what they were doing. After the fiasco with the last series I wrote, there was one thing that stood out clear in my mind. If I had better prepared, worked with people that do this for a living, instead of a hobby, I would still be selling those works. The bitterness I had over that situation melted away when that realization hit home.
As an author, you can do things the cheap, easy way, or you can invest time and money and put contracts in place that protect your work. Writing a book is a labor of love, being smart in your business decisions is just common sense. I realize that not everyone has someone willing to back their project, and believe me when I say I know how blessed I am to be afforded that opportunity. If you can't hire the pro's then at least protect yourself legally with contracts. Any person not willing to sign a contract stating that the work they are taking on is completely owned by you, is a person I would walk away from and never consider working with in the future.
Working with a professional editor is an experience that will change your entire attitude about writing. Having a professional critique of your manuscript is worth it's weight in gold. It might hurt your feelings, but you discover where you screw up in your writing efforts, and it helps you fix those problems before a book goes to print. Learning the industry tricks of the trade from those critiques can't even have a price tag put on it!
I wish you nothing but luck in your career as an author, and hope that my reading friends of Crimson forgive me for talking shop on the blog today! We'll get back to the fun stuff now!