I always have two or three novels on the go beside my bed. So, with that perspective, I will offer my thoughts on why novelists should hire professionals.
The Book Cover
If I love a book cover, I’ll check out the author and then the book blurb, in that order. If I don’t love the cover, I move on to the next one. I do judge a book by its cover. Having said that, if a favourite author, such as Francine Rivers, comes up with a cover I don’t like, such as her latest novel, Masterpiece, I will read it anyway. A cover that is colourful, hints at the genre, and features true-to-life people on it, draws me in and urges me to investigate further. If you want my hard-earned cash, hire a professional when designing a book cover.
The story has to be compelling. I try to be generous with writers and give them at least two chapters to pull me in, but many a Kindle book has been deleted as I yawn and look for a better story on which to spend my evening. I suppose this again is where hired professionals will catch a boring story or a fatally flawed plot, and though their suggestions might be pricey, they can help you redeem what is priceless to you. If you want my precious time, hire a professional content editor.
A friend of mine is studying online and often asks me to proofread her papers. Misspelled words are bearable, but when the meaning she is trying to convey gets lost in misplaced modifiers, run-on sentences, and fragments, I get confused. But since she’s a friend, I keep reading and I help her sort it out. However, if that happens in a novel, I feel almost giddy with delight pressing delete. If you have problems with grammar, and you think I’ll sort it out in your novel, your wrong. Oops, you’re wrong. Definitely hire a pro.
As a reader, I would caution you about marketing. If I read a book because it’s been so widely advertised, and then that book disappoints, I will never read another one of that author’s books again. On the other hand, when I read a book that is a gem and has yet not been discovered by the masses, I wish that they would spend some money on marketing; I want everyone to know about this hidden treasure! I guess what I’m saying is that, once you have the book cover, the content, and the grammar down, then spend the hard-earned cash and get your story out there, but not before.
If Pam Mytroen could spend all day in her kitchen baking pies, brownies, and making turkey dinner for friends, she would. But Murray Pura once told her to write first and then bake—advice that she is trying to stick with these days, except, of course, when her grandchildren stop in for milk and cookies.