Like book shepherds, publishing consultants guide authors through the creative, administrative, and financial aspects of their writing project. However, whereas a book shepherd can be hired to do many of the tasks themselves, a publishing consultant is often hired to oversee other creatives and contractors who have already been hired by the author. Authors can think of publishing consultants as project managers, as they are hired on for their specific knowledge of book writing and publishing to deliver a valuable, professional-looking book. While a publishing consultant can offer the same expertise as a book shepherd, they may not be as expensive, as they would not be hired to do the project themselves.
If the author has been unable to secure contractors for their book project, a publishing consultant can also introduce the author to professionals in the writing, editing, and/or design fields. A publishing consultant can also help their author negotiate fees, understand contracts, and will sometimes even hire the creatives themselves. Whether the person you hire calls themselves a publishing consultant or a project manager, their roles and responsibilities are focused around overseeing every aspect of your book. Your publishing consultant should set forth all production schedules and timelines, and follow up with each appropriate contractor when their deliverable is due. Authors can also lean on their publishing consultants to provide guidance as to the right publishing path to select, whether it be traditional printing and distribution or utilizing a print-on-demand (POD) service.
Sara can be hired on an hourly basis to advise on contractors, establish production schedules, review quotes from various vendors, and offer guidance on all publishing decisions. Authors also hire her to review files and even step in to do design touch-ups, ensuring all files adhere to the printer’s required guidelines. Sara also guides authors through the Amazon process to ensure all versions of their book (physical, digital, audio) are made available for purchase online.