SPQ 069: Teams 101 – The Best Way to Scale Your Author Business

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The Question

Gregg asks: I have a question about your business setup. Since you are publishing so many books, you must have someone on staff that helps with the editing and stuff, right? Do you have someone on your actual team, or do you just outsource the work?

Biggest Takeaway

Steve’s Answer

Gregg helped put together the audio intro and outro for SPQ. Steve really appreciates his help.

Gregg asked specifically about editors, but he asked about building teams around books, so Steve decided to take this question and turn it into a larger question about building a team.

Steve doesn’t have staff members. To him, staff members work for you every day and are paid full-time wages. Steve does have a virtual assistant, and his brother helps him with some projects, but he doesn’t really have a lot of people he works with on a daily basis. He hires people on a project-by-project basis.

Steve has several people on his team:

  • Editors
  • Cover designer
  • Virtual assistant
  • Post-production team
  • Foreign translations team

Editors are Steve’s most important hire. They take his content, do deep-level corrections, and send the corrections back to Steve. He reviews those edits and uses them to improve his writing. Steve talked more about hiring editors in episode 12 of SPQ.

Leigh edits Steve’s books and creates the show notes for the SPQ podcast. Matt was Steve’s first editor. He does a lot of the final edits for Steve’s books.

Steve is a firm believer in having two editors. He wants to make sure both editors catch any mistakes he might make. He pays anywhere from $0.006 per word to $0.02 per word.

Cover designers are just as important as editors. People do judge books by their covers, so you need something attractive that makes people want to buy your products. Kyle has been providing covers pretty much since Steve started his Kindle business. Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $200 for a good cover designer.

Glori is a very valuable member of Steve’s team. She is his virtual assistant, so she does the following:

  • Researches material for books
  • Creates show notes for each published book
  • Generates daily sales reports
  • Creates images for Steve’s Facebook advertisements
  • Creates SlideShare presentations

You can pay anywhere from $600 to $1,000 per month to get a good virtual assistant who works full-time. In episode 53, Steve talked at length about hiring a virtual assistant for your self-publishing business.

Steve’s post-production team is also very valuable. He works with Matt Stone and Rob Archangel at Archangel Ink. They’re also the guys behind BuckBooks.net.

Rob and Matt put together his audiobooks and format his print books and ebooks. They might even do a final proofread of Steve’s books. Steve pays between $600 and $1,200 per project to do these things.

Steve is currently building a team of people to help with translation and other projects related to getting his books into foreign markets. He currently has three people on this team:

  • Angelica (Portuguese translation)
  • Candida (Portuguese editing)
  • Paul (German translation)

Steve is only focusing on these two languages for now because he needs to learn everything you need to do to succeed in foreign markets. He plans to have his books translated into other languages in the future.

Once you think about adding people to your team, identify your most important tasks. For Steve, writing books and creating podcasts are his most important activities. He can delegate almost anything else to free up time.

Steve is thinking about hiring people to write blog posts, improve his conversion rates, and manage his inbox. He’d also like to hire a personal coach to help with higher-level thinking. You always want to think about ways to expand on what you are already doing.

Teams form organically. You don’t want to go out and hire a bunch of people on your first day. Steve added people to his team as he built his business. He started with an editor and branched out into working with Archangel Ink.

Every time Steve generates a sizeable amount of income from his books, he tends to re-invest it in his business.

Key Takeaways


Resources and Links

SPQ 012: Steve explains how to find an editor for your book-based business

SPQ 053: Learn how Steve uses outsourcing to run his business

Archangel Ink: Steve uses Archangel Ink for cover design, audiobook production, and other self-publishing services

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