I find that writers have a tendency to think of themselves and their career as individual endeavors. Oddly enough, I once thought this way as well. Reality couldn’t be further from the truth. It takes a team of people to be successful in any business, and writing is no exception.
I’ve owned and run several businesses and I understand the value to having a great team. Typically I need someone strong in operations, another in quality & regulations, another in finance, and often a legal counsel representative. This is just basic business. You can’t possibly know everything you need to about every aspect of your business, so surround yourself with others that can support the areas you aren’t top notch on.
If you’re a writer and not an artist, then don’t be creating the book cover for your next book. Have a resource that you trust to do this or at least someone to help you with it. If you have never done marketing before, find someone who has been successful at marketing and see what you can work out. Sometimes these relationships are for advice and other times you’re going to need to have them take their piece of the business and run with it so you can get back to what you do best.
This is not to say you should farm out all aspects except writing so you don’t have to be bothered with them. I strongly suggest that you continue to manage your career by ensuring you understand what your team is doing for you and that they understand your expectations. If you don’t manage your business, then it will manage you. Next thing you know you’ll be down a path you didn’t want to take.
So, how do you find the right team for you? First of all you need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Then start finding others that can help you improve your weaknesses or take on the responsibility of them (usually at a cost). You also need to know what your business plan and budget is for your writing and/or specific project. What can you afford to invest for editing, cover art, printing, marketing, and so on?
Beware! There are a lot of predators out there, so check their references before making any agreements. There’s a great website called Predators & Editors (pred-ed.com/) which will help you check up on the larger problem companies out there. Talk with some of their other clients and listen to your gut. If something just doesn’t feel right, it might not be right for you. Remember, this is your business and you want to have business partners that you feel comfortable working with for several years to come.
I know this can sound overwhelming, but a successful business is created with a great team. Find your team, give them your goals, and hold them accountable (it you’re paying them) to help you get there.