For many aspiring authors, the dream is to one day see their name on the cover of a book. And that dream is much easier today now that technology has empowered the independent author. But what does it take to make that dream a reality? What most people don’t realize is that there’s a lot more to being an author than simply writing a book. Authors, most especially indie authors, wear many hats.
In this post, I’ll discuss the many hats you’ll have to wear as you move from wishing you had a book, to making that wish come true. It’s important to understand and embrace the different roles you’ll play as an Authorneer, and this post will cover the basics so that you can make an informed decision about becoming an indie author.

The Four Stages of Publishing

One way to understand the various roles needed to get a book from inside your head to on someone’s bookshelf is to divide the process into the following four stages. And each stage requires specific skills to make that stage happen successfully.

Stage 1: Develop Your Idea

In this first stage of the publishing journey, there are two similar but different roles you’ll need to fill. And you can’t hire these roles out, so you need to either have the skills or know where to learn them. You can hire a coach to guide you, but in the end, you’ll be the one who gives any idea a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

The Visionary

Everything begins with an idea, and the same is true with books. Therefore, one of the first hats you’ll need to wear as you begin your journey is that of The Visionary. You’ll need to know how to jumpstart your creativity so that you’ll have book ideas in the first place, and then you’ll need to know how to evaluate that idea against your long-term goals.
Roles of an Independent Author

The Entrepreneur

The Entrepreneur role takes what The Visionary has developed and runs with it. This role makes all the plans of how the book will fit into the overall business, and then sets the wheels in motion so that the plan is implemented.

This is where most people start, but if you really want to be a successful independent author, then you’ll embrace the idea that this is really the second stage in the process. The hats worn in this stage are much more obvious.

The Writer

Once you’ve developed your idea, it is time to sit down and write the book. Once good way to do this is to write an outline first. Then you can focus on getting into your flow of writing.
2 Types of Book Editing

The Editor

After you’ve written your masterpiece, you need to edit it. There are two main types of editing that should happen at this stage. You can do them yourself or hire them out. In fact, I recommend you do both.
  1. Developmental and Structural Editing: This looks at the whole book from a “forest” view, rather than a “trees” view. Does it make sense? Does it flow well? Are the ideas clearly developed and communicated? Is the manuscript logical as it is currently structured? This is the type of edit that can identify missing chapters, rearrange content so that it flows better, and sometimes suggest ideas for companion books, products, or services.
  2. Line and Copy Editing: After the book is determined to be structurally sound, it is time to look at grammar, word choice, and other qualities that can take the writing to the next level of quality.
I recommend that you perform both these levels of editing yourself first. Then, if you have the budget hire both a Developmental Editor and then a Copy Editor to do a second sweep of your book. If you don’t have the budget, at least hire a copy editor. You will be glad you did!

The Proofreader

By the time you get to the proofreading stage, your manuscript should be pretty clean. Often, much of the proofreading happened during copyediting. Again, you don’t have to wear this hat, but you should hire it out. My recommendation is to hire two proofreaders: One to proof the manuscript before it gets laid out, and one to go over the proof copy to make sure that no errors cropped up when it was in design.

Stage 3: Publish the Book

This stage often mystifies newer authors, which is why it is the stage that often attracts hustlers, flimflammers, and racketeers. Here are the roles demanded at this point in the publishing journey:

The Manager

At this point in the journey, the indie author must become a manager. This can be a big project, and therefore requires project management skills. But it may also involve several vendors and service providers, therefore requiring additional management skills.

The Designer

Whether you are designing the cover and interior yourself (not recommended for most authors), or working with cover and book interior designers, you’ll have to understand enough about design to hire well, work effectively with those you hire, and select the optimal designs for your book’s big vision.
3 Roles of Indie Publishing

The Coordinator

And then there are all the little details that need to be pulled together. That’s when The Coordinator hat comes one. Not everyone is good at this, so hiring a virtual assistant (VA) to wear this hat for you is a very good idea.

Stage 4: Market the Book

I hate to break it to you, but no matter how your book gets published – with a Big Publisher, Boutique Publisher, Hybrid Publisher, or on your own – you are responsible for most, if not all, of the marketing. Yes, you can hire a book marketing agency, specialist, or any number of helpers in this area, but you still need to engage in many of the following roles yourself.
You Are Responsible for Marketing Your Book

Marketer & Marketing Strategist

Indie authors need to develop an effective marketing strategy that will move them toward their business and book goals. And then they need to implement those strategies, either on their own or with the help of assistants.

Promoter & Publicist

You, as the author of the book, will always be the best source of information about the book. That’s why you are a promoter, regardless of if you are shy or outgoing. You need to learn how to talk up your book in any situation. And, even if you are hiring help in this area, you need to know what goals you want to achieve and how to measure success so that you can pull out of a strategy if it isn’t working.

Speaker & Event Planner

Finally, you need to know how to speak about your book and your book’s subject matter to an audience, whether virtual or in person. Often, you need to do all the planning tasks around that speaking event, as well.

The Business of Being an Independent Author

In addition to those direct roles you will play as an Authorneer, there are others you need to fill in order to become successful as an author.


The Marketer role spreads the word about your book, whereas The Salesperson makes the sale. As the author of the book, you will be called – whether you like it or not – to sell the book at some point. You’ll wear this hat at book signing events, speaking gigs, and sometimes when you’re at the grocery store and strike up a conversation with someone who fits into your target market.

Customer Service Representative

No matter how perfectly you executed your publishing plan, there will be people who will complain. Your book didn’t do this thing (that you didn’t promise) that they expected it to do. There was a type on page 12. The store where they bought the book doesn’t offer great customer service. Because of all these things, many of them completely out of your control, you will need to be a good Customer Service Representative, as well.
To be an Authorneer's, you need to have business skills, in addition to publishing skills.


And finally, you need to manage your money well. You need to know if investing in some advertising or marketing makes financial sense. You’ll need to keep track of your royalties so that you know when what you are doing is working, and when it bombs.

The Perks of Authorship

It’s no secret that succeeding as an independent author is challenging. It can be a lot of work, and while it may seem daunting, the perks of authorship make it all worth it. Not only do you get to tell amazing stories, but you also get to share your work with the world.
In this post, we’ve outlined the four stages of publishing and the roles you need to fill to make each stage successful, as well as the additional business roles that need to be filled as your author career develops. If you’re thinking about embarking on this journey, make sure you download my Authoneering 101 Checklist first! It will help ensure that you don’t miss any steps along the way. Simply complete the form below and you’ll be on your way.

Want the Steps to Publishing as an Authoneer?

The Authorneering 101 Checklist will show you the steps that you need to take to become a published author. Don’t miss a step! Enter your name and best email address below and I’ll send you a link to download the Checklist today!
Authorneering 101

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