Competition in the book world is fierce, and can be especially so for self-publishing authors who must finance their own books and make them stand out against those from the big, traditional publishers with budgets for everything from editing to cover design to publicity.

With that in mind, here are the four most important people to hire to help make your book a success.       

Professional Editor – If you’re self-publishing your book, and most people are these days, nothing is more important than having your book professionally edited. It’s fine to have it reviewed by a friend or relative, or by teachers and people with English degrees, but you still need a professional editor to put the finishing touches on your work. And I can guarantee that even though your highly credentialed friend reviewed your manuscript, the editor will still find errors. Professional editors follow industry guidelines (style guides) to make sure your work is consistent and clean. They review every sentence carefully. Someone doing you a favor isn’t likely to look that closely. Editors can also provide deep editing on the content and structure of your book to make it more coherent, cohesive, and market-friendly, ultimately resulting in better reviews and sales. Professional editing is one of the best investments you can make in producing your book.

Graphic Designer – Homemade book covers, postcards, fliers, and other marketing collateral always look homemade. If you want to be taken seriously as an author and business professional, find a good graphic designer for your professional design needs.

Website Designer – A template site is fine if that is all you can afford, but it will never compare to a site designed by a pro. More importantly, having access to a graphic designer you can call when you want to change something on your site, or when something goes wrong, can make a big difference.

Virtual Assistant – Very few authors have a lot of spare time to focus on marketing their books, because most of us also have jobs! That’s where a good virtual assistant comes in handy. You can hire someone to help with some of the workload, and manage tasks like research, contacting bloggers, mailing out your books, and other administrative tasks. You can find virtual assistants through and the International Virtual Assistants Association.

Additional Hires to Consider:

Marketing Support – If you’re struggling with marketing your books, consider hiring the help you need. There are many types of marketing services available for authors to help you with marketing planning, online campaigns, social media, and more.

Publicist – Publicity services is one of the most expensive options for authors so you have to weigh this choice carefully. Publicists typically expect a monthly retainer fee of $2,500 or more. However, an experienced publicist already has relationships with many media professionals, and can help you get the exposure you need. If you want to go big with your book marketing campaigns, hiring a publicist can help you do that.

Bookkeeper – Depending on the volume of sales you manage, hiring a professional bookkeeper can help you not only stay sane, but to comply with tax laws that you may not even know about. I recommend hiring a bookkeeper who is also a certified tax planner.