Guest Post by Gail Kearns, owner of To Press & Beyond

There are advantages to using a book shepherd (so dubbed by the original self-publishing guru Dan Poynter)—one of which is that it can save you money in the long run. A good book shepherd will help you navigate the publishing process, avoiding the many pitfalls, and increase your chances for publishing success.

Here Are 6 Tips for Working with Your Book Shepherd

1.    When you work with a book shepherd you are going into business, and the shepherd is your CEO, overseeing all the different departments of your publishing company. It’s like hiring at least eight different people: editor, researcher, designer, art director, production manager, administrative assistant, business manager, and public relations officer.

2.    Keep an open mind as you go into the project, just in case there is a really good idea you have missed. Generally the authors we work with are very good at something else . . . we are very good at getting books ‘to press and beyond.’ For example:  If the author is a nephrologist, there is no way she or he would let a book shepherd perform a kidney transplant!

3.    Book shepherds know the book business, and if they don’t know something they know where to go for reliable information.  Recognize that professionals worth their salt do know their business. This is especially true in the edit and design phases. Content and copyeditors, art directors, and professional book designers simply make you and your book look better.

4.    Deadlines are important for a variety of reasons. Be as prepared as you can be and try to keep the deadlines outlined by your book shepherd. Deadlines can involve getting your social media up and running to getting advance reading copies of your book out to long lead publications and opinion makers in your field. “Timing Makes Champions” is a favorite motto at To Press & Beyond.

5.    Articulate your book goals. Book shepherds work much better when they understand your aims and goals.  It could be having your expertise in print as a speaker for back of the room sales, your philosophy or message to share with the world via new media, a memoir or children’s book for your family, or a book to support your workshops and seminars. With your goals in mind, book shepherds can best guide you.

6.    Whether you have a publisher, a distributor, a book shepherd or publicist, as an author, you still have to believe in and promote your book yourself. Perpetual promotion is the name of the game. Very few books will sell themselves.

Here’s to your publishing success!

Gail Kearns is owner of To Press & Beyond, a full-service book shepherding agency. Visit the website at

For a half-hour gratis consultation about your book project, e-mail her at

What do you want to know? What topics should we explore together? How can we help you along your publishing journey? Everyone here at 1106 Design wants to help. Post your comment here or email us using the Contact Us page.