How to Choose a Book Shepherd/Mentor

Book MentorWe know that when you are creating and writing a book, you have a lot of choices on who to work with and how to bring your book to life. That’s why we want you to know our tips for deciding how to choose a book shepherd/mentor.

Here are five factors you should consider in choosing a book shepherd/mentor.

Personality. Personality plays a vital role in your selection. Why? Because you will likely be working with this person for an extended amount of time, perhaps six months to a year. You want someone who you blend with, like his or her style of guidance and leadership, and who works with you in the way that you need to move forward. One of my clients said that my belief in them was the one thing that pulled them through. Other’s just needed me to be there for them when they felt like walking away. Perhaps you need someone who can be tough on you. Whatever you need, just be sure you match that with the book shepherd you chose.

Timeline. Next, you need to consider what timeline you are working in. If you’d like to get the production of your book done in 6-9 months, or 9-12 months, or longer – can that person meet those timelines? How good are they at adhering to the timelines and schedules set forth? What will be the biggest challenges or obstacles that you’ll need to overcome in making those deadlines? You’ll also want to consider how flexible you are in the process. The more flexible, the easier the process will be.

Price. We’ve seen book shepherding all over the pricing spectrum. And it’s one of the most common questions we get asked – How much will it cost to finish my book? Remember in all services there are the Hyundai and the Mercedes Benz. Where are you in that spectrum? Do you want a less expensive service, yet might be willing to sacrifice a little on quality? Or do you want the best of the best?  (Note: A high price tag does not always guarantee great service/quality.)

Reliability. Sadly, I’m shocked by how many service providers don’t actually do what they say they are going to do. Having someone that is reliable and dependable will make the process easier, less stressful, and will help your book stay on schedule. The biggest complaints I have heard with other book shepherds is that they (1) don’t return emails and phone calls in a timely manner, (2), blow out all the scheduled dates for production, and (3), are overwhelmed and end up doing shoddy work. This is by far one of the most important parts of choosing the right person for you and your book.

Proven Experience. Sure your shepherd has finished a few books, but how happy or satisfied are their previous clients? Have you seen a finished copy of their work? Have you contacted the authors? Be sure you check references, read testimonials, and ask the question “Are you still happy with the work they provided?” The keyword here is “still?”  Sometimes we are happy with a service right after it is over, but later see the faults. Ask if the person would recommend them to a friend, and most importantly would they use them again.

Overall, you have many choices and decisions to make when finishing your book production. But by far, the most important choice is whom you choose to shepherd you through the process. You definitely have a choice in the matter, so do your homework and go with your gut!

Happy Book Production! By the way, what are your thoughts on book shepherds?