SPS-299: Reedsy – From Freelancers to Foundations – with Ricardo Fayet

Navigating all the steps required to publish a book can be daunting. Ricardo Fayet and his team at Reedsy take some of the mystery out of the process by providing vetted editors who are ready to help elevate your book to a professional standard.

Show Notes

  • Reedsy and the services they offer for authors
  • On the rise of indie publishing in France
  • The mechanics and cost of translating a book into another language
  • The importance of comparing prices when searching for an editor or translator
  • How Reedsy works and tips on searching for an editor who’s a good fit for you
  • Why Reedsy got involved with the SPF Foundation

Resources mentioned in this episode:

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

SPF 101: Are you ready to be an author? Our introductory/intermediate course about how to self-publish your book is now open for enrolment. Learn more here.

MERCH: Are you a ligneous beetle or a yawning hippopotamus? Get your SPF hoodies and t-shirts in the brand new SPF Store.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

SPS-299: Reedsy - From Freelancers to Foundations - with Ricardo Fayet
Voiceover: On this edition of the Self-Publishing Show.

Ricardo Fayet: We accept less than 5%. I think it's around 3% of people who want to be listed on Reedsy, so it's very selective and we make a lot of people angry.

Voiceover: Publishing is changing. No more gatekeepers, no more barriers, no one standing between you and your readers. Do you want to make a living from your writing?

Join indie bestseller, Mark Dawson, and first-time author James Blatch, as they shine a light on the secrets of self-publishing success. This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Hello, and welcome to the Self-Publishing Show. Show number 299, would you believe, with me, James Blatch.

Mark Dawson: And me, Mark Dawson.

James Blatch: We should say straight away, we are planning a little special episode for number 300. It seems like a milestone worth marking, Mark. Marki, Mark-Mark.

Mark Dawson: It does, yes. 300 episodes, that's, what? Five years, pretty much. Just under five years.

James Blatch: Oh, my God. Yes.

Mark Dawson: Never miss an episode.

James Blatch: Never missed an episode. I think you have missed an episode.

Mark Dawson: Have I?

James Blatch: Yeah, I think I recorded a couple with Tom in New York and you weren't there.

Mark Dawson: Oh yes, you're right. Yeah, you're right, you did.

James Blatch: And there's been a couple occasions where... In fact, you've had a bit of a technical day today. But a couple of occasions when I've thought, "Do I have to phone up John Dyer?"

Mark Dawson: No, it's never that desperate.

James Blatch: Because it's time for his debut on the podcast. He could do Indian John all the way through it, and that would probably be the last podcast we ever do.

Mark Dawson: It would, yes.

James Blatch: We'd get cancelled.

Mark Dawson: We would.

James Blatch: Anyway, let us, without doing anything else, first, let us welcome our new Patreon supporters. They've been to patreon.com/selfpublishingshow to support the podcast. And they are Katherine Karen from New York in the United States of America, Charles Mann from Devon here in the UK, and Kate Rice. So, Katherine, Charles and Kate, thank you very much indeed for supporting the podcast.

I'm trying to do and trying to get it done in time, a little behind the scenes. A couple of people have asked recently to explain how we put the podcast together. I know lots of people are interested in that because they tend to create their own content. And I'm doing a little behind the scenes, also just so that people are aware how many people are involved in getting each episode out and give a shout out to our behind the scenes team. So, I'll try and get that done for episode 300 and we'll do a bit of a look back then.

Mark, we should say that Self Publishing 101 is open for business. It's open for the last time this year, last time until probably spring next year in '22, and you've got a couple of weeks to sign up. Go to selfpublishingformula.com/101. And again, we've kept it going, the COVID two-year plan to make it as affordable as possible for everybody.

Mark Dawson: We have, yeah. And it's quite nice. I saw the other day in the community, someone asked, completely unprompted, we weren't even tagged, they just asked, whether 101 was a worthy investment. And the response was really lovely from people saying they've gone from making 50 or $60 a day, to making... I think it was between five and 10,000 a month was one response.

But just generally people being very nice about the course, which is always pleasing to see because we worked quite hard putting that course together, and we still work hard to make sure that it's up to date and fit for purpose. So, it's nice to see people getting good value from it.

James Blatch: Yeah. Good, okay. Selfpublishingformula.com/101. And there's a page there that has all the information you need. It's a very detailed description of the course, I think, Mark, you go through it, don't you, in a video? And you get a strong idea of whether it's going to be a good fit for you.

Okay, I know you're busy releasing books at the moment. Is your Milton book out? Is it next week it's out?

Mark Dawson: Well, as we're recording this the week before, it is out in paperback now. It will be out on Monday on the other channels, so the non-Amazon channels. And then it goes live on Amazon... I think it's the 10th of October, but I'll probably bring that forward a little bit.

James Blatch: Okay. So, it might be out by... I think this is the 8th of October this is going out.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, it could be out. It's been a good launch period, over 10,000 pre-orders I think. Well, actually nearly 11,000 now. So, that's great. The ads are running now so those have started to work quite well. And yeah, it's been a good one. I think people are quite looking forward to it. The 20th in the series and brings the characters full circle, which was quite fun to do. And yeah, no rest, I've jumped straight into the next one now. This is my research for the next one.

James Blatch: Ah.

Mark Dawson: Of course, people won't know what you're ahing about. It's Midnight in Chernobyl. So yeah, I'm doing a book I've been thinking of for a couple of years, actually, about the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident. I'm actually learning about nuclear physics at the moment, which is quite interesting, and above my pay grade, so I'm certainly struggling a bit.

James Blatch: That does sound the sort of book I read, and factual book about the Chernobyl disaster.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, it's very interesting.

James Blatch: And Bond is out in the UK. Maybe worldwide as well this week, I'm not sure. But causing a lot of good, very positive news. We'll go and see it next week I think when the crowds have died down. Lots of positive reviews and discussion, as there always is, about whether Bond should be more diverse in the future.

One of the prominent politicians in the UK suggested it should be played by a woman, Bond should be played by a woman next time. And usual discussions about diversity.

Is this something that you think about with Milton?

Mark Dawson: No, of course not. Most of the female commentators I've seen take the entirely understandable route, which is, I think, the right answer. Is that, "No. Bond should not be a woman. He was written to be a man." What we need is more really strong female characters to be created. There's a onus on writers and filmmakers to create strong roles for women, and everyone, rather than trying to retrofit something, which always feels a little bit too PC for my taste.

James Blatch: But it would be odd just on the basis that if Bond was a woman, it wouldn't be James Bond, it'd be another character, right? It has to be. Because unless you're talking about trans, which I don't think he was talking about, because otherwise he would have said, "Man. So, you're talking about a female character, a female actor playing James Bond, so the character becomes a female, so it's no longer James Bond. The writers would have to have James Bond in the background or something.

Mark Dawson: Oh, yes.

James Blatch: So, it makes no sense.

Mark Dawson: In a very literal way it doesn't. But I mean, you could create a female character based on... In the same way that Thor, in the new Thor movie, Love and Thunder I think it's called, Natalie Portman plays Lady Thor. So, it seems to be very-

James Blatch: Yeah. Spoiler.

Mark Dawson: Not really. It's very easy to do that. To take characteristics of a character and then change the gender.

James Blatch: Yes, and that's what they should do. Yeah. 100% there's a market for... Well, I haven't read your Isabella books, I don't know quite how they fit in. But there's 100%, I would say, the market for a strong female undercover agent operating.

Mark Dawson: No, it's Beatrice. That's why I wrote that character. And that's the reason I think why she, rather than Milton, has had the most interest in a film adaptation, because filmmakers know that there's definitely a market for that kind of kick-ass female character that we saw in Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron, and films like that. There's definitely room for that, but it doesn't need to be Jane Bond, I think that's stupid.

James Blatch: Jane Bond.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. That's what people are talking about. It could be James, would it be Jane Bond?

James Blatch: On Her Majesty's Secret Cervix?

Mark Dawson: Oh, my God. Accidental Partridge.

James Blatch: That was going around on social-

Mark Dawson: Not even accidental.

James Blatch: Yeah, that was going around on social media. I can't claim credit for that one. Anyway, always fun to have these discussions, and I will go and see the Bond film. And as always with writers now, you watch the film, you enjoy it, you also think, "How's the story work? How's it put together?" As I think a lot about that as I'm currently still drafting book number two.

Okay, right. I think it's time for us to move on to our interview, Mark, which is Ricardo Fayet, a great friend of Self-Publishing Formula. Ricardo is one of a team of four who founded Reedsy, whose names I think I can remember because I didn't know the other two, but it's Emmanuel and Ricardo, and I think Matt and a French name. Oh, I can't remember. It might be Louie, something like that.

Mark Dawson: Francois.

James Blatch: Freya. Who knows?

Mark Dawson: I'm making that up.

James Blatch: Renee is number four. But the four of them founded Reedsy. Reedsy is a marketplace for expertise that indie authors in particular will like. Actually, traditional publishing probably uses Reedsy as well these days. It's a fantastic curated marketplace of experts.

I have personally found editors of every description, development editor and proof reader at Reedsy, and I've been hugely satisfied with the service they've provided and I thoroughly recommend it. I say that without any hesitation. More importantly and more personally for us, is that Reedsy came on board with the SPF Foundation when he was approached by Lucy who runs the foundation, and has been a great supporter, a critical supporter of that foundation, which allows us to give grants to indie authors who otherwise can't afford to get their careers going. So, let's have a chat with Ricardo, then Mark and I will be back for a chat off the back.

Ricardo Fayet, welcome back to the Self-Publishing Show. It's been a while. I think probably the last time we were in a room together might've been at Self-Publishing Show Live, which was like three days before the world got locked down, wasn't it?

Ricardo Fayet: Yeah. That's right. I remember those times.

James Blatch: When we think back to it, it was slightly crazy that we went ahead with that conference, but it was a slightly unreal moment. By the end of that week, it would have been unthinkable to have done it. And a week later we were confined to barracks across Europe. And anyway, we've been through the mill a little bit, and hopefully, fingers crossed, touch wood, the vaccine is working and it's going to get us back to some semblance of normality.

But in the meantime, the indie publishing world actually has gone from strength to strength. I don't know if you've felt the same. This year might have been a bit slower than last year, but it's been a big growth period. Certainly that first 12 months of lockdown as people spent more time at home, thought about alternative careers, thought about investing in their own education and so on.

How has it been from a Reedsy perspective? How has it impacted you?

Ricardo Fayet: We've definitely seen that as well. I heard of some great first-time authors releasing their first book during this period.

James Blatch: I'm not sure about great, but yeah.

Ricardo Fayet: I'm sure. But yeah, we've definitely seen a lot of growth. The first month, obviously, I think it was April, we were a little bit worried because I think the whole world stopped. So, we saw a lot less activity on Reedsy's end, and we got a little bit worried. But then in May, it picked up like crazy and we saw huge growth over the following months.

I think obviously there's people who started writing their book, but there's also a lot of people who had their book buried in a drawer or who had left a project unfinished, and they focused those first lockdown months on finishing it and shooting it off to the editor, which is when we, on Reedsy's end, see the increase in activity. So, our editors, designers, et cetera, were definitely super busy during the first few lockdowns.

And now it's kept growing at a slower rate, thankfully, but it's kept growing. I'm thinking, we're starting to see the projects that got started during the first lockdown. They're starting to come to life and being published. So yeah, it's definitely been a very, very busy period, and a good period in a way for indie publishing.

James Blatch: Good. Well, we see the continued growth of the indie sector of publishing. Let's take a step back, perhaps, and talk about Reedsy itself, talk about the company.

So, you are, if I could sum it up, you're a marketplace for expertise, primarily for indie authors.

Ricardo Fayet: That's right, yeah. We're a marketplace where authors can hire pretty much anyone they would ever need to hire throughout their writing career. So, it starts with editors, proofreaders, cover designers, the basics. And then we also have illustrators for children's books or graphic novels, book layout designers for more complex formats, again, graphic novels or coffee table books, things like that. We've got book marketers as well. We're extremely busy right now. Ghostwriters, we're seeing also more and more authors leveraging ghostwriters.

And we added literary translators in the past year. We've seen huge growth across all European markets in terms of digital sales. So, I think those markets are a little bit more ready now than they were a few years ago. Germany has been ready for a few years now, but France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, catching up. We launched literary translation with some really, really amazing translators on the marketplace for those authors who are at that stage where they feel they can pursue global markets.

James Blatch: That's actually one of the things I had a note down to talk to you about, because at Reedsy you're quite a European company. I always hesitate to say what your nationality is, Ricardo, because I think you've got a lot of Europe covered.

Ricardo Fayet: European.

James Blatch: Yeah, one way or another. But Emmanuel I think is French, who's one of your co-founders. And I'm not sure I know who the other two are. I noticed on your notes it said four founders of Reedsy.

Ricardo Fayet: Yeah, four. The other two, you don't see them super often. There's Matt, who's our lead designer, and he's British. And then there's Vincent, who's our CTO, and he's French.

James Blatch: Okay.

Ricardo Fayet: So yeah. Mostly French and British.

James Blatch: My sense was, certainly a couple of years ago, that the United States, certainly the UK, to a lesser extent Australia and Canada, but Canada perhaps quite big, but it was less prevalent, the indie market, the ebook market, in France and Germany and Spain and so on. And I think that is changing is what you've alluded to.

But it's interesting; you may be European and got your feet on the ground in France, but you were looking at this global phenomenon happening. It must be a relief to you to see it finally happening across Europe?

Ricardo Fayet: Yeah. It's a relief and it's really interesting. We're starting to see some authors making a living self-publishing in France. For me, the sign that a market is ready for self-publishing is when you start seeing the first few authors who make a living out of it. I think there's a small French contingent across the SPF groups. I've seen a few authors who self-publish in France, in French, and make a living out of it. I've met a few German authors who do that as well. A couple of Italian authors as well. So, we're starting to see those markets basically getting ready.

I think the lockdown played a huge part because, especially France, Spain, Italy, they're very traditional markets in terms of book-buying habits. People go to bookstores. They still very much love the smell of paper, the touch of paper, all that stuff. But of course, during the lockdown, it was much harder to get ahold of books and to buy them. So, they started, even if they still bought print, they started buying print digitally from stores like Amazon.

And when you start doing that, these are places that indie authors can get into. It doesn't really matter whether they buy eBooks or print, as long as they buy through a channel that indie authors can get into. And so, that's why I think those markets have grown for indie authors and have become accessible to indie authors over the past few years.

James Blatch: Yeah, of course. That's very exciting for all authors, established ones, especially, I would guess with backlists who can start to think about the translation side of things.

Just before we talk about translation, is there an English speaking market growing in those European countries?

Ricardo Fayet: That's a good question. I actually don't know.

James Blatch: I just wondered how worth it, it would be to advertise your book in Germany, France, and Spain in English.

Ricardo Fayet: I've heard of authors doing it. It's so cheap that it's worth a shot. What I've also heard is that as soon as you have a book in that language, it instantly becomes a lot easier and obviously more cost-effective to advertise.

What I always say is when you're considering translation, try to identify a pocket of readers in a country where you want to go into. So, if you have a pocket of readers in France, for whatever reason who read your books in English, then translating into French could be a good idea because you already have people on the ground who can tell their friends when the French edition is out, who can leave reviews on the French edition, who can even do beta reading of the French edition. So, we've got kind of a street team on the ground in that country. And one way to build that street team is advertising your English edition on that country store.

James Blatch: Yeah, as a prelude to the translation. So, moving on to translation then, it's a tricky area. You're gifted in your linguistic talents.

But for those of us who are not, it's a bit of a minefield having your book translated into another language that you can't yourself check the quality.

Ricardo Fayet: Yeah, it is. I know a lot of authors are often worried about that. And I've seen Mark actually ask on groups for people who spoke Spanish or German, et cetera, to check the translations he was getting. So, the way we launched the translation segment on Reedsy was a little bit different to the other segments we have.

One thing we're really adamant about at Reedsy is having freelancers on there and not companies. So, when you're hiring an editor on Reedsy, you're hiring that person. They're not going to subcontract it to someone else. Same thing for designers, et cetera.

For literary translators, I actually hunted, I actually looked for translators who would work in pairs. And most translators actually do that. They work with a colleague who then edits their translation. Because if, as an indie author, you hire a translator to just do the translation, what they deliver to you is an unedited translation, and then you need to look for an editor in that language and a proofreader and it complicates things a lot.

So, all the translators we have on Reedsy, they work in pairs or in groups. And so, they do the translation, but then they have a colleague who checks it, who edits it, and another one who proofreads it. And what they deliver is a fully edited translation that's ready to be formatted and uploaded to the stores.

We brief them on helping authors translate their marketing materials, like the blurb, editorial reviews, advertising copy, et cetera. Most of them are used by now to working within the authors. But even if they're not, we've briefed them on the requirements of working within the authors.

And also, if you get your translation done outside of Reedsy, like many people do, we have a service on there called translation assessments. So, not all our translators provide that, but if you filter your search by that service, then you can find people to assess your existing translation. So, that gives you an extra bit of peace of mind.

James Blatch: Can you give us an idea of cost? The way Reedsy works is people give you a quote when you've put your services forward.

So, you don't set the price, but you must have an idea of the costs that are being quoted?

Ricardo Fayet: It turns out it depends a lot on the languages, on the translators. We see an average of between eight and 12... Let's say eight and 10 cents per word. So, that's what I usually say, "Budget 10 cents per word and you won't be too disappointed when the quotes come in."

James Blatch: That's US dollar cents.

Ricardo Fayet: US dollar, yeah. So, it's simple. If you have an 80,000 word novel, think it's going to cost you around $8,000, which is obviously quite the expense. You're going to find some translators on Reedsy who are going to charge less than that, others who are going to charge you more. We've got people charging up to 12 cents per word.

Generally, those who charge more, they have more experience, they work with the bigger houses that's got more big titles in their portfolio, and maybe it's worth it for you in terms of marketing saying, "The person who translated Dune into Spanish is doing the translation of my sci-fi series," for example. I'm not actually sure if we've got Dune's translator, but we've got titles like that. So, that can be worth it in terms of marketing afterwards. But it's up to you. Get some quotes and have this idea of like 10 cents per word is the average that we're seeing.

James Blatch: Yeah, that's interesting. And is that completed job, as you say, the two people cross-checking and all your other little bits and pieces, your blurbs and front and back matter?

Ricardo Fayet: That's right, yeah. Everything done.

James Blatch: That's really interesting. Audiobooks and translation, I think, are the two big-ticket items once your book is out there as a product to try and realise it. And probably if you're starting out, like I am with my first book, writing my second, now's not a bad time to actually make that investment, because if I'm in Mark's stage with 20 books out and you're starting to translate, you are looking at a huge amount of money to get 20 books done. I mean, 8-odd thousand dollars. So, to do them as you go along, once you've done them, they're done, aren't they? That's the investment stage. And the rest of it is marketing and recouping. But so, yeah. Interesting. I am getting the audiobook done.

Ricardo Fayet: Nice.

James Blatch: But I am keen. I know Germany for some reason is as interested in... There is a group of people who are as interested in the geeky Cold War aircraft as I am. I think probably because there was a lot of American-British presence in Germany during the '60s and '70s and '80s.

Ricardo Fayet: That's right.

James Blatch: And I'm not sure it'll go down quite so well in Spain and Portugal, but Germany is definitely one that's on my radar, literally my Cold War radar, to think about potentially. I think I'll get the audiobook done first.

I am a Reedsy customer, Ricardo, as you know. I have picked up my editor, proof editor, copy editor and development editors from Reedsy. And I have a relationship with a development editor, which I think will last me a few books, he's certainly someone who's become part of my team. And I think that's the benefit of Reedsy. You see so often people posting to a group saying, "Can you recommend a proof editor? A copy editor?"

The reason they ask that is because they feel that personal recommendation is some sort of comfort blanket. But what I think Reedsy does is it gives you a level of security about previous work. And I know there's a level of vetting that goes on.

I couldn't just simply roll up tomorrow, could I, and declare myself a copy editor?

Ricardo Fayet: No, we accept less than 5%. I think it's around 3% of people who want to be listed on Reedsy. So, it's very selective and we make a lot of people angry. So yeah, we have to deal with people who don't want to deal with rejection, which is understandable.

James Blatch: Is that your job?

Ricardo Fayet: No. It used to be. It's not the best role at Reedsy, but there are more things that go into that role as well. We're creating more of a community among our editors and we want to make people feel that if they're accepted on Reedsy as an editor, then they're part of really the world's top professionals, which is what we're aiming for.

But by now we have more than 2,000 editors on Reedsy, so we do have a lot of people in there. And on top of all the advantages you mentioned, I think there's one that authors don't always think about, is the ability to compare quotes, because the market is not very transparent. If you ask for recommendations, you might land on one editor who charges you maybe $3,000, or another one who charges you 500.

What we found out, is that the market is not transparent at all because most of these people come from traditional publishing, so they were employees for all their lives. Maybe 20, 30 years. Suddenly they go freelance, and it's very hard for a person like that to start setting rates for words for freelance projects. So, some start very high, some start very low, and it creates a non-transparent market.

We've published some average rates that we see on Reedsy, but we still see everyone quoting a little bit what they want. So, it's always nice to be able to compare quotes and say, "Okay, this editor's going to charge me a lot less, I might go with them. Or I see this editor is more expensive, but since they've edited this and that book who are really close to mine, then I'm going to make the extra expense." But at least you make that extra expense knowing that you're making it, right? Rather than just, "This is the first quote I got and I accepted it."

James Blatch: How's the company going overall? Do you set yourself growth targets each year and are you meeting them?

Ricardo Fayet: It's hard to set growth targets with this current period. We definitely exceeded all growth targets in 2020 and in the start of 2021 as well. So then you set growth targets that are higher and maybe you don't meet them. So, we tried to set some growth targets based on very historical data, and so far we're definitely meeting them. Now we're starting to see things maybe slow down a little bit. But I mean, second semester is always a little bit slower. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, these are all periods where people dedicate, and rightfully so, more time to their family, to their friends, rather than to their hobbies or their aspiring author career.

James Blatch: How many people make up Reedsy now? Obviously there's the four founders. Do you directly employ people as well?

Ricardo Fayet: Yeah, we do. We have around 35 people now who work at Reedsy.

James Blatch: Wow. And they all work from home? They're spread around, are they? There's no Reedsy HQ building in Madrid or something?

Ricardo Fayet: No, the company is registered in England. So, it's a British company. We've got quite a few people in England, maybe 10, 12 of them. But the rest of the people are spread out through the globe. For customer service, for example, we try to have one person who covers each major time zone so that we can give 24-hour customer support. For other areas, it just depends on where the people who we hire are based. And that's also really great for hiring on our end because we're open to candidates from all over the globe.

James Blatch: I want to talk to you a bit about the foundation that you are very kindly a co-sponsor of. Let's just talk to somebody who's not used your services before, is listening to this for the first time.

Have you got any top tips for how they would go about getting a professional? And I guess probably some form of editor or cover designer, they might be the two experts they need towards the end of their first book.

Ricardo Fayet: Yeah, for sure. So, the first thing is you need to log in. All our profiles are behind a login wall, so you just got to sign up. It's free and it takes a few seconds. And then you immediately land on the marketplace, and there, there are some obvious filters you can use.

You've got editing, design, et cetera, the main categories. Then the sub-filters for each genre, for example, developmental editing, copy editing, proofreading. And then the genre. These are the main things that people use to filter their search and look for profiles.

One thing I also recommend that not a lot of authors do is using the keyword search that we have in there. So, we've got a search bar below all these filters, where, for example, if you've written a book on martial arts, you could type in martial arts. Obviously, it's not a category, it's not a genre you can select because it's very niche, it's very specific. But that's something you can search for. If you've written, I don't know, paranormal romance that specifically has Bear Shifters, you could add in Bear Shifter as a keyword.

We're going to run a search, an Elasticsearch throughout all the professionals' profiles who match your filters, and we're going to return all the people who, in their profile, have those keywords. And generally they're going to be in the books that they've edited, or in their description or things like that. So, for a specific experience or specific topics or sub-genres, you can use a keyword search. Just because otherwise, if you search for "paranormal romance developmental editor", you might get 50 or 70 profiles, and that can be a lot of profiles to go through.

Obviously, you pay attention to the reviews that they get and then try to identify titles in their portfolio that are close to yours. And that's it. Make sure that you at least request quotes from two, three different professionals. We'll always recommend five, just because professionals are busy and they might not always be able to meet their timeline. So, if you reach out to five editors for quotes, maybe two of them are just going to decline right off the bat because they cannot work within your timeline or they're not interested in your book or anything. So, at least try to be able to get two, three quotes that you can compare. But maybe you have other tips since you actually did this search on Reedsy for an editor.

James Blatch: Yeah. Well, the only thing I would say is that in narrowing down their experience, that's good, but as long as you've got a good choice and you can look at their reviews. Because this reminds me a little bit of my old computing days.

I worked in computing, ended up as a manager there in a job I hated. But we used to recruit quite a lot, and I realised after a while when we came bogged down in getting somebody who exactly wrote COBOL, exactly had experience on the tandem computer that we used, exactly had experience on a particular operating system, and we'd used that to filter them down. Then what we'd end up with is potentially two people who fitted that, but weren't necessarily... had those other skills that you really want. They can learn quickly, they work with a team, they're good.

So, in editors, I'd say the same. Don't get necessarily bogged down that somebody has done, in my case, a Cold War book before. What you want is someone who understands how stories work, how to grip people. Then somebody who's passionate about that. That, for me, is a real key thing in an editor. Not so much copy and proof editing, that actually could be quite useful to have somebody who understands the fantasy world that you write in, bear shifting and so on that come up in there. But yeah, that was my only tip. Is that really pay attention to certainly development editor-wise, that storytelling drive that marks out a good editor. The person who wants to be surprised and needs a reason to turn every page.

I think it's a fantastic service. I'm a huge fan of Reedsy. Also, I love the simplicity, elegance of your website. I love the fact that if I don't remember my login details, you can click a button and it emails you a magic link, which I use all the time because I'm lazy and get in that way. And I love the fact that you have a record. You can go back and look at all your transactions, all your correspondence with editors, backwards and forwards. I think it's a hugely impressive operation and it's a great addition to the indie world. So, well done.

Ricardo Fayet: Thank you.

James Blatch: To you, Emmanuel and those other two, who you mentioned. Matt and...

Ricardo Fayet: Vincent.

James Blatch: Vincent, have to remember. Matt and Vincent. I've probably walked past them and not known who they are.

Now, let's talk about the SPF Foundation. This is something close to our hearts. We wanted to be able to give something back to the community, and you jumped on board straight away with this foundation.

So tell me, first of all, why you wanted to be a part of it.

Ricardo Fayet: Because I think one of the things that makes Reedsy special is that the quality of our professionals, but obviously with quality comes price. And so, a lot of times when you say, "Okay, in order to really self-publish your book professionally, you want to hire a developmental editor, hire a copy editor, hire a cover designer." And all that's going to cost you maybe 3,000 bucks. That's a hard thing to say to someone who earns a low income.

So, obviously, we try to say things like, "Okay, you don't necessarily need to hire a copy editor straight away. You can just work with some developmental editor. You can outsource some of the editing to beta readers, et cetera. So, you can barter here and there to start releasing your first books." But really, it's much harder to make it that way if you don't have that professional product right out of the gate.

When Lucy approached me with this idea of a foundation where authors would get access, not only to the money to pay professionals to produce their books professionally, but also the marketing knowledge and expertise coming from the SPF courses. That's a complete package. That's great for someone who doesn't have the money to invest into it themselves, but really has the drive and the writing talent to make it longterm. It's a perfect package for them.

And we're definitely hoping to see some success stories come out of that. I think we've seen quite a bit which will reinforce our belief that, yeah, if we give these opportunities to these people, they can really make amazing things and build really great careers, in part, thanks to the foundation.

James Blatch: Absolutely. Well, thank you for doing that. And other people have come on board as well, but I think you're the biggest sponsor on that front. And yeah, we have had success stories, which has been fantastic. I'm following Jeffery Frye with interest, as you might know his story, he came out of prison not that long ago.

Ricardo Fayet: That's right.

James Blatch: But found his writing, his zest for writing whilst incarcerated, and is in the period now I think of still adjusting to the outside world, but the foundation and Reedsy has been crucial to him making that start. And yeah, we can't wait to see how Jeffery and others do. So, thank you for that.

It's a perfect dovetail, I think, as well, because you are the place to go for all these services. And it's a lot better than posting into a Facebook group saying, "Do you know a copy editor?" Because you're filtering and all the things that you offer there, the reviews, the security, none of that is there. You might think it's a better way of doing it, but for me, it's not, and I 100% would recommend Reedsy in that sense. Good. Well, I'm hoping, Ricardo, at some point we'll be in a room together again. It just seemed to drag on, this thing now, doesn't it?

Ricardo Fayet: Yeah. It certainly does. At least the travel restrictions, the new variants and all that. So, I definitely hope to be able to do conferences this year. And it looks unlikely, but yeah, maybe next year. I'm planning a bunch of conferences for next year. And I think you're thinking about SPS Live potentially next year as well? But we'll see.

James Blatch: Yeah. It's definitely a thought of ours. We're still at a stage where I don't think we can commit to anything. Things still change and we don't quite know how this winter's going to go, but we would love to do something next year. And, for sure, we would like to go back to the big two, I guess, for us, of 20Books Vegas and NINC.

I noticed Thriller Festival announced their dates there, May and June, end of May, early June, which is a bit of a departure for them, but earlier in the year. Sort of feeling that lots of people might do lots of conferences next year because it's been hard being locked up.

Ricardo Fayet: Yeah, it has.

James Blatch: It's been harder for me than it has you. You're in Ibiza now. Well, you're in Madrid now, but you were in Ibiza I believe, you were saying off-air, you've moved to, and I'm in grey, old Cambridgeshire in England. Slightly different.

Ricardo Fayet: That's true. I can't complain. I think as authors, most authors, it's a solitary profession sometimes. So, being able to catch up with other authors, in-person and discuss things, get a drink, I think that's the best thing about conferences. And it's really helpful both for us industry people and us authors as well, because we're authors as well, it's really important and it's really refreshing. So, I'm definitely looking forward to the next conference.

James Blatch: We should say, you have published a book. I think since we last spoke, you've published your book.

Ricardo Fayet: Yes, yes. Earlier this year in January.

James Blatch: So you better tell us about it. It's got a great title.

Ricardo Fayet: It's got a great original title. How to Market a Book, which was carefully crafted for search engine optimization reasons.

James Blatch: There you go.

Ricardo Fayet: And it's been working relatively well so far. So, if you search for How to Market a Book on Amazon or another retailer, you should see a blue cover pop out with my name on it. And obviously, I would recommend it, not because it's 1,000 times better than other books out there, but it's free so you've got nothing to lose by downloading it.

James Blatch: There you go. Excellent. Well, congratulations on producing that. I'm sure there'll be more to come. Ricardo, lovely to catch up with you as always. Stay safe there over in Spain. And yeah, let's hope it's not too long. Maybe Vegas. Will you go to Vegas, do you think?

Ricardo Fayet: Same as you. If they allow us to. If we can fly there, yeah, I'll be at the airport one day before waiting for the US's official notice of letting us in.

James Blatch: Waiting for that Oval Office announcement. Come on, Joe. You can do it.

Ricardo Fayet: Yeah.

James Blatch: We know you've got it in you. Okay. Great, Ricardo, thanks so much indeed. And thanks for all your contribution to SPF Foundation, and we will catch up again soon.

Ricardo Fayet: Thanks for having me, James. And yeah, hope to see you in person soon.

James Blatch: There we go. Mark's Ricardo Fayet who's moved to Ibiza. I love Ricardo's attitude to life. At the beginning of lockdown, he thought, "I don't want to be locked down in Madrid in a flat. I'd like to be locked down next to the beach." So he moved. Just moved to Ibiza. He lives in Ibiza now near the beach. And if there's going to be another lockdown, he can go strolling there. We should go and visit him because that's definitely somewhere we should go to. I can take up clubs, can't we?

Mark Dawson: Yes.

James Blatch: And I'll take my bike. There's a lot of cycling in Ibiza. And I think he said Emmanuel's into his cycling and he hasn't quite succumbed yet. But yeah, lovely guy, and Reedsy is a great platform, isn't it?

Mark Dawson: It is, yeah. They've been around for a long time now and they're both very smart. I don't know the other two, actually. I only met Emmanuel and Ricardo, but they're both nice guys and deserve the success they've got for building a really strong marketplace. So, I'm a big fan.

James Blatch: Great. Okay, so that brings to a close episode 299.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. What do you want me to say? Absolutely. What's next? 300.

James Blatch: That is what's next. God, you're good at math. I didn't realise it was one of your strengths.

Mark Dawson: I know, yeah.

James Blatch: Yes, episode 300. We'll do a little look back and a special episode to mark 300 episodes of the show. We hope you enjoy it. Give us a share and a like anywhere you like because it helps us enormously, particularly if you have a few seconds to leave a review, some of that means a lot to us and it means a lot to the podcast and the show.

Thank you very much indeed to our interviewee this week, Ricardo. Thanks to the team in the background, John and Catherine and Stewart and whoever else I missed. Alexandra. I probably missed somebody. I should do a list. I will definitely give them a proper thanks and a... You'll understand the work that goes on in the next episode, but I will do a list from now on because I should thank them at the end of the episode. That's it. Thank you very much indeed. Mark, you looked like you were going to do something then. What was that?

Mark Dawson: I just sneezed. But because I'm professional, I muted my microphone so that no one had to hear me do it.

James Blatch: Good. Very good.

Mark Dawson: Actually, I just realised, I've unmuted the Zoom call but not the recording, so demonstrating how... That could be a test for John our editor, whether he can detect my sneeze.

James Blatch: Yeah. So, I didn't hear it, but there probably is you sneezing on your mic. Okay, that's something for one of... Oh, John Stone. There you go. Someone else I didn't mention. That's somebody-

Mark Dawson: That's right, St John, yeah.

James Blatch: Yes. Well done, good. Excellent. Thank you very much indeed. All that remains for me to say is it's a goodbye from me.

Mark Dawson: And a goodbye from him. Goodbye.

James Blatch: Goodbye.

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