Many of the publishing tools indie authors need to access are hard to find – at least with the quality and trustworthiness you need in order to make your book of the highest quality. That’s why Ricardo Fayet and the folks at Reedsy developed their online platform. It’s a site that brings together editors, graphic artists, and many other professionals who are experienced in the book publication process so that you don’t have to spend days searching the internet to find the tools and professionals you need. In this interview, we chat about the ways Reedsy interface can help you put together a first-class book.

How traditional publishing editors are transitioning into the self-publishing space.

With the changes that have come to the publishing industry in just the last 10 years, many professionals who have worked for decades in the traditional publishing world are finding themselves with much less work than they used to enjoy. Ricardo and the team at Reedsy saw an opportunity in that shift in the publishing world and created a platform for editors, artists, and others to pivot into the self-publishing space. In this episode, you’re going to learn how you can find and utilize the services of all kinds of professionals to make your book shine.

A free book writing tool that takes the hassle out of book conversions.

One of the real pain points of self-publishing is the various conversions that have to be made to ensure your book is able to be read and used on all platforms. ePub, MOBI, PDF – it’s a mind-boggling array of options that you have to learn. Until now. Reedsy provides a free book writing and editing tool that can help you automatically format and convert your text to fit the specific needs of each publishing platform. You no longer have to struggle, search YouTube in vain for tutorials or figure it out on your own. The Reedsy team has made it simple. Find out about this incredible publishing tool on this episode.

Looking for a professional book cover designer? How do you know who to trust?

There’s nothing worse than taking a chance on a graphic artist you’ve never worked with before only to get back a piece of artwork that you’re not happy with. The back and forth of getting it just right is part of the process, but when the design is not professional to begin with the process is much more difficult. Reedsy provides an array of professional, vetted graphic designers who are able to take your book cover concept and make it a reality for you. You’ll find your experience with their cover designers a pleasure rather than a burden. Find out more how you can take advantage of the various tools the Reedsy team has to offer self-published authors on this episode.

Would you like to win $3000 of book publishing services?

On this episode of the Self Publishing Formula podcast our guest Ricardo has a generous offer for one lucky SPF listener. He’s giving you the opportunity to enter a giveaway where the prize is $3000 worth of professional services from Reedsy contractors. That could include editing, cover work, or whatever you feel you need the most – and you can use it any way you like. In addition, there are three runners-up prizes of $600 worth of book design.

Find out how the contest works, how you can enter, and what you can do to increase your odds of winning by listening to this episode or visiting www.selfpublishingformula.com/reedsy.

Outline of this great episode

  • [1:18] Introduction to this week’s episode and interview guest.
  • [2:23] The progress of the new course.
  • [3:09] Mark’s upcoming book launch.
  • [8:15] How and why Ricardo started his platform.
  • [9:20] The key area’s Ricardo’s platform helps writers with.
  • [16:03] Formatting issues in a book.
  • [19:08] What Reedsy actually is and how authors benefit from it.
  • [22:04] The cover design and selection process.
  • [26:30] How the Reedsy team chooses their editors.
  • [29:04] The contest The SPF team is doing with Reedsy.

Resources & Links mentioned in this episode

Transcript for this episode

James: The Self-Publishing Formula has launched an amazing contest for one of our listeners to win $3,000 worth of professional office services from Reedsy.com. Reedsy is an online market place where writers can find editors, book designers, publicists, professional marketers and even ghost writers. One winner will get $3,000 to spend on those professional services found at Reedsy. There are also 3 runners-up prizes for a free book cover design, worth up to $600. To enter, simply visit selfpublishingformula.com/reedsy. You’ll have chance to spread the word about the contest and each person who enters using your link increases your own chances of winning. Good luck.

Hello and welcome to podcast number 33 from the Self-Publishing Formula.

Female: Two writers. One just starting out, the other a best seller. Join James Blatch and Mark Dawson and their amazing guests as they discuss how you can make a living telling stories. There’s never been a better time to be a writer.

James: See if we lived in the Bronx … Isn’t the Bronx where they said thirty-third? Maybe would should be saying thirty-third.

Mark: Have I wandered into an unusual podcast of which I’m not previously aware?

James: Let’s start by saying how well down last week’s podcast went. Wow, can’t talk.

Mark: It went down very well.

James: It did. Elicia was a star guest and she got lots of comments. Very positive comments on the Facebook pages which is really good to see. We’re grateful. That was the first of our interviews that we recorded at NINC in Florida and this episode is going to contain another one. You’ve already had a preview of what this episode contains because the contest in the beginning is very much linked to the interview today.

We have with us a little later on, Ricardo Fayet who is one of the founders of Reedsy. It’s a very interesting interview. I trailed ahead last week a little bit about it. Ricardo is not only going to talk a bit about Reedsy itself, but he’s going to step through the process that he believes that self publishing authors should go through. Of course, that’s what Reedsy supplies access to these professionals.

We’ll have a little chat about that, I think off the back of that Mark, a little update. We updated a little while ago in the 101 Facebook group to say that the course is coming along. You’re going into full-on production mode now aren’t you?

Mark: I am. I’ve pretty much fleshed out the structure of the course. I’m confident I’ve got the content down. We’ve had 15 or 20 thousand survey responses from authors telling me what they’d like to learn about, what they don’t need to know. All that kind of good stuff. That’s been very helpful and I’ve put it together. I’m shipping those off to a third amigo, John. He’ll be doing the slides for me and I’ll be working on those slides in the next week or two.

James: I can hear a noisy house you’ve got there. Children running and jingling something.

In terms of your writing Mark, because I’m aware that we haven’t spoken about your books for a little while now. I want to catch up really with where you are.

I think you have a book launch planned for the new year. Is that right?

Mark: I’ve just finished, at least I’ve got back from the Amazon-Thomson and Mercer editor, the developmental edit version of the third book in my Isabella Rose series. That’ll be going out to my beta readers tomorrow actually and going over to Amazon for copy editing.

Slightly annoying thing about publishing, and this isn’t really a ding at Amazon, because they’re much quicker than traditional publishing, but in comparison to how fast I can publish stuff this doesn’t come out till April. Something that I’ve written now normally I’d be able to sell that, get it ready for sale, within a couple of weeks from this point. Maybe three weeks, get it out for Christmas, all that kind of stuff, but that’s not possible so it’s going to be April.

What I’ve actually started doing this week is the tenth John Milton book. I’ve written about 8,000 words over the last two or three days.

James: I’m excited. Another John Milton book.

Mark: That’s going really well. I’ve had an idea for that that’s been fermenting in my brain for about the couple of months and I’ve been really itching to start writing it. It’s got a really interesting opening. That’s going really well so far.

James: When you’re with Amazon’s in house publisher … First of all, that’s quite an interesting glimpse into the difference between the control you have of a self publisher and at the mercy of the machine when you’re published by somebody else. The time lag indeed in that.

Partly that may be due to scheduling or do you think it’s as quickly as they can get things turned around?

Mark: I think it’s pretty much as quickly as they can. There is a schedule they need to take into account. They don’t want to dump loads of stuff all at the same time, similar books, because they won’t be able to promote that properly. They are reasonably quick. When the editorial process is a little more extended then mine. I don’t usually have a developmental edit, because I’m experienced enough and that’s not something that I feel I need these days. Although, it’s nice to have one. I got some good feedback this time around.

I use the same copy editor as Amazon, so it’s something that the time frame is right about the same. Then there’s a proof-reading stage on the back of it that I sometimes don’t need to do. It’s just a little bit more extended, but on the plus side I get the benefit of Amazon helping me launch the book or launching it for me when we’re ready to go.

James: Do Amazon insist that you go through developmental edit?

Mark: They do. They’re very professional. Their editorial process is at least the equal of my experience of traditional publishing. Very, very thorough. Excellent editors on staff. Basically freelancers that they use.

Cover designers is actually the same, it’s Stuart Bache does the covers for those books as well. That’s great. Someone I know very well and friend of the podcast. Yeah, so it’s a great process. It’s very interesting to see how it’s all put together.

The difference is Amazon, when they’re ready to launch, they know exactly how to match data with emails and customer habits and all that kind of stuff. That’s the main reason why I went with them.

James: Cool and if you don’t know what developmental editors are or do, that all comes up and Ricardo talks about it very clearly in the interview in just a few moments. Finally, with you, catching up with your career mark in terms of your marketing, testing the waters with our authors in the Facebook groups and talking to people in Florida last week.

The beginning of Autumn was more challenging in terms of advertising cost and return, but that suddenly got a lot better for people. People suddenly posting some really good results.

I think maybe the big companies and the corporates splurged all their money at the beginning of Autumn have run out now. Everyone else seems to be making merry. Have you experienced that?

Mark: Yeah, pretty much. I’m testing some top secret, new Facebook strategies that I’ve been working on and I’m getting fairly remarkable results at the moment in terms of subscriptions. Really, really cheap. Less than ten cents per subscriber at the moment which is great and when you add in an up-sale to that, I’m actually in the black on those subscription campaigns. Adding 200 or 300 a day and getting paid for it at the moment, so that’s pretty cool.

James: That’s really good. Top secret sounds intriguing. I’m sure, hopefully we will hear something about that in the future.

Mark: Yep. Definitely.

James: Okay, well let’s talk to Ricardo. We did actually have a brief chat with Ricardo back in April at the London book fair, but he was also in Florida with us and came along to our various gatherings and events. I caught up with him in a quiet room off the main hall. Little bit of extraneous noise in the Trade Winds resorts, but not too much.

It was really interesting to talk through. This was an interview for me, as a new author about to go through the end of the draft to the beginning of the marketing stage with a book to talk through that process with Ricardo. I make no apology for the fact that I was picking his brain on what do I do next because it’s obviously a big area for me and hopefully for lots of you as well.

Ricardo: I started the company a couple of years ago and our goal was to source all the editorial, design, marketing, publicity talent that had been leaving traditional publishing companies in the past few years and put it together in the marketplace and make it available to authors and publishers worldwide.

James: I knew what Reedsy did or do and the services they offer and we’ll talk more explicitly about that in a moment. Basically you can go off and get services.

I hadn’t realized that was the motivation for starting it, realizing that all these talented specialist individuals of course leaving traditional publishing as it declines.

Ricardo: Yeah, so we basically identified two trends. One that’s well known about self publishing, a lot of authors leaving their traditional publishing companies and self publishing.

Then the second trend was the one I mentioned of a lot of talent leaving traditional publishing companies to work freelance because it’s better way to live for them and also because publishing companies are now recruiting more freelance to optimize their costs. There were two trends and we thought we can combine these two trends and build a marketplace to bring them together.

James: Okay, so Reedsy today. We know that when you self publish you write the book yourself generally. Although that’s interesting. We’ll mention something about that in a moment. You write the book yourself, you do a lot of the marketing yourself, but there are some key tasks that need to be carried out to make your book a professional, saleable item. Which are almost certainly you’re going to go and source professional services for.

What are those key areas that you focused on?

Ricardo: There the same as the ones that go through a traditional publishing process. What we generally recommend authors is to replicate that process for the production of the book.

It starts with developmental editing, which is a step you might be able to skip on your tenth book or eleventh book once you know well about plotting and things like that and you know what your readers want.

James: Structural edit.

Ricardo: Exactly.

James: Someone’s going to look at the narrative, the way you’ve told the story and … I’ve never been through this process, but I’m about to go through it so I’m terrified but fascinated to know what they’re going to come back with. What sort of things do they say to you? Do they say to you, “You’ve given away too much too early?” Or “You need more character stuff here?” What do they say to you?

Ricardo: There’s a usual kind of advice. They generally analyze your plot, your character arcs, your pacing and then whether all that is adapted to reader’s expectations in your genre or not. It’s important for them to know your target market as well and what kind of genre you want to write in and who you want to reach. It’s important that person is familiar with that genre and that market.

James: The structural editor’s not just about telling the story. They’re thinking about audience as well at that stage.

Ricardo: Absolutely. I think that’s actually when the marketing starts and when the positioning starts. It’s important to have someone who knows it probably better than you.

James: Okay, so structural editor. Good first stage. This, again as you say, replicating the traditional publishing journey.

What else have we got?

Ricardo: After the structural edit, you generally have a copyedit and now publishers they outsource that a lot. We work with publishers for that as well.

James: How ironic. The traditional publishing industry now uses you.

Ricardo: Exactly, yeah. It’s quite fun. They realized that we have good pool of talent and generally they have people within their network, but sometimes when they have to put six books out in the same week they need a copy editor to do rush job on one of them.

The copyediting focuses more on consistency and style, so that’s both in terms of grammar, so dashes, hyphens, all that. Punctuation and also in terms of the elements of your story. Making sure that the character that had blue eyes at the beginning of the story still has blue eyes at the end of the story.

Names are checked are spelled the same way throughout the book, there are no timeline inconsistencies and things like that. It’s about consistency, grammar, punctuation, style.

James: I don’t know why we haven’t thought of this before, but obviously what we should do on the podcast at some point is have an entire interview with a structural editor and an entire interview with a copyeditor and really go through from their point of view. That would be such a good thing to do. I think I know someone who might be able to put us in touch with those people. That’s something for another time.

What’s specialist work? Reading the entire novel and keeping on track of that consistency. It’s every author’s obsession anyway and we all worry, thinking back to chapter 1 that things have changed. You’ve made a decision then forgotten about it. Interesting work.

Structural editor, copy editor, done. What’s next?

Ricardo: Proofreading.

James: Proofreading.

Ricardo: That’s the final step. Within a traditional publishing company after the copy edit what they do is create the files that are ready for distribution and once these files are ready they send them to the proof reader.

The proofread is a last read on the finished file because if you proof read before the final file is created, you might introduce errors during the formatting stage. The proofreading is done before you create a new format the files, because there’s less formatting, there’s less type setting work especially if you’re just restricted to eBooks.

The proofread’s last checked through manuscript, line by line and to catch any remaining typos that the previous editors have missed.

If you start out as an indie author maybe you can cut corners on the last proofread, especially if you write some genre fiction, but as you start building your mailing list and getting more sales, it’s generally a really good idea to have more than one proofreader.

I know Bella Andrea who was on your podcast, I think she mentioned to me that she hires five proof readers, different proof readers for every one of the books, to make sure that no mistakes slip through.

James: I would say probably every other book I read on my Kindle I find a typo and on the Kindle you can highlight it and send it off. I don’t know if anyone ever looks at those responses. I haven’t fastidiously always sent them in. This will be old hat to lots of people listening and new to quite a few people as well, including me and I haven’t fully appreciated those stages.

I think I probably mixed up copy and proofreading as well, because they are quite similar.

Ricardo: They are similar.

James: The copyeditor must be looking at typos and stuff.

Ricardo: Yes. The proofread is really a last check generally by a copyeditor of your manuscript.

An interesting trend we’ve seen on Reedsy when analyzing the cost for these different services is that copy editors were quoting for a copyedit and a proofread together were quoting only slightly higher than for just a copyedit. The reason for that is that if you hire the same person to do the copyediting and the proofreading what they’re going to do is they’re going to do one round of copy editing and try to catch all the typos. They’re going to make changes to your manuscript using Track Changes.

Then the second round of proof reading they’re going to do only on the changes they’ve introduced. They’re going to proof read only their changes. It’s not a proofread and that’s why they just quote it slightly higher than a copy edit.

James: Do you suggest that it’s separated out? Would you think that’s a better thing to do to have two individuals doing that?

Ricardo: It’s up to the author. I’d say, yes.

I’d say that it defeats the purpose of the proof read to hire the same person to do copyediting and proofreading. If you want a realproofing and you want your manuscript to be perfect, be flawless, then you need to hire two separate people.

James: We all know just from writing letters and emails and I do a fair amount of stuff for my reporting in the past, you very often don’t see your own errors. You have to pass it over to someone different, so I’d imagine that’s even the same for proofreader and copyeditor. We’re trundling along here aren’t we? We’ve got a lot of people involved in our manuscript now and the proof is done after the formatting or before the format? After the formatting you said.

Ricardo: In traditional publishing it’s after the formatting. For indie publishing can do it before the formatting, I guess.

James: Which brings us on to formatting, right?

Ricardo: Yeah, it does. We have formatters on Reedsy obviously, but we’ve built pretty neat tool for simple fiction, non-fiction called the Reedsy Book Editor, which is not the best of names because it’s not a book editor. It’s a formatting tool.

You can import your book within Reedsy by copy and pasting it. We suggest you copy and paste it chapter by chapter. It’s going to take 10, 12 minutes for a novel. Then you apply some last minute formatting changes using our formatting bar and once your book is on Reedsy the great thing is it’s only seconds away from being turned into an eBook file or a print ready PDF.

We automatize and ensure the professionalism of the formatting to both ePub and Print on Demand. That’s what’s really game changing about it, I’d say. If you’re writing complex non-fiction or if you have a lot of illustrations, if you’re writing a cookbook for example or photo book, then you need to hire proper formatter because our tool is designed for simple fiction.

James: How long has the tool been going?

Ricardo: It’s been going for six months now. We’ve been improving it a lot, it had a few glitches in the beginning, but now I think it’s probably among the best tools out there because of it’s simplicity.

For example, Vellum is going to have more customization possibilities for eBooks, but it’s not going to do Print on Demand as the Reedsy book editor does.

James: It’s quite a cheaper option presumably than Vellum isn’t it?

Ricardo: It’s free.

James: It’s free.

Ricardo: It’s the cheapest option.

James: You can’t get much cheaper than that. You talked about time though, in terms of a few minutes per chapter and so on, just going back to the editing stages.

What is the normal time scale on a structural edit and copy editing and proof editing?

Ricardo: It depends a lot on the book and on the editor. What you have to keep in mind is that most good developmental editors and especially the ones we have on Reedsy, they’re booked up months in advance.

It’s important to reach out to them before you finish your book because otherwise you’re going to have to wait maybe 6 months to get your edit back even though they were going to work on your book for less than a month. They’re booked up often 6 months in advance.

James: So you’ve got to wait a few months to get them and then when they start work on your book that can take a month?

Ricardo: That can take a month I think for developmental edit. It depends on the editor, it depends how many projects are doing at the same time. How much time they spend on it, how much changes they have to make, so it depends.

Copyedits can take a few days only or it can take up to a week depending on how messy your manuscript is.

James: Before we move on to other services, whilst we’re still on the editing and proofing and formatting, what are the cost options? I guess this is going to vary quite a lot as well.

We should explain if people don’t fully understand that Reedsy is almost like an agency in that you have people who offer their services and you’re like a one stop shop to get. You can check reviews, you can check out people who have performed in the past and people’s specialism in the areas that are going to match your novel and so on.

Hugely convenient, very well rated. You’ve built a brilliant platform I have to say at Reedsy.

Then you offer a price to people. Say how much they want? How does that work?

Ricardo: We leave complete freedom to our editors and to all professionals to quote. We don’t even send them guidelines. They quote depending on the project and what we generally recommend authors is that they ask maybe 4-5 different professionals for quotes on one project.

James: 4 to 5. Not 45.

Ricardo: 4 to 5. We limit to 5 so that you have to do a bit of research on who you’re going to reach out to and also so our editors don’t get frustrated. If you contact 45 for every project, there are 44 who are not going to have the job and at some point they’re going to stop answering requests.

They quote individually depending on what they believe the project needs and how much time they’re going to spend on it. Then what we do as a company is we gather a lot of data and we can release some guidelines on what authors should expect when it comes to developmental editing, copyediting and proofreading by word count.

We have an info graphic on our blog. If you Google “cost of self publishing” and you look for Reedsy, we’re second or third in the results.

On that info graphic, we’re going to say for example that for a developmental edit, structural edit on an 80,000 word manuscript the average price we’ve seen in our marketplace is $1,860.

James: About 1,300 pounds, 1,400 pounds. Something like that.

Ricardo: Exactly. Obviously, if you go on Reedsy and you ask for quotes on the developmental edit on your novel, you’re going to get probably quotes for 2,000, $3,000 and some quotes for 1,000, 1,200, 1,500. It depends on the people and on their assessment of what your project needs.

James: Is that the single most expensive cost in this process that we’re outlining for getting a book published?

Ricardo: Absolutely. It’s the most time intensive and the one that requires a certain level of knowledge from the editors on all-

James: And skills. A skillful job.

Ricardo: It’s a very skillful job. Contrary to copyediting and proofreading that are a bit more mechanical, it requires a good degree in literature and a lot of experience reading books and assessing them. The best developmental editors are really expensive.

James: Okay, so we’ve got to formatting on our journey and let’s say we’ve used the Reedsy free tool. We’ve got our ePub file, our PDF ready to print.

What’s next? I guess we need a cover at some point.

Ricardo: Indeed. That’s something you get at any point during the process really. You can get a cover, but it’s better after developmental edit because there can be significant changes to your story and to your characters.

You might need to kill some darlings. It’s better if they’re not already on your cover. I’d say once you’re at the copy editing, proofreading stage you can start commissioning a cover.

Our cost info graphic has analyzed that the average cost for a cover was $700. That’s slightly expensive, it’s because we have some professionals on Reedsy who charge several thousand for a cover, so that’s the average. Most quotes were between $200 and $600 for a cover.

James: Okay, that sounds reasonable. Again, that’s a fairly significant cost but we’re actually recording this interview in Florida and NINC.

A lot of people were making the point that the cover is such an important part of your marketing process, isn’t it, so it is worth the money.

Ricardo: It’s absolutely vital and it’s very easy to get wrong.

James: We saw some examples this morning, didn’t we? People who got the covers wrong.

Ricardo: We definitely did, so there’s a fun thing we do a Reedsy because a lot of self published covers out there are done by the author and they’re absolutely awful. Let’s be honest.

One thing we do at Reedsy is a monthly cover critique using Facebook live, so something you guys do as well. We invite one of our designers on the Reedsy marketplace to do a Facebook live using our page and we invite authors to send them their covers in advance and the designer picks 10 and does a live critique of the covers.

Like the case studies we saw this morning where authors were asking for live feedback on their marketing, we get authors asking for live feedback on their covers. It’s always quite informative and the designer gives tips on how to make the cover better so if you’ve made it yourself at least you get tips on how to make it slightly better.

James: That’s great, so you can plug that again.

When does that take place?

Ricardo: If you go to blog.reedsy.com there’s a section at the top for live videos and you can check our next Facebook lives and there will be a cover critic among them.

James: Is there a recording of the ones you’ve done in the past?

Ricardo: Absolutely. Same page, blog.reedsy.com/live, you can watch the videos for previous Facebook lives. We edit them a little bit, make them a bit more fun and we’ve done 3 cover critiques in the past and they’ve been hugely popular.

James: Okay. That’s great, so we’ve got a cover, we’ve done our editing. We’ve done our proof, we’ve done our formatting.

Are we there yet?

Ricardo: We’re pretty much there in terms of the production of the book and what’s interesting is that in a traditional publishing company, we would have involved all these people, but on top of them we would have involved a commissioning editor, a production manager, a production editor, and an art director.

That’s all the things that an author has to take on on their own.

James: That’s the self part of self publishing.

Ricardo: Exactly. That’s the self part of self publishing. That’s really important to understand.

You are hiring people to help you out because there’s no other way to produce a professional book, but you still have to take on a lot of different jobs that are usually handled by people within a traditional publishing company.

It’s a lot of responsibility and it requires quite some skills and knowledge to know how to guide your copyeditors and proofreaders and know what kind of manual style they should be using. Also to know how to brief the cover designers so that they know exactly what target market they’re designing for and what you want on the cover. There’s a lot of responsibility for you and it’s a job on it’s own I think.

James: It’s important to think like that, isn’t it? Think of yourself, try to detach yourself a little bit from your project and just work as an art director for instance and look at the cover. Does this tell the story? Refresh yourself about what the story is and as you say. The self part of self publishing. That’s the side of it from an author’s point of view and you’ve given us some ideas of prices as well, so we can see a few thousand pounds will go into producing your book. Getting it from zero.

Do you have an average cost you think for bringing a book to market?

Ricardo: Yes. We analyze if we get everything together, developmental editing, copyediting, proofreading and a cover designing, the formatting’s free through Reedsy Book Editor, it’s around 3,000, $3,500. Around 2,000 pounds. It’s a significant cost.

Again, there are some steps you can skip or you can make the conscious decision of skipping for the first few books. It’s a case by case thing.

James: Okay, let’s talk about the people you’ve got then. These editors and you say you’ve picked them.

There might be people listening to this who actually would fancy themselves maybe as a copyeditor or proofreader or even developmental editor. How do they begin that process and how do you recruit people?

Ricardo: They can sign up on our landing page. Anyone who wants to apply to be on our marketplace signs up on our landing page as a freelancers.

Then we ask them to complete their profile, so they choose which kind of service they want to offer and in the profile goes a short overview, the genres they specialize in, the services they want to offer, their work experience and their portfolio.

What we really look at is the work experience, the portfolio and whether the portfolio matches the genres they’ve indicated. Generally we only accept people who’ve got traditional publishing experience. That’s not always the case for some designers, but as a general rule, at least for editing that’s the case.

James: I guess as time goes on, that will become less the case because as time goes on you will have people who were millennials, digital natives, whatever you want to call them, who were born and raised during the self publishing era.

Ricardo: Yeah, it is, and one of the first editors we added on Reedsy didn’t have traditional publishing experience. She was the number 1 editor on eLance and she had left eLance because it had become a nightmare for professional editors there because you’re competing with people in the Philippines who are so-called editors, but … they quote you $10 for an edit, basically.

James: I could tell the disparaging tone you took there, on that idea.

This is the heart of your business, you will live and die by the quality of the work that they do. How do you monitor that as time goes on?

Ricardo: We do a lot of work on the creation of the marketplace, so what we say is if you work with some of our professionals, you’re protected by Reedsy as a third party.

If there’s any dispute, any problem, you can come to us and tell us, “Look, I wasn’t happy with the work of this editor for this or that reason,” and then we can mediate as a third party. That’s the added protection you have for Reedsy and we make our money by charging a 10% fee on top of what the people quote you and these are one of the things you get in exchange for the money.

On top of access to that marketplace and then collaborative tools to make your collaboration simpler.

James: We should just spell Reedsy.

Ricardo: Yeah. Reedsy.

James: People might think it’s Read.

Ricardo: I know. It’s not. It’s from the reeds actually. We had this idea of the papyrus and papyruses made of reeds and there you go.

James: Very good.

Ricardo: Long story short.

James: Okay, so let’s move on to the exciting news which is that we’re going to do a contest together and you’ve been very generous in this.

We talked about how much these various elements cost and as you came up with the figure of around $3,000 to get your book, but some lucky person has an opportunity to get that for free.

Ricardo: Absolutely. We’re going to do a giveaway together with Self Publishing Formula and it’s going to be hosted on KingSumo and if you enter the giveaway, one lucky winner will get their production costs paid for. Up to $3,000.

James: An opportunity for somebody to have their novel taken through this professional process.

Will they get a chance to choose the editors? They’ll get a dollar amount available to them, I guess.

Ricardo: Absolutely. The way we handle it is they sign up to the Reedsy platform, they choose who they want to work for and we basically enter our payment details instead of them entering their payment details.

James: Okay, now you can sign up for your chance to win this prize. Make sure that you’re in touch with the 101 course that we’re developing at the moment, but to enter the contest you can go to selfpublishingformula.com/reedsy. As Ricardo says, we’re going to use KingSumo, which is a contest. An opportunity I think with KingSumo to also get other people to enter the contest which increases your chances of winning.

Ricardo: If you enter the contest you get one vote in the contest and then if you invite people or you share it and other people sign up to the contest using your special link, then you’ll get additional entries in the contest as well.

James: Okay, thanks Ricardo. Are you French or Belgian?

Ricardo: I am half French, half Italian.

James: Okay, a bit of both, but you’re based in London, you live in London. That’s where Reedsy is?

Ricardo: Absolutely. The Reedsy team works remotely, but most of the founding team works and lives in London.

James: Half Italian, half French. You’ve got the best food genes in the whole of Europe. Italy’s food is absolutely glorious. France obviously is a close second.

You’re struggling to eat English food or you’re getting on okay?

Ricardo: Is there English food? The Indian food is pretty good in London.

James: That is the number one British meal though, isn’t it?

Ricardo: I know.

James: That’s Ricardo who’s an international man of mystery, bit of French, bit of Italian, lives in London. Think he told me he was born in Spain as well, so it’s a random.

Mark: Yeah and insulted our cooking, so the next time I see him I’ll be having stern words with him about the quality of English cuisine.

James: He goes to the wrong restaurants, he doesn’t go to the restaurants you and I go to, Mark.

Mark: I’m going to one tonight actually, James.

James: Oh, are you? Going to a very nice restaurant tonight?

Mark: I’m going to Rick Steins restaurant in Poole. Actually paid for by my garage after I bought out from them. It was very nice.

James: That doesn’t happen when I bought my Fiat 500. How far is Poole from you then?

Mark: It’s an hour and ten minutes.

James: Okay, well that’ll be great. I’ve been to his fish and chips shop in Padstow and it was sensational.

Mark: Very nice.

James: Just fish and chips. It was absolutely sensational. He’s a great cook. Good. Well, you enjoy that. Anyway, steering back to the world of publishing and books, a couple of things to talk about from that interview with Ricardo.

I know the first one is that we’ve talked about this $3,000 which is a fantastic contest that Ricardo and we have gone in jointly together with; a fantastic opportunity for an individual to get a huge amount of virtually all the major professional work that you need doing to get your book into market.

Mark: Way more than enough. When you say virtually enough, you could probably get … I don’t know. I could get two maybe three books done for $3,000, so the benefit I have is that I’ve got a lot of experience and I’ve got a team around me that I trust. They charge a reasonable amount, certainly a decent amount, but not extortionate. That works pretty well for me.

I think $3,000 is on the high side, but I’ve spoken to Ricardo about that before and I think they have a view on that. It’s been taken from some of the higher ends of the Reedsy marketplace.

James: I think they do an average, but of course that will include a few who spend an awful lot, so that probably does skew things.

Mark: Exactly and not everyone will want a developmental edit and if people can afford it, I think it’s something that’s worth doing. Especially if you’re at the start of your career, but that can be a big 6 or $700 expense. $800 for a cover or $700 is well high. It’s much higher than I pay and I’m not going to mention what Stuart’s prices are on the podcast, but he is top class.

James: That was him emailing you.

Mark: It was …

James: Don’t mention the prices.

Mark: Don’t mention the prices. He’s not as expensive as that and I don’t think that you need to spend that much. I think that you can bring it in at $1,000, $1,500 maybe at the top end and you can get that kind of quality factor on Reedsy and still hit that price.

On the plus side, that’s what we’ve got to give away, we’ve got $3,000 of services to give away on Reedsy. That’s more than enough.

James: It’s a fantastic prize, so you should by your reckoning, squeeze a couple of books out of it because the money’s going to sit there, ready for you to use on Reedsy so you can get possibly two books out of that.

Mark: Exactly. Plus of course it’s not just that the second prize is generous too. It’s 3 second prizes will also get $600 towards a book cover. Again, plenty of cash there to get a really top pro cover all taken care of on Reedsy.

James: Yes and I’ve got the page in front of me that you need to go to if you want to enter the contest and we’ve said it at the beginning. It’s selfpublishingformula.com/reedsy and Reedsy is spelt Reedsy.

Now, I really like Reedsy, I really like the service, I really like Ricardo, but I am not convinced about this name I have to say. I think it’s particularly in the book publishing world you would think it might be read, but it’s Reedsy and he explained how it’s back to the papyrus and so on. Anyway, there you go. It’s just a name and you get to learn it after a while. Once you’ve found it and bookmarked it, it doesn’t really matter what it’s called.

It’s a very useful service and you can see how they started with that really bright idea of understanding that traditional publishing was winding down, there were individuals with great value and great worth to the publishing book writing community. Of course more people are writing book than ever before so there’s no reason for them to think they haven’t got work in the future, it’s just a case of re-purposing. Reorganizing how they find their customers rather than a trad house, they’re now available to you and me via organizations like Reedsy.

That URL one more time, selfpublishingformula.com/reedsy. Remember, the more times you can send that link out and get other people to enter, that’s your link, each time they enter you get another entry in. Work hard over the next few weeks, get that spread far and wide into every little email and Facebook group you know where there’s authors and that will increase your chances of winning $3,000 worth of professional author services from Reedsy and 3 runners up prizes on offer as well of $600 worth of services.

You can go a long way in your author career with that kind of money. Get you off to a fantastic start. Would be great if our 101ers who’s coming on board soon gets that prize. That would be really good, but it’s up to you. If you work hard it could be yours.

That’s it for this week. We want to say a big thank you to Ricardo, who was a fabulous guest as always. Great to meet him in Florida. We’re going away from NINC next week, we’re going to be talking about social media and we’re going to be talking about a tool that very specifically helps you go from somebody who dabbles or perhaps doesn’t quite know how to post or when to post or how much you should post, there’s a very good tool on the market that takes care of all of that for you after you put in a bit of work. Maybe once a month even, not even that often and keeps that populated for you. It’s something that we use, so we’re going to be talking about that in number 34 next week.

For me, I’m going to a school governors meeting tonight. For Mark, who’s going to a Michelin star … Oh my. What are you doing? Did you just fall off your chair?

Mark: I need to buy a new desk.

James: You’re falling apart. Well, you need to go out for dinner to your Michelin starred restaurant wherever it is in Poole and enjoy yourself.

Female: You’ve been listening to the Self Publishing Formula podcast. Visit us at selfpublishingformula.com for more information, show notes, and links on today’s topics. You can also sign up for our free video series on using Facebook ads to grow your mailing list. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes. We’ll see you next time.