Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. Most of my ebooks are for small businesses who want to tell an engaging story about what they do. Some customers want books they can sell, others want something to give away to people so they can attract readers. Most books are 10-12 pages ($500) and are the best personalized advertising (eternal!) a business can create!
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Look at portfolio's. See what the provider has done for other clients. Read their testimonials. You can see mine at http://rsbpublishingonline.com/testimonials/
Talk to the provider before hiring them. Most will give you a 10-30 minute free consult. See if you get a good gut feeling about them. Ask questions, make sure they are willing to put things in writing (contract and details) and to communicate with you on a regular basis. Check references. Be prepared to pay a deposit and agree to a kill fee (an amount you pay if you decide to cancel the project to compensate the designer/writer for their time even if you don't use the project). Take your time and find a provider you like and then respect them and pay them well. In the end they will help you do more to build your business than anyone.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. How do I learn how to do what you do?
Answer: Take some design classes from your local community college. Buy the software (iWorks for Mac, or Inkscape (free) for PC) and practice. Look at examples of other ebooks. Join some online social media sites for designers. Subscribe to before&after - a free design site online. Learn from other graphic artists. If you're a writer, then write. Read all you can on how to be a good copywriter and then practice. Work for free or cheap for your friends at first, then join elance.com and start bidding on jobs there. It's all about practice, and about meeting deadlines. You CAN do it if you're willing to show up and work!
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. Know what your goal or purpose for your ebook is. If you're not sure, tell me that so we can brainstorm what you may need. Know what your big plan is. Ultimately what do you want to do with your business and how do you see an ebook being part of that? If you don't know, then be willing to explore it with me. There are few rules for ebooks, so don't worry if you don't know anything about them. Just be prepared to explore!
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. So many people hire a designer AND a writer - which costs twice as much, takes twice as long and rarely do the designer and writer's styles compliment each other. As both a trained graphic artist/designer and writer I do both, bringing more value to your book. I can also provide the tools and knowledge to help you market your own book.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I love people - talking to them, working with them, telling their story!
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. Most customers want to know what their options are for printing their ebook, or creating a hard copy book from the ebook we create. They want to know where to go to self-publish, how much it will cost, and how hard it is to sell their book.
Answer: There are many, many self-publishing options, but Lulu.com, Createspace.com and Blurb.com are the top three I recommend. Pricing, options and features vary so check out all three before deciding. I use Createspace because they're part of Amazon.com. So, when readers are searching for a topic on Amazon, they will get the names of books on Createspace.com. Their pricing is excellent as well. Blurb has the best do-it-yourself software for DIY'ers.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. I had a client tell me he couldn't afford my rates so I felt sorry for him and wanted to help, so I cut my rates for him. At the end of the project he called to tell me he was so excited, that he'd just gone to a professional baseball game - spent $300 on tickets and $20 on a hot dog and beer. His day at the park cost him more than he paid me for the job I was doing. Since then I realized "poor" and "can't afford" are relative terms and if someone truly can't afford me, then then truly can't afford me. I urge them to come back when they can - but I learned my lesson. When people say "I can't afford - " they usually mean, "I don't want to pay." Big difference there!
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. That writing and design only LOOKS simple. It took me nearly 30 years of classes, practice, hard work, experience and effort to learn all I know. Yes, it may be easy to drag a photo and some text and other things onto a page, but knowing WHICH photos, text and things to drag is what is valuable. I'm a professional and my services provide true value to my customers. I wish they understood how complex and involved and creative what I do actually is.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I loved art, photography, writing and creating things since I was a child. After discovering printing, computers and writing in school it was just a matter of finding an outlet for how I could use all my skills to be a graphic designer and writer. It all kind of actually happened because I was open to finding a job I loved to do.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. Every book I do is wonderful and I'm proud of them all! I recently completed an ebook about project management for children. It's a story book that teaches children from the fourth grade on up how to manage their time and management large projects. I think it's a great lesson for kids. It's called, "Before the Snow Flies"
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. I am always taking online courses and I participate in several social media forums for marketers and artists. I write regularly for several national magazines and enjoy improving my skills wherever I can.
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. Technology changes every day. It's exciting to see how much ebook technology has changed just in the past couple of years. New software, new publishing options and new ways of promoting one's business are the sorts of changes that make "the latest developments" so exciting. I think social media and the ease with which anyone can create a webpage is going to be a boon to the publishing industry.
Q. Describe your most recent project, what it involved, how much it cost, and how long it took.
A. I recently completed a book on handwriting analysis for a client to promote their handwriting analysis business. The 12 page book cost $750 and took a little over a week to create.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. My pricing isn't complicated really. A 10-12 page book on any topic is about $500. If the topic requires a lot of research and special editing, or numerous photos it can cost more - up to $750. A 10-12 page book for which you have all the photos and most of the text can be as low as $300 depending on how much editing/rewriting you need. The more pages and photos, writing and editing that's needed, the more the book will cost. What you have to keep in mind however is the value of that book - not what my time is worth. Will it bring you sales and customers? Will it enhance your business and how credible you look in your profession? Will it get people to sign up for your services or site so they can get the book? Remember, it's about the value the book can bring to your business or life - not what an hourly or per page rate is.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Take some classes first, if for nothing else than to meet people who can be mentors, friends and support as you learn how to create an ebook. Read as much as you can online about how to create good design.
Q. Write your own question and answer it.
A. What makes an ebook really good?
A great ebook will tell a compelling story about your, your business or your product. Everyone and every business has a story. What YOU think your story is may not be the best story. That's where the value I offer comes in. As a former journalist and professional storyteller I know what the really fascinating story about your business will be and that's why you should hire me!