There are three aspects to a successful author career: 1) writing good books; 2) publishing well; and 3) finding your audience. Most authors focus on the writing part, and those who have been doing this for a while tend to have it down. But all three are essential in a career. My consulting services are focused on publishing well, making the right decisions for your book and who you are, as well as finding your audience. If you are a do-it-yourself person, you might want to check out the webinars I'm offering. They are divided among the business side of writing and the creative side of writing.

My consulting focus is on one-on-one discussions to help you make the right choices and decisions for the career you want. I know that most independent authors certainly start out without much money, which is why I advocate for learning the skills you can. To make that affordable, I provide my webinars at a rate of only $15 each for a two hour workshop. In that way, you learn once and then save money for every subsequent book you write.

On the other hand, I understand that some authors simply do not want to ever do these things and have the resources to pay for them forever. For those authors I will refer you to those who can continuously help. I also understand some authors may have some physical disability that makes it particularly difficult to work on a computer. You can check out my vetted partners at the bottom of this page.  For things that are not covered here, drop me a line or schedule a consult and we can talk about what or who is best for your circumstances.

Consulting - $60 per hour
woman at her desk feeling the stress of work, taken from a birds eye view

This one-hour option is best used to answer a specific need rather than to discuss a long-term plan. In addition to the actual consultation hour, this can include up to 30 minutes of advance review of anything you believe is important for me to me to understand.

Examples:

  • Links to your website, social media, or other places where you want feedback.
  • Links to buy pages on specific vendors you want me to review.
  • Test out your book funnel and subsequent email copy associated with it.
  • Review your backlist and talk about other product opportunities.
  • Screenshots of marketing campaigns, including written copy and graphic samples.
  • Screenshots of advertising results that you want me to analyze.

If requested in advance, a video recording of our Zoom session will be made available to you for download following the consultation.

Typical One-Hour Consultation Requests

  • I don't even know where to start with the questions, can we just talk and see what happens?
  • I finished my book, what are my next steps?
  • I feel lost. I don’t know what to do next.
  • I need feedback on my website, social media, or book buy page(s).
  • I want help in setting up an email marketing funnel.
  • I'm contemplating paying for someone to do social media, marketing, advertising but I'm not sure it's right for me or who to contract.
  • I tried to load my ebooks and print books to a specific vendor but ran into problems.
  • I have lots of books but few sales; I need ideas on what to do to improve.
  • I have lots of questions and just want a knowledgeable person to help me sort through them.

Long-Term Planning

If you are looking for long-term planning or career planning, it is best to schedule three hours of consultation to happen over a one to three month time frame. This will require both research on my part ,and homework on your part, in order to determine what is best for you, your talents, and your ability to accomplish what you want to do. At the end of the three sessions I will provide you with my recommendations, a calendared time frame for you to follow, and recommendations for learning skills and/or referrals to your own paid partners who have the skills you wish to contract.

Looking for Something Not Here?

Looking for Something Not Here?

In general, I’d rather teach someone to do things for themselves than to charge lots of one-off services. But I do understand that not all authors are comfortable with technology or basic graphics. I am open to taking on other tasks that go beyond a one time need. Below is a sampling of some of the things I’ve done for other clients:

  • Doing SEO research for your ads, website, blog or other internet needs–this includes competition analysis, keywords, writing or evaluating your ad copy.
  • Analyzing your buy pages at various vendors or on your website and making suggestions as to how to improve the covers, blurbs, calls-to-action, and adding other things to increase discoverability.
  • Doing one-on-one training to help you use a specific piece of software more effectively.

I’m open to other requests besides the above. Once I have an understanding of your need and timeline I will price it out and give you a quote. Complete the form below to provide me specific information on your needs and timeline.

 

Other Concierge Services Sometimes Requested

There are ongoing tasks that all authors need weekly or monthly that are best handled by the author if possible, or a Virtual Assistant who can do this for you.

  • Running all of your social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.).
  • Creating and doing your newsletters every month.
  • Handling direct sales fulfillment in either ebook or print.
  • Running launch campaigns for you.

A virtual assistant (VA) or personal assistant would do these tasks for you weekly and likely charge an hourly or monthly fee. The usual fees run between $25 to $50/hour based on the request. If you are ready for a VA, check my partners list below.

Alternatively, I’m happy to teach you to do it yourself either via the hourly consulting fee, or by pointing to the webinars I am teaching. For the foreseeable future, I am no. longer teaching multi-week courses.  Nor am I doing concierge work, except for the occasional previous clients who have been with me for some time.

Independently Published Authors Additionally need to know how to:

  • Format their book for publication in print and ebook
  • Load their book to appropriate vendors
  • Accurately complete author profiles, book metadata, and create effective buy pages on a variety of vendor sites.

Again, these are task a Virtual Assistant can take on or you can pay specific services to do this for you.

NOTE: In the past, I have provided a number of the above services for clients. However, in 2022 I decided to no longer offer these services.  A combination of family caretaking responsibilities, my own health, and my need for more writing time has caused me to cut back these services except for a few select clients who have been with me a long time and publish regularly with a consistent publishing schedule that can be calendared months in advance providing long lead times.

PARTNERSHIPS

It is rare that an author handles everything in her business on her own. In fact, I would say it is unwise to do things you have neither the time nor the talent to do well. There are three things I consistently hire out and have from the beginning of my independent career: 1) accounting/taxes; 2) cover design and other complicated graphics; and 3) editing. More recently I have employed a virtual assistant because there is simply too much for me to do myself.

Am I capable of doing all these things? Yes, I’ve done them all competently for myself in the past. But I need more than a competent job to compete well and position myself for maximum profit. I’ve learned that just because I can do a job doesn’t mean I should do it. Below are people/businesses I have worked with myself or vetted as a partner and referred to others who had good experiences. I will be adding additional businesses to this site as I vette and identify people I feel comfortable recommending.

 

Website Design, Re-design, and Maintenance

Design Works NW logo

If you need a new website, or a redesign on your current one, I can confidently refer you to Rick Cano of DESIGNWORKS NW. He and his team are WordPress specialists. They come with excellent design credentials, yet their prices are quite reasonable. I interviewed over 15 designers before I chose them to redesign my own author site that I’d previously kept, redesigned, and maintained for over 15 years. Their business model is to help small businesses. Customer service is excellent. And their design and coding credentials are always keeping up with the times. Here are some highlights of DESIGNWORKS NW services:

  • Web Design and Development, including FREE hosting for 12 months – Monthly payment options available
  • Web Maintenance and Security, including content updates – Monthly payment options available
  • On Page SEO – SEO Audit and Health report for free if you sign up for monthly On Page SEO service. (The audit can be purchased separately as well)

 

Editing

Even though I have 29 books published, I still use a professional developmental editor for my fiction. I also use a line editor/proofreader for both fiction and nonfiction. By the time I’ve drafted and self-edited my books two or three times, I can no longer see the problems. Most of the editors I know are booked several months out, and many of them only edit in specific genres. For me to make a recommendation, I need to understand your project better. Below are three people I’ve worked with personally and recommend without reservation.

Red Circle Ink logo

Red Circle Ink

Red Circle Ink is accepting manuscripts in the following genres and sub-genres of commercial fiction:

  • Romance — historical; paranormal, science fiction and fantasy; contemporary (category and single title); mainstream with strong romantic elements; all heat levels (sweet to erotic) welcome
  • Science fiction — hard SF; space opera; dystopian; any of the “punks” (steampunk, cyberpunk, etc.); slipstream; science fantasy; new wave considered after discussion with the author
  • Fantasy — urban and dark fantasy; alternate history; epic and mythic fantasy; light fantasy considered after discussion with the author
  • Thriller — psychological, supernatural, techno, and adventure thrillers; RCI is not taking on legal or crime thrillers at this time

Jessa has been my developmental editor for years. She has also won two awards for editing from the Romance Writers of America. I’ve paid other developmental editors from time to time, for genres she doesn’t handle. But I can say, without reservation, that she is the best. Catches the nuances of my writing and tells me when I’m navel gazing vs moving the story forward.  Highly recommended!

Mean Kitty Editing

Mean Kitty Editing logoMean Kitty Editing takes a variety of fiction and nonfiction manuscripts. However, the majority of her clients have been in science fiction, fantasy, and romance genres.

Jody is also willing to edit other types of writing, including: website copy, bios, synopses, query letters, and so on. She offers content edits, developmental edits, line edits, copyedits, and proofreading using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes and CMS 16 and her brain.  If you are a new author or someone who has been submitting to publishers and not getting any bites, it may be that you need someone to work with you on your book. Jody does that. If you are writing degree conscious, Jody has an MFA and even more important, a great sense of humor. When POV Author Services was teaching  WRITING CRAFT courses, Jody was the one who had the lead on those.

 

Gilded Heart Publishing Services

Christy is a traditionally and indie published author with 12 historical romance books published through Harper Collins / Avon Books and nine titles indie published as Christy Carlyle. She has been providing editing services for more than a decade. She covers the gamut from developmental editing to line editing, copy editing, and proof reading. She used to teach English at the middle and high school level and has many years of editing experience as a freelancer for a handful of small romance publishers like Loose Id, Soul Mate Publishing, and Wolf Publishing, as well as numerous indie publishing clients. She knows what she’s doing and can guide you whether you want a traditional publishing career or an independent career. I’ve known Christy for more than a decade and I know how her amazing brain works for developmental editing. She is also one of the few good editors I know who still does copy editing and proof reading. She is also VERY reasonably priced.

Editorial Services of LA – Editor and Consultant

Editorial Services of LA logoLisa Rojany has been in business for over 25 years. She is a former publishing executive with over 25 years’ experience in the industry as both an in-house editor and as a freelance editor and writer. She spearheaded four publishing startups with $2 million to $17 million dollars in growth. In her editing business she has worked with hundreds of writers to get submissions ready, traditionally published, or self-published. She’s also a children’s book author herself with over 100 books published. She is the lead author on Amazon’s bestselling Writing Children’s Books For Dummies (Wiley, 2005, 2013, 2022), and she co-wrote the New York Times bestselling adult nonfiction hardcover, Fund Your Future with Julie Stav. I used Lisa’s consulting services when I began writing my first middle-grade children’s book. I was very impressed with her knowledge of the children’s publishing world. I also know she helped edit one of my favorite recent children’s books, The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman by Robin Gregory. In edition to children’s books, Lisa  edits adult fiction and nonfiction. She is also available to assist with your query letter and, for those who already have a completed book ,to do a general book evaluation.

Cover Design

This job really takes a professional, in particular someone who understands your genre and what’s popular today. Make sure to choose someone who keeps up with changes in Photoshop and delivers on time and within budget regularly. I have two designers I’ve worked with for the past decade. One has left the business and the other is Gilded Heart Design, run by Christy Carlyle. Below that is another I can recommend.

 

Gilded Heart Publishing Services

Christy provides cover design for ebooks, audiobooks, and print books. She designed over 8 of my novels early in my career. Later, I did new editions and changed cover design during a time she was on sabbatical from design work. The covers she designed for the three books in my YA Fantasy series have stood the test of time and are still beloved by my readers. In addition to cover design, Christy is very good at providing website headers and marketing graphics to help with your author brand or a specific book. She can go far beyond a single image. For my books she has changed hair color or clothes on a model, and is fantastic at finding the right blend of covers, fonts, and branding. She is truly talented and Highly Recommended.

Here are some of my covers she designed and a few others for author’s I know.

Covers designed by Christy Carlyle at Gilded Heart Design

Book Formatting

I use both Vellum and Atticus to do my own book formatting. Vellum is only available to the MAC ios (Apple computers). Atticus is available to both PCs and MACs. They have many similar features, but I’ve found there are a few features that are not in both. In addition there are several FREE options for formatting. One is with Draft2Digital, who provides a templating system that ingests a Microsoft Word document. Another is with Reedsy, which also has a templating system with similar features. There are also authors who simply upload their Word document to their vendor of choice (e.g., Amazon, Kobo, B&N) and allows their automated system to render the document in the appropriate format. Each of these free options have their pros and cons. It depends on how picky you are about the beauty of the format vs the utility of it.

However many authors do want a unique or beautiful interior format for both ebook and print, but do not want to learn software or deal with the difficulties of getting it right. In that case, it is worthwhile to hire someone else to do this for you. Hiring a person who is proficient at using these above software options is great for the usual narrative book. However, if you have a nonfiction book with footnotes or numerous images, tables, you need someone who knows more complex software. The same goes for books that incorporate unusual fonts with illustrations and/or fonts not running in straight lines. Some of the software used for this is Adobe Illustrator or InDesign, In Studio, and Affinity Publisher. Tackling those complex or specialized formats requires a truly talented person in that complex environment. Prices typically range from about $75 for the average narrative book needs that can used the automated software like Vellum, Atticus and others to $200-$500+ for more complex formatting using Adobe InDesign, Affinity Publishing and others.

Many virtual assistants or author services companies have stopped doing formatting. Some of the reason is that there are so many free places for authors to do it themselves, as well as writing software (like Scrivener or Live Writer) that will do the formatting or you. At this moment, I only know of ONE person, Christy Carlyle at Gilded Heart Publishing Services. She does formatting, using Vellum, through her company. (See below)

Virtual Assistants

Virtual Assistants (VAs) come with a variety of skill sets, from a project manager to someone who can maintain your website, format your books, and handle your newsletter. It is wise to make sure exactly what skills a virtual assistant has before hiring her/him/them. There are two virtual assistants I’ve worked with that I can recommend. I’ve also run into people that weren’t quite as good as I’d hoped.

Emma Setterfield at VirtualM

Emma is currently working for me doing a website audit and update of Windtree Press, but I will be hiring her for other skills in the future. What I love about Emma is that she is an amazing project manager and communicator. She keeps me in the loop and knows her skills very well. When she has questions she always asks. She is managing a complex email campaign for an author I recommended, and also has great skills in managing the publishing, reviews, and marketing of a book. Highly recommended. She is in the U.K. but has many clients in the U.S.

Gilded Heart Virtual Assistance

Christy Carlyle again is available in this regard. Her skill set is more along managing the book launch and review process, managing series bibles if needed, and she is great at website maintenance and using her graphic design expertise as needed. Again, very organized, communicative, and as a traditionally published and independently published author she knows this business very well.

Advertising Campaign Build and Management

I used to teach classes on this, but no longer. Advertising for sales has become too expensive for most authors and I don’t see the ROI unless one is able to spend $500-$1,000 or more per month. I’ve chosen instead to spend my money on building my email lists and relying on fans and social media engagement to create buzz and help push sales.

There are a number of good PR/Marketing companies who will do ARC sends, book launches, and garner both reader and media reviews for people and some advertising. The cost or these services tend to run in the $5,000-$10,000+ range for the combination of PR and marketing. If you are someone with those types of resources, please drop me a line with your needs and I can make a recommendation based on that.

For everyone else who has a limited budget, e.g., $500 or less, I currently have only two companies I can recommend.

Written Word Media

Written Word Media is focused on marketing through a variety of vehicles including email promotion, Amazon ads, and Facebook/Instagram ads. They are considered a reasonably priced premier company used particularly for book launches and promotion. Though you can certainly do backlist books as well. They are used by many traditional publishers as well  thousands of independent authors. The Written Word Media Team is trustworthy and responsive to questions. The site is easy to navigate the options and to sign up and pay for a service.

Books Go Social

Books Go Social is focused on marketing. It is owned by Laurence O’Bryan, an author with a computer science past (similar to me) who began his business to help other authors. He is as honest as they come. He’s hired some smart social media advertisers to help with Amazon, FB, and other types of ads. He’s also built several multifaceted promotion packages so that the author isn’t relying only on advertising spend for marketing. Most important, he guarantees a refund if your promotional package results in no or only a few sales. I know it is true because I referred a client to BooksGoSocial with a difficult book to market. Though they tried to put together a successful advertising campaign to reach her audience, it did not get the results they wanted. There was no problem getting a refund.

For anyone trying this company, I would suggest starting with one of their smaller package deals and see how it goes. If it works well for you, then move up to other more comprehensive options to get wider exposure and the possibility of more sales.