By Alex Cortes
At Your Service is an ongoing blog series where we ask a self-publishing industry professional to describe the services they provide so that self-published authors may learn more about the opportunities and resources afforded them.
Today, we speak with Ricardo Fayet, one of the co-founders of Reedsy, an online marketplace that offers self-publishers the pre-publication services of editors, designers, and other publishing professionals. Fayet and his longtime friend and co-founder, Emmanuel Nataf, believe that some of the best publishing professionals aren’t necessarily found at publishing houses anymore, and Reedsy is the tool to connect self-publishers to these highly qualified freelancers. From the first draft, to the second or third and beyond, Reedsy gives authors the opportunity to find the freelancer that best fits their needs and their genre, anywhere in the world.
Q: How do self-publishers benefit from your service?
A: Reedsy is a tightly curated marketplace of publishing professionals that includes editors, proofreaders, copy editors, illustrators, book designers, and other industry specialists. We opened in November last year and have received over 4,000 profiles from publishing professionals and have hired about 250 so far. They are featured in our marketplace with custom, comprehensive profiles, so that you have all the information about the freelancer in one page, along with his or her portfolio. We have professionals such as Stephen King’s and Hugh Howey’s cover designers, and many notable editors. Self-publishing authors can browse these profiles for free and filter their search according to their personal needs and genre to find the ideal person to work with.
Q: What stages do you help the author with? Do you offer post-publication help?
A: At the moment, we help more with the creation of the content. So when the author has finished the first draft, (he or she) can go to Reedsy to look for a manuscript evaluation from one of our freelance editors, or when they are a bit more advanced, they can find someone to do copyediting or proofreading. Right now, we go up until the (book) formatting stage.
Q: What is the range of costs for your services?
A: (The price) depends on our freelancers: we don’t set the cost ourselves, they do. I would say they are fairly high-end in terms of service. They’re very experienced professionals, so it’s not cheap. At the same time, they work with self-publishing, independent authors, so they are also reasonable: their rates are what you should pay for an editor.
The idea is that you come to our marketplace, you browse it, and you can ask up to five professionals for quotes and a sample (of their work), in the case of editing. We prompt you to fill out a brief about your book and all the details these freelancers are going to need in order to offer you quotes. The brief is going to be different based on whether you are asking for a design service or and an editing service. After they get back to you with their offers, usually within the day, you can make your decision based on the information they provide you with. We have a number of collaboration tools that streamline the process (between you and the service provider) afterwards.
We are very careful in our choosing of freelancers; we don’t let people in who are not professional and could bring down the quality of our network by chasing the good ones away. That’s the value of a curated marketplace: You can ask for different price quotes and make a decision based on what works best for you.
Reedsy offers a multi-currency payment capability, so, for example, if you’re in the US and you’re working with an Australian editor, it’s not a problem. You will pay US dollars, and the freelancer will get paid in Australian currency.
Q: How do you make your money to keep the business going? Do you charge freelancers to be included in your marketplace? If so, how much?
A: We don’t charge freelancers to be on the marketplace, but we take a 10% cut from the freelancer side, on the amount they charge for their services.
Q: Can anybody use the service, and have authors and books ever been turned down?
A: We don’t turn down authors; anyone can sign up on Reedsy. However, if you make a request for a proofreading professional (for example) and you are only at the first stage of your manuscript, our proofreaders are experienced enough to recognize that you’re not quite ready. We sometimes get situations where freelancers decline to offer a quote because the author wasn’t at the right stage with their work at that time.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: I think our biggest challenge has been the selection of the freelancers because you need to set objective criteria according to which you’re going to say, sorry, but you’re not good enough for Reedsy, and that’s sometimes a hard message to send. We receive an incredible number of applications from editors and designers who want to be included in our marketplace. We have to regulate the marketplace so that all the freelancers have the same level of professionalism and experience.
Q: Can you detail for us your criteria for a content editor, for example?
A: The quality of the portfolio is key: we look for 10-20 examples of high-quality books that they have personally edited. This is likely to mean that the editor has worked in a traditional publishing house for several years in the past, however this is certainly not a requirement and many of our editors have worked with high-quality self-published books. Certifications and accreditations build on top of a detailed outline of work experience, industry awards and author feedback.
Q: What is your advice for self-publishing success?
A: Good cover design. I think the message around needing an editor and making your book discoverable has really sunk in; most authors are doing that. But I think the cover design message hasn’t really passed yet because you still see a lot of places cutting corners on cover design. I think we’re going to see more of those messages over the next few years because cover design is so important. Today, the importance of it isn’t really being highlighted enough.
BlueInk Review offers credible and unbiased reviews of self-published books exclusively. Visit us at www.blueinkreview.com.
Alex Cortes is a graduate of the University of Denver with a B.A. in strategic communications. She is BlueInk’s 2015 spring intern.