Today’s guest is Ricardo Fayet, one of the founders of Reedsy, a one-stop shop for writers. At Reedsy, authors can find editors, book cover designers, marketers and more to help with the business of publishing a great book. Writers can also use the Reedsy Book Editor, and learn a ton from the blog, Reedsy Live (live webinars), and Reedsy Learning — all for free.
We talk about these things as well as Ricardo’s first book, How to Market a Book: Overperforming in a Crowded Market. It just came out in January 2021, and is free as an ebook, and also available in print. Ricardo gives us so much valuable information in this episode, you’ll need to take time to write it all down!
Be sure to sign up for Reedsy’s email newsletter on their home page so you don’t miss anything! You can also follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ReedsyHQ, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wearereedsy, on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/reedsy_hq/, and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpo0MkTAyEl73PmIVs8CQvQ.
[00:00:07.740] – Kitty
Welcome to Write Now Workshop Podcast, where you can write a book and change the world, I’m your host, Kitty Bucholtz. And this is Episode 241 -Reedsy and your publishing needs an interview with Ricardo Fayette coming to you on Thursday, March 25th, 2021. So yesterday was my birthday. Oh, I love birthdays they are one of my favorite things in the whole world, but I can’t tell you what I’ve done because of course, I have to record this before the day that you hear it.So it’s a surprise to me as well. But I will tell you that I took the day off. My husband took the day off because what else is he going to do with his vacation time? We can’t go anywhere. And and I’m not sure what we did because we probably would have watched some Marvel movies or something like that, except for that we gave to gave up TV for Lent Monday through Saturday. So, yeah, if it’s not raining then probably, hopefully we took a walk. Otherwise I literally have no idea what we will have done, but I’m going to assume I had a really good time. So hopefully you are doing something interesting fun. The weather is medium for you. You’re not buried in ice or burning up in the heat depending on which hemisphere you’re in. And hopefully the weather is good enough that you can at least get some fresh air outside depending on where you are.My thoughts and prayers are with you because it has been a tough year, hasn’t it? But I am completely convinced that we can be in control of our mindset to a much greater degree than we often do. So let me encourage you to when you have a negative thought to take a captive, ask yourself, is this really the thought that I want to have running through my head right now? If not, no, then I’m going to replace it with something else. It’s helpful to have a something else positive in mind beforehand so that you can be like, nope, that’s not true, but this is true. For instance, I’ll be thinking things like, I am so tired of working all the time and I never go anywhere and this is just not fun anymore. And then I’m like, wait, no, no, my job is fun. I do like it. It will be great when I can go out and see more humans, when I can actually hug people. My husband will be glad when I don’t ask him for 14 hugs a day. So I just have to tell myself that’s not true, actually. I mean, sometimes, you know, you’re in that place where you’re just like, but I love my job. I love writing. There are things that you’re like, no, this is a good part about life.
[00:02:55.980] – Kitty
And you just have to know that I’m going to replace it and replace the negative thoughts when they come up. So remember that. And these are the sorts of things that I talk about on the monthly encouraging words episodes. So be sure that you’re listening to those on the first Sunday of each month so that you can get a little extra pep talk in your life. I have to say, this episode is totally awesome. I really think that you could stop and start it and write down a ton of very helpful information that even if you’ve never self published your book before, you can get a great deal of direction as to what to do next.
[00:03:32.310] – Kitty
This isn’t the only thing that you can do and it’s not the only way to go. But there is so much information here, you will definitely feel like, you know, in general what the path should be. So Ricardo is going to be talking to us about his pretty new book that recently came out, actually came out last month in February, and the fact that it is a free e-book download and chock full of more information than you can possibly digest in one reading it. Definitely. It’s something that I’ve just been hitting bookmarks on, things where I need to come back to this. I want to come back to that. And he also explains a lot about the Reedsy marketplace, which is basically like going into a big city square where there’s a whole bunch of booths and you’re like, oh, I want OK, this is me at the International Food Fair and Malmö. Oh, I definitely want the British fudge. So I’m going to that one.And I remember that there is some sort of jerk chicken like Caribbean jerk or chicken. I know I’m going to go over there and then mostly I’m going to wander around and see what else there is to see. So in a similar way, you can say, I know for sure I need to cover designer. I’d like to look and see what kinds of things editors are doing and how much that cost so I can decide, do I want to make a change to the way that I’m editing my books so far? Or maybe haven’t had any editing done on your books, in which case do you like? OK, editor first, then cover designer. There’s all sorts of different things that are available to you there. And these are not people who work for Reedsy. But again, it’s like the big city square where people bring in their booth and they’re like, this is what I have available to you. So lots of great information that you can get on Reedsy.com, a lot of great free information as well. And yeah, also, I was thinking when Ricardo and I were talking that this may still sound overwhelming to some people or you might just think, OK, but I, I don’t want to do it by myself without any kind of oversight. Like, what if I do something wrong or I just don’t feel like I have time to make a lot of mistakes right now. So I wanted to let you know or remind you, depending on how often you’ve been listening to the podcast, that this is one of the things that I do.
[00:05:45.910] – Kitty
I do one on one coaching for people in the Self-Publish Your Book Checklist program, where over the course of three months we meet every week and on a recorded Zoom call and we go through this is the thing that has to be done this week. This has to be done next week, then a week after that, that sort of thing. And we get you all the way through the entire process. I’ve done this for several clients already and we’ve had some great celebrations, when we get to hit the publish your book button and see it finally go up on Amazon and other different marketplaces. And it’s great because the Zoom calls are recorded,so you can feel free to hire me for every book, but you can just take the recordings and go back through and go, OK, that’s right. First we did this then this, then this. These are the things that I’m going to do next for the next book and the book after that and that sort of thing.
[00:06:35.380] – Kitty
So if you’re interested in more information and also you can get my self published your book Checklist, that’s a download that you can fill out on your computer, which is awesome. So you don’t have to print it out and lose the piece of paper on your desk. As you can see, if you’re watching on YouTube. I have a lot of paper on my desk, a lot of paper books. So this is nice. You can actually fill it out on your computer.
[00:06:58.000] – Kitty
You can get these things and more information at Writenowworkshop.com/ writing coach. Also, there are transcripts for all the episodes and there’s a lot of great information in there. All the transcripts are available at Podcast.writenowworkshop.com. And then you can either go to forward slash episodes and find the episode that you’re looking for or just wander through. And remember, this is episode 241. And then lastly, just a reminder that we are doing seasons now starting in January of this year.
[00:07:31.660] – Kitty
So that means out of every three months we’ll be doing 10 episodes with three weeks off. So this is the second to last episode of the season. Next week will be Irene Hannon as our guest and then they’ll be three weeks off and then the next season will start. So just a reminder, in case you’re here for the first time and wondering how does this all work? Also, feel free, if you’d prefer to watch on YouTube, you can just go over to YouTube and /Kitty Bucholtz. That’s what the channel is or just type in the search bar Write Now Workshop Podcast. And you can watch it while you’re doing other things. That’s sometimes fun for me, but I have to say, if I’m ever watching the YouTube version of Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula podcast on one screen, while I’m trying to work on the other, I spend all the time going, oh, oh, wait, no, I want to wait. I’m supposed to be working and listening to it, but it’s part of the reason why I listen to a lot of my podcasts instead of watch them. But it is super fun. So remember that you can do it either way. Whatever works for you. In the meantime, get out your notebook and pen or your phone app or whatever it is, or just remember to come back to this. There’s a great deal of information here, not in an overwhelming way. I think we’ve done a pretty good job at keeping it organized, including writing the first nonfiction book, if that’s something that you are in the middle of or interested in doing. Ricardo also talks about the process of actually writing the book, which is always fun for us writers to hear. So without further ado, here is Ricardo.
[00:09:09.280] – Kitty
Today’s guest is Ricardo Fiete. Ricardo is one of the four founders of Reedsy, a marketplace connecting authors to the world’s top publishing talent, from editors to cover designers, book marketers or literary translators. He’s the author of several ReedsY e-learning courses on marketing and a regular presenter at several prestigious writers conferences, Nynke, RWA Australia and the Self Publishing Show Live, among others.He has also recently published his first book titled How to Market a Book over Perform in a Crowded Market. He oversees the marketing for all Reedsy products, Marketplace, Book Editor, Learning Discovery and is a big SEO and Facebook advertising enthusiast. Welcome, Ricardo.
[00:09:53.560] – Ricardo
Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
[00:09:55.630] – Kitty
Oh, this is great. You and I actually met last year at the Self Publishing Live show Self-Publish Show Life, right?Yeah, yeah. Sometimes I’m like, yeah, you know, SPF, I just want to call it SPF,
[00:10:11.600] – Ricardo
Yeah, it’s easier.It’s easier SPF, SPF life. Yeah, yeah.
[00:10:16.400] – Kitty
So that was totally great. I mean, the speakers were amazing. And I noticed in your book you actually mention some of the things that different speakers said at the presentation. I mean, these are people who are making more than a good living self publishing and learning to market.
[00:10:34.130] – Ricardo
Yeah, absolutely. It wasn’t by far my first event.But but I still learn new things that every new event, you know, and the greatest thing is a lot of events are in the US, but this one was in the U.K. So closer to home for me. And also it brings different people. There were some very, very successful UK authors in there who had great things to say and perhaps a different perspective from from the usual US one. So it was really interesting to to learn from them and obviously to get to network with all these people afterwards.
[00:11:09.020] – Kitty
Yeah, yeah. That was really fun. I now have two new friends in London and a new friend in Austria from that walk in the rain, from the event to the pub where we had dinner afterwards. And we get together probably once a month for sure on Zoom or Facebook or whatever. And then we, you know, talk to each other on chat, probably three or four or five times a week. So it’s fun, the friends that you can make at these events.
[00:11:36.600] – Ricardo
No, absolutely. I think it’s a great way to to network, make friends, know other authors in your genre.Favorite part of my job is usually conferences. Right now, it’s not it’s not doing so well.But hopefully you will be able to go to conferences soon enough.
[00:11:55.760] – Kitty
Yeah, yeah. You and I had talked about you coming to Sweden because you’re only in Spain. So it’s just a couple hours flight for the conference that the day after I got home, I was supposed to sign with the hotel that this would be the date and I’m renting out these rooms and then it was locked down. So we will do that conference later.
[00:12:17.030] – Ricardo
Yeah, it’s good. It’s good. You didn’t sign.
[00:12:19.330] – Kitty
Yeah. Yeah. So there’s a limit to how much of that you can get to know a new friend when you’re having dinner because people are eating and there’s lots of people talking and also the audience may not know you very well. So why don’t you give us just kind of a little background like how did you get into publishing? What’s your background? And. Yeah, how did you get to publishing?
[00:12:41.780] – Ricardo
Sure, I always like to say that I don’t have much of a background because I started Reedsy right after right after university. So my my one and only background is in publishing since I started Reedsy.It’s been six years now. So it’s enough to call it a background, I guess. But yeah, I went into publishing because we had this idea for Reedsy and it was an exciting industry in that we were heavy readers. My co-founder, my co-founders and I were heavy readers. We’d been impacted by kind of the digital change in publishing as readers, we were reading very much. I was reading on my phone, almost always been reading on my phone since the Kindle came on on the smartphone. My cofounder Emmanuel was one of the first people in France to read on Kindle. He imported his first Kindle from across the pond. And so, yeah, the question we’re thinking about, what does this change for authors? We learned about self publishing. And then the question was, you know, if if people are self publishing, who does all the things the traditional publishing company is going to do, the editing, production, design, typesetting, etc. And and we came up with this idea for a marketplace. And it’s all been going very, very nicely since. So I can now see that I have a background in publishing, but before that I didn’t have much of anything.
[00:14:05.720] – Kitty
Well, I have to say, you’re probably the first person who’s bio I’ve read that says Facebook advertising enthusiasts, those words you don’t often see together. So marketing must be something that you just genuinely enjoy or you wouldn’t be doing so much of it now.
[00:14:24.020] – Ricardo
Absolutely. I started as CMO Reedsy, so, yeah, we decided to split tasks and for me to do the marketing and I mostly enjoyed it.I don’t enjoy all aspects of marketing, but as I mentioned, like conferences, I really enjoy going to conferences. I do most of our podcast interviews and Facebook advertising, and I particularly enjoy because it’s very it’s very analytical and and I enjoy that sort of things unless unless I could probably add writing or writing consistently.But when it comes to looking at Facebook ads, analyzing, doing some SEO that’s really fun for me.
[00:15:09.670] – Kitty
Yeah, well, and you guys figured it out pretty quickly that that is not necessarily something a lot of authors would consider fun or easy for them. So you really found your niche?
[00:15:21.350] – Ricardo
No, absolutely. That’s a big it’s a big market right now. And it’s growing system for authors on the marketing end of things. We definitely don’t have enough marketers on Reedsy to service all the authors that that come knocking for them.But it’s hard to find good marketers who are ready to work one on one with authors with reasonable rates. It’s really tough. Yeah, we have some in the marketplace, but it’s definitely a growing market and we’re still trying to figure out exactly how to how that’s going to look like in the future. You know, as every author is going to have a marketing expert or someone to run their odds, or is it something that also the author should really do themselves? Because paying with paying for someone to manage the ads on top of the cost of the ads is not profitable long term.
[00:16:03.970] – Kitty
[00:16:04.790] – Ricardo
So, yeah, still trying to figure that one out, but there’s definitely already quite a bit of help available in our marketplace.
[00:16:11.480] – Kitty
That’s awesome.OK, we’re going to talk about that. But first, let’s talk about, you have written your first ever book. You know, you’re a marketer and you said not necessarily as good or as consistent at writing, but as of the time this interview goes out, your first book will have been out for about six or eight weeks. It’s it’s out right now. And you and I are talking and I’ve been able to read it, and I really like it. It is chock full of information.
[00:16:38.660] – Ricardo
Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, it took me a while to write it and that’s not something I necessarily enjoyed all the time. So it is the first one in a series. But the next few ones will be coming in the far future I think. Yeah, but yeah, I know it was definitely it was definitely important for us to release the book, at some point. I was getting tired of going to conferences and people asking me, so what do you write? Because that’s the number one question you asked, you know, at a conference.And I yeah. I mean, I had a relatively good answer in that no, I don’t write. I’m one of the founders of Reedsy. oh I really like Reedsy,thank you, etc.. But now I can say, yeah, I’m one of the founders of Reedsy and I’ve written a book, nonfiction book. So it’s it’s a better answer now. That was the main motivation for writing the book.
[00:17:23.480] – Kitty
Excellent. Well, and also it’s something for people to keep in mind. You know, there’s all kinds of listeners listening to this show and writing podcast in general. Some people have a main business that they’re happy to keep on doing and they’re writing additionally. And one of the things that works well and this is what you’ve done is you’ve written a book that will help people to find your business. And it’s helpful in and of itself, but it also gives them a direction that kind of can funnel them into your business if they’re your right customer, right?
Yeah, absolutely.One of our philosophies at Reedey is to provide as much educational content for free as possible. So we have we have free courses, we do free webinars every couple of weeks, we’re working on on free video courses as well, but there’s one format that we haven’t touched on and a lot of people tend to prefer that format, which is books.So and we happen to be working in this industry. So, yeah, we it was time for us to release something. And so we put I put all the information I had in marketing into one single volume and we’ll probably be releasing more books and in the future and try to keep as many of them as possible free.Because as you said, it’s for us, we’re not looking to sell books. We were looking for people to find the book and then find out about Reedsy and then utilize Reedsy. And so that’s very much a way to support our our business.
[00:18:56.900] – Kitty
Now, I think that I can ask you about the book or Reedsy, and we’re still going to end up in the same and the same group of information. There’s a ton of information in the book. And at the time that I picked it up, it was free. And you’re going to always keep it a free download.
[00:19:11.480] – Ricardo
Yeah, absolutely. Plan is to always keep it free download. I can’t promise that the next ones will be free, especially if we do like in-depth information on Amazon and other stuff like that, which we need to update every couple of weeks. This one’s always going to be free.
[00:19:24.650] – Kitty
Excellent and it’s also available in print for people who like print, right?
[00:19:28.340] – Ricardo
That’s right. It’s not going to be free in print because of printing and shipping costs, but yeah.
[00:19:33.560] – Kitty
Awesome. OK, so looking at the general topic of marketing and and specifically book marketing for fiction or nonfiction, what would you say are some of the key points, the key takeaways either in the book or at Reedsy marketplace, like pretty much just jump in wherever you feel like it. You probably have some things that you’re like. These are important points to to remember.
[00:20:00.630] – Ricardo
Yeah, I think one of the most important points that I strike early on in the book is, is that you can’t do everything and you shouldn’t try to do everything, especially at once. And that’s that’s, I think the main reason why a lot of authors are overwhelmed at the idea of marketing is that it seems like it seems like such a beast nowadays because of all the information out there. Blog post, blog posts telling you you should be doing Facebook ads and Amazon ads. Then fellow authors telling you have to be on Twitter on a daily basis and others telling you, hey, this new platform called Tic-Tac. So we have to be on there and then, oh, you’re not on Instagram. What are you doing? There are Facebook groups also full of readers you should be interacting on there on a daily basis. I mean, there are millions of things you can do, and that’s a great thing. I mean, that’s a great thing with social media, with digital publishing and digital in general. It’s opened up a bunch of new avenues to be communicating straight to readers and to be marketing straight to readers. But the problem with that is it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking of all the things that you should be doing. Yeah. And if you try to do them all, you’re just going to burn out. And more importantly, they’re not they’re not going to work out. So, yeah, one of the important points in the book is, just pick one or pick one or two things that you think are going to work well, both for your market. So think about your readers. Obviously, if your readers are all like teenagers, then you probably shouldn’t be on Facebook too much because that’s for older demographics and vice versa.If you know your book is a cosy mystery, then advertising on Tik Tok is probably not going to reach the right demographic. So think about the target demographic, but also think about where you’re comfortable yourself if you’re not comfortable having a presence, a daily presence on Facebook because you see the platform, don’t be on there, except maybe to run ads. For me ads and like organic social media are two different two different things. If you hate Twitter, don’t don’t be on Twitter. You don’t need to have a Twitter account.If you are into Instagram, same thing, you don’t need to have an Instagram account. So pick the things that you are comfortable interacting on with your readers, the platforms that you yourself use on a daily basis, maybe with your friends. If you’ve got an interest, if you love Instagram and use it for your friends, then turn your Instagram slowly, more towards your author practice, share more book stuff in there. your friends are going to be interested because they’re your friends. So if they’re not interested in your business, then they’re not your friends anymore and you might reach new readers through there. So, yeah, I think the things that you’re comfortable at think about that and don’t test more than one or two things at a time.
[00:22:37.420] – Kitty
Yes, I loved that because it reminded me of the scientific method that I learned in high school, you know, you can only change one thing at a time to have any idea which thing is actually making the effect, right?
[00:22:48.040] – Ricardo
That’s right. That’s right. But the same same same idea.
[00:22:51.490] – Kitty
OK, so for instance, in the last few weeks, you know, I’ve got some changes coming up with some of my some of my writings, some of my books. I’m actually going to relaunch my books as clean and wholesome. I realized that I only have 19 swear words in one book and 20 to swear words in another. But it’s garnered me some one star reviews from people who thought they were getting something else. And I was like, well, that’s 19 words. I can take out 19 words. Of course, I have to redo the audio book that will take away more time to replace 19 words. But it occurred to me that looking at reader reviews and the sort of feedback that I get from people who do send an email or reply to a newsletter that I would probably do much better by changing my focus. And so, as I’ve been talking to my readers about this, I’ve been paying attention to who is responding from where. So even though it isn’t marketing per say, I guess promotion really would be the better word. I’m not sure if that’s the right word either, but when I’m just in touch with my clients, not not something that’s for sale, but just in communication. And so I’m finding that my Facebook group has like three hundred and fifty or something followers and three three people actually see what I post according to the to each little thing says three people saw this, five people saw that. And I’m thinking, OK, that’s just to me a total waste of time. I get more people responding to the email, to the email newsletter. So that’s one of the things that we can look at. Right. What’s already working and what already seems to be not working. And what we’re
[00:24:37.110] – Ricardo
absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. There are a lot of ways to cultivate a reader base, and for me that’s that’s marketing as well and marketing, it encompasses all interaction with readers, whether it’s selling the book and really getting afterwards. And that’s why I always tell them that they shouldn’t be afraid of marketing, because at the end of the day, marketing is about getting readers to discover your book and then interacting with them. And who doesn’t love to hear hopefully good things from readers.
[00:25:05.870] – Kitty
Right. Right. And just putting it out there in case other people are like, oh, I don’t know. I don’t know that how personal I want to be. But I have to say the most interaction I’ve gotten is one of my January newsletters. I put a link to a video that my husband did on his phone of me making a snow angel. And so to see a 52 year old woman dressed in like layers and layers of clothing in Sweden making a snow angel and like four centimeters of snow, I don’t know. A lot of people clicked on that. It didn’t bother me because I am kind of the kind of John says that I really like to be the center of attention. I’m not saying he’s wrong, but I don’t mind being out there. And then for my Valentine’s newsletter, I put a picture up. Oh, I wish I could just, like, move the door into the frame so people could see it who are watching on YouTube. I did a picture of my office door.
My husband had put 14 hearts, one each day from February 1st to February 14th. With all these sweet things like you have the cutest laugh and stuff like that. And I got tons of feedback on that, too. And I’m like, OK, people really do want to just get to know and be friends with the people that they love their books. And I guess I wanted to just encourage people I don’t know, you know, if that’s something that you’ve given much thought to, but it’s definitely something that I found to be super helpful for me and also the people that I always open every single of their emails, like Nick Stephenson, who actually is a writer and also teaches writers things every time he puts in an email about we just got ducks.Yes, ducks. And they’re just like, OK, I got to know, like, why? And I open all of his emails and he always starts with something that he says in a funny way that’s personal. And then before the end of the email, he said something about his books or his writing programs or his marketing programs or whatever. And and I don’t feel like I’ve been sold to, you know, because I’m getting to know Nick, Nick, the funny guy, as opposed to Nick the guy trying to sell me something, you know.
[00:27:22.860] – Ricardo
So I think the the great thing about it is that you can have direct communication with readers and and they’re not used to that necessarily, especially in genres that were more traditional before probably clean, wholesome romance readers, were not used to being able to interact with their authors one on one. Ten years ago, you couldn’t just email your favorite romance author. I mean, you could try to email them but never answer. You’d get an answer from maybe their agent or an assistant or some of that. Now you can get all third. You get the opportunity to tell your authors or your readers directly this is what I’m doing today. Here’s a picture of me. Although all the stuff that you mentioned and that establishes a personal relationship, they feel like they know you.And to some of these readers, you’re you’re their hero. You’re that author who writes these books that they love. And so having a direct connection with you means a lot to them. And that’s a great way to turn them into a superfan, as we call them. There’s a great book on that idea, David Gaughran, Strangers to super fans. And he explains, like the whole process from, you know, I discovering the book, then discovering the other books by the author, Story Genius, the author, and becoming a super fan of the author. And what you mention with through these newsletters, you’re probably creating super funds and among your readers.
[00:28:42.740] – Kitty
So when people are thinking of marketing, that just sounds scary and I hate it and I don’t want to do it. There are things that you can do that will get you kind of started down the road like this. Just letting people to know a little bit in your life. They don’t need to know your address, your phone number or the names of your kids, but just fun little things. Now, the other thing, though, that I wanted you to talk about some more is you had this great well, I’ve heard this before, but so it was a great reminder to me that if somebody hadn’t thought about it, like it’s kind of a mind blowing moment when you mentioned that if you look at all the things that it takes for somebody to have first heard about your book down to the process of actually hitting the buy button, they’re looking at your cover and the title and the blurb and different things and that you possibly could sell way more books by just getting those pieces to be much better than they were before then to get another thousand people seeing the book in the first place. Can you talk about that a little bit?
[00:29:47.160] – Ricardo
Yeah, absolutely. It’s an old it’s an old adage of business. You know, it’s a lot easier to retain 1000 customers than to gain thousand new ones. And I adapted it a little bit to to this world of publishing you’re going to get on a daily basis, a few people to do book pages, whether that’s through Amazon recommendation or the retailer recommendations, word of mouth, some of your social media activity, friends, friends of friends, et cetera, you’re going to get that little trickle of traffic or sometime it’s a big trickle of traffic. So the easiest thing I mean, the easiest thing, the cheapest thing you can do probably is to tweak the blurb, tweak that cover, add editorial reviews and customize your bio, from the author all these little things on the on the page, that are going to help increase the percentage of people who after seeing all that buy the book. And that’s that’s paramount because until you fixed all those and you’ve made those the best that they can be, you’re basically wasting money throwing at the book. If one out of 10 people who see you’re like one out of 100 people see your your book, buy it. And I’ve worked with authors one on one for whom it’s like one in two hundred, one in three hundred. And, you know, we spend a bunch of money on ads and I tell them we’ve got a great cost per click. We got a thousand people to visit your your book page. Ten cents per click. So we spent one hundred dollars. That’s fantastic. Except only two people bought your book. So you spend one hundred dollars and only two people put your book. Yeah. Maybe if you fix your cover, one out of 10 people are going to buy your book. So you’re going to spend twenty dollars and you already have made two sales the same as when you spent one hundred dollars before. So that’s why all these elements that you mentioned, cover blurb, editorial review, customer reviews, everything that’s on the page, even the look inside feature, all the things that factor in the decision of buying the book for the readers are super important also because Amazon actually gives more importance to conversion, like the the art of buying the book, after seeing the page, they give more importance to that than sales themselves. For example, they see two books that have sold one hundred copies in the last week. If there’s one book that sold one hundred copies out of five hundred people visiting the page and another book that sold 100 copies out of ten thousand people visiting the page, and Amazon is going to want to promote the one that had the least page views because they know, OK, this this book got fifty five hundred eyeballs on it and it sold a hundred copies. So what if I give it 10000 eyeballs? It’s going to sell a lot more copies. So Amazon is going to be encouraged to give that book a lot more visibility. So conversion is actually more important than traffic and to sales themselves, which is why it’s so, so, so important to nail cover, nail your blurp. Make sure that the first customer reviews that you have below the book are positive because it’s easy to get it’s easy to get 50 reviews and an average of four point five starts. But what happens a lot of times is that the negative reviews get upvoted a lot by readers because they have more meaningful feedback about the book. So readers are saying, oh, that’s helpful, helpful, helpful. And you end up with like a I’ve got 50 positive reviews and only two negative ones, but the two negative ones showed at the top of the reviews so when people start looking at reader reviews, then they just see bad feedback, basically because no one’s going to scroll past the second review, the first two are negative. So that’s another thing to take into account a lot of things that constitute a product page on retailers. I’ve been talking a lot about Amazon business. Same on all the retailers. And you need to make sure that all these elements are as good as they can be.
[00:33:51.220] – Kitty
And while Amazon is likely to sell the most number of books total, if people are selling wide, meaning in all outlets or a lot of outlets, pretty much whatever you can do to make it the best on Amazon or any place else, you just do that same thing across all the outlets. Yes?
[00:34:10.840] – Ricardo
That’s right. Yeah. I mean, some of them are going to have a different in some stores. You can’t, you know, you can use HDMI for the blurbs, so you’re going to have to rework it maybe a little. Each platform has its kinks. But yeah, overall Amazon is your testing ground because that’s where you’re going to get the most sales and most data. So replicate what works on Amazon as closely as possible on the other stores.
[00:34:34.750] – Kitty
excellent.Now, let’s talk a little bit about Reedsy, because a lot of the things that are important in getting to this process where you’re selling enough books and you’re paying your mortgage and everybody’s happy. A lot of these things that you need, you can hire someone to do it way better than you could learn to do it yourself on Reedsy. So tell us a little bit about some of you. We mentioned a little bit of it in your bio, but talk to us about some of the different kinds of people who and it’s not who I’m going to let you explain, because these people don’t work for Reedsy. It’s a marketplace. So why don’t you explain Marketplace and then some of the kinds of people we can find there?
[00:35:16.510] – Ricardo
Yeah, sure. As you mentioned, you can’t do everything as as an author and you shouldn’t first because you don’t have the capacity. And second, because you don’t have the skills. I know some authors who are also great at editing, so they do their own editing.I debated whether that’s a good idea or not with them, but for some it works.You know, I know other authors who are graphic designers themselves, so they do their own covers and that’s fine. So as long as you have the skills, the professional skills and the capacity, you can do that. But very few authors are going to have the skills and the capacity to do everything. And none is going to have the capacity to do everything. So that’s why we started the marketplace, as you mentioned, because you’re going to need probably to hire an editor. You’re going to need to hire a cover designer. You might want to hire someone to write your blurb, a professional copywriter to write your blurb that you’re going to need a translator, you’ll need to hire a literary translator.And if you want a website and author websites, you are going to have to you’re going to want to hire a website designer and developer. And so with Reedsy, we provide kind of a marketplace for that. So marketplace is a place where you it’s like. Yeah, like a market. You go there are different stores and there are these stores are basically professional freelancers. What makes what makes it different from other marketplaces out there is that we’re very, very careful with the people we allow to be on the marketplace, we accept less than five percent of freelancers who apply to be listed on Reedsy as editors, designers, marketers, etc. For the marketers, I personally have a chat with all the marketers that we add on the marketplace. So I get them personally and make sure that they have the knowledge to work within the authors directly. So all the people are going to find on Reedsy are vetted professionals. For the editing side of things are going to come generally from traditional publishing because that’s you know, that’s if we’re looking to have editors who have five to 10 years experience editing and generally five to 10 years experience means having worked at a traditional publisher in the past.
[00:37:19.960] – Kitty
[00:37:20.500] – Ricardo
So we’re going to find a lot of commissioning editors or editorial assistants at the big five on Reedsy, for cover design, more of the same that we have quite a few indie specialists for cover design, illustration, marketing, as I mentioned, either directly or a literary translation. It’s another form of vetting. But yeah, we basically have people who’ve translated the best books and who are already and have some experience working within the authors. So that’s a different game in translation, working with publishers and indie authors directly. So yeah, a lot of work goes into the curation and the vetting so that you can be sure that whenever you hire someone on Reedsy for whatever that is, you can be 99 percent certain that you’re going to get the best job possible.
[00:38:03.580] – Kitty
Excellent. OK, so the way that I see it as a customer or potential customer is there are two things that I’m going to Reedsy for. One is because I just want to look around and see what’s available and then I start finding this free bit of help and that free bit of help. And then and then I’m like, yeah, I’m totally going to sign up for our newsletter so I can hear about all the other kinds of free help that’s available. And the other thing is when I’m thinking, oh my gosh, my cover designer, you know, had a baby and she’s not doing anything for the next nine months and I can’t wait that long for a cover. So I’m going directly to the cover area. What are some of the ways that that people can figure out? Because there is so much there like what are a couple of ways that you would suggest that people go to Reedsy who haven’t been there before and just kind of see what they can use today?
[00:38:56.900] – Ricardo
Yeah, that’s that’s one of our main problems that we have, we offer a lot of different stuff, most of it for free. And so it’s hard to filter through all of it in a nice way. We’re redesigning the product right now to integrate all our resources better. But I think right now the best thing you can do is to go to reedsy.com and look at the top menu, the things into the top menu, and just look at the titles. The things that are bigger and in color are most of our bigger programs like Reedsy Learning. And then you try it. You can try to guess what these things are Reedsy learning. It’s about learning. It’s a collection of free courses. So everything you’re going to see is free except for when you hire people on the marketplace, obviously. And our program Reedsy discovery. These are the only two paid things on Reedsy. Everything else is free. So Reedsy learning, free courses, Reedsy live- free webinars on YouTube, then Reedsy book editor. That’s a book writing and editing and formatting tool, a very lightweight version of Velone, but works on any browser. So. So you don’t need a Mac and it’s free. So great. Great. Yeah, a great tool for anyone who hasn’t purchased Velone and needs to promote their books and it can get even even better in the next few weeks.
[00:40:17.480] – Kitty
Oh excellent. Yeah, I want to come back to that but keep, keep.
[00:40:21.000] – Ricardo
OK, fine. But yeah.Have a look through that stuff menu. Click on stuff. Everything meaningful is going to be in the menu.
[00:40:28.460] – Kitty
Excellent.Very good. And then when they sign up for your newsletter they’re getting information about new things that are available on Reedsy when the free webinars are and what the topics are, about your new book that’s coming out that actually is now out and is free as an e-book download. These are the things that they’re getting out of the newsletter as well, right?
[00:40:50.240] – Ricardo
That’s right. The best way to sign up to a newsletter is sign up to to the product. So you go to Reedsy.com and you click on sign up and then you’re going to have to tick boxes that ask you if you want to get news about this, about writing, about publishing, about marketing, design. So if you’re just interested in marketing, you tick marketing and you’ll only get my newsletters. So I’ll be happy. And if you’re not at the marketing stage yet, then you’re just tick writing and publishing and you won’t get my newsletters, but maybe you’ll choose to get them in the future,
[00:41:16.790] – Kitty
Or you can tick all the boxes and get a lot of emails.
[00:41:20.780] – Ricardo
That’s what I would do.
[00:41:21.720] – Kitty
All right. Yeah, that sounds like what I would do to. Now there’s possibly people listening who they don’t have a ton of experience in this yet. And I emphasize yet it’s it’s a it’s a long business career and they might be thinking, OK, this is great. There’s a lot of editors who sound like they could be the right editor for me and a lot of cover designers, you know, even if it’s I’ve narrowed it down to six, I know that these are not your employees, so you can’t necessarily point and go, I suggest that you go with this one, but you probably have some way of giving people ideas on how to choose if you’ve never hired anyone like this before.
[00:42:02.790] – Ricardo
Yeah, we have some resources on that our blog, and I think it’s the first it’s rare that you get five quotes from the maximum number of quotes you can get is five, because we don’t want,we need a balance on the marketplace. If editors or designers spend their time offering quotes and they only get one in like 100, then they’re going to leave the marketplace because these people are getting work elsewhere as well. And they’re not dependent on Reedsy and. The maximum number of quotes you can get is five. It’s rare that you get five quotes because let’s face it, your book is not going to interest everyone. So you might get one or two declines from people who are not necessarily interested in working on your book, others might be too busy or not be able to meet your deadline. Some of our editors are booked up to six or 12 months in advance. So the editors were basically there for repeat clients, you know, who get on their calendar. Who get on their schedules very, very early on. So if you get those five quotes, then that’s great. You’ve got a lot of options, some things that you could base your decision on is obviously price. But also I think a lot of authors have a really strong feeling about who they want to hire early on because of the first interaction, you know, think the freelancers who we can trust who showed the most interest in your book, if it’s for editing the freelancers who who give you a sample already, who read your first chapter and give you their thoughts on the first chapter, who said, OK, I think your writing style is closer to this and that to others that I work with, basically the editors or the the freelancers, we seem the most interested in working and working with you. And generally it’s and it’s an easy choice to make.
[00:43:55.500] – Kitty
All right, that’s good. Because what you’re going to probably end up with then is somebody who is nearly as excited about what you’re doing as you and you don’t have to explain your work to them.
[00:44:07.710] – Ricardo
Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. Cool.
[00:44:11.460] – Kitty
All right. Let’s come back a real quick there’s a couple more questions I want to ask you. So I have a Mac. I use vellum mostly because it’s just easier. I was I taught myself In design so that I could do my books and and and there are things that I can do In design that I prefer. But vellum is so much faster that lately, you know, when I have more books, it’s just easier. However, it is a problem because if I use it for a client, then they suddenly are in there and there are Windows client, then they’re suddenly kind of stuck in a place where they need to either have somebody else, they need to hire someone to use vellum or they need to have their book completely reformatted if, you know, years go by or something. So let’s talk about is there and I think that you gave a name to the program. Is it just called the the book editor?
[00:45:07.830] – Ricardo
Yeah. Reedsy book editor. We’re still looking for a better name, so if anyone has suggestions. But right now it’s the Reedsy book editor.
[00:45:16.320] – Kitty
OK, so tell us a little bit about it so that people understand why they’re going to go there and use it, because it sounds like a great product. I fiddle around with it a little bit once when I was like in a hotel room in between things, but I was like, wow, this is pretty quick and easy. And this was a long time ago. So you’ve probably made improvements.So.
[00:45:37.080] – Ricardo
Yeah, definitely. It’s one of the products where we’re most excited about for for the future because there are a lot of features coming. But it’s already I mean, it already solves a lot of problems. So first we get a lot of people writing in it just because it’s a very clean writing interface. So you’ve got chapters on the on the left. You can drag and drop them around. So maybe you can have your outline in there. What I did when I when I put my book is I just put the titles of all the chapters in there. And then I moved them around based on on the final structure, I wanted for my book. You can create parts as well for for nonfiction, which is pretty helpful. And it can can be great for organizing .Great writing interface. You can hide the the sidebar, so it’s like Wide-screen and you typing in there. No, no distractions. And the great thing is when you’re done writing you’ve got track changes and comments as well. So the only thing is you can’t really share it with and with anyone else unless you share your Reedsy login details right now. But yeah, that’s one of the features that’s coming soon is the ability of sharing this with editors on Reedsy or co-authors or editors outside Reedsy so they can work with the changes and the commenting and it’s going to make it a lot, a lot better than working on word. And then you can you can format and export, and that’s what we’ve had since the very beginning and works really well. You just hit export and you can choose to export to either e-books or EPUB and movie or print radio PDF. You have a few customizable things like whether you want drop cups where you want the endnotes, few customizable things in the table in the in the front matter as well. And you choose from three templates. Also, we’re looking to add more templates, but right now we’ve got a fiction and nonfiction and a romance one, and that’s it, you export the book, you’re not going to be able. So the things that Vellum has that Reedsy book editor doesn’t have is options to add, like custom chapter headings with flowery things, flowery corner, flowery corners and fancy formatting options that a lot of authors love and that I personally think readers don’t necessarily care much about. It’s more a cool thing for the author to be able to say, Hey, look how beautiful my epub file looks. Yeah. Then the reader is reading it on their Kindle and they don’t really care that there are flowers in the corners, you know. But yeah, that’s what we don’t have.
[00:48:07.010] – Kitty
Yeah, yeah.I have to say it is so true as an author I get so excited. But as a reader the only thing I notice is whether or not anything keeps me from from reading the book. Otherwise I kind of don’t care. It’s very funny because I wear both hats, but the one person, the writer in me doesn’t seem to talk to the reader and me going, No one cares, Kitty.
[00:48:30.630] – Ricardo
No, but that’s what makes vellum so, so great. I think authors rave about them because it gives them a lot of, you know, all the all these options. And at the end of the day, it’s your it’s your book. It’s your baby. So you want it to look as as nice as possible. And I know people who have babies, you know, who dress them for special occasions and then take pictures of them. It’s really for you that you’re doing it. You know, it’s not for all other people to see your nice baby and theyare not necessarily going to care as much. So it’s really important, even if it’s just self gratification. It is important.
[00:49:03.580] – Kitty
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Because we’re creative people. So the idea that somebody is letting us be in a little bit more creative just makes us happy. That’s right. OK, so the other thing I wanted to talk about before we leave is the process of writing your first book. So you wrote nonfiction. Tell us about some of the highs and lows, some of the things that you were like, why am I doing this? And some of the things that you were like, this is the coolest thing. Why haven’t I done it sooner? We don’t get a ton of nonfiction authors on and there are people listening who either have already written some or have been kicking around the idea. So start wherever you like with that.
[00:49:42.770] – Ricardo
Yeah, sure. I mean, it’s an interesting writing process because I first tried to have this idea of writing a book for several years now, maybe three or four years. And at first what I tried to do is start from page one and write a book. It was going to be on Facebook ads. And so I wanted to put all my knowledge on Facebook ads for authors in there. And so I started writing and I got to maybe five thousand words. And then I realized that, hey, actually this outline doesn’t really work. So I changed the outline and so I started writing and then something else came up, a new product launch on Reedsy maybe. And then and then I went on holiday. I’m not going to be writing holiday like, you know, my free time. And then when I went back, I found out some new stuff about Facebook ads and I thought thad this outline doesn’t work anymore. And so that book never came to life, basically. So instead I said, OK, I took example from from David Grant and he started a weekly marketing newsletter. And that that was something that had been on my mind for a while. And we actually took advantage of GDPR, you know, when GDPR came in, everyone was sending these newsletters. Give us your concent, GDPR, this, that. And we sent a newsletter saying, OK, we’re not going to do the usual GDPR thing because we have consent from all of you,but you can I mean, you can unsubscribe here. But what we’re going to do is we’re going to split our newsletters. So we’re going to have our usual writing, publishing newsletters and we adding a weekly marketing newsletter by Ricardo that you can sign up to here. And by that point onwards, I was bound to readers of the newsletter to write a newsletter every week of around, you know, 500 to a thousand words, sometimes more. And that made me go into a very, very slow writing routine, but are writing routine nonetheless of writing a little bit every week. It was on marketing in general. And so this year I thought, OK, I’m going to take another crack at writing this facebook ads book. I tried, I failed. And then I said, hey, I’ve got all these newsletters, so why don’t I just the materials is there already. So I don’t have to start from from page one. Page zero. Yeah, I can just repurpose the newsletters also because I get a lot of. People asking me, can you resend me that edition from, like two years ago where you were talking about Amazon ads and I have to go fish that edition and take the link, send it to them. So I thought I’m going to put all that in a book. Turns out it’s a lot more work because I had to find an actual structure for the book, rewrite a lot of things. Right. A lot of new chapters. But at least what I found personally is like working from something that was half done already, where it was moving stuff around and filling in the blanks was a lot easier than starting from a blank page. But that’s my experience. And for the next book, I really dread it because either I start a newsletter about just Amazon or I’m going to have to write a book about Amazon ads from scratch. So we’ll see. That’s what worked for me.
[00:52:40.830] – Kitty
Yeah, and I like this idea about the newsletter, because I know I’ve actually had at least three clients myself where they’ve come to me and said, you know, I’ve got two or three hundred blog posts or emails, and I know that there’s a book in here, but I’m not sure how to find the book and then create the book out of it without it looking like a book of blog posts. But so I’m guessing that you and just about anyone else, I mean, we could just add something about the topic of the book that we want to write in the emails that were already writing.
[00:53:18.640] – Ricardo
Yeah, absolutely, you just need and you just need to run to find the right structure for the book afterwards, but I purposefully I mean, I chosen a very niche topic for the newsletter it’s about book marketing. And at some point I was running out of things to say about book marketing, even though there’s always new stuff that comes up and then you pick the newsletters that are evergreen and those that aren’t. There is the newsletter were we were talking about like three things I learned from this conference that happened, you know, three years ago. It’s not it’s not an evergreen newsletter, but a newsletter where I was talking about the importance of customer reviews and the thing that we talked about earlier than that’s Evergreen. That’s always going to be there. Maybe Amazon’s changed how they display those reviews a little bit. So I’ll have to change a screenshot, but I’m definitely going to be able to repurpose that newsletter. So, yeah, if it’s if you want to follow that example, that pick a niche topic that you ultimately know, you can write a book about and a book that’s going to have some market appeal, you know, and go for it.
[00:54:26.980] – Kitty
So I’m thinking about your Amazon book. It’s possible then that you would that you would have to come up with the material and get the book out in a much shorter period of time because it’s a changing topic.
[00:54:42.640] – Ricardo
Yeah, that’s that’s the annoying thing. This book already, I’m going to have to update every couple of months or so because, I mean, just to give you an example, from the time I finished the from the time I send the book to to some people, some Arc readers, some advance readers, and the time I published Amazon change, how they handle series. So before you had to recharge, you keep support, you get your first page. Now you can read your your series page in the bookshelf. So I had to rewrite and I think that it’s a small thing, but maybe tomorrow can you tell you are going to change the sales run calculations are going to change. Popularity list is going to change. Things change all the time. So I’m going to have to update this very often. And that’s why there isn’t an audio book and there will never be an audio book.I’m sorry.Either I did the book or I don’t have the data and you get an audio book that’s going to be full of deprecated info in two years. Yeah, a book on Amazon ads and it would be a lot more about stuff that’s more the philosophy of Amazon ads than, you know, getting deep into screenshots and the first you click here and then you click there and then you do this, because that’s obviously going to change the philosophy of Amazon ads overall, maybe it’s going to change, but it’s going to change a lot slower, much slower.
[00:56:05.170] – Kitty
Yeah. So there are several really great tips there for people who are thinking about or in the process of writing a nonfiction book. First of all, the idea that you can create a book that is full of great information that people want, that is probably not going to change because it is not specific. And, you know, step one, two, three. And you can make this book a free book that leads people to your business, which is what you’ve done with your first one. And another thing that you said was you could create a book that does need to be updated more regularly and you know that you’re going to commit to doing that. Therefore, this book is going to cost more because it’s almost like and that way it almost ends up being slightly subscription based. Like if you have to update that book two or three times a year, then people need to be able to pay for the time that that you’re putting into it. So that book, instead of being free, might be 9.99 or something like that. And then the third thing that I picked up from that is if you’re going to write about a changing topic that you expect that you will actually be writing updates for your book, then an audio book may not be the best use of your resources.
[00:57:22.350] – Ricardo
That’s right. Yeah, I, I hadn’t thought about the audio book at first, but then when people started asking me about it, then I realized there’s no way this can happen.
[00:57:31.050] – Kitty
Yeah. Yeah. These are great tips.This is really helpful.
[00:57:35.580] – Ricardo
[00:57:36.870] – Kitty
Awesome. Wow. OK, so much information. I feel like everybody can just like pause and make notes and go to the website. And so definitely we want people to pick up this book, how to market a book over perform in a crowded market. Why don’t you tell us where can people find Reedsy, your book and any social media following that they can do?
[00:57:58.830] – Ricardo
Sure. So the book can be found on any retailer. Just search for how to market a book on any retailer and it should pop up, if we did our SEO write. For Reedsy, Reedsy.com, as I mentioned, and use the toolbar to just find out everything that we do. There are a lot of things. And in terms of social media following. I don’t do a lot of social media, so just drop me an email. My email, just very easy to guess. It’s [email protected] So feel free to drop me an email, always answer. And I spend a lot more time on the email than I do on Twitter, on Facebook or on any of the social media. So you’ll get a better response from me either.
[00:58:38.420] – Kitty
Oh that’s so generous. Thank you so much for that.
[00:58:41.800] – Ricardo
[00:58:42.460] – Kitty
Oh, this has been super fun, Ricardo. And you and I didn’t have to talk in the rain, which is great.
[00:58:47.980] – Ricardo
That was a nice point.Yeah.
[00:58:49.440] – Kitty
Yeah. In fact, one of the things that you said in the email was since you and I are in the same time zone, which hardly happens for either one of us, both of us get to talk in daylight, not at night.
[00:59:00.700] – Ricardo
I know. I know. The last podcast I ended, they were saying, are you a little bit tired? Oh, yeah. Yeah, I’m a little bit tired. I’m sorry that’s coming across. But it’s good to be doing something in broad daylight.
[00:59:12.130] – Kitty
Yeah. Well, thank you so much for taking the time. We really appreciate it. This is great information and I’m sure people are thrilled to be getting it.So thank you
[00:59:21.730] – Ricardo
No know.Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure.