Guest Blogger: Roxy Rogers

Hello Friends and fellow Bloggers! A huge thank you to Frankie for inviting me to guest blog today. I write erotic fantasy & SF romance. Like Frankie, I’ve been on a self-publishing (SP) journey this year, too, and we’ve been able to share information and tips about our discoveries. I had a demanding IT job to fit into my schedule and decided early on that outsourcing would be a necessity. I want to share with you some of what I’ve learned about working with vendors.

I had decided I wanted a professional and well-maintained web site, and that all my eBook covers would be commercial. I engaged an experienced cover artist who created a beautiful first cover for me, and was excited to find out she also created web sites. It seemed like a perfect fit. My first mistake was to assume that the artist would communicate and meet deadlines in the same way that other vendors I’d previously hired in my IT career had done. That wasn’t the case, and as a result I decided to search for another vendor. That decision would change my release timeline drastically. Rae Monet Inc. had a fabulous reputation. They were also booked solid for two months. Not willing to do things half way on something so important as my web site and covers, I accepted the delay as a lesson learned, and pushed back my first release to this month from August. That was the best decision I made. The web site creation process, the hosting, maintenance, and technical details were all expertly managed by Rae Monet and her team. I was told up front, and in detail, what to expect. They guided me through the process of getting vague impressions out of my head and onto both my web site and my next book cover GABRIEL’S RELEASE. They always explained the consequences of any design decision from a reader perspective, and steered me toward choices that would work logistically, not just artistically. Several times during the finalization stage, I asked for a change and it was completed within the hour. This is the kind of vendor you want to work with–or at least I do! My experiences so far tell me that Rae Monet Inc. is the exception though, not the rule.

Another task I outsourced was ebook conversion from Word to the various eReader formats, which would enable consumers to read my work on a Nook or an iPhone just as easily as they could on a Kindle. I quickly discovered that not all ebook conversion vendors offered formatting tasks (cleaning up your document and helping to prepare it for the conversion). Formatting and conversion were often considered separate, or at least separately billed. Here again, I ran into communication issues where I received little information up front about the process. Although I was pleased with the final outcome, I haven’t yet settled on a formatting and conversion vendor I want to use for all my books.

I’d suggest keeping the following in mind as you test the waters with any vendors:

  1. Many do not offer contracts and do not give much information up front, making it difficult for someone new to make well-balanced decisions–so ask questions. Ask about the process, the turnaround time, and ask what is “not” included. Price shouldn’t be the determining factor.
  2. Choose vendors that work the way you do and have a communication style that suits you. Don’t be afraid to try more than one, and don’t be afraid to move on to another vendor if your requests are not being met.
  3. Don’t rush the process, especially when you’re first starting out. Take your time. You’ll have a better product at the end of the process.
  4. If you’re considering outsourcing publishing tasks, it’s important to find vendors who match your communication and work style. Quality in every part of the process from draft through conversion will make an overall impact on your readers.
  5. Finally, find other SP authors you can share tips and information with, and don’t forget to have fun!

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments I look forward to hearing from you.

Roxy’s eShort BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, available now, is a steamy tale about an alien who disguises himself as an elf and invades a woman’s dreams.

8 Comments

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8 responses to “Guest Blogger: Roxy Rogers

  1. Caroline Mickelson

    Hi Roxy – Congratulations on a wonderful start to your publishing career! I just read ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ yesterday and enjoyed it immensely. You paint lovely pictures with your words ~ I was quite impressed and look forward to your next release. Thanks also for the recommendation for a website and cover designer. I’ve admired Rae’s work and am going to email her now with some questions. Very best, Caroline

    • Hi Caroline,
      Thank you so much, and thanks for buying! I really enjoyed writing that story. I had some trepidation in having it be the first piece to launch, since I rarely write in first person. But the story was having no part of third person no matter how hard I tried, so I finally gave in and let it have its way with me. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it. My next eShort is GABRIEL’S RELEASE, which is out on 12 25 2011.

      Rae Monet is absolutely amazing! I think part of her huge success is that she’s very business-focused, customer service plus, and she coaches her clients on what works for both business and marketing. While she does, her artistic team is behind the scenes doing amazing things without being bothered with the details of the business implementation. Her artists can focus on their art and don’t have to deal with the customer’s questions and nit picks. 🙂 She does a wonderful job helping you shape your branding using your web site and covers. I couldn’t be happier. I’m sure you’ll enjoy working with her. Best of luck, and thanks again! -Roxy

  2. Hey Roxy, Thanks so much for the accolades. You’re so right about treating your books like a business that needs to be tended with care. Not every vendor is out for you and you really need to do your research. Word of mouth is a great way gear satisfaction. Always look for those hidden costs, don’t be afraid to ask questions. I’ve had a lot of people complain to me about those hidden costs they didn’t know about. I feel a professional cover and website are a very important part of a serious marketing presence. Many, many sales to you!

    • Hi Rae,
      You’re most welcome! All of it true. Working with you has been a fabulous experience and the start of what I hope will be a long and happy business relationship for your company and mine. Besides that, your designs Rock!!!
      You are so right about the hidden costs, too. It’s hard to make an accurate business plan if you don’t have all the information you need. Thanks for being so up front with all the details and the process. Being able to see that in advance was so helpful. Wishing you many more clients!

  3. Thank you, Roxy, for sharing your insights and experience with us!

    • Thanks for having me — it was fun!!
      I know you have talked about Edits that Rock on your blog before — the editing company we both use. One of the things I love about them is that they provide a contract. Everything is spelled out and everything is above board. There are no hidden costs and that really gives you peace of mind.
      It bears repeating that when you find a vendor you work well with, and they provide quality work for very reasonable prices … grab hold and don’t let go. 🙂
      Thanks again for having me! I hope your regulars who are pursuing SP or considering it found some of the information helpful. -R

  4. Outsourcing- I will be doing it a lot more on the next book!

    • Good to hear! It can really be a wonderful tool for helping you move your career and schedule to the next level. Plus, there are some quality benefits that are just hard to reproduce yourself, even if you have the time and talent for it. While I could have produced a good web site, I could not have produced one as beautiful as what Rae Monet Inc did for me. I’m also not a cover artist, and I can’t edit my own work, despite having been an editor myself. It’s always about what your time is worth, and the most worthwhile thing a writer can do is write. Best of luck with the current book and the upcoming one!

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