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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Interview with Founder of Reedsy, Ricardo Fayet



1.      Ricardo, what led you to founding Reedsy, an online marketplace connecting authors with editors, book designers, and website designers? It was actually an idea of one of my co-founders, Emmanuel. We were both early adopters of e-reading formats, and started thinking about what these changed for the actual content creators. We learned about self-publishing and immediately the question we had was: if authors self-publish their books, who does the editing, the design, the marketing? So we decided to create a marketplace of top-tier publishing talent where authors would be able to find all these professionals they need to hire throughout their author career.

2.      What is Reedsy Learning? Reedsy Learning is a series of free online courses on writing, publishing and book marketing. There are some very broad topics — like "How to write a novel" or "How to write a killer short story" — and some narrower ones: "Facebook ads for authors", "How to get your books into libraries", etc. Each course gets delivered by email, once a day, for ten days. Each email is a 5-min read that gets delivered to your inbox in the morning, allowing you to digest the info while sipping your morning coffee or commuting to work. The idea is to make this kind of educational material available to authors for free so they are better armed to take all the steps needed to build a successful career, without feeling overwhelmed. 

3.      What are the typical mistakes authors make when launching their book? I think most of the typical mistakes authors make come before launching their book. More often than not, an author will have this idea for a book but won't know exactly where in the market that idea fits. They won't know who exactly the book is for. Not knowing your target market is, in my opinion, the most common and most dangerous mistake you can make as an author. And this is a question you need to address while, or even before, you're writing the book. This can sometimes go agains the popular advice of "writing what you love", but the truth is that if what you love doesn't have a market, then you can't hope for it to become commercially successful.

Another common mistake is rushing the publication. Often I'll see first-time authors with hard deadlines for the publication of their book: they absolutely want it out before Christmas, or before the summer, and they rush the editorial and design process to have it in time. Then, when the book is out, they don't know what to do. It takes them a few months to realize that it's not going to sell without proper promotion — and by that time it's too late already.

Given the importance Amazon (and other e-retailers) gives to new releases, it's vital to promote a book right after it's released. And this requires planning, a proper pre-launch marketing strategy. It has probably taken you months, if not years, to write the book. So take your time to plan its launch, don't rush its publication just because of an imaginary deadline.

4.      I understand you are working on a book – care to share a sneak preview? Sure, I'm currently working on a book about Facebook ads, specifically geared towards authors. Now, there are a lot of resources (courses, blog posts, books) out there already about Facebook ads for authors, so I'm looking to make this one more of an "advanced" resource, aimed at authors who've already experimented or seen success with Facebook ads and are looking to take things to the next level.

One of the big takeaways I'm developing in the book is the importance to qualify your audiences before you serve them ads asking them to buy your book(s). For example: if you're targeting a broad audience who's not familiar with your brand, it can often be more effective to advertise in two steps: first a video (e.g. book trailer) with no call-to-action, and then a proper "buy my book(s)" ad served only to the people who viewed 10s or more of the video.

5.      What advice do you have for struggling writers and first-time authors? Keep going, but don't forget to periodically re-evaluate things. I only know a handful of authors who really stroke success with their first release — and they all were a bit lucky. It usually takes several books until you get that influx of sales that can really launch your career. So don't get discouraged if your first book(s) aren't selling. That said, do try to learn from every experience and try doing things differently. If you've been doing your covers on your own so far, try hiring a professional artist for the next book. If you've never tried discounting your book to free for a few days, give it a try on your latest book and see what happens.

Publishing, like everything else in life, is about trial and error. You can cut a lot of the learning curve by doing appropriate amounts of research beforehand (that's where Reedsy Learning comes in), but at some point you need to take the plunge.

6.      Where do you see the book publishing industry is heading? I think it's evolving towards a more diverse and fragmented landscape. The rise in ebooks and self-publishing has allowed many niche authors and stories to find their market. This, in turn, has allowed readers to refine and narrow their tastes even more, helping these niches to grow. If you're a fan of paranormal cozy mysteries, you now have enough content out there in that specific niche to read for a lifetime, whereas a few years ago the lack of books in this specific niche would have probably driven you to venture into non-paranormal cozies, or even thrillers.

      In turn, this fragmentation of the literary landscape has made it more difficult for the big publishers to create "mainstream hits" like Harry Potter or Gone Girl. All in all, I think we're heading towards a stronger "middle class" of successful self-publishers, at the expense of the big household names from the big publishers.

      For more information, please consult: https://blog.reedsy.com/learning 


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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