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Freelance – Book Cover, Interior and Layout Design – Lee McKevitt

Cover, Interior Design and Layout
Over 30 years in college level textbook publishing specializing in layout design for Psychology (David Myers franchise) and Economics, (Paul Krugman). I have also designed covers and interiors for authors of Sociology such as Paula Rothenberg, (White Privilege Series), and Delos Kelly/Edward Clarke, (Deviant Behavior) .

More recently I have begun to design cover and interiors for children’s books (Jeff Rivera)

Rates for a project can vary depending on what is involved. Full service title (Cover, interior, layout to final PDFs) could start around $500.

(Note from Jeff Rivera: I can personally vouch for how incredible she is and easy-to-work with; worth every penny!)

Freelance Editor – Chris Santilli Johnson

With 25+ years’ experience producing “prose with pizzazz,” as she puts it, Chris Santilli Johnson helps non-fiction writers sound relevant, interesting, or useful to their readers. She specializes in tight editing and writing for projects about computers, manufacturing, travel, finance, construction, and all business communication, such as staff handbooks, instruction manuals, newsletters, resumes and cover letters, sales/marketing letters, brochures and flyers. Free sample editing provided; pricing quoted in advance based on word count after the doctor (Chris) sees the patient (your work) to determine the diagnosis and cure. Two cents/word for simple proofreading to $1+/word for complete rewrites.  Her usual editing price range is 2 to 10 cents/word. Chris also teaches non-fiction writing at the university level and holds a M.S. in journalism and M.L.S. in library and information science. Contact chris@wordcrafting.com

Freelance Editor – Robert L. Giron

Robert L. Giron has worked as an editor of creative nonfiction, educational nonfiction and literary fiction. He has edited the award-winning essay collection “An Interdisciplinary Introduction to Women’s Studies” and numerous articles, in addition to over 55 books of poetry and fiction, including “Literatures of the African Diaspora” and “Prosody in England and Elsewhere”. In addition to work on books, he has worked on items for publicity. His fees are negotiable, as it depends upon the project, with a range of $25 to $50 per hour.

Freelance Editor – Jacqueline Church Simonds

Jacqueline Church Simonds has been helping authors perfect their voices by providing quality developmental/content editing since 2001. She has worked on over 25 books, such as Heist & High (True Crime/Bio, just out), Monster Lies (award-winning Self-Help) Gudrun’s Tapestry (award-winning historical novel), Hornet Plus Three (history), and many more. Available to work on fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, adventure) and non-fiction (biography, self-help, New Age, factual narratives). Charges $10 per page. Four free sample pages done to determine compatibility. Contact info@beaglebay.com.

Interview with Indie Bestselling Children’s Book Author AJ Cosmo

I love this author so much. As an uncle of 12 nieces and nephews all over the world, and a kids and YA author, I’m always on the look out for great kids book. I’ve found them in AJ Cosmo and what I love about AJ’s books is not only are they funny books but AJ is also an indie author who has quietly done VERY well with kids books. I had to know more and I have what I believe is one of the few interviews with AJ online.

 

I’ve been admiring your work for the last few months. You’ve managed to sell thousands of copies of your kid’s books on Kindle.  For those not familiar with your work, what are your bestselling books about?

Thank you, Jeff! I’ve been very blessed so far with the Kindle. I’m best known for the Monster series that started with my best seller The Monster That Ate My Socks.” Other favorites include the controversial The Hope Flower and one of my all time favorites The Truth Fairy.

 

How many copies have you sold so far?

It’s just shy of seventy thousand. :)

 

I’m assuming you write under a pseudonym. There’s an air of mystery about you. What is something people don’t know about the real AJ Cosmo?  And why do you write under a pseudonym?

Correct. I do write under a pseudonym but it’s not to hide some deep dark secret, okay, you got me, I’m allergic to gluten, rather the name was created in order to split my work into recognizable divisions. I don’t just write children’s books and I want to make sure that people know what they are getting from me. I am also a shy person by nature, so I wanted the work to speak for itself.

 

What made you want to write kids books? Why not thrillers?

Children’s books were a natural fit for me because I both write and illustrate. When I only wrote, I felt like I was missing something. Same thing when I only illustrated. Combining the two as well as my natural goofy worldview somehow equaled children’s books. Monsters, aliens, dinosaurs, and imagined worlds have all been a part of my life since the beginning. Children’s literature is also one of the most difficult forms to write for.

 

The audience is demanding and way smarter than you’d think. They want original, compelling, well-crafted stories. You must also follow an unspoken rule book on words and actions that you cannot use. I think I’ve learned more from writing simple 450 word stories than I did from any of the writing classes I have taken.

 

As far as thrillers are concerned, I have written them as well as several other genres, but those have been released under different names and more are still to come. I love children’s books too much to ever stop writing them. However, I do want to push the boundaries of them and bring readers something that they haven’t seen before.

 

 

Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline? Do you rewrite? Do you use an editor? 

Each book starts out as an idea, usually just a sentence like “a princess who is cursed and can only say words that start with the letter P.” From there I extrapolate the plot and write a beat-by-beat outline. (I wrote a blog post about this here.) I then write a draft, usually in a day or two, and let the text cool for at least a few hours. I’ll then go back over it and tweak here and there. I rarely, if ever, re-write the entire thing because most of the issues that cause total re-writes should be addressed in the outline. Then it’s off to my readers.

 

I have three trusted readers and one confidant who approves all of my work. Sometimes if an idea is too out there I get reigned in. Then it goes off to one of the three editors that I work with. Everything has to be edited, even if it is remarkably short. I send the different types of projects to different editors depending on if I’m looking for structural and clarity improvements or if I’m just looking for spelling and grammar corrections. Having an editor is what separates good self-pub from the bad.

 

 

What is your writing schedule like?

I typically put a book out every two weeks so my schedule looks like this:

Monday Write outline and first draft.

Tuesday Revise first draft, send off to readers, sketch illustrations.

Wednesday Do three illustrations. Get back notes. Revise. Send to editor.

Thursday Do three more illustrations and take a long nap.

Friday Finish the rest of the illustrations. Create a cover. Wait nervously for the editor to get the manuscript back.

Saturday Get the edit back. Compile the ebook into HTML. Upload the book to Amazon and go through the previewer with a fine-toothed comb.

Sunday Put the book on promotion and then pass out for a week.

 

 

What did you do so successfully, marketing-wise, that has made your books fly off the digital shelves?

 

Truth be told, I only recently started marketing. My books all have advertisements for other titles at the back of the book. I also put all of the title and publishing errata at the back as well. I do this not only so the reader jumps right in but also so that the Kindle “look inside” feature shows the book rather than a title page and acknowledgements.

 

Up until recently, all I needed was to put a new book on promotion and readers would find my previous work. However, the free book promotion has lost most of its power and I have started to look towards other forms of promotion. This has turned out to be a great thing because I have started to connect with my readers and learn about what they enjoy. (This has also helped me overcome my shyness.)

 

I have a Twitter account that I update daily, a blog where I write about my process and also post craft activities, and a Facebook page where I interact with my readers. Facebook has been by far the most successful and rewarding and I recommend it to every writer.

 

I also recently launched ajcosmo.com as the hub of my work. You can contact me directly there and find some neat exclusive stuff . . .

 

What can we expect next from AJ Cosmo?

I’m starting to work on more long form projects with the goal of creating something similar to “Wayside School” or “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” I’m also highly interested in interactive media. I would like to make video games that are more like digital, interactive, storybooks; ones that still encourage reading while also offering an interactive experience.

I also think personalized content is the next logical step in the eBook market and as a proof of concept I’m offering a free personalized eBook on my website. You enter your child’s name and they become the main character in the book! It’s a simple trick but I’m hoping to expand on this and move towards more sophisticated creations.

Before I go, I just wanted to say thank you to Jeff for this interview and for creating a wonderful site in support of his fellow writers!

 

Jeff Rivera is the bestselling author of the children’s book, Um … Mommy I Think I Flushed My Brother Down the Toilet. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Um ... Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down The Toilet

AJ Cosmo

I love this author so much. As an uncle of 12 nieces and nephews all over the world, and a kids and YA author, I’m always on the look out for great kids book. I’ve found them in AJ Cosmo and what I love about AJ’s books is not only are they funny books but AJ is also an indie author who has quietly done VERY well with kids books. I had to know more and I have what I believe is one of the few interviews with AJ online.

 

I’ve been admiring your work for the last few months. You’ve managed to sell thousands of copies of your kid’s books on Kindle.  For those not familiar with your work, what are your bestselling books about?

Thank you, Jeff! I’ve been very blessed so far with the Kindle. I’m best known for the Monster series that started with my best seller The Monster That Ate My Socks.” Other favorites include the controversial The Hope Flower and one of my all time favorites The Truth Fairy.

 

How many copies have you sold so far?

It’s just shy of seventy thousand. :)

 

I’m assuming you write under a pseudonym. There’s an air of mystery about you. What is something people don’t know about the real AJ Cosmo?  And why do you write under a pseudonym?

Correct. I do write under a pseudonym but it’s not to hide some deep dark secret, okay, you got me, I’m allergic to gluten, rather the name was created in order to split my work into recognizable divisions. I don’t just write children’s books and I want to make sure that people know what they are getting from me. I am also a shy person by nature, so I wanted the work to speak for itself.

 

What made you want to write kids books? Why not thrillers?

Children’s books were a natural fit for me because I both write and illustrate. When I only wrote, I felt like I was missing something. Same thing when I only illustrated. Combining the two as well as my natural goofy worldview somehow equaled children’s books. Monsters, aliens, dinosaurs, and imagined worlds have all been a part of my life since the beginning. Children’s literature is also one of the most difficult forms to write for.

 

The audience is demanding and way smarter than you’d think. They want original, compelling, well-crafted stories. You must also follow an unspoken rule book on words and actions that you cannot use. I think I’ve learned more from writing simple 450 word stories than I did from any of the writing classes I have taken.

 

As far as thrillers are concerned, I have written them as well as several other genres, but those have been released under different names and more are still to come. I love children’s books too much to ever stop writing them. However, I do want to push the boundaries of them and bring readers something that they haven’t seen before.

 

 

Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline? Do you rewrite? Do you use an editor? 

Each book starts out as an idea, usually just a sentence like “a princess who is cursed and can only say words that start with the letter P.” From there I extrapolate the plot and write a beat-by-beat outline. (I wrote a blog post about this here.) I then write a draft, usually in a day or two, and let the text cool for at least a few hours. I’ll then go back over it and tweak here and there. I rarely, if ever, re-write the entire thing because most of the issues that cause total re-writes should be addressed in the outline. Then it’s off to my readers.

 

I have three trusted readers and one confidant who approves all of my work. Sometimes if an idea is too out there I get reigned in. Then it goes off to one of the three editors that I work with. Everything has to be edited, even if it is remarkably short. I send the different types of projects to different editors depending on if I’m looking for structural and clarity improvements or if I’m just looking for spelling and grammar corrections. Having an editor is what separates good self-pub from the bad.

 

 

What is your writing schedule like?

I typically put a book out every two weeks so my schedule looks like this:

Monday Write outline and first draft.

Tuesday Revise first draft, send off to readers, sketch illustrations.

Wednesday Do three illustrations. Get back notes. Revise. Send to editor.

Thursday Do three more illustrations and take a long nap.

Friday Finish the rest of the illustrations. Create a cover. Wait nervously for the editor to get the manuscript back.

Saturday Get the edit back. Compile the ebook into HTML. Upload the book to Amazon and go through the previewer with a fine-toothed comb.

Sunday Put the book on promotion and then pass out for a week.

 

 

What did you do so successfully, marketing-wise, that has made your books fly off the digital shelves?

 

Truth be told, I only recently started marketing. My books all have advertisements for other titles at the back of the book. I also put all of the title and publishing errata at the back as well. I do this not only so the reader jumps right in but also so that the Kindle “look inside” feature shows the book rather than a title page and acknowledgements.

 

Up until recently, all I needed was to put a new book on promotion and readers would find my previous work. However, the free book promotion has lost most of its power and I have started to look towards other forms of promotion. This has turned out to be a great thing because I have started to connect with my readers and learn about what they enjoy. (This has also helped me overcome my shyness.)

 

I have a Twitter account that I update daily, a blog where I write about my process and also post craft activities, and a Facebook page where I interact with my readers. Facebook has been by far the most successful and rewarding and I recommend it to every writer.

 

I also recently launched ajcosmo.com as the hub of my work. You can contact me directly there and find some neat exclusive stuff . . .

 

What can we expect next from AJ Cosmo?

I’m starting to work on more long form projects with the goal of creating something similar to “Wayside School” or “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” I’m also highly interested in interactive media. I would like to make video games that are more like digital, interactive, storybooks; ones that still encourage reading while also offering an interactive experience.

I also think personalized content is the next logical step in the eBook market and as a proof of concept I’m offering a free personalized eBook on my website. You enter your child’s name and they become the main character in the book! It’s a simple trick but I’m hoping to expand on this and move towards more sophisticated creations.

Before I go, I just wanted to say thank you to Jeff for this interview and for creating a wonderful site in support of his fellow writers! 

 

Jeff Rivera is the bestselling author of the children’s book, Um … Mommy I Think I Flushed My Brother Down the Toilet. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Um ... Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down The Toilet

Jasinda Wilder | From on the Brink of Poverty to New York Times Bestsellers

You’ve seen them on CBS Evening News, you’ve read about their success on the blogosphere but just months ago, Jasinda Wilder (and the husband and wife team that writes under that name) were about to lose their house.  Rather than crumble in a ball and give up, they did what any good writer does, they got to writing.  The result?  They wrote 20 books in 6-months including the New York Times and USA Today bestselling indie title, Falling into You and they saved their house and kept their big family from living on the streets.  Having been homeless before, I was so inspired by what this dynamic duo accomplished, I had to find out the details. Give me the details! Here is what they said:

 

What is Falling into You about?

It’s about a girl and her lifelong best friend who fall in love, and then the boyfriend dies suddenly. It’s about the way Nell deals with Kyle’s death, and eventually learns to move on and love again.

Did you have it edited? If so, how did you manage to do so affordably?

Yes, of course I had it edited. You can’t not have your book edited and expect to be taken seriously. I have an editor with whom I’ve worked for a long time. She’s wonderful and affordable, even before I started making good money at this. There are all sorts of resources for affordable editing services. Writer.ly is a site dedicated to connecting writers and freelance services, i.e. copy editing, content editing, cover art, formatting, etc. That’s a good place to start if you have no contacts.

Why writing? Why not try to start a business or get an extra job? Why did you choose the crazy business of books as a means to help rescue yourself?

Well, I already had a business. I’ve been teaching music and theater privately for fifteen years. Another job out of the house wouldn’t have worked for my situation. I was already working 60-80 hours a week, so I needed something I could from the house, and my husband and I both wanted to take a shot at writing.

What was your game plan when you decided to buckle down and write books?

Game plan? Write. Publish. Repeat as quickly as possible. The plan was to write as many damn good books as we could, and put as many out as quickly as possible. We wanted titles earning across the board. We wrote book in various genres to see what worked.

What is it about your books that you think that people have really latched on to?

I’d like to think it’s about the characters being real people, and about the stories being based on real life. I write about life, about people. I tell stories that move me, so hopefully they move others, too.

If you were to talk to yourself, the you back then, what advice would you tell yourself?

I’d warn myself about some of the associations I made early on.

What is your writing process and schedule like? Do you outline? Do you rewrite?

Our process is simple. We come up with an idea, we brainstorm until the characters feel good to us, until the story seems compelling and complete. This is all verbal. We don’t outline or plot or anything. We talk it through until it feels right, and then we start writing. When it’s done, we both read it through several times and fix things that aren’t right, and then we have it edited, have a few hand-selected friends read it, and then we publish.

What did you do, marketing-wise, to make your book take off? 

Social media. We have a FB and Twitter account, and we’re on them consistently. We answer all emails personally. We answer all tweets and posts personally. Readers/fans are what make this career possible, so we treat them each as friends, as family. We stay humble and personable. We don’t bash other writers or industry pros, we stay out of drama and politics. We do giveaways (no silly gimmicks like epilogues for reviews or anything). We do a newsletter, and we link the newsletter and social media accounts in the back of each book, making it easy to find us.

With such a big family, how do you manage to fit writing in?

We have a friend who helps us with the kids during the day so we can work. Also, we’re always working. I’m answering emails and social media all the time. During dinner, while watching TV, in the bathroom, all the time.

What is your next book about?

Our next book is Falling Into Us, a parallel follow-up to Falling Into You. It’s follows the story of two characters from FIY, Becca and Jason. The story takes place at the same time, and encompasses the events of FIY, providing more insight to what happened to Nell and Kyle, and it also tells more of Nell and Colt’s story after the ending of FIY. It’s NOT A SEQUEL. There’s been a lot of discussion about this. It’s NOT A SEQUEL. It tells a new story, but it DOES give you a lot more Nell and Colt.

Coming June 21st!

How Indie Authors Can Work Together | Interview with Indie NYT Bestselling Author Jana DeLeon

Being an indie author can feel like a lonely cause sometimes.   You spend most of your time in front of your computer typing away (when you’re not procrastinating on Facebook).   And then, when it comes time to launch, you tweet the night away; hoping and praying that all your efforts will pay off.  But what if there was a way you could harness the power of other authors and work together to launch your novel?  That’s exactly what today’s interview Jana DeLeon did to help re-launch her book which lay dormant for years.  The result? It hit the USA Today bestsellers list and went on to hit the New York Times bestsellers list as well; all with the help of her sisterhood of indie authors.

Could you do this too to launch or relaunch your book? I had to find out how she did it and here is what she said:

You resurrected your traditionally published book from the dead and it became an indie bestseller. Why not just let it rot? What motivated you to breathe new life in it?

 

When I first suspected my former publisher was circling the drain, I immediately told my agent to watch for any breach of contract and get my rights back. That was early 2010 and although indie publishing was not the huge business it is today, I already knew I was going to release the books myself as soon as I had the rights.

 

I wanted to self-publish because I didn’t believe that my traditional publisher had reached the limits of the audience that my books appeal to, and as I’m still selling thousands of them each month, I am certain I was right. Not only did self-publishing allow me to get my work into the hands of more readers, it pays so much more than traditional publishing that I was finally able to quit my full-time job at the end of last year and write full-time.

 

It’s said that you banded together with other authors to give the book its boost. What did you do specifically step-by-step to make it a USA Today bestseller?

 

The group I’m part of, The Indie Voice, was instrumental in gaining the momentum needed to make RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU a USA Today bestseller. All ten members of the group have established readership that trusts their opinions when they recommend books, and by cross-promoting, we all get ten times the social reach we would have otherwise.

 

To hit the bestseller list, I scheduled a Bookbub ad to run on a Monday. USA Today counts sales from Monday through Sunday, so it makes the most sense to schedule your ad for the first day of the counting period in order to get the most push for the week.

 

I released a newsletter to my subscribers Monday morning to announce the sale on Rumble.

 

I contacted Pixel of Ink, Daily Cheap Reads and ereader News Today and told them about the sale. Two of them picked it up and posted about it later in the week, which gave me additional push.

 

All members of The Indie Voice tweeted and posted on Facebook about the sale on Monday. Toward the end of the week and on the weekend, members posted again to remind readers that the sale would be ending soon. I tweeted and posted the sale on my own Facebook page and Twitter feed also.

 

The Indie Voice has managed to get a boxset of eight suspense/mystery novels by eight of the members to number seven on the New York Times bestseller list and we hit the USA Today bestseller list two weeks in a row. The strategy for this was the same as I used for Rumble except that Amazon gave us a pre-order button. So now, all ten members of our groups are NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors. We couldn’t be happier.

 

How did you choose these authors in particular to work with?

Actually, they chose me. Four of the authors, Denise Grover Swank, Debra Holland, Liliana Hart and Jane Graves met at the NINC conference in 2012. Because they were serious indie authors, they decided to form an author support group to help promote their indie work. Each of those four recommended other authors that they knew were serious about the business, produced quality work and already had an established readership, and The Indie Voice was born. We limited membership to ten because it seemed the most manageable number without spreading ourselves too thin.

 

Lots of authors would love to do what you did. What mistakes do you see many authors do?

The number one mistake I see indie authors making is failure to learn craft. Craft is the difference between a nice story and a professional product. Sure focusing on things like pacing and passive voice may seem irrelevant, but once applied to an entire novel, they make the difference between a reader loving a story and struggling to finish a book. A writer’s first book is almost never good enough to publish and even worse, many don’t have beta readers and don’t pay for professional editing. If writers don’t take their business seriously enough to invest time and money, why should readers pay for their slipshod product?

The second biggest mistake I see indie authors making is releasing one book then spending all their time marketing it. The first principal of marketing is that product sells product. And with books, series sells. Write a series. Release a book, post it on Facebook, and write another book. Stop paying for ads. Stop putting a first book for free when you have no other product to sell. Why spend time, money and effort to draw people to your digital store when you have nothing else to offer? Attention spans are shorter now than ever. Don’t make a huge effort to get noticed before you have more product to offer customers.

The third biggest mistake – and I’ve seen a lot of this lately – is indie authors selling to New York houses and making bad deals that have damaged some careers short-term and will do worse long-term. Successful indie writers are in the driver’s seat. If a publisher doesn’t offer you a deal that’s as good or better for you as it is for them, then give them a polite “no thanks” and walk away until they become realistic about what they need to offer.

 

What promotional efforts did you try that you would not do again?

 

I have tried everything at least once. I think indie authors should try everything because what works for one author will be a complete fail for another and vice versa. I have found that advertising with banners on websites yielded the lowest return of my investment. Something great would have to happen to change my mind and get me to do that again.

 

What books will you be launching/relaunching next?

 

I put up all of my backlist in 2010 as soon as I got rights back, so no more relaunching. But I started a new mystery series, the Miss Fortune series, and I’m bringing back my bestselling traditional series, the Ghost-in-Law series, with a new release June 2013.