Abigail Owen, co-owner of Authors on a Dime, talks about the benefits of using an author service.
What is an author service?
An author is really the owner of a small business with an employee of one. A lot drudge work is involved in producing and marketing a book, but an author service can eliminate some of that so a client has more time to write. A variety of functions are available such as brainstorming, editing, self-publishing assistance, development of social media platforms, and publication graphics. A good service can also be tailored to any level of writing from novice to published author.
What should a writer look for when deciding on an author service?
You want to find the best service for you, so it’s important to set a budget and priorities. Authors on a Dime is an all-purpose agency, with a broad spectrum of services in areas such as proofreading, webdesign, graphics, and social media, but other companies may have a narrow platform. To choose a cover designer, for example, examine the artist’s portfolio (examples of that designer's work). Choosing an editing service is more difficult. How can you determine the quality of work? A good method is to see if they offer a free sample. We edit for free the first chapter (or 10 pages, whichever is longer) giving an author a good feel for the level of expertise.
Last but not least, compare prices. Does the agency have an all-in-one package or can you pick and choose what works for you? Our services have a tiered level, giving authors a variety of options.
So it’s not just editing?
No, an author service can encompass many different aspects of publication. For example:
Beta Reading - Instead of editing, this is reading for content with focus on plot, conflict, character development, etc. Sentence structure and grammar are addressed in so far as they affect the story’s flow.
Copy Editing / Proofreading - The editor tightens up the mechanics, with attention paid to wrong words, misused punctuation, and grammar to eliminate errors and make the manuscript shine.
Blurb - A blurb is the description on the book jacket or Amazon page used to attract a reader’s attention. Many writers find them difficult, and a second set of eyes is often helpful.
Synopsis - Torture to many authors, the synopsis is a short (1-3 pages) description of all the major plot points and characters in the book. Most editors and agents require them with manuscript submissions. Marketing departments often use them to determine book cover designs.
Graphics - It’s not just book covers, but banners or social media posts to incorporate cover elements and build an author platform.
Brainstorming or Consulting - Sometimes you just need to ping an idea off someone.
Developing a Social Media Presence - A lot of sites are out there. Which ones will work the best for you? An author service can present options.
Self-Publishing - Agencies like ours can walk a client through the process, including editing, book cover, blurb, formatting for ebook and/or print, and even publish the book via Amazon, Smashwords, and/or Create Space.
How should an author select an agency?
Ask around for references. Check out services online. Visit our website at Authors on a Dime and compare our services to others. Try our10 page free editing sample. Can’t even get started on that novel? We also offer a free online workshop for NaNoWriMo participants. We naturally hope authors will choose us for publication needs, but the most important point is to find a comfortable fit with an agency who matches your style, needs, and budget.
Abigail Owen is the co-owner of Authors on a Dime, a boutique author services agency. Employees’ credentials include MBAs, Masters in English, and 20+ years in web design, project management, business analysis, and editing.