Episode Summary

The world of publishing is full of people who can help you on your author journey, and Reedsy is here to connect you to that world.

Episode Notes

Reedsy is on a mission to help authors and publishers create beautiful books. Today we’ll chat with co-founder Ricardo Fayet to learn how Reedsy’s marketplace–its publishing ecosystem–connects indie authors to the world’s top publishing talent.

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Kevin Tumlinson, Ricardo Fayet

Kevin Tumlinson 00:02

Well, hey there, everybody, thanks for tuning in to another Self-Publishing Insiders with Draft2Digital. And this time, we’ve got another returning guest, we’re kind of doing a thing right now where we’ve got some guests who’ve been on the show multiple times in the past, but we just can’t stay away, especially from this guest in particular, an FOB, a friend of business, a great guy to hang out with in Vegas and in other places. We’re talking to Ricardo Fayet, co-founder of Reedsy. Hey, Ricardo, welcome back to the show.

Ricardo Fayet 00:33

Hey, Kevin, thanks for having me again.

Kevin Tumlinson 00:35

I’ve actually lost count of how many times you’ve been on the show, but it’s always fun. It’s always, everyone always responds very well. So I am actually excited to talk about this, because there’s some things happening on the Reedsy front, and I want us to get into those. But first, I mean, how you been doing? How’s everything going in terms of Reedsy and your work there?

Ricardo Fayet 01:01

Very good. Very good. I think January, start of the year is always a great period for us. Probably for you guys, as well. A lot of people publish a lot of books, a lot of new year resolutions, you know, people get old manuscripts out of the drawer, and they send them to editors on Reedsy here, or they say I’m gonna change my cover. So we always get a surge of an activity in January. This one’s no different. So it’s always fun to see, like, December, things slow down a lot. And so even after eight years, we still worry, is it going to pick up again in January as it always does? So it’s nice.

Kevin Tumlinson 01:41

So for those who may not have tuned into earlier episodes, or may not be aware, can you give us kind of a rundown of what Reedsy is and what you guys do for the author community?

Ricardo Fayet 01:53

Sure, the main thing we’re known for is our marketplace where you can come in and get quotes from professionals, whom we’ve vetted for all kinds of different services. So we started with editing and design. So all kinds of editing, from developmental editing down to proofreading, cover design, typesetting, illustration. And now we also have like marketing in there. Those services are for authors who are a little bit further along. So in terms of marketing, we’ve got people who can help with email marketing, advertising, Facebook, ads on BookBub. People can help with strategy, people who can help with blurb writing. And then we’ve got literary translators, website designers, ghostwriters, so pretty much all kinds of people you would ever need to hire throughout your writing career. And I think, yeah, that’s what we specialize in. And we’re most known for. Then we’ve got a few other things like a free writing tool, which also exports. But yeah, fewer people know about that. So a bit like Draft2Digital, you guys are known for your distribution. And yet you have amazing formatting templates that not everyone knows about. Same thing here.

Kevin Tumlinson 03:07

I appreciate the plug for our stuff. One of the things I appreciate about Reedsy, by the way, is it’s a one stop shop kind of thing where I can answer the questions. When people come to me and say, how do I find a cover designer? How do I find an editor? You know, I can boil all that down to just reedsy.com. Then I have to spell it. You know, why did you guys go with the double E for Reedsy? I’m gonna put that link up by the way.

Ricardo Fayet 03:36

Yeah. So it’s mostly it’s because the domain was available. the.com domain was available. That’s a big reason. The other reason is, it’s basically it refers to papyrus. Papyrus is made of reeds. That was one of the earliest forms of writing. And so we’re like, okay, let’s go for that. It sounds cute. So we’ll run with it.

Kevin Tumlinson 04:00

You know what they say, when you’re naming your company and establishing your brand, you should go with something obscure like reeds. Just kidding. And so you guys, when were you founded?

Ricardo Fayet 04:14

In 2014.

Kevin Tumlinson 04:16

Yeah, a couple, just a couple of years after Draft2Digital kind of started hitting the pixel scene. So we’ve all been through pretty much all of it together. So that’s almost 10 years. That’s nine years ago. So over the past nine years, what do you think has been like the biggest shift in this business? From your professional perspective?

Ricardo Fayet 04:44

I think the biggest shift is the one that started it all, the shift to ebooks. Because that’s what enabled everything that’s come afterwards. Since there have been, smaller shifts that some people thought were going to be huge revolutions like Kindle Unlimited. Now there’s AI, there’s audio, which keeps growing. But more than a shift that adds new formats and new possibilities and new markets. So I think for me, the big shift is the thing that made everything possible in the first place, which was the adoption of mobile devices, of e-reading and the growth of like, digital shopping, basically.

Kevin Tumlinson 05:30

Yeah. It’s really been interesting to watch the marketplaces shift, like the early days, it was basically Amazon. You could eventually get to something like, you know, Barnes & Noble or something, Kobo came along. But now there’s actually marketplaces even I have never heard of. Like, we try to be aware of all of them. But there’s some popping up all the time. There’s new ones. So what are you seeing? What is the service that authors come to you for the most?

Ricardo Fayet 06:09

Still, to this day, it’s editing. Because I think it’s a service that everyone kind of needs and wants, especially in the earlier stages of the journey. And even afterwards still, you know, copy editing and proofreading. Then it’s cover design, though, I think for cover design, we still get a ton of new authors who are certain that they can do their covers themselves, no matter how much we recommend against that, but I get it. In some cases, it can make sense. And then we’ve been really amazed by the growth of marketing, we get a ton of marketing requests. We don’t have as many marketers on Reedsy as we would want to, because we’re quite selective. And so we get a lot of applications from marketers who probably wouldn’t be that great. But obviously, we have a ton of interest. I think most writers, whenever one of their books doesn’t sell, will attribute that to marking before they attribute it to the cover or the book itself. So the first thing they want, they’re gonna want to send on Reedsy a request for marketing services. Then maybe the marketer says, you should reach out to a cover designer here, or actually read the first few pages. And I don’t think this is ready to be marketed. They usually say it in a nicer way. But yeah, we get a lot of interest for marketing services. And we’ve been pleasantly surprised with translation as well, we thought it was going to be very niche. But we get especially authors, I think, especially repeat business for translation, like authors who hire the same translator over and over, who then start entering, they start with the German market, and then move on to the other European markets. There’s definitely, it feels like the people who are doing it are having success with it. So they’re keeping on with all their markets.

Kevin Tumlinson 08:05

It’s interesting, you know, I have someone doing German translations for my books now. And it is interesting, because there’s spikes in sales on that stuff. So just the shift, because the books are available in English there, but they’ve never been available in German. And it does make a difference. How common, so people do the translation. So like, how common is that? What percentage would you say, of authors you guys get, are doing translations?

Ricardo Fayet 08:35

Maybe 1 to 5%, something like that. Obviously, for those of you who are not aware of Reedsy, like we are very selective in terms of the professionals we accept on the marketplace. And so for translators, we have people who’ve worked with all of all of the big names in in their countries, like who’ve worked with the top publishers in their countries, so they’re professional translators, and as such they charge like 10 cents per word, which is kind of the starting rate for translation, it can be a little bit below or a little bit above, depending on genre, and you know, whether they hire someone else to proof it afterwards, things like that. But it’s expensive, like you’re thinking, 80,000-word novel, $8,000, you gotta be making a good amount of money on the English-speaking market before you can think about putting $8,000 to translate one book, and usually people who do that they go for the first three books in the series. And so we’re talking even more money. And they recoup that if they already have an audience usually in in the country where they’re translating. Like you for example, you’re getting English sales for your English books in Germany, so it makes sense for you to translate to German because those people are fans of yours over there. they can tell their friends who don’t necessarily read in English, hey, this author is awesome. And now his books are finally available in German.

Kevin Tumlinson 10:06

That is the challenge though, because you are effectively starting over from scratch. So what is, you’ve mentioned this a couple of times, when it comes to the people that you guys allowed to hawk their services through you, what is the process like to vet those people?

Ricardo Fayet 10:29

It’s very manual. So we get them to complete a profile. And that profile is basically their application. And it is what authors see afterwards on the marketplace. And then we look at all the information on the profile, and we have a series of criteria. And usually, the criteria is, you know, having worked for X number of years as a professional editor or designer, marketer, etc. Ideally, experienced in either traditional publishing or with big indie names, people who have proven to sell well, so that we’re certain that these people know their markets. And yeah, and then we’ll review the profiles, and we tweak them, or we ask them to tweak them, etc. So it’s a pretty long and manual process. But the result is that you get a really nice selection when you’re on Reedsy. It’s a searchable selection. So you can search by genre, you can search by service, you can search by keyword if that genre doesn’t isn’t in the drop down menu, for example. So yeah, if you want someone who’s done like specifically, you know, Victorian romance, you can put in Victorian romance as a keyword and get a very, very specific list of results.

Kevin Tumlinson 11:42

Yeah, that’s handy. Because, you know, everyone’s got something slightly different. So being able to kind of fine tune that, that’s very handy. We have a question. I want to pop it up. Because this is a good question, I think. I think we can go off on this tangent a little. But Olgivy Stent on YouTube asks, “Is this like Fiverr?”

Ricardo Fayet 12:06

Yeah, in the sense that it’s a freelancer marketplaceThe difference is, obviously, it’s focused on publishing. And we have a completely different vetting process from Fiverr. Like Fiverr, it’s a lot easier to search to list your services on there, there’s a tiny, tiny bit of curation, and a lot of it is automated. Us, we accept less than 5% of freelancers who apply to be listed on Reedsy or apply to, yeah, basically offer their services on the marketplace. So we’re very selective, and the process is completely manual. So that’s the main difference.

Kevin Tumlinson 12:45

That’s cool. That’s impressive. I mean, it’s good that you’re that … I wanna say picky, it’s not really picky. But I mean, you have stringent rules and that sort of thing. So what can someone do to, last question I’m going to ask on this part of it. But what can someone do to up their odds of getting in as an editor or a designer or whatever? Like best practices.

Ricardo Fayet 13:16

Yeah, build experience. So we’ve got a blog post, if you search for like, Reedsy freelancer selection criteria, you’re going to find a post highlighting the criteria. And just build experience, Reedsy is not a place where you’re going to start kickstart your career. Basically, you got to kickstart your career elsewhere, edit for friends, maybe offer discounts, or find friends who are ready to pay for your services, non-professional services yet, build your experience, build your portfolio, start taking on bigger names. If you’re good at it, authors are going to recommend your services to their peers. So you should get a bunch of business pretty quickly. And once you’ve got those years of experience, and those books under your belt, then you can apply to join Reedsy. And even if you’re not selected at first, you can reapply. We’ve got people who applied one year or two years after the first time and then they were accepted the second or third time around, because they built that experience.

Kevin Tumlinson 14:16

Yeah. Yeah. That’s good. So you had mentioned marketing, and you actually have a book or a couple of books. How many books do you have now? Two. But the newest one is marketing focused. I think they’re both marketing focused. I think the second one is focused on specifically Facebook ads. You want to talk a little bit about the new book?

Ricardo Fayet 14:46

Yeah, so it’s Amazon Ads for Authors. So not Facebook ads, but it’s more about Amazon ads.

Kevin Tumlinson 14:53

I’m sorry. I am sorry. I got that. Proves I don’t have the book yet. It’s blue, that’s what it is. That’s the problem. Amazon ads are such a tricky thing because you, there’s some guidelines and rules and some things that could prevent you from being able to successfully use Amazon well. What would you say is the number one thing someone needs to remember, if they’re going to try to use Amazon ads?

Ricardo Fayet 15:28

That it’s a very analytical platform. Like, it’s a purely mathematical platform. There’s next to no creativity involved in setting up ads on there. So if you enjoy, if you run Facebook ads, for example, and you enjoy the part of the process of creating images, you come up with copy and all of that, you’re not going to find that on Amazon. For me, it’s all about numbers. And a lot of the book is about numbers. It’s like, how would you figure out if your books are making profit? How to optimize your bids to make sure that you reach that profit? And then how do you scale? And so yeah, some people have complained that there’s too much math in there. But that’s the problem with Amazon ads, basically, it’s very analytical.

Kevin Tumlinson 16:16

Is there any limit on who can use Amazon ads?

Ricardo Fayet 16:22

Yeah, you gotta have, I mean, certain authors might not be able to use them as an ad for certain products. If the cover displays things like nudity, I think the guns thing, if they’re pointed at the reader. There are, for the steamy stuff, some books are not eligible for Amazon ads. And it’s not always super straightforward. It’s a little bit hit and miss, like, your ad might get rejected, in some cases, and they might go through in some others. So I know that for that kind of stuff, other channels are better. Facebook ads, potentially, based on the imagery. TikTok has grown a lot basically for that audience. But for everything else, I would say that 90% of authors can use Amazon ads for their books. And even if you can’t, I would still try and wait for Amazon to shut it down if they want to shut it down.

Kevin Tumlinson 17:38

You might advise me against this, I don’t know. But one of the things that I’ve enjoyed about Amazon ads is that I can effectively set it and forget it. Like I’ve set up some ads that work well enough for what I need. And I haven’t had to touch them in forever. So they just, unlike Facebook ads, which seem to kind of, eventually their effectiveness fades or something goes south. I’ve had Amazon ads running for quite a while that still seem to get the numbers. And I’m no good at ads.

Ricardo Fayet 18:13

One of the things I say in the book is that I think authors check their ads way too often for Amazon. It makes no sense to check your ads every day or even every week, unless you’re getting a ton of clicks. If you’re getting, you know, 100 clicks a week, then those clicks are going to be distributed across a bunch of different keywords, or targets. So if check that once every two weeks or once a month, that’s plenty enough. Otherwise, you’re making decisions based on oh, this this target got two clicks and didn’t sell anything. And then you close it. It’s way too early to prove that, you’ve got no statistical significance here. So yeah, I actually look at Amazon ads, for most authors I’ve worked with, I looked at them every couple weeks or every month. And you spend a bunch of time on that. But you spend that time when there’s enough data in there for you to be able to make decisions.

Kevin Tumlinson 19:10

Yeah, the tricky thing about ads and trying to track the data and everything is that it can get really expensive. And I think that’s what worries people. Do you have tips for how to keep the cost down for testing?

Ricardo Fayet 19:25

Yeah, for me, there are two tactics, right, which I outline in the book. There’s the tactic that was more popular in the beginning when cost clicks were cheaper, which is spray and pray. You put a bunch of different keywords and targets in there, you bid relatively high, and you see what sticks to the wall. Obviously, by throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall, you pay every time you throw something at the wall. So right now it can be costly. So if you’ve got money and you want to shorten the learning process, you can do that. If you want to bootstrap it more, then you need to stay hyper relevant and start with very, very, very relevant targets. That’s gonna be, not even just also boughts, but also boughts with a super similar cover and a super similar blurb than yours. And going very, very specific. And if it starts working well, then trying to expand progressively, but little by little. So two types of funnels, right? If you have a lot of money, you start with a big funnel and you narrow down but obviously by narrowing down you spend money, or the other the other kind, if you have a budget in mind, right, then you start very, very narrow. And then you expand slowly, slowly, slowly.

Kevin Tumlinson 20:44

All right, I think the real answer here is buy Ricardo’s book. Actually, is it free?

Ricardo Fayet 20:53

No, that one isn’t. The first one, How to Market a Book, is free. But the second one is paid.

Kevin Tumlinson 21:00

Okay, so they can get hooked on the first one for free. And then they are going to definitely want to pay for the second one. Now here’s a question.

Ricardo Fayet 21:10

That’s an old tactic.

Kevin Tumlinson 21:12

Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Lure them in, that’s the candy. So here’s a question. Maybe this is the idea for your next book, Ricardo. But Gregory asks, “I’m curious, because I’m not a fan of Amazon ads and Facebook ads have been going south for me for years. I mainly communicate on Twitter. Are there tools for Twitter?” Do you know anything about ads on Twitter?

Ricardo Fayet 21:36

Every time I’ve tried it, be it for Reedsy or for authors, it’s been terrible. And I haven’t heard anyone who had success advertising their books on Twitter. Now, there might be some people. But the targeting capabilities are pretty bad on there. And yeah, you can get a lot of impressions, but the clicks aren’t there. So I would use Twitter, if you enjoy Twitter, I would use it organically. And try to get some organic visibility to readers in there using the right hashtags, interacting with people etc., creating threads. But I wouldn’t try to advertise on there.

Kevin Tumlinson 22:25

Yeah, I have to agree with that. Because I have had absolutely no luck with getting sales through Twitter. And I’ve tried all kinds of things. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It just means I’ve failed at it. So let’s shift a little, we got more questions, and I definitely want to loop back on a couple of them. But you guys have some stuff coming up, what are you working on at Reedsy?

Ricardo Fayet 22:54

Yeah, so we’re working on a few things this year. But the most important one is a little addition to our free writing tool, the Reedsy book editor. So we don’t often talk about it. But I mean, we talk about it from a formatting perspective. We’ve always said that it can export, you can export for free to ebook format, so EPUB and to print-ready PDF, so a little bit like, you know, Vellum or Atticus, but It’s browser-based, so accessible from any device, and it’s free. The downside is that you don’t have a ton of templates and formatting options, like you cannot put flowery things in the corners of the first pages in each chapter, for example, which is one of the main reasons I think why a lot of authors go for Vellum. Yeah, but we’re working more on like the earliest stages. So we’ve added goal-setting and tracking in there. So you can say, I want to write X amount of words by the end of March, say like 50,000 words, and then the program’s gonna show you, okay, you need to write X amount of words per day. And you got little graphs to stay accountable. And then you can activate notifications. If you miss your target one day, you get an email the next day telling you hey, you missed your target. But good news, you only need to write this many words from now on per day to still hit your end of March target. So it’s a little kind of accountability thing. And now we’re releasing probably next week, so it’s not there yet. But next week, we’re adding boards in there which is basically plotting tools, so you’ll be able to create in a different section boards for characters, for locations, just for notes, and then you’ll be able to pin those to a sidebar so that you can have, for example, like a whole character in the sidebar with their description, their traits, and while you’re writing the manuscript, you can refer to that character or to a location or to anything in there. So, yeah, I think it’s gonna be fun for plotting. And then jumping straight into the writing in the same tool.

Kevin Tumlinson 25:14

Those kinds of tools always end up distracting me from the actual writing. Like I’ll spend, you know, three weeks designing the perfect set of characters and settings. And, you know, before I know it … I’m a professional character designer. What you guys need is a marketplace for people to put the characters and settings and plots and stuff up for sale on Reedsy.

Ricardo Fayet 25:38

Maybe, we’re thinking of doing templates in the future.

Kevin Tumlinson 25:41

Yeah, that’d be handy. I’m kidding about that. I don’t think anybody should be buying characters and things from someone else. That just sounds like opening a can of worms. So that’s cool. So that’s over the next month, or did you say like in March?

Ricardo Fayet 25:58

Yeah. Probably next week.

Kevin Tumlinson 26:00

Next week, man. All right. And you told me before the started, this is the first time you’ve talked about it publicly. An exclusive. We get so few of those. That’s cool, man. I’m glad to hear that. And I don’t hear much about your writing tool, we need to probably push that more. Because, you know, it’s important for people to have options like that. I’m a big fan of, you probably know this, I think you sat in on my bootstrapping for authors talk in Vegas. But I’m a big fan of tools that authors can use to produce professional quality work with like, no to low overhead. So I’ll have to update my slide deck for Reedsy now.

Ricardo Fayet 26:46

Thank you. I hope so.

Kevin Tumlinson 26:49

So in terms of like, speaking of budgets and overhead, and I know that things are going to be variable, but, you know, what can an author expect in terms of overhead if they’re using Reedsy for these sorts of things? Most authors don’t have a budget. So what should they expect coming in?

Ricardo Fayet 27:17

It depends on the service you’re looking for. Every year, we analyze our data on the marketplace, from all the all the quotes are sent. And we create these average rates, for editing, cover design, etc. And it varies a lot by service. It varies, obviously, it varies by genre, as well. And so we’ve got this little calculators and graphs where you can see how much editing, how much developmental editing costs for an 80,000-word romance versus memoir, or self help book, right? I think if we sum all the steps of editing up, like if you hire someone for developmental editing, then you hire someone for copy editing, then you hire someone for proofreading and you hire someone for cover design, for like a full-length novel, that’s probably going to run, by the average rates we see on the marketplace in the $4,000 or $5,000. Which is quite a bit of money. Thankfully, you don’t have to hire all those services. And usually, our recommendation is that, you know, you hire two separate kinds of editors, one for the story element part and one for the mechanical editing part. So someone for developmental editing, and then someone who’s going to do both copying and proofreading. If you’ve got extra cash, and you really want to have zero typos in your novel, then you might want to hire a separate proofreader or even several separate groups. I know some authors who do very well, and they hire up to five different proofreaders, I think, when they release something. Which sounds excessive, but I mean, you know.

Kevin Tumlinson 29:05

But everyone misses something.

Ricardo Fayet 29:08

Yeah, everyone misses something. So if you really want nothing to get through, then you hire a bunch of people. But yeah, if you’re really good, and then you need to identify where your strengths lie, right? Maybe you’re very good at mechanical editing, catching typos. Then you just pay for developmental editing, which is really, really, I think, indispensable at the earlier stages of your career. But you save money on the copy editing and the proofreading by doing it yourself. And a few typos are going to be there. But, you know, it’s like, readers will forgive that more than they will forgive a huge plot hole or a book with pacing that completely slows down after chapter three, right? So yeah, you gotta basically decide where you put your money.

Kevin Tumlinson 29:57

Yeah, and that’s the rule anyway. I mean, you should be really picky about where you’re putting money and really efficient about it. Okay, so we have a question from earlier. And I’m really curious to hear your answer on this. “Is Reedsy a way to connect with agents on some level?”

Ricardo Fayet 30:17

I don’t know which level. No. We have a directory.

Kevin Tumlinson 30:23

You don’t have a listing or anything like that?

Ricardo Fayet 30:27

We do have a directory of literary agents, where you can create even a shortlist of literary agents, and then export it. We’re not going to connect you to them. It’s just a directory that lists their information, what kind of books and authors they’ve represented and which agency they work for, where they’re located, etc. So it’s a very helpful research tool, especially since it’s free. Like for a lot of other tools, you have to pay. That one is free, so definitely use it. But it’s not magical in the sense that we’re not going to connect you with an agent. What I really recommend, like, if you really want an agent, what I would consider getting is hiring a professional editor for a query letter review. That’s a pretty inexpensive service, because they’re just going to look at your query and your first five pages. But that is so important that their opinion, yeah, it’s worth investing a couple hundred bucks to really nail those elements. Because otherwise you might pitch, you know, start off by pitching the five agents you really, really want because they seem perfect for you. And just because there are a few things that are often your query, they’re just going to dismiss it right out the gate. And you’ve burned a bridge of five agents, your five most interesting ones. So that’s why I recommend spending time and a bit of money to get those things as perfect as possible. Which in no way is gonna guarantee that you’re gonna get the agent of your dreams, but it’s going to put all the chances on your side.

Kevin Tumlinson 32:04

So you’re familiar with Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat Pray Love. She in her book, I am going to call it Big Magic, I think is the title? She actually said something about how she actually got a book deal one time because she kept sending the same query back to the same agent, but like years apart, and the familiarity of it got the agent to pick it up. Now you and Elyssa … Sorry.

Ricardo Fayet 32:39

No, that’s one way to go about it.

Kevin Tumlinson 32:40

Yeah, familiarity. You know, they recognize the idea and familiarity breeds attraction, they say. So you and Elyssa, our own Elyssa had the same thought. I wanted to post her comment. “You could hire an editor with experience in editing query letters on Reedsy,” which is, you know, not a bad way to go. I mean, that’s something I think a lot of authors, if you are aiming for some sort of traditional contract, we don’t think about that. Usually, we would think about hiring an editor for our, you know, the actual book. But we hardly ever think about, you know, maybe I should hire an editor for my copywriting. Or maybe I should hire for my query writing or something. So that’s a good point. Here’s a nice comment that popped up from Carolyn. “Reedsy has so many useful resources. Love your launch book.” That’s cool. Thank you. Is that something you want to talk about, launch book?

Ricardo Fayet 33:43

I think that’s my How to Market a Book book. The one that is free on all retailers, the one that comes in the series before the Amazon ads book. But I mean, if you’re referring to a different resource on Reedsy, let us know. Because we do have quite a few.

Kevin Tumlinson 34:01

Yeah, I think the launch process is something that’s tricky for authors. Even I sometimes, I’ve changed my workflow for launching a book probably a dozen times over the past almost 20 years now. And it’s just, you do have to update it to accommodate what’s new out there in the marketplace. You guys are kind of closely watching the marketplaces and stuff right? I mean, you’ve got a great blog, by the way, we get criticized internally because our blog isn’t as good as yours.

Ricardo Fayet 34:41

Internally, by we? Who do you mean by we?

Kevin Tumlinson 34:44

I’m not gonna drop any names. But a very special birthday boy today has pointed out that we could do, we should aim for your blog in terms of quality.

Ricardo Fayet 35:00

That is very nice to hear. Thank you birthday boy,

Kevin Tumlinson 35:04

I agree with him too. I mean, we’re we were working on it, but you guys have definitely got your content game down.

Ricardo Fayet 35:11

Yeah, I mean, we’ve got a good team. And we’ve been doing it for quite a long time. I think content marketing has always been super important for us. Also, because we’re a self-service marketplace. And so a lot of times, we’ll get authors on there who land and they have no idea what developmental editing is, what typesetting is, what copy editing is, and all those things. So we figured out we better do a lot of education and produce a lot of content to basically teach authors what they should be looking for, what the cost for these services usually is. So that they can actually use our services successfully.

Kevin Tumlinson 35:56

Yeah. So sorry, a couple of people are complaining about the stream being glitchy. I’m sorry about that, I have no control over that. So I hope I hope the problem gets resolved for you. Things seem fine on our end so far. All right. ACE Adams wanted to comment on ads. “It has always been for me what to pay per click,” I think he’s trying to figure out what to pay per click. “Some folks say 20 cents CPC, but I don’t think they will serve your ads at that price.” What’s your experience on that with Amazon?

Ricardo Fayet 36:40

My experience is that it varies quite a lot by genre, and from one author to another. In competitive contemporary fiction genres, it’s going to take more than 20 cents usually to get a click. It can go up to $1 or more. That said, what I’ve usually found is that newer accounts have to pay more, because Amazon has no data on that account. So they have no data on whether your ads are going to attract clicks, let alone sales. So your what we call the quality score of your ads is nonexistent. Whereas you’re competing with other authors who’ve been advertising for a while, and Amazon has data on their ads. And they know that their ads produce a lot of clicks and a lot of sales. So they have a high quality score. And so for Amazon, it’s more beneficial to show their ads rather than yours, unless you’re bidding higher, right? So in the beginning, you often have to bid a little bit higher, and then you reduce. The alternative is going forward very longtail targets and keywords. So the very, super relevant stuff I was talking earlier, where you can afford to bid a little bit lower because there’s fewer competition, but obviously, you’re not going to get a ton of clicks on those because they’re longtail. So yeah, you’ll have to bid a little bit higher in the beginning. But then if your ads do well, Amazon’s gonna help you. And I think that’s true for all retailers. And all in sales in general, the more you sell, and the better you do on the on any retail, the more they’re going to help you. You gotta first prove that your book is doing well in their marketplace for them to want to push it further.

Kevin Tumlinson 38:33

All right. So you Reedsy and you in particular Ricardo, like us at D2D, have a pretty unique perspective on the indie publishing side of things. What do you think is the next big turning point for self-publishing?

Ricardo Fayet 38:58

It’s looking like it’s gonna be AI, apparently. I’m not big on predicting the future, because there’s a ton of different things that can happen. Jonathan is much, much better at that than I ever was. But yeah, there’s a bunch of stuff, right? There’s the blockchain technology that’s been around for a while. In theory, that could be amazing for books. In practice right now, it’s very far from ready. And we could have said the same thing about AI last year, right? In theory, it can completely change the publishing landscape. In practice, it seemed like we were years away from it. And right now, it seems like we’re there. So it’s hard to say, but it does seem like it’s the new technology that’s going to have the most immediate, significant impact. And it remains to be seen, like, where and how much. I think what’s weird with AI, it’s going to depend a lot on legislation I feel, and we have no idea what that the legislation is going to be and when it’s going to happen. Usually it takes years for laws to change, and for AI, we need laws to change very quickly.

Kevin Tumlinson 40:20

Yeah, it’s a very, it’s a very steep change curve. Everything happens instantly. Like, you know, in the past, when we’ve had technological advances that that either benefited or harmed authors in some way it did, you had months to years sometimes to figure it out. And this felt like a flip of a switch. Like, suddenly, we have to deal with this now. Along with like aliens, and spy balloons, and all kinds of other things that are happening in the world, like, suddenly AI is a thing that we now have to, you know, not just contend with, but just deal with. Like, we have no idea where it’s going. It’s really interesting to watch everything evolve.

Ricardo Fayet 41:07

I think it’s going to create, like any new thing, I think it’s going to create opportunities, and I see it in a positive light. I do think that we’re gonna need legislation, because otherwise what’s stopping someone from, you know, feeding an AI the whole catalog from a successful author and just like entering their niche tomorrow with 50 different books?

Kevin Tumlinson 41:31

Do you see that though, as an actual, like, everyone’s got a different answer for this. I have my own take on this. But is that, any other than the volume of books that they could probably produce, is it really a problem that the AI is training on someone else’s work? Do you see that as some violation? You don’t have to answer that if it puts you on the spot by the way.

Ricardo Fayet 41:57

I see it as a violation, if they train it on one person’s body of work, rather than a group of anonymized bodies, right? But obviously, that creates gray lines, like, what constitutes a group, like how many people do we need to have a group in there? Like, for example, I think it’s easier to understand images. If I say, create a drawing in the same style as this famous illustrator, and then that drawing is technically mine, if I paid for the majority license, and I can use it commercially, that feels weird to me, and it feels to me like this shouldn’t be allowed, because you’re basically taking years of work, feeding it to an AI, and then basically appropriating that work. And that’s that. Whereas concepts are more general. You know, I want a realistic, or I want a painting that’s like, an impressionist style. That doesn’t belong to anyone, right?

Kevin Tumlinson 43:14

You know, and we’re gonna move away from this as soon as I ask this question, I promise, because it’s an interesting question. But like, what is functionally the difference between me asking an AI to give me art in the style of Jim Lee, a famous comic book artist, and me going on fiverr.com and asking an artist there to give me art in the style of Jim Lee? Is it really that different? This is not our topic, by the way.

Ricardo Fayet 43:48

I think saying that someone should copy it, there can be a question as to the legality. It depends, like, how close what they create is to the …

Kevin Tumlinson 43:59

Let me make it clear. I’m not asking for, I want this exact image by Jim Lee. I just want art in that style, the same as I might want art in the style of Picasso or art in the style of Leonardo da Vinci. But anyway, you know, we’re not gonna be able to solve this or answer these questions. Because there’s a lot, there’s so much to consider. But suffice to say, neither of our companies are working on anything AI at the moment that I’m aware of. But I still see it as a good tool. I use it for some editing. I think it’s a very good editing tool. It’s pointed out some things that I never would have spotted on my own. All right, well, sorry for getting us off in those weeds. For some reason, AI becomes the topic all the time now. I guess it’s understandable. But you guys are continuing, I’m always impressed by everything you’re doing. Always. And I’m one of your biggest fans, I promote you. Here at Draft2Digital, when people ask us for recommendations for things, you guys are always top of mind. So could not speak highly enough of Reedsy and of you, Ricardo. You and I got to hang out in Vegas last time for really the first time, we didn’t get to bond earlier, but we bonded in in Vegas. So it was good to see you there. So anything you want to throw in here at the end? We’ve already talked about what’s coming up, you know, if you want you can pitch your books or anything else you want.

Ricardo Fayet 45:42

We’ve talked about pretty much everything.

Kevin Tumlinson 45:45

Yeah, everything Reedsy. And all that’s left to say is make sure you go to reedsy.com. That’s Reedsy.com, named for reeds I learned in this episode of Self-Publishing Insiders. You’ll be back. You’ll be back. Well, you’re always back. You always come around. Everybody watching this, make sure you go to Reedsy.com, visit that, check them out. Definitely there, stay for the resources. It’s a great, great tool. Make sure that you are signing up for an account at Reedsy but also at Draft2Digital.com We can help you out. And make sure you bookmark D2Dlive.com, where you can get updates on upcoming episodes like this one. That’s gonna do it for this episode of Self-Publishing Insiders. Thank you again, Ricardo. And to everyone else, thank you, and we’ll see you all next time. Take care.

Ricardo Fayet 46:47

Thanks Kevin. Thanks, everyone.