Author Topic: NYT and USA Today Romance Author with a Unique Idea. Tell Me What You Think!  (Read 13271 times)  

Offline RomanceAuthor12

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Hi everyone!

I'm a very long time lurker but first time poster. I'd prefer not to identify myself yet but I have a couple of questions I'm hoping you can all weigh in on.

First, here are my credentials: I've made the NYT bestselling list more than two dozen times and the USA Today more than 40. I've sold more than 7,000,000 books.

I started publishing just a few years ago and my career has settled into a really nice place. I have a large following, great rapport with my fans and I'd love if more authors could achieve the same level of success I have.

To that end, I'm thinking of offering my guidance and my resources to romance authors who haven't hit the level of sales they'd like.

This is still a work in progress in my head, so bear with me.

I'm thinking of a tiered system of assistance (since not everyone is looking for the same level of guidance):

These are the tiers I'm considering and the pricing. Any and all feedback appreciated!

Top Tier  - $1299.00 for the year
-Weekly one-on-one time with me (via phone or facetime).
- Six spots in my mailing list blast. (80,000 very engaged, very enthusiastic romance readers.)
- Five covers designed and delivered per year.
- One video trailer designed and delivered per year.
-Three manuscripts edited and formatted per year.(Uploaded if necessary.)
- Ongoing weekly support with plotting, etc.

Second Tier - $899.00 for the year
-   Three spots in my mailing list blast per year.
-   Two covers designed and delivered per year.
-   Two manuscripts edited and formatted per year. (Uploaded  if necessary.)
-   Twice monthly support with plotting, etc.
-   
Third Tier - $599.00 for the year
-   One spot in my mailing list blast per year.
-   Two covers designed and delivered per year.
-   Two manuscripts edited and formatted per year. (Uploaded if necessary.)
-   One session of support with plotting, etc  per month.

As much as I'd love to offer mentoring and assistance for free, I have to pay my designer, the person who does the formatting and my editor to help with this.
If you're a romance author and something like this would interest you, please share that here.
This is a very exciting prospect for me so I'm anxious to see what the level of interest is.



« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 08:22:37 AM by RomanceAuthor12 »

Offline My Dog's Servant

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 755
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
I'm curious why you're considering this. Looking at the time involved in all this, even if you've hired help to handle most of it, it seems to me that someone with your level of success would make more money just writing another book or three. Some authors like Marie Force and Gemma Holiday have started their own publishing houses, but those efforts, once launched and properly staffed, wouldn't require the personal time commitment as what you're proposing.

Like I say, just curious. I wouldn't be a candidate for a client, so, sorry, I can't provide useful feedback.

Offline This_Way_Down

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 540
    • View Profile
What strikes me is the price. Editing could exceed $1299 for just one book done by a reputable editor. How are you able to do three? Is it simple line editing?

Offline Tavia

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
- Five covers designed and delivered per year.
- One video trailer designed and delivered per year.
-Three manuscripts edited and formatted per year.(Uploaded if necessary.)

I would want more information on the logistics of offering other people's services as a middleman sort of thing. Would it break down to a higher or lower price than the authors would pay going directly to the designer and editor? Would the author be able to communicate directly with the designer and editor?

It seems like that might be better handled as "here's the designer I use, you can contact her here" rather than including it in a package.

Online Jennifer Lewis

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 667
  • www.jenlewis.com
    • View Profile
    • www.jenlewis.com
As a romance writer I think it sounds like an amazing deal but I would want to know a) who you are b) what the covers look like (and what options are available) and c) what your editors' credentials are.

If you can really deliver all that with the quality readers and writers expect then I'd think it any of those levels would be good value for the money! Most writers already spend more than that on covers and editing.
FREE RIGHT NOW!                                               BOXED SETS                                                     MANGA!
      

Offline WriterSongwriter

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 83
  • Teller of stories in long and short form
    • View Profile
Hi everyone!
First, here are my credentials: I've made the NYT bestselling list more than two dozen times and the USA Today more than 40. I've sold more than 7,000,000 books.
I think your offer is very generous. And it's not expensive if you sold 7 million books. Your knowledge would be priceless.

Offline Steve Voelker

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 488
  • Gender: Male
  • Philly
    • View Profile
Sounds interesting. Almost like you would be better off just starting a small publishing imprint.

I'd also say that if you are willing to put anyone who pays in your newsletter, that your list will begin to devalue pretty quickly.

Offline SallyRose

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 396
  • Gender: Female
  • California
    • View Profile
First, congrats on your success!

I'm not looking for a program like this, but I did have some thoughts as I read through your planned offerings:

1. Even at your lowest tier ($599), I'm not sure how the numbers would work for you. Just for light copyediting and proofreading I pay more than your total package cost for two manuscripts (avg 75k each). Add on top of that two cover designs and 12 (1 per month) "plotting" sessions and it seems impossible that you could provide quality work for that annual price. The gap becomes even greater at the higher tier levels you've proposed. The only thing I can think of is that you're going to attempt to build the careers of fairly newbie editors and cover designers as well as authors, so maybe they're giving you some kind of massive discount off of more standard rates.

2. You only mention your own time investment in the top tier package (facetime/skype calls). Is this the case? Is it a developmental editor that is providing the plotting sessions? If so, see #1 - the pricing now seems even more unrealistic if an author is to expect experienced guidance. Also, given your credentials, how can you possibly have time for weekly skype calls? I would assume to have the sales accomplishments over just the past few years that you've outlined, you've got an extremely agressive writing schedule. How can you realistically make this offer, unless the top tier is limited to a single client?

3. Overall, what you've outlined strikes me more as you offering to be a contractor than a mentor - subcontracting nearly all of the items to editors and designers. If that's the case, I'm not sure you'd hit your stated goal:

As much as I'd love to offer mentoring and assistance for free, I have to pay my designer, the person who does the formatting and my editor to help with this.

To do this right, you'd give up a lot of time to broker services between authors and vendors - unless it's just a straight referral, which again goes back to the pricing issues and ultimate quality delivered. Is a lead into starting a small press... then maybe this somehow works for what you want to accomplish.

If your goal is truly mentoring vs. starting a side publishing business, I think it would be fantastic (and more doable) to choose an up and coming/deserving author or two to give the hands-on mentoring - and give them referrals/best practices to use when picking editors, designers, etc.

Anyway, that's just my initial take based on the limited details provided.

Best of luck!

Offline mach 5

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 510
  • Don't mind me - just here to procrastinate
    • View Profile
I think at those prices it sounds too good to be true.

For each cover that's worth paying for, figure a value of at least $200 (assuming stock photography with photomanipulatio rather than illustrations or photo shoots)
Figure at least $300 for a trailer worth paying for
Figure at least $0.008 per word on the editing (that's low - that's not dev editing)
Figure at least $50 per email blast
Any meaningful mentoring (you say weekly 1 on 1, but then also weekly support with plotting, etc., although not specifying it's with you) at a rate of at least $100 an hour.

Offline LilyBLily

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1226
    • View Profile
Others have said it better than I can, but I might as well add my voice to the nay-sayers. Your prices are way, way too low. Your time on the phone alone is worth more than your total top-tier package price. Check out what consultants to corporations charge per hour--and most of them are charlatans who don't know anything. You on the other hand have valuable information to impart. You are the reason writers haunt the bar at the RWA conferences, hoping a few pearls of wisdom will drop from your lips. Price your advice accordingly, and don't dirty your hands with any of the the design, editing, formatting stuff. You'd still be offering a tremendous value to writers who wish to emulate you.


 

Offline This_Way_Down

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 540
    • View Profile
Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I want to call [bull****]. I can name a few authors who would want to do this. I bet I have it right. The numbers don't add up.




Edited.  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 01:53:16 PM by Betsy the Quilter »

Offline WriterSongwriter

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 83
  • Teller of stories in long and short form
    • View Profile
The numbers don't add up.
Which numbers? The 7 million books sold, the 40 USA Today bestsellers or the 2 dozen NYT bestsellers? Those numbers seem, perfectly reasonable to me. The only thing that sort of rained down my parade is that after selling 7 million books you still don't get to relax on a beach somewhere, but you have to keep working. That shattered my dreams.

Online Patty Jansen

  • Status: Isaac Asimov
  • ********
  • Posts: 11150
  • Gender: Female
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Destroyer of Science Fiction
    • View Profile
    • Patty Jansen Author of SF and fantasy
Which numbers? The 7 million books sold, the 40 USA Today bestsellers or the 2 dozen NYT bestsellers? Those numbers seem, perfectly reasonable to me. The only thing that sort of rained down my parade is that after selling 7 million books you still don't get to relax on a beach somewhere, but you have to keep working. That shattered my dreams.

Don't get so fixated on those numbers. I have no idea who the OP is and that's actually not important for evaluation of this plan.

It seems to me the plan is selling *someone* severely short, maybe several someones, namely these people:

- the cover designers who have to produce covers for much less than they'd usually charge to stay within the budget
- the editors, who have to work cheaply in order to stay within the budget
- the OP when she does the above two things. Even if she massively enjoys (and is good at!) editing and cover design, it strikes me that her time is much better spent writing books
- or, worst of all, the authors who pay, and subsequently the OP realises that the sums don't add up and it's all a metric [crap]-tonne of work, and the OP makes do with cookiecutter covers, skimps on editing and on personal coaching, and leaves a trial of angry authors who are out of pocket.

Unless it's all a carefully-managed paying-forward scheme from the OP, in which case it's the only way I could see this work, but she'll lose money on it.

Offline Crystal_

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1837
  • Gender: Female
  • Portland, OR
    • View Profile
Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I want to call Bullsh%t! I can name a few authors who would want to do this. I bet I have it right. The numbers don't add up.

Yeah, something isn't adding up. At those prices, OP can't be many much money. Why wound an author with a mailing list of 80k and 7 million copies sold want to bother with such thin margins? It makes me very doubtful of OP's claims.

I cleared six figures last year and I would happily pay $1200 for covers and editing on 3-4 books. I probably spend [crap] that on average or 2x that much if I include a developmental edit and I really don't want to get into prices for custom photos ($500-1k+).

If you want to help mentor people, find an author or two on social media or on Amazon. Don't charge for mentorship. Just don't be surprised when/if the person you're helping out had a nice release our month than you. I've had that happen a few times.

Offline StatBabe

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 20
    • View Profile
I'm with the skeptical lot on this one.
Liv Long

Offline sela

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1257
  • Gender: Female
  • Planet Earth is blue and there's nothing I can do.
    • View Profile
A few comments:

If you are this successful with that many NYTs and USATs under your belt in only 2 years, I have no doubt you are a skilled writer who delivers again and again. However, that doesn't mean that you can teach or coach. That's a whole other skill set. I can totally understand wanting to get into teaching, personal coaching etc. I enjoy that myself, having taught college courses for several years in my first career.

I think the most valuable thing someone like you could offer a romance author looking for more success is feedback rather than actual covers or editing, formatting, etc. Those things won't sell a book that doesn't deliver and it's writing a book that delivers that most of us have to figure out how to do.

So, I would be looking for:

- feedback on an existing book, a critique of existing cover, blurb, keywords, etc. and suggestions on how to spiff things up. This would go a long way to proving your worth as a coach.

- feedback on plots and storylines, covers, etc. of upcoming books.

- a plug on your mailing list.

- access to the professionals you use at maybe a discount.

Depending on who you are, I might be willing to pay top dollar for that and I am a six-figure author. I'd like to move to the next level (7-figures and hitting lists) and would be willing to pay for advice on where my work is lacking, and feedback on new ideas, etc.


Offline Wendy Jenae

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile

I'd do it in a heartbeat if, as Sela says, there is mentoring value included.

I agree.

In fact, I'd pay $1300/year just for weekly mentoring.

Offline mach 5

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 510
  • Don't mind me - just here to procrastinate
    • View Profile
I have to say, my initial (unwarranted) impression is that the OP would be trad published but the timeline is impossible IMO. The timeline is pretty impossible absent both own books and books in boxsets. Is 7 million entirely own books sold or including boxsets in which the OP participated? Cost of books sold?

E.g. say all NYT were boxsets with 12 authors at .99 each - that is a gross of 102083 for each participating author for 3.5m copies sold. If the rest of the books were own books at 99c, that is gross of 1,225,000. Hitting the lists that many times requires advertising budget.

7m copies sounds amazing -- is amazing in its own right -- but it is selective use of numbers. It's not gauche in my mind to say "I've sold 7 million copies and earned over $5m." Even then, I'd want an idea of net income -- because if part of the mentoring is "buy a lot of ads," then my money was poorly spent in buying a package.

Offline MonkishScribe

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3806
    • View Profile
The OP has sold seven million copies in only a few years and yet needs to hustle for consulting gigs? I'm . . . skeptical.

Offline KennethEng

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 11
    • View Profile
I am curious as to why you seek advice from us. I have virtually no publishing history, which is the case for most folks here. If anything, you should be advising us on what to do!

I would probably continue publishing books the normal way if I were you. I am not into romance, but if you were to write a sci fi romance, I might happen upon your novel sometime.

Online BellaJames

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 622
    • View Profile
I'm skeptical too. The top tier seems cheap for what you are offering.
I watch many interviews with bestselling authors and most don't seem to have the time to do all that with juggling their writing career, family, home and hobbies.

If you are as successful as you say, then what Sela suggested would work better.

-Take one romance author and offer some advice on their manuscript (how to make it more hooky for the readers)

-help them to promote their book (what are some good promo sites for contemporary/na romance). Is there one thing you are doing that you don't see other authors doing (although that might be one secret you don't want to share)

- Offer a couple tips that are not out there on every writing forum

-Maybe offer to add them to your mailing list and plug them on social media (thats not time consuming for you and you'd be plugging an author that you have helped and worked with.)

- As Sela said, offer a discount to work with your cover designer and editor OR recommend someone else that you know does good work

Charge or don't charge. That's up to you.

Offline Ryn Shell

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 760
    • View Profile
How long did you hold the top spots in those promotions? Was it achieved based on money spent, or because the books stuck on the top seller lists for a month without massive payment boosts to keep them there? Those are the sorts of questions experienced writers will want to know. Which is why I couldn't answer you, as to if what you are offering is good value or not. I've no idea who you are or what your qualifications are. People have bought those top spots. Sometimes it works for them, sometimes not.

If you were excellent at mentoring and editing those are great prices. I've paid prices like that for private tutorial, without all of the other bonuses.

Mailing list sizes go over my head, I'm only interested in the open and act on numbers.

I'd jump at your top tier deal, and write my first pure romance novel, rather than a crime with romance as an extra, if the deal was as good as it sounds and I had a mentor as good as you.
It's because it sounds too-good-to-be-true, and you are anonymous, I'd pull back with extreme caution. I know how much time mentoring, promoting and editing (I don't edit my own books) takes.

What I don't understand is, if you are such a successful author, why aren't you using a professional editor and focusing on writing.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 07:56:41 AM by Ryn Shell »

Offline oakwood

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 500
  • Gender: Male
  • Scandinavia
    • View Profile
Welcome to KBoards where we habitually hit newcomers on the head  :D

Joking aside, I haven't seen this offer in another forum where it would have made uh.. more sense, and for that reason alone sign me up with the skepticals.

I also agree the pricing feels weird. Granted, good covers are utterly cheap these days if premade but there is no way editing fits in there.
Actually, I would eagerly pay the top tier price for only the 6 email blasts if the list has 80,000 romance readers  8)

Offline PaulineMRoss

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2497
  • Gender: Female
  • Nairn, Scotland
    • View Profile
    • The Brightmoon Annals
Welcome to KBoards where we habitually hit newcomers on the head  :D

LOL, but we hit them on the head with honest feedback, not baseball bats. :) There are some very, very experienced authors here, from all genres and levels of success, so it's actually the perfect place to fly this kind of kite.
   

Pauline M. Ross (epic fantasy) Website | Mary Kingswood (Regency romances) Website 
Bookbub rejections: 55 and counting...

Offline brkingsolver

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3322
  • Baltimore, MD
    • View Profile
Having done some editing of indie manuscripts, one would have to be extremely selective of clients in order to do the editing alone. Unfortunately, the educational systems in the U.S. and U.K. (the only countries whose denizens I've edited for) have stopped preparing their students to use the written word. For me to edit three manuscripts at a little over $400 each, I would not be making any money, even if they were clean when I received them.


BR Kingsolver | Author website