What You Need To Know Before You Offer Author Services to Other Authors

As an author entrepreneur, I never originally envisioned that I would offer author services to other authors. My original dream was to write amazing books and I would make enough with my royalties to live off of. This is still the dream, but my royalties are a percentage of my total business revenue. For my story, I stumbled into offering author services because people kept asking for advice and someone finally asked me what I would charge. So, to start I was happy to keep helping people and answer questions, but once they asked me to do work for them and spend hours of my time on it, I’m glad they offered to compensate me. And they also asked me to do work that I
1. Could do and
2. Wanted to do.
Those are two very important factors.

So if you are thinking of offering authors services to other authors, here is what you need to know and do before you get started:
Know all the options out there and what services are currently being offered to other authors. Author services include editing, cover design, formatting, book marketing (author interviews, blog tours, bookstagram tours), and coaching.

Do your research on the services that you want to offer. If you want to do book cover design you need to look at the other services out there. What do they charge? What do they offer? Should you offer those packages too? Can you offer everything in those packages? Should you charge the same or less to be competitive? Do you have more experience and can you offer more? What are the reviews for these services so you can see what people like (good communication, easy to work with, quick turn around) and what they don’t like (service ghosting on them, not getting the working files, surprise upcharges).

Practice asking for payment and downpayment. First, you should ask for a downpayment for your services. This splits the responsibility, right? The author trusts you to finish the job and you trust them to send the final payment on delivery. Also, selling can be hard if you aren’t naturally good at it.

Only offer what you want to offer. If you hate formatting, don’t list formatting as an offer. If you enjoy copy editing, offer copy editing. As a coach I have had clients ask me if I will be their developmental editor and I don’t want to do that (I also don’t have the experience to do that) so I say no. I’ve designed some of my own covers, but I don’t offer that to potential clients because I’m not that good.

Along the same lines, be sure that your work is in line with your mission as a creative entrepreneur. I know that I want to be the help for authors that I didn’t have when I got started. That is my guiding principle when I am even talking with a prospective client. If someone says they just want to hack KDP to make money, hmm they’re not the client for me. You need to have a clear reason to taking on that project beyond just the money. Otherwise your heart isn’t in it and it will show through. You’re giving up your writing time to do this work, it better be worth it.

Know who your ideal clients are and be selective. As authors, we know we should be critical of anyone we hire to help with our book, we should ask questions, we should get comfortable with them and their offerings before handing over money. The same applies for you. Have a conversation with this prospective client.

With this you may think it is impossible to find good clients, it’s not. There are lots of great clients out there that you can work with. Over time you will start to get a feel for how to spot these troublemakers early. It takes time.

The final thing that I will say is that you can make money with your services. You have the expertise and your time is valuable. Know your worth. But as an author yourself, you know the margins. Be sure to be realistic about who you are marketing to. Be ethical, don’t put another author in a bad spot. It’s a small community. And even if your work is amazing and you were the best designer ever, if you charge too much that author will never earn it back and will go somewhere else for their next project, if they even have a next project. Repeat customers are good 🙂

Music from: https://www.bensound.com/ E.R.F.

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