As co-founder of Reedsy, Ricardo Fayet is a familiar and much-respected face in the indie publishing world. The company was formed in 2014 to curate editing and design services. Ricardo explains that its core purpose is the same now as it was then: “to provide a safe place where authors could find some of the world’s best editors, cover designers, illustrators, book marketers, website designers, ghostwriters, translators, [and/or] pretty much anyone any author would need to hire at any point throughout their writing career.”
A lot of work goes into ensuring that the freelancers listed in their marketplace are the best. Ricardo told us, “I think what makes it really special is that we accept less than 5 percent of the freelancers who apply to be on our marketplace. It’s very curated. We pay a lot of attention. We put a lot of manual work into vetting the people who are in our marketplace to make sure that any professional whom you can hire on Reedsy is going to be a properly accomplished professional and an expert in their field.”
While Ricardo didn’t want to give away their secret processes for assessing freelancers, he did share that their profiles are similar to Linkedin, where the candidate lists their work experience and provides an overview of the jobs they’ve worked in and the services they want to offer. “The most important part is the Gallery for designers, which lets us know exactly what type of books they’ve worked on in the past. That’s generally the section we review the most, and we have the strictest criteria on.”
If a freelancer wants to work with Reedsy, they might need more than five years of experience in their field; it will vary from one service to another. But they generally require traditional publishing experience for editors. That means they work (or have worked) at any of the Big Five or at a well-known independent publisher. They confirm all this with background checks.
The process for vetting literary translators involves double-checking that they are listed as literary translators and verifying all the books that they mentioned in a portfolio. They carry out a lot of manual background checks to ensure that the professionals on receipt are who they say they are and have done what they say they’ve done. If they meet the criteria and they pass a background check, only then will they be added to the marketplace.
Do Reedsy’s ghostwriters write outlines?
Ricardo confirmed that some of Reedsy’s ghostwriters do write outlines. “Most of our ghostwriters specialize in nonfiction, but we’ve got quite a few fiction ones as well. And when they write a fiction book, just like any writer, they’re going to start with an outline, or a plot can be more or less detailed. So yes, you can hire a ghostwriter to come up with an outline based on a story idea or genre. You can definitely have them do that.”
Ricardo isn’t just a curator of high-quality services to the author industry. He’s also the author of a nonfiction book called How to Market a Book. He shared his process.
“It was a bit of an uncommon process because I was trying to write a book for a while. I tried to motivate myself, but I could never really find the time and motivation. So instead what I did is, I launched a weekly marketing newsletter around three years ago, which I tried to send out every Thursday. That forced me to write between five hundred and a thousand words every week, which is not much. But over the weeks and over the years, it piled up into massive, maybe eighty-thousand-word documents. When I thought I’d covered pretty much all the topics, all the big topics that I could think about, marketing-wise, I thought I should really put them together into a book because I had all this material. I constantly had people from the newsletter ask me about past issues, so I thought, it’s much easier for me to put all this into a book and send them the link to a book.”
Instead of starting from an outline, Ricardo started with a bunch of different newsletters. He put them together to create the outline using an ebook editor tool. “Basically, I copy-and-pasted all the newsletters into chapters. I created different parts to group the chapters together. I created the outline based on the material that I had, then I filled in the blanks. Some of it was outdated, and I had to write transitions, but I found it much easier to complete the book once it was in order.
“This was achieved using Reedsy Book Editor’s writing and formatting tool. I used it for outlining as well because you can drag and drop the chapters in the sidebar, which I think you can do in other writing programs as well. But since that one was free and I happen to be a founder of the company, I thought I was going to use that one.”
Do you have the writing bug? Do you want to write again?
Ricardo continued, “I created a series page on Amazon with this book, and I called it the first one in the Reedsy Marketing Guide. So I kind of committed to writing the next one. I should have something on Amazon ads by the summer [of 2022].
“What I found is that since the ebook is free, it doesn’t have as much exposure, maybe as a paid book, that would sell quite well. So I want to put a paid book out there, not so that we make money on it, but so that it’s in the paid list and it can have visibility on there as well. And authors can hopefully find us through searching on Amazon for marketing advice.”
Ricardo has a big presence at conferences. He speaks and socializes with the authors and is known affectionately in the author community as “Spanish Jesus.” Does it feel different now that he’s written a book himself?
“The indie author community is very inclusive, so I’ve always felt part of it. But it’s true that one of the reasons I wrote the book is because I was being asked the question, “So what are you writing?” Which is the number one question you ask someone you don’t know at a writing conference. And so I had to say, “No, I don’t write.” So I thought, I’m going to write a book, and I’m finally going to have a better answer to that question. And you know what? Since I’ve released a book, I think no one has asked me, what are you writing? I hope I meet someone at the next conference to ask this question.”
Is there anything in the pipeline you would like us to know about?
According to Ricardo, Reedsy is working on redesigning their marketplace to provide an even better experience for people visiting it and to make it simpler for new authors to understand who they should hire.
“We’re going to be adding features to make it collaborative so that you can write in real time with all the authors and you can share it with editors directly.”
If you’re looking for Ricardo out in the wild, he’ll be at 20BooksMadrid; SPF Live in London; The Indie Unconference in Matera, Italy; NINC; and 20BooksVegas. Online, he can be found at reedsy.com and on all the usual social media platforms. He’s happy to receive emails at Ricardo@retail.com.