If you’ve been following My Weird Indie Publishing Project, then you know by now that this is a walk through the indie author journey. My intention is to clarify that it’s not the same as “self-publishing,” where the author pays a lump sum to someone else to publish their work (e.g., Book Baby). Instead, the author is making all the decisions and doing most of the work herself.
Indie authors ARE their publisher and have responsibility for every step of the publishing process, including how the book is formatted.
Today’s update on My Weird indie Publishing Project, the Burnout to Bliss series, is about my experience working with Fiverr.com book formatters.
What is Fiverr?
Fiverr is a website of freelancers who offer all kinds of services, including those related to the publishing process — like Graphics and Design, Digital Marketing, and Writing & Translation. “Gigs” are $5; how many gigs you need to buy depend on the length and complexity of your project.
You can preview the services, see what’s “out there,” by going to the website, Fiverr.com, and either completing a request for service (to which sellers respond with offers) or “searching” for the specific service you need. For example “book formatting.”
Which Writer might use Fiverr?
- The writer who is new to the indie business and sees their experience in the first books as required learning.
- The writer on a tight budget
- The writer who is curious about the quality of services offered.
- The writer who only uses WORD, who has not yet learned to use Scrivener, which, I understand, can create the ePub required for digital books.
- The writer who learned how to do both print formatting and digital formatting for three different formats (ePub, Smashwords, and mobi) and concluded that was not something she ever wanted to do again.
How do you choose sellers?
Sellers provide information to make it easier: their ad, examples of their work, and an invitation to contact them. And Fiverr gives their sellers ratings: “1” and “2.” Level 2 is more experienced and has more reviews. You can also ask for a sample of their work on your document; each seller might have a different response, including how much it will cost you.
As a beginner in 2011, I did all the formatting myself, manually (no software) — for print book and Mobi files. I will never do that again without software. I did the formatting for My Final Quit and for Night Sounds. when the manuscripts were updated in 2012, I looked for a freelancer to do that part. She had a company on internet and she offered choices of styles and formats; in 2012 it cost me $215/book just for the print version — over my budget.
I’ve used Fiverr four times now with non-fiction books; each had special formats like block quotes, footnotes, endnotes, and bibliography. You pay more for those. The first time (2015) was with a gal from Croatia who got the most complex project, Rethinking the Law of Attraction. Even so, she was fast, cheerful to work with, and charged me $21 each for ePub, Mobi, and Smashwords formats and $26 for print.
But she was not available when I needed formatting for BURNOUT — How a Desert Lizard Restored My Faith (2016). Sarco Press had examples of his work and a compelling website of his own. He bundled all formats (print and digital) for under $70, but I paid extra because I found errors in my own MS while he was working and I asked for corrections. Total cost about $95.
Sarco was busy when I was ready to do Book 2. And so, I bought a sample format by a new guy ($20). With “training,” he ultimately produced a good ePub file — sadly, too late. After his first effort, a gal from India put the wrong name as author on the Copyright Page. She charges $.70/page + PayPal charges. Cost would have been $99 for print only. And so I waited for Sarco Press who did the work for all formats. Cost $165.
Sarco Press was not available when I was ready to format Book 3, 2 years 1 paycheck 0 plans, and so it was back to Fiverr. Of all the ads and reviews I read, WeFormat stood out. For the bundled price $199.50, Deepak did the interior design and PDF (print format) for both Ingram Sparks and Create Space, two digital files (ePub and Mobi), and spine/back cover for both print books. He works fast, and got to do it over and over as a result — lots of email interactions reminding him to “Please do it as shown in the MS.” But he is a professional and did as I asked.
about Working with Fiverr sellers
Unlike Sarco Press, which has a form the author fills out before the “contract,” most Fiverr sellers list what they do, and somehow, with lots of interaction prior to the “accepted offer,” buyer and seller agree on the terms. It is up to the buyer to initiate that conversation; sellers are okay with your just clicking what you want and letting them tell you how much it will cost. Depending on the length and difficulty of your project, the number of “$5 gigs” results in a total cost anywhere from $5 to $250.
All the sellers I worked with were professional and aware that it was my project, not theirs, even if I did have to remind them by referring to the manuscript I had mostly formatted for print.
Because most Fiverr sellers do not have a “fill-in-the-blank form,” I have learned that I must create that information and communicate it. Things to keep in mind before shopping for a Fiverr formatter:
- Check out the seller and see if they work with the kind of manuscript you have because non-fiction cab be very different from fiction.
- If your book is non-fiction, list the items of complexity it has — like photos, charts and graphs, block quotes, documented quotes, bibliography, index, etc.
- Familiarize yourself with the “parts of a book” and how they are formatted in your country; learn publishing standards.
- Assuming that you have done at least basic formatting, like title page, copyright page, dedication, and chapter headings, state clearly in the beginning that s/he must adhere to the formatting you have done in the WORD MS, because it meets the standard you need.
How do Fiverr Costs compare with others?
My most notable “other experience” was with my very first book, NIGHT SOUNDS (2012) — formatted by an internet company that charged $200 for interior design/PDF for the print book only. And I just learned that Ingram will format your document for print at around $700. Fiverr is cheaper, but you pay for that in time supervising the sellers.
Fiverr is on the low end cost-wise, and just like any other unknown adventure, lack of experience can cost you. As an indie, you are the publisher and it’s your responsibility to know what the parts of the books are and how they should appear in the book. Do not rely on Fiverr sellers to know that for you. But if your manuscript is ready for publishing (no errors), and if you vet your seller as suggested, you’ll have the same satisfying experience I have had without spending a fortune.
But the very best option is to do it yourself. Check out Dave’s blog post on Kindlepreneur about writing tools; some are free and others are not. Finally, if you are really on the low end, especially if you are writing fiction, then publish your digital book with Draaft2digital who will not only make it available on venues like iBooks and Kobo, but will also format it for you at no cost! Easy-peasy!
Burnout to Bliss Series
CYCLING in the CITY is a story about overcoming limitations –one small step at a time. It’s also about the process of making life changes – like why resolutions don’t stick. It shows how you can plan for success instead of failure – even how to make tough changes like quitting smoking, alcohol or drugs. And, it includes the underlying SECRET for success!
Buy it On Amazon here.
Book 3 is now available for $.99 on Pre-Order! (When the book is released march 9, it will cost $3.99).
Get it on Amazon HERE.
Till next time,
Please be kind to everyone you meet for we all have our hidden sorrows.~Tzaddi
Thanks for stopping by! ~Pam