Tag Archives: Fiverr

Are you a New Author?




Writers Beware is one of t
he first websites all new authors need to read before they look for a publisher or at self-publishing. Along with this you should read ‘The Ultimate Author Checklist.’ an great PDF full of information from an excellent Marketing website.

Both websites are excellent resources for authors. Writers Beware informs and keeps us updated of things we need to be aware of. It lists Vanity Press and all the ongoing scams which are ripping us off due to writers not doing their research correctly. It is also continually updated. What a lot of writers do is Google publishing or ask in writing groups we belong to. The problem is Vanity Press know how to use SEO’s to their advantage and Writing Groups get a lot of Scammers in them or people who say they know what they’re doing when they don’t.

The Checklist is more about setting yourself up as an Author, getting social media working for you, making or paying for a website and so much more. We give this PDF out to our clients no matter how far along they are in their journey.

SEO’s (just in case you don’t know what they are.)

Search Engine Optimization. Part of this is keywords businesses use to get their sites and adverts in the top spots on Google and other types of search engines. Because it is at the top, you are more than likely to go and click on them, and they have you… unless you know the ropes of what they are offering, which is why research is important part of life.

Many of you will use your own keywords during your publishing and marketing days to help readers find and buy your books. Publisher Rocket is great for finding good Keywords for your genre. (It was formerly known as KDP Rocket.)


The first thing you need to be aware of is the cost of publishing. Many say it is FREE!  It isn’t. Uploading a manuscript and book cover to KDP and other distribution websites is generally FREE, though some do charge fees. (Ingram Spark and Lulu). All Vanity Press businesses will charge you large amounts of money. Not only that, they also charge BEFORE they do any work on your manuscript. You will also be asked to sign a contract which you need to read and understand. A lot of these contracts give them copyright of your manuscript in all types of publishing, be it eBook, paperback or hardback. Each one will cost you more money to produce. If you wish to get out of the contract, they can take ninety days or more to hand back copyright. You will need the associated paperwork to prove to distributors like KDP that the copyright has reverted back to you.

Vanity Press

The main worry about Vanity Press is they don’t do the work they promise. They don’t pay out the royalty; they charge you for storage of books they print, some expect you to buy copies in their hundreds and of course you pay for freight, which they charge more for than they should. I know of one person who did their own freight, and it came out $400 cheaper… This is why WRITERS BEWARE is a must read.

Another thing you all need to remember… When you have work done in your home, building a deck, car maintenance etc… You don’t pay them until they have finished the work. You pay AFTER the work is finished. NEVER pay a contractor in the writing world until you have approved the work they’ve done for you, unless it is a deposit, which many businesses use these days, so they don’t get scammed by clients. Sadly, this does happen and has happened to my business.


Research every contractor you work with. Seek out the details you need by asking the right questions. Get to know what those questions are by reading blogs. Ask for sample edits from various editors and find which one you feel more comfortable working with. Do the same with graphic designers and illustrators for book covers and images you may wish to use. There are certain things contractors need to know to do their job correctly.

This is a post I wrote a while back about Fiverr and Graphic Designers...after all you get what you pay for!


Do they edit in the English Language you use—British, American, Canadian, Australian, etc?

Do they edit in your genre?

What type of editing do they offer?

Line Editing, Copy Editing, Beta Reading, Proofreading?

How much experience do they have?

Do they have qualifications, or have they learnt on the job?

Do they have good reviews (ten or more good ones)

Graphic Design

Do they buy stock photos?

What DPI do they work with?

What type of file do they save too?

Are the fonts they use for commercial usage?

Proof of purchase of any fonts and stock photos?

You can use photos you have taken as long as you can prove they are yours.

Reverse check any sample images they give you. (some lie or steal other peoples work)

Ask other Authors and check out their covers.

Check reviews (ten or more good ones)

The last thing you want is to be sued by a photographer or font designer for copyright infringement.

Formatting or Interior Book Designer

As well as being an Author Consultant, bringing contractors together to build books, I also work as a formatter, and turn manuscripts into a professional files to upload on KDP and other distribution websites. There are many formatting apps around now, though many are not as professional as people seem to think. Pick up a paperback printed by a traditional publisher, and you will see what I mean. Look at how it is set out, how tidy it is. If you are contracting out for formatting, you will be paying more than $10 to get a professional finish. Note the differences between eBooks and print books. There are quite a few, including page numbers- which don’t start on the first page of the manuscript, header and footers, endnotes/footnotes, images and in eBooks Alt Text for images so people who are sight impaired can read the image.

Technology Growth

Technology is advancing in leaps and bounds, changes and updates happening all the time. If you’re not a techy person, then you do need to research every detail about producing a book. It is hard work if you want a professional outcome.

Always remember paperbacks and hardbacks need to be justified with a line spacing of 1.15 cm at the most. Indents shouldn’t be more than 0.5 cm. Learn how to use STYLES in WORD if you write in WORD. If you use an app, you still need to make sure these things are correct. This means you need to learn to use the app correctly, watch the videos, or talk to someone who knows what they’re doing. Keep yourself updated with the changes.

Websites and Social Media

Most authors have websites, though these only work if you use them, share the posts, and have a marketing plan. You need to know about SEO’s and keep your website relevant. Post at least once a week. Talk about your books and yourself, about your writing, how your muse helps or hinders you. There are plenty of ideas out there which you can write about.

Social media also seems to be slipping to the wayside, especially Facebook with all their rules and regulations, people getting banned for weeks or months. I’ve noted a lot now use Instagram and TikTok, if you’re not camera shy like I am. You can get Book Trailers made for YouTube or you could read one of your books on video and share the links.


An excellent resource for Marketing is ‘The Ultimate Author Check List.’ It is brilliant, and even I still need to finish reading the document and put things into place. Marketing will cost more money and this should be the only one going cost with your books. If you are a techy person, you maybe able to make Teasers and Adverts to use, remembering each social media website has criteria your advert needs to fit.

Once again, be careful of scammers, especially from those who approach you! Most are dubious. I like to work with people who have reached out to me or have read a review. Word of mouth is a wonderful thing. Don’t forget to leave your contractor a review, especially if they fulfilled all the criteria of the contract.

We welcome questions in the comments area. We are happy to help new authors find the right way to go for their needs. Meanwhile, be careful out there.

FIVERR and the Pros and Cons of Editing

FIVERR and Editing

Once again, I have seen New Authors get caught up in messes with supposed Editors from FIVERR. I know there are many good ones out there, like with anything else, it’s a matter of finding them. RESEARCH every part of building your book. This is why our MOTTO is ‘Building Books One Step at a Time’ we will look for the best fit for you, your manuscript, and genre. Even Editors prefer to work with a genre they enjoy reading. It also means they have experience with word usage in your manuscript and can assist YOU to build a better book.

Get the wrong Editor and disaster can strike. I know from experience how bad it can be along with helping others when it comes to the crunch. I’m not an EDITOR. I can CRITIQUE and PROOFREAD. The flow of your story is important. At this point, I’d also like to say I’m not a Planner or Plotter. I FLOW WRITE, I let my muse tell their stories. It’s not until I go back over the manuscript that errors are picked up and more information is added. This is something I do several times prior to beta or proofreaders.

My first Editor was also an Agent. I know for a fact they’d worked with other authors as one later became a friend, and they’d had a horrifying story of a supposed Trad Publisher they were guided to via this agent. This isn’t anything to do with Fiverr, which just goes to show you need to go deeper with your research than I did originally all those years ago.

This Editor & Agent worked on part of the first chapter of my first ever story, one I still haven’t published. Yes, it was a mess and a new author learning the ropes of how English had changed since I’d been at school. What this Editor did was laughable, it was obvious to anyone they didn’t know anything about English History, especially during late Regency times. The Editor didn’t understand Regency language usage. Now I’m a history researcher and I always enjoyed reading Regency books, though I thought many were too long-winded. My novel will never be a true Regency book in any shape or form. It may end up in the future with a Regency theme, who knows.
This is why I say you all need to find an Editor in the genre you write. Make sure they know the genre, ask for references, and sample edit. This is what I do for my clients. I usually ask around five Editors for Samples and send them on to a client to read through and see which makes the most sense to them as the author. So far this has worked well. It also gives me a list of Editing Contractors I can trust and contract out to again when the need arises.

The latest manuscript I’ve been asked to help with was Edited by a Fiverr Editor. Putting it mildly it was horrible. The editing that is. I’m enjoying the story. Generally, I use GRAMMARLY – though not the best, it helps as long as you have a good grasp of English. I used American English Grammar and it came back with over 2500 errors. HOLY… The manuscript didn’t flow well, it was worse than the original. I was asked to Proofread and Critique this work and though not an overly long story it has taken a while to do. I’m on the last few chapters.

Questions to Ask

1. Do you do Sample Edits?
2. Do you have references?
3. What genres do you edit in?
4. Do you have links to your work?
5. What English do you edit in? UK, USA, Canadian, Australian, etc.
6. Do you do Line Editing?
7. Do you do Proofreading?
8. What type of editing do you offer?
9. What are your charges?
10. Do you have a website?
11. Do you use a contract?

If there is a contract involved. It should be easy to read and understand. It shouldn’t be over 4-5 pages. If there is something you don’t understand, ask! Ask other authors or in Author Groups. Make sure you know what you are signing up for. Also, remember you can look at books on Amazon ‘LOOK INSIDE’ to see how a book is Edited. It can be quite an eye-opener.


FIVERR and the Pros and Cons of Formatting

FIVERR and those who offer Formatting, also known as Interior Book Design, through this platform can be awesome and then not so much. Authors, especially new ones, need to know how to research and get the best. It’s time for those questions again. All Authors need to know what questions to ask to find a good business to help them get the work done. The company also needs to know various things so they can get your Formatting correct without too many edits.

First thing. Remember how long it took you to write your novel!  Well, Formatting isn’t done in an hour! I honestly wouldn’t touch any business who says they can format your work for $10 in an hour. There is bound to be something wrong.

Today I watched a video about Formatting. Some useful information, and with the book open on the screen, they showed the results. It was the results which caught my attention. Two things wrong from what I saw.  First, the indents looked too big and secondly, the text wasn’t justified. Though, this doesn’t matter on eBooks, in PRINT it is a MUST…Go look at any traditional book, and you’ll see the right hand edges of the text are straight. If PRINT books aren’t Justified, they look horrible. I’m exceptionally fussy, and I won’t even read a manuscript unless it is justified. It’s the first thing I do on a clients manuscript. I will also teach a client how to do this, so they know for next time. You will also find 99% of what I write on my blog is JUSTIFIED. Those articles not Justified are usually SHARED LINKS. I think having your text makes it look nice and tidy.

If you are going to offer a SERVICE to an AUTHOR, please make sure you know what you’re doing. It’s a hell of a learning curve and, unlike many, I’m self-taught and learnt the hard way. I’ve learnt so much now that I’m updating my own books as well as past clients.


1. What type of books do you format?
2. What fonts do you suggest for my genre?
3. What size fonts will you use?
4. Do you use the same font for Headings & Titles or blend fonts to work together?
5. What book size do you suggest for Paperback and hardback?
6. What is the best indent size?
7. Do you Justify text?
8. Can you do Contents pages and Linked Contents for eBooks?
9. Headings, Page numbers – Starting at Chapter One, Dropped Caps and Header information?
10. Can your format full-colour children’s books for Paperback and eBook?
11. Do you have samples of your work?

You could probably add a lot more to this list. Make sure you have a good look at the traditional books you see. They can give useful pointers in how you may like to have your text laid out.


1. Font and font size are important, depending on the age of your readers.
2. Do they have experience with Full-colour children’s eBooks  and PRINT
3. Do they have experience with BLEED!  Will your book have a bleed or not.
4. How do they turn a full-colour book into an eBook and PRINT, so it comes out correct.
5. Will they check the IMAGES are 300 DPI if need be?


This once again depends on experience and what you want your book to look like.  It can also depend on how long the book is. Is it a Novella, Novel or Saga? Is it a Children’s book and if so, what kind?


Once again, as with assisting new authors with bad work, generally from FIVERR Businesses is something we do at Plaisted Publishing House. It can be trying and tiring work, especially if it is a full-colour children’s book. I have assisted with two of these in recent months. If you only pay small amounts, it should clue you in, they may not be as professional or experienced as you might think. I dislike seeing people ripped off, especially if they are on a budget like most Independent Authors are. We’re not all rich, and many of us have jobs outside the home to pay the bills.

Don’t complain about paying someone either. A slightly higher fee could mean better work and that you’re less likely to need someone else to do edits. Remember you pay the plumber to do their job! I have seen bad work. I’ve seen good work. Please do your homework and RESEARCH before you hire anyone.










One last thing. I’m still learning. I will always be learning my trade, updating how things are done as technology changes. I’m happy to learn the same as I’m happy to share the Pros and Cons of looking for the right contractor, be it an illustrator, editor or interior book designer.  


FIVERR the Pros and Cons and How to Pick a Graphic Designer

FIVERR... The place many people go to get cheap work done, especially new authors and those who don’t understand the ropes of how to get the best out of FIVERR.  This post is to help you find your way, researching who to trust and when to run. It’s a bit like people using Vanity Publishing, at times. A nightmare of…bad work. 

As a new author in 2013, I did use FIVERR after being introduced to them by a friend who worked in a different area and made items like you’d find on ESTY. Due to being a Family History Researcher, i tend to research everything and I was exceptionally lucky to find Seren Waters, who did my original Garrett Investigation Bureau book covers.  They were excellent – however, my problem was not knowing much about marketing books and book covers… Seren Waters now has 900 reviews with a 4.9 rating. This proves a point, that there are good graphic designers on FIVERR.

This is one of Seren Water’s book covers which he made for me way back in 2013. It is digital art and I love the cover, though my books weren’t selling.
The story was about an agent called Rosetta who was looking into an Art Theft Ring and like in many investigation books things go wrong.  The book cover shows a Rose for Rosetta, a drop of blood for the danger all in a picture frame with a price tag to show the Art Theft.

Today the book cover is totally different and the book is called Secrets Past. It may be time to update the book covers again. I sometimes wish I’d stayed with this one. However, the book series now has a logo and colour scheme which means this isn’t going to happen.


I have another lady who has also had good fortune with FIVERR. Her name is Judy Penz Sheluk, an Amazon Best Selling Author from Canada (I love Canada) Here are her words about the two people she has worked with:-

I’ve used Hadi Hassan for the concept art for four book covers (the text/layout is done by Hunter Martin, who is not on Fiverr). His prices have escalated since I first hired him, but he will do revisions without complaint and always delivers. One thing, I think when I started with Hadi, he was Level 1 (10 sales) and less expensive, but I loved his art and knew he’d get me my creepy hourglass (he did). A lot of it is also if you feel a connection to the work they do and how responsive they are to your questions. Hadi has 144 reviews with a 4.9 rating. Below are some of the images he did for Judy.






Sandi designed these double-sided bookmarks for me. Sandi has over 1K Reviews with a 4.9 rating.

Then I had them printed by Dan Fast turnaround and delivery, and you can’t beat his pricing. I’ve had many bookmarks printed by Dan (some repeat orders).

Dan has 43 Reviews with a 4.6 rating.

This shows they can be found on FIVERR. You just need to look and research thoroughly. Also asking the right questions would be good. This is where you…the new author has things to learn so YOU can get the best service possible if you wish to use FIVERR. Also, remember you get what you pay for…CHEAP isn’t always better.


Whenever I go to Fiverr for a service for the first time, I’ll Post a Request. This typically brings a ton of interest, but I whittle it down to a number of positive reviews and Level 2 seller (completed at least 50 orders on time, av. 4.8 or higher). Then I look at what they’ve done. Does it look like something “In my head?” Do they do revisions, etc? Once I’ve found a couple of possibles, I’ll send them an email through Fiverr with questions — how much, how fast, how many revisions, etc. Because the services offered can often be revised based on what someone is looking for.

Once I have found someone, and they’ve been reliable, I will keep on using them. When it comes to concept art, I will credit the artist (Hadi) in my books. It’s a small thing, but it means a lot. I will add a link to digital versions. I always send the artist the final cover in case they want to use it for promotion.
Dan Print came about in an odd way — he quoted on bookmarks but had this great printing/shipping service. I’ve used him many times and never been disappointed. Quality work, as described, with a fast turnaround.
Bookmarks by Sandi, he offers a few options and really listens to what you want. they all came about by the initial Post a Request and digging about, looking at their portfolio, etc.

In other words, you do have to do your due diligence.



1. Where do you get their images from?  – These should be stock photos and they should be able to provide a link and receipts for proof
2. Are you an illustrator, photo manipulator, comic book inker? – These could be one-off drawings, though DPI still needs to be relevant to either paperback or ebook…Perhaps both.
3. Do they know what DPI is? – DPI is Pixels per Inch, your graphic designer should know what they need to be. Paperback is 300 dpi and ebook at least 97 dpi.  This is for you to know. Ask your questions the right way. However, it is always best to do 300 dpi for ebooks as well, in case a customer wishes to zoom in on the image. Anything less than 200 dpi will be fuzzy.
4. What is the DPI for a paperback?
5. What is the DPI for an eBook?
6. Do you have a portfolio?
7. Do you have clients who share their work?
8. Do you have a logo? Are they wanting to display in on your work as a promo? – My business logo goes on the back of all paperback books and inside on the copyright page. You can find my logo at the top of this post.

Like with anything else in life. There is always a negative side and one you need to be aware of so you don’t have to find another graphic designer to get you out of a mess. I’ve worked with several authors who have had huge messes made of their artwork. The main worry for all authors should be copyright. None of us want you to get sued for using images that were plucked off google or anywhere else where you can prove ownership of the image.

Many authors use PIXABAY and UPSPLASH for images. Yes, they are FREE and good, though sometimes you can’t prove ownership even though they say they are Creative Commons.  I would personally only use them for TEASERSNEVER a book cover.
   To make a book cover you really should use STOCK IMAGES from places like DEPOSIT PHOTOS and ADOBE STOCK PHOTOS. These come with a standard license that covers about 500k uses. Most of us won’t sell that many books…unless we are exceptionally lucky. If you did hit this, then you can buy an extended license.
     If you are having illustrations drawn, some graphic designers do use VECTOR IMAGES, though they have to make at least seven changes for legal requirements. However, many also draw from scratch.
     If the images are not legal, you could be sued by the original artist/photographer. Please be careful and research well.  Make sure the business has a 4.5 rating or higher with reviews. In fact go read some of them, look at their work, see if anyone in your author groups can give recommendations for a book cover artist, be them on FIVERR or not. I know quite a few and I have some favourites which I will list on a Contractors Page, which I am going to establish in due course. Anyone who is on this list will have my recommendation for awesome work and there will be all price ranges to suit most people’s budgets.
Ask them questions from above to see what they know? As Judy pointed out you can get great work from those just starting out which presuming they’ve done an excellent job, you will review giving them a hand up the ladder to success. Make sure they will do at least three revisions. A good graphic artist will work with you, not against you. If they come across as rude and negative, then don’t hire them.

There is so much more we could discuss, though you all need to learn the ropes and make mistakes, the same as I did. Remember to research and use your instinct, it could save you $100s of dollars. None of you want your book cover screwed up.



Fiverr and Images

Many new authors use Fiverr as a cheap place to go and get work done on their books, be it a book cover, images inside a book, editing or formatting. All I can say is please check and research anyone you use, especially from Fiverr and similar sites.

Yes, there are some great people on there, the same as there are in places like Reedsy. Please read their reviews, ask other authors who they use with success. Ask questions of the contractor who wish to use. Find out what questions you need to ask.
My issue with Fiverr, is there are a lot of …well…not so good designers there. After all, you get what you pay for.

Why am I talking about this?  Well in the last two months, I have assisted two different authors with their books. First of all the images were the wrong DPI – pixels per inch. If you’re making a paperback book, any images and book covers MUST be at least 300 dpi. It is only with eBooks that the dpi can be lower – 92 to 96 dpi is good.

Another issue is how images are layered!  Or were they done with copy and paste?  A good artist, illustrator or graphic designer should LAYER images and building them up…NOT copy and paste. When things go wrong it takes a long time to sort out the mess. It’s the same with sizing a manuscript for the paperback. What is the size of your paperback?  Do you need a bleed or is it a no bleed book? These are two other issues I’ve had to sort out.

To me Fiverr is starting to become as bad as Vanity Press, though at least you can get a refund with Fiverr.

I know at least one good graphic designer on Fiverr – If they’re still working because, like many new authors, I was one too…once. Seren Waters is a great graphic designer. Maybe it’s time for me to touch base with him again.