It’s nearly that time of year again!! It seems to come round nearly as quickly as my own birthday!
In honour of the forthcoming anniversary, I’ve decided to repost a guest blog I wrote for Stoned Press back in April about the beginnings of Kissed Off.
Our First Publishing Experience
I started freelancing online initially due to being made part time due to my employer being in financial difficulty due to the recession. I aimed to build up a graphic design business that would give me a route out of traditional employment.
My second freelance job however sent me off in a new direction – a series of cookery eBooks for a Canadian author.
I had never before published an eBook, but as the client wanted them in PDF format it was essentially no different to other graphic design projects I had previously carried out. Initially the project was for one book, but this quickly stretched out to 12 books for his first product range – as well as a further large book on cookery that contained a three figure number of pages (a typical eBook is around 40 pages).
This project would directly lead to 6 new clients, and over 250 books later we are now a fully registered UK publisher with books in all formats and on all platforms all over the world.
How did I do this?
Firstly, all 7 contacts complement me on turning around projects quickly (some even with CRAZY deadlines), efficiently while creating great graphic design and meeting the client’s brief. This led directly to word of mouth recommendations to their contacts (accounting for at least another 3 clients and more leads in progress).
Communication is key in maintaining customer relationships. If there is a barrier to completing a project or action, keep the customer informed. Never hesitate to send an email saying “I’m working on this but…” or “I’m still chasing our supplier for this on your behalf.” This simple action lets your customer know you have their interests at heart.
Communication works in both directions, so respond promptly to any questions and dispel any misconceptions quickly. We often end up educating the client in pretty complex subjects – so another key is to Keep It Simple. Watch out for any terminology that may be familiar to you but completely foreign to the client.
What can I do that makes my client’s life easier? Checking links, making sure content is logical and more are all part of what we do. If we can’t do something in the above due to time constraints, we make the client aware. This way they can either delegate the task internally or sub contract out to a third party.
Going one step beyond
We often go beyond our client’s expectations of our service. Either by taking their project to the next level, suggest improvements or even new ideas for future titles.
By taking that next step we become memorable. This is the key to being recommended to others your client may network with. We all network – family, friends, or in business we rely on networks to build trust and to gain initial impressions.
Moving forward what challenges did I face as a new publisher?
As a hybrid publisher, I have spent the first two years of business breaking ice (as it felt on the bad days) and building a new road (on the good days). There is no one in my area with the same business to discuss best practice with, or indeed within the UK.
In our first two years we have:
- Registered as a UK publisher
- Become a Limited business
- Started offering low print runs to compete against Amazon’s CreateSpace program and other print-on-demand services.
- Created truly interactive titles that go beyond the PDF basic format
- Had our first best sellers- #1 on Clickbank
- Produced books and eBooks for all major formats and vastly different subject matters.
- Published our first audiobook
- Exhibited at trade shows (both successfully and un-successfully)
- Joined and left networking groups (not all groups have quantifiable business for someone who is as unique as I was).
- Become an expert in Social Media
- Created several online bookstores on a range of platforms (paid and unpaid… you can see which we decided on at store.kissedoff.co.uk/?b=guest)
We have made mistakes along the way, but I like to think we have saved our clients making the same mistake. Most of our clients come to us from having a bad experience of book conversions, printers, marketers and more. We are now passionate about helping first time authors so the joy of having your first book published doesn’t have to be tarnished with the bad experiences that many of our authors had sadly had previous to finding us.