I had the chance to do an off-camera interview with the CEO of a writing company that we use inside of My Self Publishing Blueprint. There are a lot of benifits to using a writitng company and of course some negatives as well.
If you have ever wondered how writing companies start and what you can do to get the best book posislbe from them. You will enjoy this quick read.
Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions. We appreciate your interest and welcome any feedback.
- 1. What got you started running your online business with content writing?
We all started as Kindle publishers. The three of us met through publishing and became fast friends. We started working together sharing ideas, virtual assistants, writers, etc. We quickly realized that finding reliable writers was one of the most difficult parts of publishing. We started a core group of great writers and started selling books to other publishing friends. We saw how great the need was for good writers so we started a writing service – hence (Writing Company).
- Other than ghostwriters, how many employees do you have?
We have four full-time employees. In addition, we have several part-time workers. And of course, we have editors, proofreaders, IT department, accounting, etc.
- Where do you get your writers? What countries?
What is important is that the writers are native English writers, preferably from the USA. Americans are all over the world, so location is not always relevant. Likewise, there are millions of people in the US that are not native English.
- How do you screen your writers upon hiring? What type of assurance does your client have in the quality of your writers?
Great question! For starters, we get the best writers for the price point we charge because we are very good to our staff. We pay writers more than twice what other companies pay and we give out lots of bonuses. Many of our writers are full-time and have been with us for years. We know our writers well!
Here are some of the things we do:
We give all writers, editors, etc. a comprehensive test. The person must pass the test 100% or we do not start the hiring process. The writer must sign a contract that is legally binding in the US. We also put the person through a video training course and have a 40-page training handbook that must be followed. In addition, we provide a 10-week continuing education course that all writers must participate in. We also cover niche testing to determine writer expertise.
- How can we ensure that we get the exact type of book we want when using (Writing Company)? What do you want from publishers to ensure that we get a book we are happy with? How much detail should we provide? What is the best advice you would offer a publisher that is using (Writing Company) for the first time?
This is an extremely important question! Here is a list to help you.
- Order the correct item. For example, if you want a nonfiction book please do not submit the order as fiction.
- If you are uploading a document, please be sure that it uploads before you make your purchase.
- Please submit a complete order. Delays occur when customers send in additional information 3-4 days after purchase and the writer is already halfway through the book.
- The Additional Information section is the most important section! This is almost always the deciding factor as to whether or not a customer will receive the book they were hoping for. This is the area where you communicate with the writer. If you are particular about what you want or don’t want in your book, this area is your chance to tell the writer. Want certain topics covered, resources used, a specific TOC, etc? Use this section. If you just submit a title (as many experienced publishers do), then you leave all content to the discretion of the writer.
- What is the scope to improvise the work delivered by (Writing Company)? For instance, if the content is not satisfactory to the publisher, what measures can be taken to revise the content? What can we do if we are not happy with the delivered book?
The order starts with the information that the customer provides. Keep in mind that the info provided to us is all we have to work with.
Sometimes we make mistakes and we will always correct our errors. Here are a few examples:
- We did not follow the directions (we do not guarantee that on Package 3 orders).
- The content of the book didn’t match the title.
- We made an error during the quality control check.
- The word count is too low, etc.
We review every complaint on a case-by-case basis. Here are some examples of complaints that we can’t address:
- “This book isn’t what I was hoping for” (When the customer leaves the Additional Information section blank, how do we know what he/she was hoping for?)
- I don’t like the content of the book (although the customer left the additional information section blank, leaving all content to the discretion of the writer.)
- I don’t like the tone of the book. If you want a certain tone, please include that in the Additional Information section when placing your ordering. Examples: content written in first person, happy, upbeat, scary, etc.
It is often difficult to know what will make a customer happy or upset. Here are some examples:
- Some customers are not happy when we give them 500-1000 additional words for free.
- Some are unhappy if we deliver the order sooner than he/she expected.
- Some are unhappy that the book is formatted and ready for upload to their KDP account.
- Some are unhappy that the book includes a bonus chapter. Likewise, some are unhappy if it doesn’t include a bonus chapter.
- Some are unhappy if the book is too simple, while others think the content is too detailed.
- Some customers want the resources listed in the back of the book and at the same time, some are unhappy if we do include resources.
As you can see, we can’t make everyone happy all of the time. We do the best that we can and review each complaint on a case-by-case basis. Statically, this year (2017) we have received complaints on less than 4% of all orders.
- Why should a publisher use a writing company instead of a freelancer?
- Long term, experienced writing staff. We know every writer, their topics of expertise, level of skill, etc.
- Fast turn around times. We have been late on less than 5% of all orders. (2017)
- Established, legitimate company. We have written thousands of books.
- You are contracting with a real business when you purchase from us.
- Excellent customer support.
- Handpicked, tested and trained writers.
- Ordering is fast and easy. All you have to do is submit the order and wait for delivery.
- All content is checked for plagiarism. We have never delivered plagiarized content. You can trust that!
- Owners are very experienced in the field of publishing, so we understand what customers are looking for in a book.
- All books are formatted and ready for upload to your KDP account.
- Owners stay up to date on publishing, including Amazon requirements, algorithms, etc. This allows us to make changes in our business in order to help customers meet requirements, protect publishing accounts, etc.
- Your information is safe with us. We never share any info about you with anyone. This includes your titles, niches, keywords, etc. We also have an IT department that keeps our website up to date on security issues, changes in PayPal requirements, etc.
- We never use computer-generated content, ever!
- We have an in-house program that is used to monitor self-plagiarism.
- Customers have their own secure, personal dashboard that tracks all orders.
- US-based company. While we can’t give legal or accounting advice, we stay up to date on changes in tax issues that could impact the publisher, etc.
- We alert the customer when there is a known trademark or copyright issue with the order.
- Why shouldn’t I just use a freelancer?
- Very time consuming.
- Requires knowledge on the publisher’s part as to how to hire a writer.
- Orders require monitoring and management.
- Risk that the writer will disappear.
- Risk that the writer will outsource the work.
- Risk that the content will be computer generated.
- Risk of plagiarism, including self -plagiarism. Writers that specialize in a certain topic are known to copy and paste information from one order to the next.
- Fake reviews and scam writers. Yes, freelance sites are full of fake reviews, fake examples of the writer’s work, etc. There are numerous ways that a writer can “market” in a dishonest way.
- Orders can be delayed for weeks. In the meantime, it can be time consuming to track down, communicate with and monitor a writer and the order.
- Once you receive your order it is then time consuming to have to edit the book (or hire an editor), check for plagiarism and then format the book.
- Standard ghostwriting agreements that most publishers use is not a legitimate, legal document that is recognized in the US.
- Will clients ever have more control selecting the writer? For instance, be able to browse a bio page, etc?
We don’t currently have plans to do that. If you are happy with a writer you can request the same person. Likewise, if you are unhappy with a writer you can request that person not be used on your order. You can also request a writer that specializes in a certain topic. We have specialty writers for most every topic we’ve ever come across.
- Will there ever be a chat agent team to answer questions?
We don’t have plans for that at this time. We do have an excellent customer support team. When an email is received, our current average response time is 4-6 hours. (2017)
- If you have all of these parameters in place to ensure my order is correct, then why did I receive a book I’m not happy with?
The primary reasons for this:
- We make mistakes
- Customer errors and expectations
- We make mistakes sometimes. Even with all of the testing and training that we do, sometimes a bad writer slips through. Occasionally, a writer will disappear during the middle of a project, doesn’t deliver on time, doesn’t following the directions, etc. All of these sorts of things can cause delays and errors.
- Over ninety percent of all of our complaints come from new or inexperienced publishers. Essentially, the publisher doesn’t have anything to compare to (other than a New York Times bestseller!). Just to help put purchases in perspective, the larger publishing houses that we work with usually pay $5.00-$10.00/ 100 words. (That option is not yet available to the public.)
We really appreciate your questions. Feedback helps us improve our business. We welcome any other additional questions.