An independent author juggles a lot. We write, edit, design, host websites, blog, do promotions, and generally try to find as many ways as possible to connect with our readers. We are used to this, but often times what we have on our plates is enough to deal with. That is why, when it came to the Vintage Jane Austen Project, we, as group of authors who already handled plenty with the books we have individually on the market, decided to hire someone to help with the design of the project and promotion.
Fortunately…we had Deborah.
The first thing Deborah O’Carroll did for us was design in this amazing website. (screen shot below) Not only is the design beautiful, clean, and very functional, it was so nice not to have to design it ourselves! Deborah also helps us by doing promotional posts and keeps us in contact with our readers by managing the Vintage Jane Austen email. I know a lot of independent authors could use some help, so below is an interview I did with Deborah.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into helping indie authors with their novels.
I’m a writer of fantasy of all kinds, a blogger, punctuation enthusiast, and list addict. I love all things Celtic, Faerie, and Tolkien, and believe that Diana Wynne Jones books are gold. You can usually find me typing away at one of my many novels, endlessly rearranging my bookshelves, or haunting library book-sales. I’m secretly a chocolate-loving otter.
How I got started was almost accidental! One thing led to another and all that… I started out in small ways, doing things I liked for people I knew, and slowly began to realize there are certain things I enjoy doing, have developed a talent for, and can turn into a job to help others.
I started out reviewing a few books by some authors I had met, and I discovered I love reviewing books. I beta-read unpublished books by fellow writer friends, and discovered that I love catching typos and have a knack for editing. (I don’t beta-read much anymore because it’s so time-consuming and I’m not much of a critic, but my love for editing has remained.) I started out blogging because I enjoyed it and wanted to build an online presence as a writer, and eventually started getting asked questions about how to do this or that on WordPress. I helped a few people with that, and designed the Vintage Jane Austen website, which, along with my years of blogging, led to the realization that I love designing blogs and websites.
Mostly, I know a lot of people in the online writing and bookish community, and I just love helping people. I guess that’s the main thing behind all of this. :)
What services do you offer authors in search of some help?
Briefly: I edit books, review books, and dabble in graphic design and web design. To expand on each of those a little:
I review books, honestly but kindly, in exchange for a free copy. (My book blog is here. https://thepagedreamer.wordpress.com/)
I offer a freelance copy-editing service (essentially catching typos and smoothing wording and the like).
I also do web design with WordPress—my main project in that area so far has been the Vintage Jane Austen website. Involved with the web-designing, I do some basic graphic design as well, such as making 3D images of book covers and so on.
What does the process of working with an author look like?
Hmm, tough question. It mostly involves a lot of emailing… There can sometimes be a lot of patience involved as well, on both sides, while things work to fall into place. Reviews are pretty straightforward—talk with the author a couple times, review their book, send them the links. Editing is a little more in-depth, and I’ll usually talk back and forth a few times. With web-design, there’s a lot of discussion and examples, previews, and ideas of theirs and suggestions on my part. On the whole, I’ve had a delightful experience with authors so far, and it’s been fun seeing these projects come to their conclusion. :)
What is your favorite part of this job?
I’ve always loved words and am something of a perfectionist, so I’m passionate about ridding the world of typos and other errors, and love helping to make books the best they can be. I’m also a lifetime reader, so getting to review books is a dream, and I love being able to share with the world about the books I’ve found to love. I enjoy reading and am more of a book-lover than a book-critic, so while I’m honest in my reviews, I often find more to love in a book than to dislike, and I think that’s important—to share the beauty in books, not just the errors or things one doesn’t like. I also love creating, and the feeling of surmounting the obstacles of design, finally ending up with a finished product (like a website) which is clean, beautiful, and complete.
But most of all, across all three of these “jobs,” I love helping other writers bring their dreams to light, and in that way, somehow, making the world that much brighter.
How can an author get in touch with you if she/he would like to talk about your services?
Shoot me an email at deborahocarroll(at)yahoo.com—I don’t bite! :) You can also find me on my blog, The Road of a Writer: deborahocarroll.wordpress.com, and on my review blog, The Page Dreamer: thepagedreamer.wordpress.com, where I (naturally!) review books. ;) I love making friends with fellow writers and readers, so I’d love to hear from y’all!