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Bobbin Author FAQ

Here are the questions and answers authors most frequently ask us. Of course, if your questions aren't answered here, We're happy to answer them. Simply contact us or schedule a consultation.

General Questions

We help people write, publish and market their books. We were founded in 2017, and have worked on over 1000+ books, including some major bestselling books in that time (which you can see here).

No, we cannot just work with anyone. We typically reject about 20-30% of authors who want to work with us. There are two criteria we use to decide which authors we’ll work with:

  1. Does the author know the subject matter of their book deeply enough to write a book about it? Our process works very well, but only if the author actually knows what they’re talking about.
  2. Does the author have a clear and understanding of how books work, and reasonable expectations for ROI? This means there needs to be a purpose behind writing the book.

That’s why the first step in our process is a qualification process. If the result you’re hoping for is unrealistic or impossible, we can’t work with you, because there’s no way for us to win. Even if we do a great job and we nail the book, you might still be upset because you didn’t reach a goal that was impossible to begin with.

Yes, definitely. Here is a partial list of the types of people who are not a good fit for our process:

  1. Fiction writers. Our process only works for non-fiction.
  2. If you don’t know your topic well. If you want a book on sales, for example, but don’t know anything about sales, then we can’t help you. You’ll need to find a ghostwriter.
  3. If you aren’t sure how a book can help you.
  4. If you have no idea at all why you want to write a book, what it will say, or what goals you’ll achieve by publishing it, then we are not a fit. Our process requires an investment—of both your money and your effort—so you should have an idea of why you are doing it.

General Book Questions

Yes, you’re the sole author of your book, and it’s entirely in your voice. You are the only one contributing the ideas, the knowledge, and the content to the book. All we do is help you with the parts of book writing that you aren’t an expert at; positioning, structuring, etc.

We’re able to do this because the book is literally created entirely from interviews with you—there is no other voice it could be but yours.

Simply put, hiring a ghostwriter means that your book will not really be your ideas in your words. With the Bobbin process, your book is entirely your ideas and your words.

Ghostwriters start with your book concept and a few of your ideas, then create a book with using their own words, tone, and voice. It won’t sound like it came from you, because it generally doesn’t. In essence, a ghostwriter writes a book, and you pay them so that you can put your name on it. It’s not really your book.

With Bobbin, your book is authored solely by you. The ideas and words and content are entirely yours and are in your voice. We put nothing in your book that did not come out of your head and your mouth. We like to say that we help you translate your ideas into a proper, professional book, but all meaningful parts of authorship are yours, making you the sole author.

The two other differences are these:

  1. Ghostwriters give you a manuscript, and they do nothing else. We do it all—including full publishing and distribution.
  2. A good ghostwriter is much more expensive than our process (good ones usually run about $100k just for the manuscript only).

If you don’t know what you’re talking about, then you need to hire a ghostwriter. That way the ghostwriter can do the research and write a book that makes sense, and you get to have your name on it.

The coolest part of the Bobbin process is that you end up working with some of the very best editing and ghostwriting talent in the world—you just do it through our systematic and defined process. Many of our Scribes are former ghostwriters, but they love working with us (and our authors), because with us, they are able to avoid most of the problems that freelancers have: finding good clients, negotiating terms of the deal, collecting payment, limiting the scope of the work, etc.

Our systematic process is actually better for authors and for freelancers, because it creates a clear set of expectations and deliverables, a defined workflow, and ensures there is a trusted third party—Bobbin—to monitor everything and ensure that it works. Our roster of freelancers includes Pulitzer Prize winners, Emmy Award winners, bestselling authors, bestselling ghostwriters, etc.

This creates a three-way relationship where everyone wins: you publish a great book, the freelancer gets paid well for work they enjoy, and we make a profit by coordinating the whole exchange.

No, authors do not choose their own writer. That is why you are paying us—to do that.

To begin with, we thoroughly vet and test all our writers. It’s easier to get into Harvard (6% acceptance rate) than it is to work with us as a Bobbin (<1% acceptance rate). Not only that, but our writers have spent at least a decade (usually longer) in writing and publishing, and many of them are highly decorated—Pulitzer Prize winners, Emmy nominees and winners, and National Magazine Award winners.

To assign writers, we have an internal “ask system” that we use to pair up the right writer and Author. Here’s how it works:

We get to know you, your book, and how you work. Then we create a “Project Scope” for your book, and let all 100+ writers see it. They will read it, and the ones who are interested in working on your book ask to be assigned.

They answer two questions: 1. Why are you excited to work on this book, and 2. What do you bring to the book that might help the author?

We review all the bids (books typically get between 5-10 bids), and then pick the one we think will be the best match—95% of the time, this process works great.

But yes, in rare cases, the Author and writer are not a fit. If after working together, they feel uncomfortable or unwilling to move forward with the project, we’re happy to find a replacement writer. Given that every book has multiple bids, this makes it simple to find good replacements.

You want your book done as soon as possible. That’s why you’re hiring someone to write it for you, isn’t it?

While hiring Bobbin comes with the benefit of actually getting the book done (when the idea may have been rolling around your head for months, or even years), it’s important to be realistic with time frames.

The time it takes to finish an entire book varies depending on many factors such as length and scope of the project.

 

If you work at our speed, we are comfortable promising a completely finished book within 8 months (sometimes a little shorter).

But you can go slower, if you need to.

From the initial interview to the final proofread, can take as little as 3 months, though we’ve had cases where this has stretched out due to the book getting stuck with the client over the revision period.

Our job is to make sure your book is gripping and delivers a powerful emotional experience to your audience.

Your book's quality is equally as important as getting your book written quickly!

Yes and no.

Many Authors come to us having written quite a bit of material. Regardless of what they have written, we always start at the beginning of our process and work through the positioning, and structuring stages. After the structure is done, we can assess whether any of your existing writing fits into the book. If it does, great. We will happily slide it in.

We do it this way because we’ve found that starting fresh enables the author to prioritize exactly what they want to get from their book, what audience they need to reach, and what they have to offer that audience (this is positioning).

Often when this becomes clear, it turns out that what they’ve written is not directly on point for the end result they want, and we don’t want pre-existing material to bias decisions or lead them astray.

It’s fairly common for authors to be a little unhappy with their first draft, because it is common in all writing, regardless of whether an author works with me or not.

Author Neil Gaiman once recounted a time where he was about 3/4th done with a book, and he called the publisher to tell him that it was no good.

"The characters are bad, everything is trash," Gaiman said. 

At which point the publisher laughed and told Neil, "Do you know you do this on every single book? Just keep going."

And Neil did, and it was good.

This happens to me too! So, I totally get it.

Yet, more than 90% of my clients are happy with their first round of revisions.

But what if—after all the edits and changes—you don’t like your book?

Since I create and provide the content, I can’t 100% guarantee your happiness. I am not guaranteeing any specific outcome directly or indirectly attributed to this process.

Great novels can go unnoticed, and bad stories get published all the time… 

My goal is to give your story the strongest legs possible to run a competitive race in the commercial marketplace.

I wish I could guarantee your complete satisfaction. Truth is, some authors opt-in to get their book idea affirmed.

Some authors aren't prepared to make a commitment to honesty, to digging deeper, to answering my plea to give me more, to take me further into an understanding of what you know and how you came to know it.

Some authors aren’t open to giving creative freedom to the ghostwriter and would probably be better off writing the book themselves.

But, I will do everything I can on my end to ensure that you get the book you want.

If it means multiple editing passes, then we’ll do that. 

We’ll keep tweaking until it’s just how you want it.

That’s what a good ghostwriter does!

You have a total of 12 months with me from the date of purchase.

And my goal is to get the best book possible for you. Anything reasonable I can do to achieve that, I will do.

Your book cover and manuscript interior layout will be designed by world class designers, but you have full creative control.

Our Creative Director has done dozens of New York Times Best Sellers, as well as the other book cover designers we’ve worked with. Combined, they have worked on over 100 best sellers that have sold millions of copies. You are getting the very best in design, because having a great book cover is a key to establishing your book as credible and professional.

Before we start the design process, you’ll have a long conversation with the Managing Editor to understand your vision for the cover (if you have any). We organize this information into a design brief and use it to create a series of initial cover designs, which you will review and give feedback on. Just like all parts of our process, you will have full, 100% approval of your cover.

Book length is entirely dependent on the specific Author and the topic of their book. We don’t adhere to a fixed length, but generally find that most authors end up around 150 pages.

We’ve researched this extensively and found that for non-fiction books this is the optimal length—both for Authors and their readers. It is not an intimidating length, so readers are more likely to buy and actually read the book, and it’s about the right length for most Authors. The book is substantive, but not repetitive or padded. We believe that books should only be as long as they have to be in order to make their point.

This is an interesting question and one to think about before you go any further.

When we want a new house, we hire other people to build it, don’t we?

We hire other people to decorate our houses, too.

We hire them to landscape our lawns and to paint our walls.

They install our carpeting and our bathroom tiles.

We generally get the credit for this sort of stuff.

When friends and family visit, they 'ooh' and 'awe' about our taste in decorating or about our new carpet, even though they know we did not do these things ourselves.

That’s because most people understand that, to be done right, such work requires a unique set of skills and talents.

Therefore people with those skills and talents must be hired to get these sorts of things done.

It’s the same with books.

Very few people know how to write a book.

Book writing requires a unique skill set—one that goes far beyond the mere ability to write.

In order to write a successful book, one must know quite a bit about the book market, the publishing process, and reading habits.

So, what are you paying for when you hire Bobbin?

As much as we will focus on outlines, word count, pages, and spelling, the core of the matter is that what you are paying for is to not have to think about that stuff.

We strive to embody your voice. We pore over hundreds of pages of interview transcripts, looking for patterns. We piece together ideas and build on our client’s genius.

This is reflected in the fact that most of our clients leave the process feeling like they wrote the book—only they typically save more than 300 hours of time in the actual writing process.

The reason you're hiring us is because you either do not have the time to sit down and write that book, or because you don't want to deal with the rest of the publishing process.

We know what your readers want to hear from you, we know how to extract the right information from you and we usually have a rate of 64 words-per-minute (wpm) or better, which means we can quickly write that book for you.

I will send you an invoice for each payment. I accept payments via credit card, bank transfer and Paypal.

You book is yours.

You always have full ownership, retain all copyrights and maintain anonymity. I will obtain a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) where applicable.

My list of NDA clients can't be found on my websites or social media because I never list those specific projects I've worked on. Nor do I disclose those client's names or my part in the creation of their books.

However, just like other professionals, ghostwriters need a way to prove that they are capable of handling projects offered by new clients. Under certain conditions, I will disclose the nature of the work I've performed and might provide excerpts from past projects to new clients. As a professional courtesy, I always inform clients when I include excerpts in my portfolio.

We will be in constant contact.

You will have access to your managing editor via text, email, phone, chat/direct messages on social media, or in-person (if you live in New York).

Your publishing team, will be led by your Managing Editor. They are your main point of contact and in charge of ensuring you get a great book.

Almost all of the writing will be done by your writer. They are a professional writer and editor that has spent at least a decade working in books.

You will conceptualize your book cover with the help of our Creative Director, who has done dozens of bestselling book covers. It will be designed by her or one of her team, and you will talk to our Art Director for feedback and revisions.

Your marketing efforts will be led by our Marketing Director, and you will also work with with his team of marketers during the launch.

That’s precisely why you should talk to me before you start—I'll help you make sure your idea is good enough for a book.

Our process does not work unless you actually have a book’s worth of ideas in your head to start. So the very first step in our process—before we start—is ensuring that you do, in fact, have a book in you.

Not everyone has a book in them, and I'm happy to tell you that, if that’s the case. We only want to work with people who have a good book idea that will be interesting to readers and bring the author a clear ROI.

We’ve found this to be the case with most authors—they actually have more than one book in them. Someone who has spent a lot of time gaining deep expertise in a field typically has a lot of knowledge that would be more interesting to people than they realize. For the majority of our Authors, the question is not whether they have a book in them, it’s how many, and which one should they publish first.

Our process is designed to help you figure out which book you should do first, and why. We begin by helping you to understand exactly why you’re writing a book, what results you want, which of your ideas will make the best book for you, and how to make it happen.

And note—we do this BEFORE you sign with us and get started. Before you commit to spending a dollar, we want to make sure we’re both a great fit for each other.

No. You should call us first, because this is exactly what we do—help you figure out if you have a book in you and what it would be about—and we can and should do that before you decide to work with us.

We will help you understand not only what your best book is, but how it can help you. In the consult call, we will help you figure out the positioning of your book, and help you figure out what your book is about by running you through three questions:

  1. What result do you want this book to create for you?
  2. What audience do you want to reach?
  3. What will the book say that’ll be interesting and valuable to that audience?

This is a super common question we get from authors, though it’s rarely phrased this directly. Author fear is expressed in so many different ways, but it almost always breaks down to “I’m afraid I’m going to look stupid.”

The biggest unspoken fear that almost every author has is that they will embarrass themselves. Literally every author we’ve ever worked with—without exception—has had some version of this fear.

If you have this fear—or any other—you should tell us. We are experts at helping authors understand their fears and work through them. We take the fears and emotions of our authors very, very seriously, as they are core to the experience of writing a book.

Book ROI Questions

That depends on how you intend to make your money back. The best way to make money on a book is to look at it as an investment that leads to other profitable opportunities, and not book sales.

For example, if you’re a consultant or a coach and a client is worth $50,000 to you, then one client more than ROIs your investment in your book.

If you own a business and you sell a product that’s $150, then you need to sell at least 250 products from your book to make your money back. If your book is used to promote your business, then it is likely that the full cost of its production is tax deductible, which substantially lowers the full investment cost.

The one thing we do not recommend doing is calculating how many books you must sell to make your money back. This is because book sales is a poor measure for ROI.

Professionals see books as general marketing tools, not profit centers. Only novelists and fiction writers need to focus primarily on book sales, because that’s the only way they make money.

There are many ways to monetize a book. A book is also the best multi-purpose marketing tool there is. You can use a book to raise your visibility, develop your authority, generate leads for your business, bring you clients, get speaking gigs, sell products, launch businesses, and achieve many other objectives.

You can view a list of books our team has proudly worked on in our bio's here, and most of them have been very successful.

Some results from our Authors include: multiple New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon best sellers, countless media pieces, hundreds of millions in high-dollar consulting deals, New York Times profiles, celebrity endorsements…the list goes on and on.

Book Publishing Questions

In normal situations, the publisher of your book is Bobbin Publishing.

That being said, you don’t have to use Bobbin Publishing as your publisher. Because of the way our structure works, we can essentially create a new publishing company for you with any name you like. It’s completely up to you who the named publisher of the book is.

 

Yes…but probably not in the way you are thinking.

Bobbin Media is self-publishing in the best sense: you have full creative control of your book, you own all the rights for your book, and you get all the royalties. It is the business model of self-publishing, with the support of traditional publishing.

When people ask, “Is this self-published?” what they tend to mean is, “Is this an unprofessional, amateurish book that you did without any help?”

To that, the answer is obviously no. The books we have done and the authors we have worked with are of the highest caliber, so clearly self-publishing can be very professional. You’re hiring us for that exact reason—to ensure that your book is as professional as any on the market.

Big difference. The most important difference to you is that with us, you completely own your book. With traditional publishing, they own your book. They take all your copyright for the life of your work.

“Traditional publishing” refers to the New York publishing houses that operate with a royalty based book model. If they decide to sign you to a book contract (which is very rare), they pay you an advance and own all the rights and royalties to your book. They do the work of publishing and distributing your book, but that’s it. They do little to market your book, and they provide no support while you write it. Plus, you must write what they want you to write, not what you want to write. Traditional publishing used to be highly prestigious, but now they mainly make money off the platforms that other people have built by monetizing their audience.

Bobbin is an entirely different approach to books—almost the complete opposite. You pay us for our services, and you own all the rights and royalties from your book.

Furthermore, we do everything a traditional publisher does, and a whole lot more. We not only help you write your book, we invented an entirely new process to turn your ideas into a book through conversational interviewing. We help you market your book, and we can even provide full platform support if necessary.

It boils down to the fact that there are only a limited spectrum of people for whom traditional publishing still makes sense, and for everyone else, they should use some form of professional self-publishing (like us).

Yes and no. This is a complicated question, because—again—the publishing business is so weird.

Yes, we can make your book available for order and sale in bookstores. All our books are put into the Ingram database, and can be ordered in every bookstore in the country.

No, we do not automatically put your book in bookstores. This is because bookstores carry very few books, and reserve their limited space for established authors or books from publishers who are paying for shelf space.

You generally need to sell at least 25,000 copies before bookstores become interested in carrying your book. That’s the bad news. The good news is that being in bookstores doesn’t really matter anymore. A book sitting on a shelf doesn’t sell in most cases. In terms of buyer-behavior, most people who shop at Barnes & Noble also shop on Amazon, so if they don’t see a book at Barnes & Noble they’ll just find it on Amazon. In other words, lack of bookstore distribution in and of itself doesn’t necessarily lose you very many sales. The reality is, for almost all authors, being in a bookstore is purely about ego, and not about actual ROI. We don’t deny that going into a bookstore and seeing your book on the shelf is nice, but it does almost nothing in terms of sales or awareness.

We don’t charge you anything for copies. You get to buy copies at the print cost. For print on demand paperback, Kindle Direct Publishing not only prints books for approximately $4 a copy when they’re ordered through Amazon, but they’ll sell the author these books at the same cost. At any time after the book is published, you can order copies in any quantities you’d like at this discounted price, direct from the printer (we don’t make money on copies).

If you are looking for a larger quantity of books (usually 1,000 or more), we set you up with a commercial offset printer to handle this request. They can provide better prices at large quantities. We take no markup.

Book Marketing Questions

There are three goals of the marketing that’s included in our package.

First, we manage the logistics to run an Amazon Bestseller Campaign that focuses on maximizing early sales, reviews, and rankings, all to build the foundation of early credibility for your book’s long term success.

Second, we support you in promoting the book to your connections by creating social media graphics for the book, crafting a book announcement email, gifting free copies to your friends and family, and creating a strategy for you to get the support of influencers who you know.

Third, we help you lay out a long term marketing plan to keep the early momentum going, and ensure the book reaches your long term goals.

By the end of the first week of your book release, your book should have Amazon bestseller status, a burst of early sales, a baseline of reviews, awareness among your network, and you should have a plan for how to continue to leverage it going forward.

Let me be straightforward with you: getting on the Amazon Bestseller list isn’t that big a deal.

Amazon divides their list into hundreds of categories and uses a relatively short time window for rankings, so with the right strategy, hitting #1 in your category is very easy.

However, this extra form of credibility does help as you use your book to secure media, book speeches, and share your book with potential clients.

To that end, we ensure that the marketing we do aligns into an Amazon Bestseller Campaign.

We discount the ebook to $0.99 for the first week, and concentrate our marketing efforts—the email to your connections, the release of a podcast episode, the publication of an excerpt, an email blast to tens of thousands of people, and much more—into that week, to maximize the short term sales and overall ranking.

An important note: These activities aren’t aimed only at hitting Amazon bestseller status. They are the best decisions for the success of your book, and hitting Amazon bestseller is a byproduct.

Getting on a media bestseller list (like the Wall Street Journal or New York Times) is a major endeavor, and from our experience, it usually doesn’t align with the real success of your book.

Each of these lists has their own rules, but the basic idea is the same: they measure total sales over the course of one week, and they have rules that people use to try to game them.

When authors try to hit the lists, they end up optimizing for these rules—racking up presales to distribute through indie bookstores, for example, or providing bonuses to their audience to bribe them into buying the book.

In our experience, rather than focusing attention on playing games to meet the criteria of a bestseller list, the best thing an author can do is focus on reaching people who genuinely want to read the book. This is a long term activity, and not something to try to squeeze into a one-week period.

Miscellaneous

You own 100% of the royalties for your book.

Although Bobbin Media doesn’t take any share of the book’s profits, there are some costs that don’t go directly in your pocket—namely, Amazon’s fees and printing costs.

For eBooks, Amazon takes 30% of your royalties and you take the other 70%. For paperbacks, Amazon takes 40% of royalties, the printer gets approximately $3 to print the book, and the rest is yours. If you do hardcover, we’ll explain it all before you make any decisions.

No, it actually does the opposite.

When a traditional publisher takes royalties, their goals become focused completely on maximizing book sales, because that is their only source of revenue.

But that isn’t always what best serves the author. For many authors, the goals of spreading their message, giving away free books, getting speaking gigs, or finding clients are more important than the revenue from book sales. So focusing on book sales actually hurts the success of the book.

With this in mind, the best strategy to create a great book—both for you and for us—is to use a service-based model, where our goal is only to create the best possible book to accomplish your goals.

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