D. D. Scott’s Ebook Production Team

Happy Weekend, WG2E-Land!

My DH (Darling Husband) likes to say:

“There’s no ‘I’ in Team”

And he’s sooo right!

Despite the fact that we’re all Indie Epublished/Self-Published Authors, many of us do use a team approach to bringing our Ebooks to Etailers the world over.

Several of you have asked in the comment streams for various posts, as well as emailed me privately, for information regarding who I use for Ebook Editing, Cover Design and Formatting.

Here’s the scoop…

My D. D. Scott Ebook Production Team includes:

1. My fabulous Editor…Meghan Ward

Meghan is just wonderful to work with! She’s made me a better writer. Not only is she teaching me a ton of super-savvy grammatical tips and tricks, she’s also doing an incredible job as my developmental editor. For example, she asked me terrific questions about my characters that help me go deeper inside their heads. Also, she points out where I could add scenes to boost the action in my plots and/or tone it done a bit.

(I spend around $1000 per book for editing…but again, that’s because I have Meghan work with me both on the grammatical and copy-editing fronts as well as on developmental edits too.)

2. My Equally Fabulous Cover Designer…Laura Morrigan

Here’s Laura’s latest design which I am just totally gaga over (for the book Meghan and I completed final edits for this week):

Isn’t it beautiful and totally magickal?! Exactly the mood I was after! I don’t know how she does it, but Laura’s covers “pop” on the screen like none I’ve ever seen! She always makes it feel like you can just jump into my story worlds, and I just luuuvvv that!!!

(Each cover is between $100 and $125.)

3. My Very-Talented Formatters…52 Novels

Rob Siders (the owner) and his superb staff (my personal fave is Rob Reid) are the kings of making wonderful looking Ebooks. I have yet to find Ebooks that read as easily and look as great as those that are done by 52 Novels. I will say that there’s often a long wait, even if you’re scheduled a year in advance, like I am. But, I wait, because I haven’t found anyone who does it better.

(I spend around $180 per Ebook – single-title fiction – on formatting. And that gets me three files – the Kindle file, an epub file and a Smashwords file. That said, Boxed Sets are more – around $275 each. And non-fiction titles have cost me between $300 and $550, depending on how many images are to be included within the text itself.)

My goal has always been to treat my readers to great books for great prices. And my A-mazing D. D. Scott Ebook Production Team helps me hit that goal every time. :-)

Yes, it now costs me around $1500+ per Ebook I write, BUT every single dollar is worth it to me.


A. I’m a Techno Dunce!

I struggle using the simplest of technologies (hell, I just crashed The WG2E site last month…again), and ask my DH, I can break anything! Even our brand new John Deere lawnmower. Yep, I’m mowing the lawn and the damn wheel just falls off! My DH makes things in the garage, like terrific rolling seats and benches, and I hit ‘em with the Jeep (cause I’m too short to see the front end) and there go the cute padded tops. Anyhoo…sorry for the digression…

B. My time is better spent WRITING. That’s how I make money!

I can’t begin to imagine how long it would take me to learn how to design a cover (hell, finding the images takes forever) or format a book. And even after the learning curve is over, my time is money. Every hour I’m not writing something new, I’m not creating new money streams. And Indie Epublishing/Self-Publishing is a business, so maximizing your profit potential is vital.

C. I don’t enjoy doing Techno Crap!

I want to spend my time doing the things I love to do. That’s writing and promoting, not fiddling with things I’ll end up breaking or using as an excuse to increase my four-letter-word vocabulary-yet again.

It’s Your Turn, WG2E-Land: Please share with us your own Production Teams and Resources. Who’s helping you look good on readers’ screens?

The Best of The WG2E Ebook Production Wishes — D. D. Scott

D. D. Scott is an Amazon and Barnes and Noble Top 100 Bestselling Romantic Comedy and Humorous Mystery Author. She’s also a Writer’s Go-To-Gal for Muse Therapy and Indie Epublishing, the Co-Founder of The WG2E- The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing, and the Founder of The RG2E – The Reader’s Guide to E-publishing.  You can get all the scoop on her, her books, her Online Classes and Live Workshops, plus juicy tidbits too from her new cyber home…D. D. Scott-ville.

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  1. My Bunderful (my publisher name, Bunderful Books) production team includes Sean Young of Young Creations for cover design. We work really well together, with me explaining my vision for the cover and her giving me my vision but also making a design of her own vision, which I sometimes decide I like better!

    My main editor (who has been with me since my traditional publishing days, to make sure I was turning in a super-clean manuscript to the editor at the publishing house) is not really accepting new clients, but I also work with Karen Rodgers at Critique Editing Services, who continues to amaze me with her work. I generally use the former for shorter projects and the latter for longer projects. For a large, layered project like the one I’m working on now I will use both of them, as my original editor is not a professional but has a knack for picking up problems with plotting or character behavior, while Karen is a professional editor and cleans up all the grammar.

    I do my own formatting, for economic reasons, and while I simply cannot manage cover design and editing (that same rule about the lawyer who represents him/herself having a fool for a client applies to writers editing their own work), I felt formatting was a reasonable skill to conquer. It wasn’t easy, but I finally got it, and because of that I’m able to offer my eBooks for direct sale through my eStore and also offer Bunderful Samplers (just launched) as a free download direct from my website. I also design my own websites (both author site and publisher site) because, again, it’s not *that* hard (although I learned a lot from my husband).

    Life is just Bunderful…

    • Young Creations (www.youngcreations.net), Critique Editing Services (www.critiqueyourbook.com), Bettye Griffin (www.bettyegriffin.com), Bunderful Books (www.bunderfulbooks.com)

      • D.D. Scott says:

        Excellent scoop, Bettye, and thanks sooo very much for sharing with us!

        I just can’t emphasize enough the value of having an editor(s) on your team. Like you, I count on mine to “see” the things that I can’t because I’m too close to the manuscript.

  2. D.D.,

    Thanks so much for sharing your team with us. I always stress the importance of having a team even when you can do certain tasks. It’s a question of how our time is best spent.

    I’m in the process of gathering a team, so I’m trying out different providers. My key team member right now is my VA who isn’t taking any new clients. No wonder–we’ve spent last year redesigning, merging and upgrading my websites, products and services.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      “It’s a question of how our time is best spent.”

      Exactly this, Flora! :-)

      And what is a VA? (Visual Artist?) It’s probably a “duh, dunce” question, but my mind is coming up blank on that one today…

  3. My editor is Kally Jo Surbeck who was my friend and critique partner long before she became an editor.

    My covers are designed by Romcon’s pre-made covers, but I get them tweeked just a little for my books. My covers are beautiful, unique and will never be used again by anyone.

    Amy Atwell at Author E.M.S. does my formatting and I love her. She and her team are always there to answer my questions and she also does my uploads to Apple.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Thanks sooo very much for sharing your team too, Cynthia!

      And cheers to having covers that are unique and will never be used again…that’s a crucial point! Covers are part of each author’s branding, so making them unique to you and your brand is vital.

  4. Ansha Kotyk says:

    My editor is Elizabeth S. Leaver, she handles my copy editing, I have a great critique group who help me with developmental issues (and moral support) ;)

    For my covers, the wonderful Steven Novak is fast and really listens to my ideas for the cover design. I’m very proud of the cover he’s made for me.

    Lastly, because I need to issue paperbacks as well as ebooks, I use Type Set Inc. for my formatting and they do a beautiful job.

    My sister (who has some graphic design experience) is currently working on a branding label for my press so we can brand all the books.

    Having a team you can work with is so important. Take your time, find the right people for you.

  5. I’m learning to do my own formatting because I’m on a very tight budget but for my first two books I used Lucinda Campbell (LK E-book Formatting Service). For my three e-book covers, I used Fantasia Frog Designs and for the latest one, I used LFD Designs for Authors (Dara England). They are both great! I have two artist friends who want to design the next cover, so I’ll see. And I worked as a proofreader and editor for more than twenty years, so I’m my own editor.

  6. Julie Day says:

    OK. I have two teams, one for my romances and one for my YAs.
    My YA team is: editor is Dr Hilary Johnson, cover designer is Joleene Naylor.
    My romance team is editor and cover designer is my friend, Eve Farr. She is only doing it as a favour to me as we signed an agreement for this and she won’t go back on her word.

    I am starting to use Draft2Digital to do my POD YA ebooks and will probably use them in future for the rest of my ebooks and POD esp as they format TOCs which I’ve not done yet. Like you say, DD. Anything that can help us get on with writing.

    • Julie Day says:

      And there’s me. Who updates my website, blog and does all the social media stuff.

      • D.D. Scott says:

        Great scoop, Julie, and thanks sooo much for sharing!

        I hadn’t thought about mentioning using different teams for different genres. But that sooo applies, especially if your team members specialize in certain genres.

  7. Joe Bruno says:

    I use Marc Maturo as my proofreader. Marc and I worked together as sportswriters in New York City, dating back to 1980. He was copy editor for the Gannett Newspapers in Upstate New York for decades. If I make a typo, or incorrect punctuation, he finds it. And he doesn’t charge an arm and a leg.

    Marc only works for people he knows, so you can mention my name as a recommendation

    His email is marcmaturo@aol.com.

  8. Ruth Harris says:

    DD, I’m thrilled that Meghan is working out so well! A great editor is worth her weight in gold-platinum-diamonds-chocolate!

    As to Rob, I agree that his work is excellent. Also that you have to have patience. He’s had a book of mine since October and I’m still waiting. At this point, I think of the book as a hostage! :-(

    • D.D. Scott says:

      And thanks to you, Ruth, for introducing me to Meghan right here on The WG2E with your fabulous Ruth Harris Reports on Ebook Editors!!! U rock!!!

      I hear ya on the 52 Novels issues. They are having major issues lately getting work out on a timely basis. And they are going to really have to work on fixing that. Otherwise, someone will come along who can do the same quality work that they do, and I won’t be waiting anymore.

  9. R.A. Lee says:

    I love my team of volunteers, but unless you’re compensating with cash, the process goes VERY SLOWLY!

  10. SK Holmesley says:

    My daughter-in-law designed the elements for her cover, then worked with Michael C. Hayes to lay out and paint the cover. She wanted an oil painting of the cover, because she liked the depth provided. Michael retains the oil painting, but the elements as my daughter-in-law designed them belong to her. We have a very specific contract for who owns what, since my daughter-in-law is also an artist, but does not work in oils. (http://michaelchayes.blogspot.com/2011/11/silver-hand.html). They have since collaborated on a second cover under the same contract. Michael sends us a high quality digital file of the cover when it’s completed, then my daughter-in-law adds the front cover information. Michael has charged up $1500 for each cover so far, but I love the covers and think them more than worth the price. As far as I know, his covers are based on time to complete, so more complicated covers are probably more expensive.

    For the cover on my regency, I did it myself using photoshop. It’s not bad, not great, but was something I could afford at the time (10 years ago). I’ve since redone the colors, but otherwise didn’t worry too much about the cover, since the Regency is always our first book out if we add a new digital distributor. It’s the one we can afford to loose without too many tears, if we end up with an egregious distributor.

    For the covers on my Taggert House Series, I did the cover layout, but the insets (primary sketch) was done by different artists over the years. Because one of the main characters in the series is an empathic artist, the covers are sketched representations of one of the focal characters in a particular volume. The most recent, for Book III, was done by my step-granddaughter, who like her mother is an artist, but at 18 needs an overriding reason to put herself out. I paid her $100.00 for the inset. I think she didn’t really expect to be paid, so we all used guilt to get her going. I liked having her do the drawing, because she was visiting on Winter Break, and I was able to see the various stages, so the final was exactly what I wanted.

    We do that ourselves. My son and I, between us, have over 40 years of coding, which includes over 15 years of HTML coding (including HTM5, which is the base for the .epub), so are very comfortable with the formatting. Additionally, my daughter-in-law as an artist has a look and feel with the formats that she is unyielding about and most formatting companies have their own templates. We have our own .css files, and control the formatting for the .epub with those. My son has scripts that convert the html5 for her books to mobi, and I have scripts that strip and regress the html back to plain text if I want to return to Pages. Right now, I working on some Python scripts that will eventually use the PDF libraries to create PDF directly from the .epub, but currently I’m running through Pages.

    We all edit each others work, as well my daughter-in-law has a contingent of readers, one of whom also edits for her. Because English was originally a second language for her (excellent speaking, but had a little trouble with some of the grammar writing — it’s mostly always the prepositions with non English speakers, some tenses, but definitely prepositions if they have problems), she was a little sensitive on her first book, but as time passes, she becomes more and more comfortable with the ins and outs of written English and less sensitive to correction, so her writing becomes stronger with each book. I lost my main editor (she died–still sad), but have scripts that rip everything apart and test for most of my weaknesses, and mis/(spalling-typing) errors, as well as running it through Grammarian, to catch dangling participles, and those kinds of errors. Only reading catches homophones (I called them homonyms before the earlier blog on that subject), but Grammarian will catch some when the parts of speech are in the wrong place. I think you really have to develop trust with an editor. I worked for a major publisher for six years as a Unix Systems Admin, but would read their publications and web pages and presentations prepared for teachers. The number of ridiculous errors that got through to publication was way more than it should have been coming out of a major publisher, and left me with severe trust issues for people just because they’ve been employed as and had the title of editor. I’m not ruling out ever having another professional editor, but it would have to be someone I trusted, and right now, I’m not running in those circles where I’m meeting a lot of professional editors face to face.

    • SK Holmesley says:

      lol — spelling, not spalling — that was a typo — wish we could go back and edit. :-)

  11. Dana Delamar says:

    Thanks for sharing your team, Dee Dee. Laura’s covers are great! Several times when I’ve seen a great cover and looked up the artist, Laura’s name has been listed.

    As for my team, editing is a combo of myself (I was an editor for almost 19 years) and my wonderful critique partner, Kristine Cayne. (Editing myself does require me to set my books aside for a while so I can come to them fresh and does require multiple passes to get every last i dotted and t crossed. It also requires a team of beta readers who spot anything we’ve missed.) A lot of my reviews call out how well-edited and well-written my books are, so we must be doing something right. :)

    My covers are done by the very talented Scarlett Rugers (http://www.scarlettrugers.com). She does both print and ebook covers for me, and I highly recommend her. She has great typography skills in addition to design skills (not every graphic artist does), so the books look very professional.

    My ebooks are formatted by Lucinda Campbell, who’s fast, reliable, and very affordable. I highly recommend her. http://design.lkcampbell.com/

    I do all the formatting for my print books (and Kristine Cayne’s). This was another thing I felt I could do on my own since I know Word quite well, and I enjoy having that level of control over the books. If anyone else wants to give that a try, I wrote an article about the process of working with CreateSpace and getting your books ready to print. Here’s the link: http://danadelamar.blogspot.com/p/createspace-tips.html

  12. Christy Ulbrich says:

    I’ve written a children’s book that I’d like to e-publish. I need to find an illustrator and am on a tight budget. Any suggestions? I appreciate any tips you can provide.