We’re taking part in the House of Beautiful Business “Concrete Love” conference in Lisbon this weekend, and preparation for that has us thinking about what people want when they say they want a book published. I think that the aspects of the process—most importantly, the relationship with one’s editor and other collaborators—are desirable in and of themselves. We don’t talk about that enough, but should.
More on that once we’re back in New York, without this view from the balcony.
Also happening today: The first EDITH profile photoshoot gifted by Beowulf Sheehan. There’s one spot left, so be in touch if you’ve published a listing on EDITH and are ready for a headshot upgrade.
First of all, big thanks to everyone who has been keeping up with us since v1. And to those of you who have replied to these updates, I want to give you a bear hug.
This week’s grab bag:
Some tiny improvements to the listing wizard went live this week. It looks sharper.
We are working on text to help those new to publishing processes think about what array of services might best fit their needs—essentially a “potential pathways through EDITH” page. Lynn, one of my first clients as an independent editor, was one of the first people to look at EDITH after launching, and this was her comment: “I very much like the tone of it, but what I think is needed is an intro to the process of publication—including marketing. I think there needs to be a greater assumption of ignorance and need for a greater degree of laying down of the predicates to be addressed in the presentation of a ‘good book.’” (She is in her mid-80s and does not mess around.) We agreed she had a point. Then when Shannon Mullen O’Keefe had much the same reaction as Lynn, we knew we had to make it a priority. The moral of this story is that if you see something on EDITH that doesn’t sit well with you, say something.
In the news: The New York Public Library has forgiven all late fines and ended the practice of charging fines altogether. Read more here.
“The Nerdletter” produced by Hell Yeah, Bookkeeping, a Los Angeles accounting firm that works primarily with creative people and agencies, is nicely done. It’s written and produced by company founder Paco de Leon, who approaches finances in ways friendly to those who don’t relish thinking about money or finances. More on her team here. They have Spotify playlists.
Speaking of money, we need to add a Payment Settings section to the listing wizard. That should happen before the gift-card integration mentioned in our last issue.
We are gearing up for a big getting-the-word-out-about-EDITH push. Please let us know if you want to get involved.
And finally, here’s the “therapy” to “coaching” spectrum, from the pit to the YAY, as helpfully illustrated by friend of EDITH Lior Locher:
One piece of feedback we’ve received is that filling out the listing wizard is pretty easy but then, right when you think you’re done, you are greeted with a pop-up window that (a) comes as a surprise, and (b) demands that you complete a Stripe registration that can feel invasive—and takes more time.
To the first problem, there’s an obvious answer, which we will try to implement soon: Adding “Payment Settings” to the sidebar, so you know it’s coming.
To the second problem there is not much we can do. Amending the UX so that someone creating a listing page didn’t have to complete Stripe set-up until after they’d found a client or agreed to a gig would mean creating pages, workflows, and new email notifications to deal with the new scenarios that suddenly become possible.
For instance, say you were on EDITH looking for a cover designer, found someone you wanted to collaborate with, reached out to them and this designer was excited to work on your project and accepted your price offer. That would feel great (I hope). But then if you received a notification that this designer hadn’t completed their payment settings, so the work would be on hold until they did, you might feel less great. If this designer happened to have a particularly leisurely approach to administrative stuff, and it took them two weeks to get around to completing their payment settings, or if they somehow encountered a problem with their bank, you might get impatient.
And if their payment settings problem couldn’t be fixed, then the job would have to be canceled—and you’d need to start your designer search all over.
All this to say that the inconvenience of requiring that the Stripe set-up be dealt with right away is smaller than the potential inconvenience (and frustration) created by not requiring Stripe be dealt with right away. That’s the present thinking, in any event, and we welcome your input anytime. Thanks for reading this too-long post!
P.S. Stripe is a big, multinational payment processor much like PayPal, and a book publisher too. Stripe Press does really interesting work.
Biweekly newsletter number four! In the past two weeks we had our first user from Warsaw, Poland, which is exciting. Then after much back-and-forth with one user in Stellenbosch, South Africa, we finally determined her profile couldn’t be published because Stripe, our payments processor, is not yet available there. Here’s hoping it’s soon on the way. We also coincidentally heard from someone from Stripe Press, their publishing arm, and very much worth checking out.
We also talked to a coach in Brighton, England, who is a licensed psychotherapist (in Germany) and it was one of those great conversations that slashed through mental knots with a surprising economy of effort. The gist was that she believed, rightly so, that we’d been looking at a problem too narrowly—and the best solution had a wider scope than we’d been considering. All this to say: We will change the name of the “Therapy” service category, but it’s not a matter of switching it to “Coaching,” because many people will assume we’re talking about writing coaching, and what we’re aiming at is something deeper, something that could speak to the person making the book as a thinking, feeling, sometimes hurting person, not just as craftsperson, professional, or artist.
By way of illustration: When I handed in the manuscript of my last book to my publisher, and was semi-enjoying those months of waiting for editor’s comments and page proofs, my publisher wanted to talk about publicity and social media strategy, and I wasn’t ready for it. I needed to have a conversation far further upstream. I needed to have roughly five conversations about other matters before I could talk about self-promotion. But those aren’t conversations you can easily have with your publisher. They literally don’t have time for it. So my thinking with EDITH was that we needed to make it OK for an author not to be totally together, poised to conquer the world. We should acknowledge that not everyone comes to the point of publication with the support they need, and sometimes their need has more to do with mental or emotional health than with financial resources or having enough hours in the day in which to tweet effectively.
In other EDITH news:
We are making small improvements to the listing wizard. It’s incredible the number of tiny things that have to go right for a web page not to look a bit “off.” Just so, so many. But we’re getting there.
A few of you have questions about pricing, which underscores the need to revamp the How It Works and About pages, and perhaps add another. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while, and your suggestions are most welcome. Just a reminder here that the EDITH commission fee is 6% as opposed to the 10% and even 20% seen elsewhere.
The project manager on our technical team, Kate, is leaving us to work on sites built on the WordPress “tech stack” (this is developer-speak for “you don’t know what I’m talking about”). We’ll miss her but have confidence we’ll cross paths again.
On the horizon: gift-card integration. Would it be fun to receive, say, a book cover design as a present? It’s one way to sidestep the supply chain breakdown we’ve been promised in time for the holidays.
Mood around the office lately:
Thanks for reading, and please be in touch with any questions or concerns. If some aspect of EDITH is not working for you, let us know. If there’s a feature you want to see, let us know that also.