Today I’m talking to Kelsye Nelson and Abigail Carter, the creators of Writer.ly, the sponsors of our Six-Word Memoir Contest. Interested in entering the contest to win a full-ride scholarship to Wild Mountain? Check out this page and get your entry in by Midnight, February 25th.
Theo Pauline Nestor: Tell us about Writer.ly? What is it? How does it work?
Kelsye Nelson: Writer.ly is an online marketplace that connect writers to the services and experts needed to create their books and get them sold. For example, if a writer is looking for an editor, she places a job post on Writer.ly describing her project, what help she needs, and her budget. Editors bid on the job. The writer chooses based on price, portfolio, reviews and experience.
All kinds of writers use Writer.ly. Those self-publishing may use Writer.ly for every step from editing, to design to marketing. Traditionally published authors come to Writer.ly for extra marketing help, or to have their author websites developed. Publishers even come to Writer.ly to find copy-editors and cover designers.
Nestor: How did the idea for Writer.ly come into being?
Abby Carter: Kelsye and I met in a Meetup.com writer’s group that Kelsye formed about five years ago called the Seattle Daylight Writers. A lot of different writers come and go and so we hear a lot of stories about their attempts at self publishing. Often writers ask other writers about where they can find an editor or a book designer and it struck us that there was no one place where a writer could go and find the experienced professionals they needed, be it an editor, a designer, a website developer or a marketer. Even though I was traditionally published, I had no idea how to begin marketing my book, something that I realized too late that the publisher had no intention of doing. Kelsye took the idea to Founder’s Institute, an incubator group that helps startups and was accepted into the program. She came to me a few weeks later and I immediately signed on and invested.
Nestor: How do you see Writer.ly fitting into changes that have occurred in publishing over the last few years?
Nelson: This is a golden age for writers. The average American now reads seventeen books a year, compared to just six a few years back. People with readers like Kindle or Nook are reading an astonishing 24 books a year. The demand for new, quality content has never been higher. However, it’s still incredibly difficult for writers to publish a book, especially new authors. But, it doesn’t need to be. Authors can’t be expected to know and do everything. They set themselves up for failure when they try to do it all – edit their own books, design their own covers, distribute to books stores, schedule marketing and drum up press attention. With Writer.ly, writers can get the help they need to accomplish their publishing goals. They don’t need to do it all alone.
Nestor: How does Writer.ly fit into your writing lives
Carter: I am in what I hope will be the last throes of finishing my first novel. I found an editor through word of mouth before the site was launched, but intend to use Writer.ly to find a cover designer and a marketer and probably an ebook formatter since I’ve made the decision to self publish. I’m really excited that I will be in charge, and have control over every aspect of my book. Exciting days ahead!
Nelson: I’m also finishing my first novel. I have a draft and need some help with the story structure, so I’ve placed a job on Writer.ly to find a developmental editor to help me make my book as good as it possibly can be. My plan is to send the edited manuscript to agents to try to get a traditional publishing deal. If there is no interest from publishers, I will happily self-publish.
Nestor: Thanks, Abby and Kelsye!