A lovely new review for “How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment”

How I survived my first year of full-time self-employment A new review has come in for my first business book, “How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment“. I’m so glad that this reader has got the idea that the  light-hearted bits on tea and cardigans, etc., are supposed to make it more fun and approachable to read, and I love that they say that it’s inspired their own career – exactly what I wanted to do. Hooray!

I get fewer new reviews these days, but every one still counts, even on the books that already have quite a few reviews. So just a reminder that if you read and enjoy a book – especially if it’s by an indie author – it’s always useful to pop a review on Amazon or wherever else you bought it.

This reviewer said,

Insightful, informative and invaluable – a little gem! Liz gives the reader sound, invaluable advice that has served to inspire my own fledgling career. The book is also interspersed with light-hearted insights that makes the reading a pleasurable experience … ” (read the whole review here)

Read more about “How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment” including how and where to buy.

Why did I write my books? Why did you write yours?

Liz Broomfield booksThe other day, I was chatting with someone who didn’t know I’d written several books. I found myself explaining why I wrote them … and now I’m wondering why people write their books. So I’m going to share first, then I hope other people will do, too, in the comments.

I wrote my first book, “How I Conquered High Cholesterol” for two reasons. The first was that I was diagnosed with high cholesterol, given a really quite unhelpful single A4 sheet by my doctor (which tried to cover the diets of all of the ethnic groups in the UK in one page) and threatened with medication. Once I’d worked everything out and got my cholesterol lower and staying lower, I wrote it all down and added some recipes. The second reason was that as an editor and proofreader, I was working with quite a few people who wanted to self-publish ebooks, and I wanted to see what that process was like from the inside (I used that same reasoning when I later put together print versions of my books).

When I went full-time self-employed, I blogged about the process for a year, and then I put those blog posts together into a book, “How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment“. I did that one for two reasons, too. The first was, to be honest, that lots of people were turning blogs into books and I thought it would be easy (it’s not that easy to make it not seem like it’s just a load of blog posts shoved together into a book, by the way). I thought I could produce a side-stream of passive income which would generate itself as I worked on my full-time job, and the books have done that to a certain extent. I did also write it, again, because I couldn’t find many resources covering my specific situation, as a 40-something wanting to dip gently into self-employment rather than risking everything. I also wanted to make it approachable – a book I would want to read, and my readers have appreciated that (even the one who said there were too many cardigans in it …). The subtitle, “Going it Alone at 40” was the original title, another error!

I kept on blogging, and I realised I had more to say about running more of a mature business, once you’ve done all the start-up stuff. So I put together the ultimately not hugely successful “Running a Successful Business After the Start-up Phase: Who are you Calling Mature?” I added loads of stuff about social media, websites and how you know when your business is stable and levelling out, then how to build income, etc., and people who read it like it, but I’ve never really been able to explain it very well, I fear, and it lags in the sales department.

Then I put these two business books together into “Your Guide to Starting and Running your Business” which I offer at a discounted price compared to the two individual volumes, because I honestly feel that I want to provide this information in the most cost-effective way possible for the reader. I feel very strongly about books that promise much then try to sell you a course with the author: by putting together the omnibus, I tried to provide as much as I could for as little as possible.

My next-best selling title after the Cholesterol book, “Quick Guide to  your Career in Transcription” came about because I kept seeing lots and lots of searches coming through to my business blog around transcription. I’d blogged a bit on the topic and I wrote more for this guide – including adding a section on ergonomics when an early reader complained that topic wasn’t included! The books I found on the topic were quite pushy and get-rich-quick, so I thought there was room for a no-nonsense and friendly guide along the lines of my other business books. I included some basic information on setting up a business from those book, but tailored everything else towards transcription itself.

Showing that you can be too clever, I sprung at the idea of stuffing your title with keywords and put together “Quick Guide to Networking, Social Media and Social Capital“. Oh, they will all search for these terms and come to the book, thought I. Well, again, people who read it find the brief, no-nonsense guide to networking in person and through social media useful, but it’s not picked up the sales I hoped for.

Looking to the future, I really want to write a main and quick guide to your career in proofreading and editing. I’m including a self-mentoring guide in that – the reason for that being that a lot of people ask me for formal mentoring and that’s not something I have the resources to do. The self-mentoring guide will then be published separately in a more general version to help people with their businesses.

If I cast my mind back over all of these books, the main impetus has been to help people, and to write the book I wish I’d had when I was in that situation. What about you? Why did you write your book? I’d love to know (feel free to include a link to your book in your comment, but I’ll monitor the responses for spamminess so please share your story as well as your link).

Over to you …

Thirteenth and Fourteenth Five-Star Reviews for “Quick Guide to Your Career in Transcription”

quick guide to your career in transcriptionI’m so chuffed, especially after some not-so-great comments on my cholesterol book – I have received my thirteenth and fourteenth five-star reviews for my book on transcription careers!
In fact, I do worry that this set of reviews will look fake. People normally have a range of opinions, and my other books certainly have a range of star ratings. But only one of my reviews on this book is by someone I know personally, and she bought it herself and used it for her career, too – it’s just I have lovely reviewers for this one (I did work hard on making the book as good as it could be, too!).
This one came in November:
Excellent guide! … Massively massively helpful with ideas I would not have thought of, useful tips and hints, and realistic perspective on this kind of work … Get to Starbucks, order a toffee nut latte, get your notebook out, and go through this book in one sitting (as I did), and then review it and your notes as they will be packed with good stuff. Thanks to the author! (read the whole review here)
and this one a few days ago, short but sweet:
Five Stars. Everything you need to know to set up as a transcriber. Helpful tips and advice.
The author of the first review  has got in touch with me to ask some questions, too – I love it when that happens, and really enjoy hearing how people are getting on and learning about what they want to know next.
Especially if you read books published by independents, please do pop a review on your book blog and Amazon, Hive, etc. – it really makes a difference!

Hi, I’m Liz Dexter and I’m a writer and …

Liz Broomfield books authorThere are lots of “writers and …” out there and I bet some of you reading this are, too. Writing is a perilous full-time career for all but a very few people (statistics bandied around about the average annual earnings of writers suggest anything from £1,000 to £5,000) and also I suspect that it’s not what every writer would actually want to do full time (I know I wouldn’t).

I know writers-and-editors, writers-and-carers, writers-and-stay-at-home-parents, writers-and-painters, writers-and-crafters … and hopefully some of them will be along to share their stories some time soon. I’m going to share mine, then it’s over to you!

Which came first, writing or “and …”?

In my case, everything else came before writing. In fact, I only started writing when I had a medical diagnosis and no factsheets to guide me. That’s why I wrote my book about lowering my cholesterol – to help other people who might be in the same situation.

Of course, I’d been busily writing blog posts and the like for a while, so it seemed natural to turn my blog about my first year of full-time self-employment into a book (it’s not actually that easy to just “turn a blog into a book”, it turns out, but I created a book in the end). I then went on to write other books for freelancers, because, again, I didn’t find that much useful information for the type of freelancer I was becoming – and reviewers still talk about these filling that gap in the market, so it seems that writing for yourself can be a handy type of writing to do!

How do I introduce myself at parties?

Well, I don’t go to many parties, but I do tend to introduce myself as an editor, transcriber, localiser, runner, reader … and writer. Hm, maybe if I went about with a bagful of books and touted myself as a writer first, I’d sell more of the things …

Do I feel like I’ve got a double identity?

I do have an actual double identity now. I got married relatively late in life, and I’d already written several books under my unmarried name, Liz Broomfield. So I decided (mainly because I was too lazy and mean to get all the covers and uploaded versions changed) to stick with Liz Broomfield for the author side of things, while becoming Liz Dexter for my Libro business and in the rest of my life.

This has been a bit confusing and led to a lot of explaining (although that’s helped my search engine optimisation, and if you search for Liz Dexter on Amazon you do find most of my books anyway), but it felt like the right choice at the time.

I also have three blogs – Liz Dexter’s Libro one for my “professional” blog (by which I mean by editing, proofreading, transcription, tips, business ideas etc. blog and website), a book review one which is also Liz Dexter-based now, and this separate one for my books. Again, I’m never sure, to be honest, whether that was a good idea, but it’s done now!

How do I fit the two sides of my life in?

This is a tricky one – I’m notoriously bad at setting aside time for writing. When I do, I usually book out a few solid hours for book work. Unfortunately, what I like to refer to as “paid work” does come first, so I have to work hard to carve out those few hours. I could do better with this, and I’m considering booking a week of “holiday” with myself and my clients to get some projects finished.

How has writing affected my other job?

I work with writers in a lot of my “day job”, and I can honestly say that the writing and particularly editing process, and the fact of being out there in the world as an author with books to sell, has had a big positive effect on my work. Being edited is hard, and having been through the process (with a lovely editor, I hasten to add) made me make a big effort to be super-kind in my own editing work – I know how disheartening it can be to have your work pulled apart, however kindly and necessarily. If I could say one thing in this blog post, it would be that.

Would I prefer to be doing one or the other?

In my case, I can honestly say no. I am trying to do some research as well, and sometimes I wish I could ONLY do that for a bit, but I don’t think I could sustain a full-time writing life, and I like the contrast between writing for my blogs, writing my books and doing the other stuff I do.

My books can be found on this website (just follow the links in the menu) and are all on Amazon.

Over to you!

I’d love to know what the “and …” is in your life! Why don’t you drop me a line with your answers to the questions, and I’ll publish the best of them on this blog. I’d particularly like to know how you manage the two sides of your working life, as I know I’m bad at that!

Here are those questions again:

  • What do you do apart from writing?
  • Which came first, writing or “and …”?
  • How do you introduce yourself at parties?
  • Do you feel like you’ve got a double identity?
  • How do you fit the two sides of your life in?
  • Would you prefer to be doing one or the other?

Don’t forget to include a portrait of you, if you’d like one displayed, and the URLS for your website and book links.

Send me your answers via email or get in touch via the Contact Form. And happy writing and “…”, whatever you do!

Another lovely review for “How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment”

How I survived my first year of full-time self-employment You know what? I really am going to have to take the bits about tea and cardigans out of the new versions of my books specifically for editors and transcribers … although then what would people have to write about in their reviews? This reviewer has also been in touch with me for further information – I, like all authors, I’d imagine, love it when that happens. It’s all been either nice comments or questions, so far, however!

Anyway, there were some lovely comments in this review, and I really appreciate all reviewers who take the time to publish their thoughts on my books!

A field of gold, full of treasures … I loved and appreciated the fact that she is so willing to share the wealth of information that has enabled her to be where she is now, this is truly worth emulating for all whether business owners or not … All in all a great, practical book and I would wholeheartedly recommend it. It is to be read over and over again. (You can read the full review here.)

If you’ve read this one, what do you think? Should I take the tea and tracksuit bottoms out of my new omnibuses or tell it how it is, fleece and all?

Read more about “How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment” including how and where to buy.

I’m up to 13 five-star reviews for “Quick Guide to your Career in Transcription”

quick guide to your career in transcriptionI was thrilled to find my thirteenth five-star review (twelve on Amazon.co.uk and one on Amazon.ca) for my book, “Quick Guide to Your Career in Transcription”, from a lady who’s now read three of my books (even better!). I have been popping reviews onto both my review blog and Amazon for books I’ve read lately, as I know how much it helps authors to get feedback on their books – especially when they’ve helped and/or entertained people, of course.

Here’s an extract …

A lot of helpful information in a relatively short book … it was definitely worth reading to find out what is involved, and what skills and tools are needed. There are plenty of useful tips about how to make life as a transcriber easier (both in terms of doing work and getting work). Plus, there are some very useful reminders about office ergonomics for all home office workers that spend a long time behind a keyboard. (read the whole review here.)

This book has obviously struck a bit of a chord, as I get more emails and contact about this topic than any of the other ones I talk about in my books and on my blog. With that in mind, I’m trying very hard at the moment to work this into a full-length book on transcription careers, based on my “Your Guide to Starting and Building Your Business” to add to the special editors’ edition I’m also putting together. These will be available in print and e-book versions automatically from publication, as I’ve found that the popularity of my print books is growing.

Do you prefer to buy non-fiction, informational style books in print or have you swapped to e-books for those? I’d love to know!

For more information and how to buy, visit the “Quick Guide to your Career in Transcription” page.

And this is why I’m glad I put my email address in the back of my books …

quick guide to your career in transcriptionI had an email enquiry in the week from someone who had read “Quick Guide to your Career in Transcription” but wanted to ask for a little more detail on a couple of points (one of which was more about general business stuff, one of which was about how to check your typing speed). I was very happy to hear from her, as I’d always much rather be able to fill in any gaps myself and have a happy customer.

I did mention in my reply that it would be great if she could pop over and add a review for my book on Amazon – and she did!

Great easy to read product – It was very informative. [I] emailed the author with questions to which she responded promptly. I would highly recommend it … (read the whole review here)

So if you’ve written a book and you’re wondering whether to include contact details, I think it’s a good idea. And if you’re considering emailing an author, I’d say do it – we always like to hear from our readers (even constructive criticism, as happened with one of the reviews on this very book) and I always like to take the opportunity to help someone.

For more information on this book (with its 11 five-star reviews!) and how to buy, visit the “Quick Guide to your Career in Transcription” page.

Lovely book reviews make me happy

I would say that pretty well all authors want to entertain and help people, maybe both. Yes, some people do write books just to make money, but I reckon that doesn’t do much for your sales, as it’s probably pretty obvious in the long run. I know quite a few authors of various different types of book, and what links us all is that we love hearing from our readers. I write to inform and help, and because I know there’s a need out there for advice on business and careers, because people contact me all the time asking for help. When I receive feedback that I have actually helped someone, that’s honestly the best reward, and I think it would be even if I made multiple millions a year from my books (I don’t).

Your guide to starting and building your businessSo, I’ve had two lovely reviews recently, the first on “Your Guide to Starting and Running Your Business“, which is my business omnibus, available in e-book only (until I get round to producing a print edition) and obviously read by someone with their eye on the transcription side of things …

A gem for wannabe transcriptionists. Wonderfully frank and informative. Liz has provided me with the confidence to give it a try … (read the rest here)

I don’t get many reviews on this one, so that was really nice.

quick guide to your career in transcriptionAnd then the second was on my “Quick Guide to your Career in Transcription” which does what it says on the tin (and might have been useful for that first reviewer, although this second reviewer could do with the above book as she moves forward from part-time work to more!):

An Inspirational Guide. This is a really helpful practical guide to setting yourself up as a transcriber. The information is clear, concise and current and Liz is generous with her tips and knowledge … As as result, and after some in depth typing practice to bring up my speed, I was able to confidently contact some professional transcription companies, and am now working for two of them on a part time basis along with my current day job! (read the rest here)

I know there’s plenty of transcription work to go around, and I’m so pleased that by writing about my experiences and pulling them together into my books, I’ve been able to help two more people with their careers.

A lovely new review for “Running A Successful Business after the Start-up Phase”!

Running a successful business after the start-up phaseI’ll be honest here – I’ve never quite marketed this book correctly. First of all, I called it “Who are you Calling Mature?”, a title which I had tested on people but which, it turned out, made people think it was a book about ageing disgracefully (oops) – even though it had the same cover as you can see here, but with the title and sub-title reversed. So I rejigged it all, got the cover re-done, re-did all the versions on the various platforms where I sell it, and tried again.

I still think I’ve got the title wrong, though. It’s all about social media, building your business, knowing when to say no and when to say yes, picking your customers, etc. – which is actually useful for start-ups as well. Anyway, whatever’s happened, it’s always lagged behind my other books, although it does better when it’s part of my omnibus volume, “Your Guide to Starting and Running your Business“.

What all this is leading up to is the fact that I was thrilled to get a lovely new five-star review for this book, especially, as – you guessed it – the poor thing lags a little in the review numbers, too.

Another useful and insightful review from Liz … Even if your business isn’t anywhere near mature, there is still plenty of information in there that may help you to think through, and potentially avoid, some issues without having to go through the pain of experiencing them … (read the whole review here)

I know I labour this point, but this is why reviewing books you read, especially those from small presses and independent authors, is so important – it cheers us immensely, for a start, and this review, with its explanation that it’s useful for all stages of business life and talking about social media, too, helps other readers to find the book and make use of it.

Read more about “Running a Successful Business after the Start-up Phase” here or pop straight to its page on Amazon.

Is it worth producing print versions of your e-books?

5 books overlappingAt the beginning of this month, I shared the news that I’d finished producing print versions of my three smaller e-books and that they were now available. At that point I was quite tired; I’d been slogging away through the admin of getting new covers (from my cover designer), getting them formatted appropriately (by myself, including loads of fiddling around, turning links into footnotes and goodness knows what else) and uploading them onto CreateSpace. Phew.

I had done this because a few people had overtly said to me that they wanted to buy print editions, and I’d run some informal market research which suggested that enough people still read print books – in fact some commenters strongly suggested that I produce all of my business books in this format because they liked adding notes to their books which was easier with a pen, some sticky notes and a “real” book than with an e-book. So it got done, and I was really busy, and it was a bit of a chore, but it was all done.

Then we went away on holiday (hooray!) and I sort of forgot about it. So much so that I – gasp – forgot to look at my statistics! Goodness me! When I had a look at them, I was pleasantly surprised. We’re almost half way through the month and I have sold some print books (and these don’t include the ones I ordered for myself to check they’re OK). Interestingly, although I haven’t sold the number that I sell in e-book versions every month, the proportions are about the same across the different titles. That’s fine, and I suppose what I would have expected if I’d thought about that aspect.

Now that the effort is over and they are starting to pay for the only real monetary cost (the covers – yes, I know: my time, my time, but I did slot them in, in between paid jobs and didn’t turn down any paid work to have the time to do them). In future, I’ll bring out simultaneous print and e-book versions of any new books I produce (I have a version of my two business books aimed at editors coming out in the next couple of months).

I’d be interested to know about other indie publishers’ experiences – have you done one format then the other or did you start with both? Which is more successful, and do you know why? Would you recommend it?

You can find out more about my books on running a small business (and dealing with high cholesterol) here.