We sat down with Scotland-based Book Shepherd, editor, and founder of Spotlight Editorial, Chris Bryce, to find out more about how book-shepherding can take the strain out of publishing your work, what advice she has for aspiring entrepreneurs, and to find out how using Zervant has helped her business.
Can you tell us a bit more about your business? What is it and when did you start running it?
My business is Spotlight Editorial. I provide copywriting, editing, and book-shepherding services. This often includes refreshed wording (web-copy, advertising, blogs, or marketing copy), award applications and speech writing, or help with copyediting works of fiction or academic texts. I’ve been working in this area since 2011.
What exactly is a Book Shepherd?
Imagine you’ve finished writing a book and have decided to publish it yourself. That’s great, but what do you do next? You could spend a lot of time trying to work out how to make your manuscript fit into Amazon or Kindle’s systems, create cover art, buy an ISBN, write marketing text and make a host of other decisions. You could do this all by yourself, or you could get some help. This is where a Book Shepherd comes in. A Book Shepherd will guide you through the process of publishing a book, taking on as much of the administration as you wish. This takes all the drama out of self-publishing and deals with a host of issues for you.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur, and how did you get the idea for your business?
Returning to full-time work after my kids were born just wasn’t for me. Starting my own business let me do what I love doing and spend time with my family too. I’ve always enjoyed working with words, but now I’m a professional word geek. My training with the Society for Editors and Proof-readers gave me the idea to become a Book Shepherd as well as a copywriter and editor.
Did you face any particular challenges when you first started your business? Looking back, would you do anything differently?
I would probably spend more time than I did just figuring things out. I’d have sorted all the admin out that comes with starting a business – I’d have cleared all the disorder away earlier than I did.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur, and what are the things that you find most annoying?
I enjoy the variety of work I have, as well as being my own boss. Happy clients really make my day. I would say I get annoyed by pesky and repetitive tasks.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I start by taking the kids to school and the dog to the park. I then catch up with any clients I’ve arranged to see that day, and, after lunch, create web content or edit any fiction or non-fiction work I have. I also spend time uploading new books to sell on Amazon and Kindle. I usually like to finish the day with some networking. Most of my work can be done at any time of day or night, and that’s a bonus.
What are your plans for the future of your company?
I’d like to grow the company into a successful brand and then sell it on when I’m ready.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs that are planning to start their own business, including those in a similar field to you?
Do what you love, and you won’t mind the long shifts and crazy deadlines that come with starting a new business.
When did you start using Zervant? Which Zervant services do you mainly use and how do you find using Zervant helps your business?
I started using Zervant in 2018, mainly for creating and sending invoices. At first, I was pretty disorganised about my invoicing, and it always took too long to do. However, after I started using Zervant, everything became super-quick and professional. I’m better at keeping track of things, and the professional look to everything I send out means people pay me faster too.
Finally, what do you like most about Zervant? What would you like to see changed or improved?
I’ve found the professional-looking invoices I can send in Zervant help me get paid faster, as well as letting me keep tabs on all my payments more easily. With regards to future improvements, anything that would help make compiling tax returns easier would be a welcome addition!
If you’re interested in finding out more about Spotlight Editorial, you can visit Chris’s website at https://www.spotlighteditorial.com and twitter at @Spotlight_Ed. Be sure to check out her website along with her informative VLOG!