Book Craft Spotlight Q&A With Marcia Breece

Book Craft Spotlight Q&A With Marcia Breece

Marcia Breece is a delight to know and work with. She left a corporate career, “a fast paced—grab onto the rocket and scream yeehaw—kind of career,” to spend more time with family and build her writing career. And after her two children started college, she had the opportunity to live in “exotic faraway places” like India, Taiwan and Hong Kong. After returning to the U.S. she bought a farm and finished her memoir (based on ten years of journaling). Soon the farm chores and inn keeping left little time for writing, even in the slow winter months. So, six years later she moved to a quiet beach cottage.

“You might say I turned 180°,” explains Marcia. “From tending to the constant needs of others, the animals on my farm and B&B guests, and before that an over-populated big city career and before that, caring for my family. I discovered that, at heart, I’m a country girl. I absorb the quiet around me, making it possible to be creative both in my writing and in the design work I do for other authors.” Today, Marcia is still busy writing, but much of her work is helping authors launch their books.

What is your book craft? I’m a ‘Publishing Consultant.’ I help authors with book production including cover design, interior design, layout, distribution set up via POD and eBook and coordinate the production of audiobooks. I am also an author. My novels are available online: Secrets Lost, Kala’s Choice, and coming soon, Last Bottle of Burgundy.

How did you get started offering these professional services? I self-published a book that I wrote, and a friend asked me to help with his book, then his friend asked me to help him. I’ve been helping authors self-publish since 2009. I’m also a bit of a computer geek—fascinated by software tools like Photoshop and InDesign, and I spend a lot of time updating my skills and knowledge. There is way too much false information online when it comes to self-publishing. I want to help authors cut through it all and get a professional looking book to market as quickly as possible. Self-publishing can be like drinking from a fire hose. I enjoy making the process manageable—even painless!

What fulfills you most about working with your clients? From the start, authors are excited about their manuscripts. Then, when I can help produce a professional looking book, they are thrilled. That’s my goal. Also, I have clients from all over the country and even offshore. Their books are a broad range of genres and I learn a lot about people and what’s important to them.

What is the ROI that your clients can look forward to by working with you? The ROI of self-publishing comes from the authors’ efforts to sell the book and self-promote. I give marketing advice but marketing is not part of my “book craft.” I worked with an author who sold more than 40,000 books because he spent the time and knew his target audience. If an author just waits for a reader to find the book online, not much happens in terms of ROI.

What makes you, and your services, unique? I provide an à la carte menu of services. I’m happy to design just the cover, or just convert to e-book or whatever the author needs. My rates are reasonable. I don’t offer “package deals;” everything I do is customized to the author’s needs. I make sure the cover and interior are professional and appropriate for the genre, you’d be surprised at how many “cookie cutters” are out there.

Being a writer myself gives me patience when an author continues to revise even after the book is ready for print. Late revisions drive some designers nuts, but I understand, it’s very difficult for most authors to let go and say, “That’s the best I can do.”

Who is your ideal client? Anyone who needs help with self-publishing, however, I find that the over-55 crowd has more time for writing, and they aren’t interested in learning the “How To” technology. They just want to write and let me do the technical stuff.

What is one of your most memorable client engagements? Difficult question, there are several. I enjoy working with Martin Schreiber, the author of My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver. He is serious about his book, wants as many people as possible to read it and promotes it with joy and humor. Flaky’s Big Dream, about a snowflake who dreams of moving mountains, was especially fun for me. It’s a beautiful children’s book and can be used for teaching children about glaciers. The author, Dan Zobrist, came to me with a folder of illustrations and a Word file. I did the layout and cover design and set up distribution. It is a lovely book and significant in these days of melting glaciers.

How do you hold yourself accountable and achieve the goals that you set forth? I work with authors until they have exactly what they want—end of story (no pun intended). My goal is to produce a book they can be proud of and I don’t stop until that happens.

How do you help your clients do the same? I recommend copy editors and proofreaders to assure the writing is as good as it can be.

How can people get started working with you? Contact me through email, I usually don’t start working with an author until their manuscript is complete but sometimes, I can help sooner, like I did with octogenarian Marilyn Pellini. She called me wondering if she might have a book. She had written letters to her dead husband to help her deal with her grief and thought that maybe she could turn her letters into a book that would help other widows. So, we did! The little inspirational book is called Dear Al. Marilyn started doing presentations for various groups. She had never been a public speaker, but it turned out, she was very good at it.

What else would you like people to know about you? My author friends are amazed that I have no trouble with motivation. When I’m working on a manuscript, I can hardly motivate to do anything else—even eat! I help authors Monday–Thursday then focus on my writing Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Thankfully my two little dogs, Ellie and Dora, insist on walks and break time. That said, when an author has a deadline, I’ll forgo all else to meet the deadline. I try to accomplish what the author wants in a timely manner, setting realistic expectations, and I always return phone calls and emails. I’ve often said, “If I don’t get back to you within 24 hours, call the police! Something is terribly wrong.”

Learn more about working with Marcia at her website.

Image Courtesy of Marcia Breece 

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