What’s your story?
Me, I’m one of those people with myriad freak allergies, as I was reminded one day a few months ago when I tried to stand up and discovered my legs weren’t working*, or some months before that when I discovered I could eat olive oil again but could no longer touch avocado.
*This is why I hate seasonal allergies.
Everyone’s crazy somehow; some people just hide it better than others. My form of crazy involves noticing the difference between what’s actually required and what’s just assumed to be necessary—because, hey, that’s what I have to do to survive, so I can’t help but see it everywhere else.
This means I approach your project with a focus on the end target—your aim and intent for the target audience, plus any specific details you definitely want—and figure out what you actually need from there.
Whether you need help figuring out what’s needed to get your project done or you need someone to do your project for you, I might be able to help you out.
Getting your project from “planned” to “published”.
Before you’re ready to hire anyone’s services for a project, you must know the answer to a specific question:
Who’s your target audience or ideal client?
If you’re writing fiction (or some forms of nonfiction), the answer can be yourself. That’s fine. Just know it’s your answer.
But if you’re trying to write for a particular purpose that is not “This is what I want to read,” you need to answer this question—ideally before you get too far in writing or producing the project, because the answer will affect the end result.
“Everyone who likes X” is a nice start of an answer, but it’s still too broad. You need to go narrower, so you can have a better idea of how to organize everything, what device(s) it should be optimized for, which words will “click”, if you should be avoiding shit like the word “shit”, etc.
When answering “Who is my ideal client?”, a narrow stereotype is actually good.
The reason is that this stereotype will help you double-check that you’re targeting a group who will have the interest and funds to buy what you’re offering—and it’ll help you design everything so it suits them. Unless you’re willing to risk spending more time and effort (and money) than you’ll be able to recoup, you need to have a specific, precise answer to this question.
You can have more than one target market, but you need to define one as primary for the purpose of design and marketing. You can always repackage and relaunch for another target audience, later.
This very page is a case in point, designed to catch the eye of folks who aren’t all that interested in doing the same thing everyone else is.
Need the answer? You need to answer it in order to pursue the best publishing options to meet those goals. If you aren’t even sure what your potential options are, I can help with that, too.
If you don’t actually need one of my various-but-related services but just need some personalized advice on how to handle your publishing project, you can hire me as a consultant for project advice and planning, instead. My knowledge of so much of the process means I can gear my recommendations to you specifically, rather than just suggesting you do what I would do (or am doing), myself.
A Word of Unsolicited Advice
Are you struggling with:
- understanding which writing rules you should be following?
- Figuring out who you're writing it for??
I’ve been where you are, struggling to figure out what I need to know and to learn it. I know how confusing it can be.
Now, I could help you with all that (finding the methods you need to use to get things done, helping you see which writing rules apply to you and how, enabling you to get your writing out into the world).
But sometimes, all you need is a bit of reassurance: It’s perfectly normal to be overwhelmed by all the little things involved with getting projects written and published. It’s also normal for different people to have different approaches, tactics, and even order in which they do things. Normal.
So if you’ve figured out what works for you, and it isn’t what Joe Somebody insists you “should” be doing? F* Joe. What works for you? Works for you.
*As in “forget”, of course. What else could I have meant?
Even if another method is often more effective, that doesn’t mean it’ll be more effective for you. It’s okay to be different.
Following everyone else’s “What you should do” makes it hard for you to stand out, to be remembered. If you want to hide or follow fit into a specific model or market, that’s fine.
But if you don’t want to fit a specific mold…
Why are you hanging out in the pack with everyone else?
- Why am I making this?
- Who will it help most?
- What will they do with it?
- How will they find it?
- What price can they afford?
Answer those questions, and you’ll be off to a fantastic start at figuring out your target audience (and what types of editing, cover, and formatting you need) on your own.
Front-End Web Design
Need help structuring your site and making them look nice—or figuring out what kind of website suits your needs to begin with?
I build custom pages, page templates, or themes to suit your desired appearance, all focused on the HTML5/CSS3 side of things. (So if you ask me for a wireframe, I’ll probably build it in HTML and CSS, not Photoshop or GIMP. Way more efficient for me that way.)
Already have the wireframe? I can build a responsive site or page to match it, either as straight code for upload or as a WordPress theme.
Aren’t sure what kind of website you need? If you will need to update or change pages regularly, you’ll want the appearance designed as a template. If you’re comfortable with direct-upload pages, plain HTML and CSS can be fine. (That’s how I handle most of my site.)
Want a website you’d be willing to wear? Collect images that demonstrate your personal style and tastes—maybe in clothing, maybe in paintings, maybe in websites. Just something that lets me see your personal sense of aesthetic. Don’t fret about matching your tastes exactly—Pinterest lets you annotate images quite nicely. [wink] (For an example of such a board, you can check out my “Stuff I’d Wear” board on Pinterest.)
What I don’t build from scratch:
I don’t create images, and I don’t construct interactive websites and functions. I can design an interface’s appearance or (in some situations) modify a premade image or function, but if you want that built altogether, you’ll want a specialist.
*See descriptions of the types of editing here.
No matter the action step you’re on in your project, I might be who you’re looking for to fill in the gaps.
What I don’t work with:
Academic, erotic, or news writing. Those have specific styles and paces (and guidelines for construction) that actually are required, with reason, and you want someone who specializes in whichever your project is.
What clients say:
I have hired Misti to edit four of my books, and she has done a wonderful job. She is thorough, professional, and returns my manuscripts in a timely manner. Apart from making necessary technical corrections, she has offered valuable creative suggestions on many occasions. She is a skilled editor, and I highly recommend her.
Misti Wolanski edited two books for me—one young adult and one “hen” lit. Both times she made brilliant recommendations that vastly improved the manuscripts. I love the way she packs in little “mini-lessons” along with her edits, so I’m not only getting great editing, but I’m also acquiring a higher skill level from working with her. With both books she was clear about the timeline and stuck to it. Moreover, she went above and beyond by reviewing my website and offering suggestions for improving it. Without reservation, I highly recommend Misti’s editing services! I look forward to working with her on my next project.
What I don’t do:
Assume that something on the page is necessarily a typo or necessarily what you meant. When something could be read either way, I actually ask, to double-check.
E-Book Design & Development
There are multiple ways to create the various forms of e-book, but I focus on the ones that tend to start with a Microsoft Word document (or Open Office or RTF). From there, I create a well-formatted Microsoft Word document and/or convert to HTML and build the e-book format(s) based on the options you’ve selected.
MS Word files are the most universally usable, able to be converted to other electronic file types via Calibre, but the tradeoff is that you have less control over appearance and a necessarily larger file size—but honestly, a well-formatted DOC file can produce good e-book files for most standard prose.
The EPUB/HTML format gives the most control over the structure, layout, file size, and appearance; but it takes more time and is harder for a non-professional to update. To make changes, you have to open the EPUB and edit the source files, which are mostly (but not all) HTML and CSS that has some specific foibles due to e-readers. If you have the well-formatted DOC, you can use Track Changes when you tweak your content, so whoever edits the EPUB can more easily compare files and make them both both as consistent as possible. (Some formatting things don’t transfer for all devices.)
If your source file is a PDF, your options for conversion are limited. PDF is an end display format, so conversion from PDF will necessarily have some difficulties if not limitations on your data.
See more about this service here
What I don’t use, with reason:
Both Scrivener and iWork’s pages have some notable quirks that have negative side effects in the e-books. InDesign just irks me in general—it’s too difficult to export content, so it can cause a lot of problems in the long term.
P-Book Design & Development
A p-book being a print book, of course!
When used properly, Microsoft Word is a fantastic base format for accessing and revising content even years into the future, so I use that to create template files or to format documents themselves for export to PDF, to send to CreateSpace, Lulu, or whatever printer you use.
But Microsoft Word also has some…issues. A tendency to spontaneously reset your page dimensions, for one. And some difficulty when dealing with widows and orphans…
Find out more about how to get me to fight with it for you here
What I don’t make:
InDesign or Adobe Acrobat files. They can be beautiful, but they’re horrible time sinks when you later have to adjust or revise something, or if you later have to get your content out of that format.
Does it sound as if I’m what you want for your project?
Drop me an e-mail detailing what you have in your project, including what you know about what you need next and where you need it to end up.