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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Interview of Dave de Heer: - Book Packager

Dave de Heer of, thank you for joining us today on Romance Books 4 Us. We'd like to showcase you and let you tell all our wonderful authors and readers what your company, and your services are all about. So welcome!

1. What (in a brief paragraph) does your company do?
A- At IndieWrites we’re building a community of independent authors and passionate readers. We help authors with formatting, distribution, and promotion of their independent books. Our most popular books have been multi-author anthologies, and our software automates the process of creating the anthology eBooks and distributing sales proceeds to the authors. We’re active on Facebook – currently IndieWrites has about 15,000 fans – and we regularly share book recommendations through our Facebook page (“IndieWrites Romance Deals”) that we believe merit our fans’ attention. Since we’re an investor-financed Silicon Valley start-up, you’ll see us continue to create innovative software and services that make independent publishing more profitable for authors, and finding and reading books more fun and convenient for readers.

2. There are lots of companies out there that do formatting, or help authors with their finished product, getting their books to market. What one or two items make your company stand out in the field?
A – We work together with our authors to make their books successful, investing our resources to help make it happen. Since December we’ve had two books on the USA Today Bestseller list – for many of those authors it was their first time on a big-deal list. And we have several author groups that do their multi-author anthologies with us since we greatly simplify the process of both creating the anthologies and distributing the proceeds.

3. How did you get started? What was your background before establishing the company?
A – My background is in digital media software – I hold 15 patents in the field and worked for over a decade in a variety of management positions focused on digital media at Microsoft. I began working about four years ago on a website to automate formatting of eBooks for independent authors. But I discovered that for authors who didn’t already have an established brand, just getting their book up at Amazon or Barnes and Noble wasn’t enough – they needed to get noticed. So we started IndieWrites to try to more efficiently and effectively bring independent authors to their natural base of passionate readers and fans.

4. What type of author needs your services the most?
A – We’ve been able to make the most difference for independent romance authors who are on the cusp of success – the ones who’ve been honing their craft for a while but haven’t quite been able to pop onto the radar of the broader community of committed romance readers.

5. What plans do you have for the future as far as expanding your services, the company?
A – We’re continually striving to improve and expand the services we offer to authors. I can’t pre-announce our specific plans, but our software team has been feverishly working on the next big thing, and we think that authors and readers will be blown away by what we have coming in the next few months.

6. You have any glowing testimonials? (I know there are some here at RB4U).
A – Yeah, we believe that our authors have found great value in our services, and that they’re coming back to us to do more and more books I thinks speaks for itself. But we don’t want to take away any thunder from our authors, so we won’t mention specific names.

7. What do you love about working with other authors?
A- I’ve found that authors are smart and creative and kind of nerdy, just like engineers – but authors tell much better stories over dinner. So I’m overjoyed to have a chance to work with them. The other thing that stands out is that the authors I’ve met are genuinely interested in helping each other succeed; they’ll go out of their way to give each other a hand. After working for a long time in the dog-eat-dog corporate world, it’s refreshing and uplifting to be with people who cooperate so amazingly.

8. What do you wish authors considered first before getting on the publishing bandwagon? Words of advice, wisdom?
A – The biggest thing an author can do to be successful is to write a great book – so that should always be the top priority. And, like learning to be a skilled author, promoting and selling your books is something that you get better at over time. It’s a lot of hard work, but if you persist and intelligently use the feedback you get in both areas, you’ll get there. One last thing (that other people might not already be telling you), collect as much data as you can about what you’re doing and how it’s working. Run experiments and let the data (not the experts) drive your decisions.

9.  In a perfect world, if you didn't have to worry about making money, what would you do?
A – If the world were perfect I’d have the skills to be a power forward for the Warriors. But that’s almost certainly not gonna happen regardless of money. This probably sounds sort of trite, but I can’t think of a better job than doing what I’m doing. It allows me to be useful and creative, to solve really hard problems, and to work with incredibly stimulating people. And I have the flexibility to set my own priorities and spend quality time with my wife and my kids.

10. Any unique hobbies, exotic trips or unusual locations you've lived in?
A – Well, right now between running a start-up company and having two school-aged kids, I don’t have much left for exotic hobbies. Some day. Really.

11. How can we help promote you? 
A – Please let your author and reader friends know that we’re around to help them with their eBook needs.


Polly McCrillis said...

"Smart and creative and kind of nerdy"....yup, that's me! :-) Thanks for sharing with us about IndieWrites, Dave, and congratulations on the success of your company. Your passion for what you do is clearly the backbone of that success. Any author would be lucky to have you in their corner and on the same page!

Cara Marsi said...

Thank you so much. I've heard good things about IndieWrites. It's good to meet you, Dave. I'll definitely consider your company for my next book.

Paris said...

Your company's goal of putting passionate readers and independent authors together is music to my ears. Thanks for sharing your story with us and best wishes for your continuing success!

jean hart stewart said...

Very interesting, to me especially since I'm considering Indie pubbing. I'll definitely be investigating your company.

Rose Anderson said...

Hello Dave, I've heard of your company but had no idea what all you did. Thanks for joining us today.

Denysé Bridger said...

This all sounds wonderful. Very nice to meet you and learn more about IndieWrites.

Marianne Stephens said...

Thanks for being here today, Dave. I've worked with you through three anthologies and am grateful for your work.

Janice Seagraves said...

Good to know there is a company to help indy authors.


Dave de Heer said...

It's nice to have a chance to share our story with you all. Thanks for the kind words.

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