Picky B*tch Literary Services is really just a productive outlet for Cait Reynolds’ rage over the generally terrible quality of self-published books. Instead of drowning her sorrows in Jack Daniels, she has chosen to use her powers for good and contribute in some small way to improving indie books.
In a former life, Cait was known as ‘Jaded Janie’ due to her ability to poke holes in bullsh*t marketing and cut right to the heart of the matter: what was best for the consumer (which actually sold the product). Management didn’t really like her…but customers definitely did.
She does not endorse the following:
- Participation trophies;
- Using Grammarly;
- Wasting space in planners for gratitude;
- Kale, spinach, and broccoli rabe.
Faced with writing a book blurb, most authors would rather memorize a chapter of Strunk & White while scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush in a North Korean gulag.
Luckily, there’s me. Aside from writing amazing blurbs that SELL books, I actually like writing them. That makes me a unicorn…a blurb unicorn.
A gorgeous cover only goes so far. Confusing, poorly written blurbs will have readers hitting the ‘back’ button faster than you can say, ‘Kindle Unlimited.’
Why let the B*tch write the pitch?
You want a book blurb that:
- Captures the reader’s interest from the first line;
- Sells instead of summarizes the book;
- Jives with genre keywords and tickles Amazon’s algorithms;
- Works like the Swiss Army knife of marketing, giving you everything you need for taglines, ads, newsletters, and more.
I will do this and more for you. With Picky B*tch, you get:
- One 150-200 word blurb from scratch;
- A tagline that can be used as part of the blurb or as a standalone marketing tool;
- Personalized category analysis and keyword saturation seamlessly woven into the blurb that hooks into search algorithms;
- Turnaround of draft blurb in 3-5 business days (upon receipt of questionnaire);
- One round of edits & tweaks to the blurb.
I also make it quick and painless for you to get me the information I need to write your blurb. I send you a one-page questionnaire. You fill it out and send it back. I write your blurb. Done.
Don’t waste your time agonizing over blurbs. Get back to doing what you love and let the Picky B*tch do the rest!
Example of my blurb unicorn magic from Truth and Other Lies by Lyra Wolf.
The Destroyer is coming to Asgard. All will fall. All will burn…
Loki thrives on danger, but when he’s struck by a painful vision of ash and death he knows his fun has run out. The Destroyer is real and isn’t taking prisoners.
Refusing to have his life obliterated by some stuffy prophecy, all Loki wants is to save Asgard. But the gods stand in his way. They don’t trust the “Trickster.”
To prove himself, he must return to the side of the man he wanted to forget. Odin, his blood brother and a first rate con.
When he meets a mortal woman, his plans hit a snag.
Sigyn is delightfully stubborn and quick with a blade. She also, inexplicably, possesses a divine element found only in a god.
As Loki falls for her, he never expects it to fulfill the prophecy threatening all their lives.
Forced to choose between betraying Odin and protecting the woman he loves, Loki must face all he never wanted.
PICKY B*TCH BLURB
Nothing is trickier than the truth.
All Loki the trickster god of Asgard wants is a quiet, peaceful life where he’s free to needle Balder, occasionally stir up the inter-realm porridge pot, and get Thor to dress in women’s garments (for all the best reasons).
Getting beset by sudden, painful, and terribly inconvenient visions of blood, ash, and death are definitely not on his to-do list. But, because of some small, ridiculous remnant of caring that refuses to be extinguished, Loki feels he must save Asgard…and that means warning Odin, his least favorite god (next to Thor).
But getting the gods to believe the boy who cried Fenrir is harder than it looks, and time is running out, not just for Asgard, but also for a mortal woman named Sigyn who may just hold the key to Loki’s future.
Loki is about to find out the hard way that the only thing crueler than truth are the lies behind it all.
“Cait is a master of the dreaded blurb. How she does it… I don’t know and I don’t care so long as I never have to write one by myself ever again. She takes the information I give her and churns out an incredible piece of writing that gets people opening up to page one of my books. And if a blurb feels like it needs a tweak, she asks questions and keeps massaging it until we have the perfect final product.”Angela Macala-Guajardo, Author & Editor, Write On Guajardo, LLC
When it comes to editing, you get what you pay for. Fight me.
In a blind taste test (if only it could be a blind reading test), I can spot amateur editing and/or cheap editing every single time. It’s not necessarily the presence of typos that gives it away. After all, I amuse myself by counting the number of typos I find in traditionally-published books.
Bargain basement editing betrays itself through plot holes, hackneyed language, inexact word choice, and (the absolute worst *shudder*) grammatical mistakes. This doesn’t even begin to cover things like incorrectly punctuating compound versus dependent clauses, contradictions in world-building, trite concepts with cookie cutter characters, and the lack of a certain je ne sais quoi of polish.
Good editing really involves three stages, and ideally, two-to-three different editors.
The first editor is the concept editor, whose job is to push the author to find the extreme limits of the plot. The focus is on the quality of the story. The concept editor gives feedback on the big picture of theme, world-building, characters, and plot. Usually this is done in two-to-three rounds of back-and-forth.
The second editor is the copy editor. Ideally, this is a different person because a fresh set of eyes is always best with each stage, but a concept editor can also work as a copy editor in a pinch. The copy editor goes line-by-line through the manuscript, correcting word choice, smoothing stylistic hiccups, catching grammatical mistakes, and guiding the author toward developing a distinctive ‘voice.’ This usually takes two rounds of review, and the author should come away with both a clean manuscript and insights into how to improve the technical end of her craft.
Finally, there is the proofreading editor. This is where I draw the line in the sand. Even if you get away with combining the services of a concept and copy editor, it is imperative that the proofreading editor be someone new because a fresh set of eyes is vital to catching the tiniest of mistakes. A proofreading editor doesn’t just look for mistakes, though. Her job is also to create a proofreading guide of proper names, locations, distances, character descriptions and ages, unique rules/words/details that must be consistent. This proofreading guide is the reference for the entire editing team to use if the author produces more books in the series. Proofreading also is done in two rounds.
Look, I totally get it. Publishing a book is expensive, and it is getting harder to break even, let alone make a profit. But, with an over-saturated market in almost every genre, there are fewer and fewer ways to stand out. Good quality writing and even better editing are two of the only ways left to make a lasting impression on readers.
Why let the B*tch be your editor?
- My nickname in college was the Grammar Dominatrix;
- I am lovingly ruthless and ruthlessly loving. While my critiques are to-the-point (who has time for passive aggressive ‘suggestions’?), they will never be unkind;
- I will never pretend to be all things to all people. I am not a proofreading editor, though I will pinch hit for works under 5,000 words;
- I do not design covers on the side and won’t try to bundle or up-sell you;
- I am not cheap and not quick. If you are looking for a Grammarly filter and two-day turnaround, I am not the editor you want;
- If, however, you are looking to work with either a concept editor who helps you chisel away at rough drafts until something like the Michelangelo’s David of plots emerges or a copy editor with a keen eye for detail who buffs prose until it’s diamond-bright and speaks with the voice you never knew you had, then I’m your b*tch.
The following are my fees:
|Up to 5k Words||5k-60k Words||60k-80k Words||80k+ Words|
– Two complete rounds of editing with review comments in the manuscript;
– Detailed written feedback each round on concept, plot, world-building, characters, story structure, and style;
– Phone/video consults and text messaging (the only limit is working together until we get it right);
– Average turn around time is one-to-two weeks per round.
|$100||$0.02/word||$1,500 flat||$1,500 flat plus $50/hr|
– Two complete rounds of editing with inline changes in manuscript;
– Separate document with extended feedback on why certain changes are made, technical strengths and weaknesses, observations about developing voice and tone, and stylistic sand traps to watch for next time;
– Phone/video consults and text messaging (the only limit is working together until we get it right);
– Average turn around time is two-to-three weeks for the first round, and one-to-two weeks for the second.
|$100||$0.02/word||$2,000 flat||$2,000 flat plus $50/hr|
Almost everyone needs a website these days. And, supposedly, setting up a website is easy. It’s just point-and-click, drag-and-drop.
Well, riddle me this: if it’s so easy, why don’t we see Instagram influencer photos of casual-yet-glamorous people smiling and drinking Dalgona coffees while effortlessly building complex sites for e-commerce, blogging, newsletter sign-up capture, and multimedia portfolios?
Simple. Because it’s NEVER just that easy. Much like any home improvement project (and since my husband and I are remodeling our 1927 house, I can vouch for this), building a website takes three times as long as you think it will and costs you what little inner calm you have left after 2020.
Why let the B*tch build your website?
Okay, time to let the cat out of the bag.
I’m secretly a huge nerd who actually gets technology, apps, and even knows some coding (enough to be mildly dangerous). Also, I come from a marketing and public relations background, so there isn’t much about branding, strategy, style consistency, and audience capture that I don’t know.
With a Picky B*tch website basic build-out, you get soup-to-nuts service that includes:
- Set up of all necessary plugins (including Akismet and Jetpack);
- Social media feed to/from connections;
- Graphic design (within reason) of headers and other specific images;
- Blog subscription and email newsletter set-up;
- Set up of all pages;
- Media library set up, including embedding multimedia into pages;
- A list of suggested categories, tags, and keywords based on SEO research that improve visibility;
- The User Guide: a final memo with all your login/password information, style guide with fonts and colors used, image sizing guide, a rundown of necessary plugins and design elements used, and probably other stuff that strikes me because I can’t help myself and tend to go a bit overboard.
You can also add on some extras!
- By-the-hour live walk-through and training on how to use your website without setting it (or your hair) on fire;
- Proofreading & copyediting;
- In-depth research into social media hashtags and keywords;
- Helping you get the most out of Yoast to boost your site’s visibility;
- Coordination of design & style across social media accounts;
- Basic WooCommerce set up;
- Weekly/monthly/quarterly website oil change and tune-up service;
- And more (if you can think of it, we can negotiate it)!
Let’s face it, sustaining self-motivation is about as easy as doing your taxes on a Monday after weekend spent cleaning out the garage. (I should know, I’ve done it.)
But, let’s stop pretending we prefer baked chickpeas to potato chips and face facts. Potato chips are damn delicious and…wait, where was I? And there you have another obstacle to self-motivation: birth of a plot bunny.
The hard truth is that we do best when we are held to some degree of accountability. We also are more driven to to achieve our goals when there is a combination of carrot AND stick. If all that is at the end of the road is puppies and kittens, that’s nice…but if we know that there’s a pissed-off skunk that has just sat on a porcupine and mistakenly picked up the decaf latte order for “Skink” from Starbucks just waiting for us to f*ck up, we are motivated by both reward AND consequences.
I have seen so many writers (and I count myself multiple times in this statistic) get to 10,000 words, 28,000 words, 52,000 words and then just…drift away. We get tired of our stories, we struggle with plot points, life gets in the way. The positive goal of publication just isn’t enough to get us across the finish line, and no amount of pep talking can get us back in the saddle..
That is why I created “Accountability is a B*tch,” my COMPLETELY UNIQUE SERVICE (yes, shouty caps because I am getting a cramp from patting myself on the back for how clever this is).
Why let the B*tch hold you accountable?
First off, let me explain what is the “Accountability is a B*tch” service.
It’s writing coaching with a bite. From concept to final edit, or wherever you are at in the process, I work with you to develop a goal and a program to achieve it.
For example, say you’ve got your outline done and just need to crank out the word count for your first draft. I work with you to identify a realistic, achievable word count goal every week.
At the end of the week, I read what you have written and check if you made your goal. Then, we have a 15-30 minute phone consult where we identify and discuss any issues with plot, technique, or life stuff that may get in the way. We set a new word count goal for the following week, and off you go.
Here’s the fun part. Every week, you pay me $25 for reading your MS progress and the phone consult…IF you have made your word count goal. If you haven’t met the goal, you pay me $35. I still read anything you’ve written, and you still get a 15-30 minute phone consult.
There’s a specific psychology to the amount of money I’m charging for each outcome.
$25 is a week of Starbucks, or two fast food meals, or that clearance sweater at Marshall’s. It’s a reasonable price for progress…and definitely reasonable for the amount of individualized attention, guidance, and cheerleading you’ll get from me (ask anyone who knows me if you will actually get away with *just* a 15-30 minute phone call).
$35 is just $10 more. It’s not enough to break the bank or frustrate you to the point of quitting. It’s a mosquito bite of motivation. Don’t want to pay me an extra $10? Meet your word count goal.
(FYI, I am a relatively reasonable person. I get life can be a bigger b*tch than even me. If you give me 48 hours notice that you’re not going to meet your goal, you don’t get charged extra. If there’s a major/sudden crisis with health/kids/disaster, I get that, too, and we can deal with those things as they come up. But the important thing to remember is that I’m here to be both compassionate but also to keep you on track, and sometimes that means pushing you to figure out a way forward.)
So, let’s recap how the service works:
- Initial review and consult to set up scope of project;
- Agree on weekly goal and get started;
- First week review progress and adjust as needed for next weekly goal;
- Second week, you send me what you’ve done to read and 15-30 min phone consult:
- Meet your goal? Pay $25.
- Didn’t meet your goal? Pay $35 and we game out how to get set a goal you can meet next week;
- Third week until GOAL ACHIEVED: lather, rinse, repeat.
If you are a new writer daunted by that first blank page or a tired veteran whose get-up-and-go disappeared along with your seventh pair of reading glasses, I can help you juice up, jump into action, and jauntily saunter across the finish line.