Ebook Services

I, Robert Nagle,  have been running Personville Press, a small ebook publishing company which I do as a side business.  Personville Press has published about 10 ebooks so far. With Createspace/Amazon I produced two print books (one I authored).

I have a master’s degree in creative writing and a  strong background in editing and book production.  I understand the ebook market and  have experience formatting fairly complex ebooks. For the last two years I have been the  top-rated  contributor on the Ebook Stack Exchange. Many people who produce ebooks work mainly on the editorial side or the technical side or the marketing side, but I do all three (with a heavy emphasis on the first two).  Here are some testimonials about my competency as an editor and publisher by author clients:  Testimonial #1 and  Testimonial #2.

From time to time, I do contract services to help authors to produce ebooks.  That includes:

  • editing the manuscript. This includes copyediting,  tightening prose and improving sentence flow.
  • converting and formatting a manuscript. This includes cleaning text,   formatting images and testing templates on different mobile platforms.
  • rewriting.  Sometimes the author has the content, but feels it needs to be completely rewritten or reorganized.   In some cases, I have rewritten certain passages as needed.
  • help with submitting to online bookstores and formatting.  I am very comfortable setting up a KDP Account (plus Author Central, etc) and Smashwords account.
  • writing press releases and book announcements. Sample 1, Sample 2 and here’s two sample press releases: example 1 and Example 2.

Ebook Production

I price each project differently, but here’s some ballpark numbers for producing and  formatting an ebook. To deliver both an epub and .mobi, here are some rates:

  • Base price: Under 20,000 words — $130, Under 50,000 words — $150, Under 75,000 words  — $170, Under 100,000 words — $190, Under 150,000 words — $220, Over 150,000 words — To be determined.
  • Clean up (if needed): 35$ per hour. The base price already includes about an hour of clean up; this extra cost applies if the cleanup is significant or unusual.
  • Images (up to 10): 25-50$
  • Other formatting (tables, lists, blockquotes): 20-75$
  • Poetry/Verse: 10-100$ depending on the complexity.
  • Open Source Fonts: $20
  • Rush Service: $25-50 extra.
  • Indexes and Footnotes.  I’ve done both, but I would have to look at the book content to give an estimate. (Probably 40-150$).
  • Digitalizing from print: Depends on the project (but it can get very expensive!).
  • Graphics Preparation. Generally I don’t create graphics or ebook covers (you need to find someone for that), but I can do simple edits and transformations of graphics  to optimize for ebooks. If it’s extensive, or if I need to create custom  graphics, I may charge you extra.
  • Platform-specific optimizations. Some features only exist on certain display sizes or platforms.

All final ebooks have been tested in  Kindle Touch, Kindle Paperwhite (2nd edition and beyond), Kindle for Android, Google Play Books for Android, Adobe Digital Editions for Windows & Android, and   iBooks 4.7 (on iPad and iPhones). Generally, later versions of these reading systems are supported as well. I test on apps for both mobile devices and tablets.

I can suggest ways to adapt your content into ebook form. Sometimes you can’t replicate the exact  characteristics of the printed page.  For example, if you’re reading on a phone, an illustrated ebook is likely to look sub-optimal.

Book Editing

It’s hard to price editing in a way that is fair and yet not exorbitantly priced  for indie authors.

Level One editing. This involves basic copyrighting, fixing obvious grammar issues and standardizing. Very little tightening of prose. I only offer this rate to experienced professional authors who have previously published a book.  Rate: Approximately 9$ per 1000 words.

Level Two editing. This involves making occasional suggestions for phrasing and tightening the prose.  (only 1 or 2 per page on average). This assumes that the manuscript is already polished and edited by the author himself. Includes a 2nd round of editing after author has approved or edited the edits.   Rate: Approximately 13$ per 1000 words.

Level Three editing. This involves tightening prose, improving sentence flow and word choice. It assumes that I’m working with material  not already previously polished.  Includes a 2nd round of editing after author has approved or edited the initial edits.  Rate: Approximately 16$ per 1000 words.

Here are some things to keep in mind when hiring me to edit your book:

  1. Most authors assume that the cheapest kind of editing is all  they need.
  2. For L2 or L3 editing, the author needs to approve the changes.   The rate quoted assumes that the author has approved the edits, looked it over and wants the editor to double check that all edits have been made correctly.
  3. It can be hard for the editor to decide what level of editing  is required.   I realize that authors don’t have deep pockets, but  if you hire me, you need to give me discretion to decide which level of editing  is needed.  I’ll try my best to keep costs down. If necessary, I may use a rate between Level Two and Level Three.
  4. Generally as editor I would prefer to make the changes myself in the file  rather than make copious notes explaining my decisions (i.e., using the Comment feature in MS Word).
  5. Author Queries. In some cases I  have questions for  the author. Sometimes rather than writing things down, I may prefer to discuss them over the phone with you (several at a time) to receive immediate feedback.

Experience has taught me that it is better to overestimate than to lowball (and have to ask for more money later on).

If you are worried or unsure about the quality of my work, one idea is to pay me to edit a portion of the manuscript (say 1 or 2 chapters) and then decide later if it’s worth the cost.

Here are two reference guides which I use as benchmarks for editing/writing prices: Editorial Freelancer’s Association and the Balance Freelance Rates.

Book Promotions

In contrast to editing and ebook formatting (where I can claim special expertise), I’m still learning about how to promote books. Given that my company has published about 10 books, I would probably describe myself as an “advanced beginner”.  Here are some things I can do for a fee:

  • Write a book description for various ebook stores.  (Long and short)
  • Edit your own description or provide feedback about your own promotional material.
  • Recommend some services for low-budget and no-budget reviews and publicity.
  • Suggest some promotional ideas for your price range.

Depending on your needs and the nature of the ebook, I would quote you a single fee for  all of these services.

At this point, I’m not in a position to contact individual publications or reviewers, although I could do so for an additional fee. (This task is very labor-intensive, and I’m still working on a master contact list).

Bundling Services

If you are interested, I might be able to cut you a lower rate if you hire me for more than one service.

In exceptional cases and when  appropriate, I could be persuaded to  publish the ebook as a Personville Press title.  This means that I’ll probably be making a formal contract with you. It would also involve setting percentages and schedules for royalties.

Createspace Publishing

For $200, I  will format and deliver a PDF which can be turned into a print book on Amazon/Createspace.

  • Source needs to be MS Word.  (I don’t do Adobe InDesign).
  • That includes the purchase of a Book template from BookDesigner Templates (generally costing $59). These templates require MS Word.  You can choose which design you want.
  • This price generally doesn’t include copyediting. Often though, the act of formatting can alter the content, so  doing  quality control also  involves verifying that all content has been exported successfully (i.e., no lines or words or missing or repeated).
  • You must hire someone to do illustrations such as cover art. But I can provide guidelines and do the importing and assembly.
  • I generally do not  do children’s books or academic books. It’s better to do children’s books in another desktop publishing system like Adobe InDesign.  Academic books are doable in MS Word, but I’d have to look at the book project more closely to give an estimate.


Typically I require 50% payment in advance. If you have a Wells Fargo account, I can give you bank information for you to send it directly to my account.

If you use paypal, I may ask that you increase the payment slightly to take into account paypal’s fees.