When you set out to write your novel, it's just you and your idea. Your focus is getting that idea out of your head and on to the page. But what comes next?
If you want to publish your story, finishing your first draft is just the beginning. Your book will go through several rounds of editing, proofreading, formatting, and design before it is finished. And then you have to consider where and how you want to sell it—and how to market it to your target readers, too.
Phew. That's a lot of steps. If all of that is making you want to delete your draft and pretend you never started, don't. Your idea is worth sharing, and fortunately there's a software that can help: Reedsy.
In this article, we'll review Reedsy's Book Editor and professional Marketplace to help you decide if it could be useful to you on your publishing journey.
Is Reedsy Worth Using to Publish Your Book?
Our quick verdict? Reedsy is an incredible free tool that allows new and established authors to edit, work with professionals, and professionally typeset their book, all in one place. It's quick and easy to use, and it has all the features you could need to go from first draft to done—with more features to come, too.
What Is Reedsy?
Reedsy is a one-stop-shop for taking your manuscript from start to finish. You can write, format, and export your book using the Reedsy Book Editor, which is a definite step up if you're used to working in MS Word.
But most authors won't write, edit, publish, and market their book alone, even if they are self-publishing. Working out whom to hire to work with you on your project is daunting. You're trusting them with your ideas and hours of your time and effort, and the publishing industry can feel—ironically—a bit like a closed book.
Reedsy get this. As well as using their Book Editor tool, you can also connect with professional editors, marketers, designers, and proofreaders in their online marketplace to help make your work the best it can be. Many of these professionals have experience working with US and UK book publishers, so you know your writing is in safe hands.
Who Can Use Reedsy?
Reedsy caters to fiction and non-fiction writers alike, and it's also a great place to connect with clients if you're a professional in the publishing industry.
The software and marketplace are mostly meant for authors who have finished their manuscript and are ready to start editing. It does have a solid writing interface, but its purpose is to help you organize and edit your work, so it helps to have the majority of your structure filled out to avoid excess wrangling later.
The free versions of both the editor and the marketplace are great offerings. We'll take a look at the editor first.
Guided Tour: The Reedsy Book Editor
Before you can start using the book editor, you'll need to sign up for a free account. But don't worry, you don't need to fill in a bunch of information about yourself. The whole thing took me less than a minute to connect to my Google account (you can sign up with your email address or Facebook just as fast).
Importing Books to Reedsy
Once you have your account, you'll need to create a new book or upload an existing project. This was really simple. Just enter a title, click "write", and you can start using their writing interface. Or click "import" to drag and drop your file.
You can upload .docx and .odt files. If you use Scrivener, you'll need to convert your projects before uploading to Reedsy.
My 50,000-word manuscript uploaded quickly with zero issues, even when I tested additional formatting like bold, underline, and italics:
As you can see in the screenshot above, the editor divides your book into front matter, body, and back matter, and splits your manuscript into chapters automatically, using headings in your original doc.
That does mean that if you usually just use a different font size or bolded text to label your chapters, you'll need to switch to Word's pre-set headings for them to appear automatically. Otherwise, you can split chapters manually using the split feature within the editor.
This also automatically populates the table of contents for your book. You can decide whether you want just chapter or H1 headings on your contents, or if you want to include H2 and H3 headings too, which is handy for non-fiction writers.
Editing Your Book's Structure
From here, there are a few more tools to get stuck into. If you like working to deadlines, even when there's no one else to set them, you can set writing goals based on word count to help keep you on track. Reedsy also keeps track of your writing timeline, so you can look back at your progress retrospectively.
From a functional perspective, you can easily split, delete, and insert chapters. Reedsy keeps your formatting when you paste into their editor, so you can grab sections from other Word documents and insert them if you need to. The editor autosaves your changes so you don't need to worry about losing hours of editing work.
There is also an insert tab on the toolbar that lets you add images, citations, and scene breaks with a click. You just drop your cursor where you want to add your element and click on the corresponding option.
If you're looking to just write, you can hide both toolbars to leave a clean, focused space.
The only feature I found slightly lacking in Reedsy's editor was the spell check tool. Now, Reedsy does not claim to be a copyediting tool. Its purpose is to help you format your book and to work as a collaborative editing space as you work with a real editor (more on that later).
The suggestions Reedsy's spell check made weren't always correct, and it doesn't offer advanced suggestions to help you with passive voice or redundant words, for example.
Fortunately, ProWritingAid's Chrome Extension works beautifully with Reedsy, so you don't need to switch software when you want to copyedit. Just turn the extension on, and you'll have access to all of ProWritingAid's reports right in the Book Editor.
So far, we've looked at how Reedsy helps you at the writing stage. To sum up:
- File management: Super easy to import your files and start writing and to manipulate your document in the editor.
- Ease of use: Intuitive interface makes for a quick learning curve for beginners. Everything is where you'd expect it to be.
- Self-editing: Lacking, but ProWritingAid integrates seamlessly with our Chrome Extension.
So how does Reedsy help with editing? That's where the marketplace comes in.
Finding Publishing Professionals on Reedsy Marketplace
Reedsy Marketplace feels a bit like LinkedIn but built for publishing professionals (and with a more user-friendly design).
On the Marketplace, you can refine your search in a few ways.
First, you pick what you're looking for:
- Ghost Writers
- Book Reviewers
Within each category, you can pick exactly what you need help with. Here's the list for editing services:
Then you can select whether you're writing fiction or non-fiction, your genre, your language, and also search by specific keywords.
How do you know if an editor is right for you? Reedsy gives you a few ways to assess.
For each editor (or other professional), you'll see:
- Their description (usually a mix of work history and specialisms)
- Their services, languages, and genres
- Their portfolio
- Reviews from other Reedsy members and clients
You should find most of the information you need to make a decision that feels right.
When you've found a professional you'd like to work with, you can request a quote. On a free Reedsy account, you can send a maximum of five quotes. You'll send them a sample of your work as well as a description of the services your require.
To give you an idea, I was able to find editors who had worked on bestselling fiction titles and worked as editorial directors for big publishers like Harlequin. This is where the who's-who of the industry hangs out.
If you decide to contract a professional from the marketplace, you can manage your requests, contracts, and payments right in Reedsy. Payments are secure, and everything is in one place. It's a very convenient setup on both sides of the agreement.
Once you've selected and engaged your editor, what happens next? Reedsy has an answer for that, too.
Collaborative Editing In Reedsy
You send your documents to your editor in Reedsy. You can both create versions of your document in a dedicated files screen so you can review version history easily. Editors will send you notes, reports, and editorial assessments depending on the type of editing they are completing.
While we haven't tested out the collaboration process, Reedsy have measures in place to safeguard you in case something goes wrong. Your work is covered by Project Protection, and a team member will be on hand if anything does go awry.
If you need some close guidance on getting your sentences just right, Reedsy say you will soon be able to edit live with your editor in the Book Editor screen. More on this when we can test it out.
Exporting Your File for Publication
Before you publish your book, you need to consider the technical details like formatting and copyright.
Reedsy will sort out any common formatting errors, like widowed or orphaned text (ends of paragraphs that run onto the next page and single words on their own line) when you upload. The software will indent your book (again, an industry standard) and add chapter headings and page numbers for you.
As for copyright, Reedsy has created a simple form you can fill in to ensure you have all the right elements. It also allows you to select the relevant copyright clauses for your book to help you protect it, so you don't have to spend hours trying to understand all the legalities.
This is a lifesaver, especially for first-time or self-published authors.
Finally, it's time to export. You can choose from pre-set design features like hiding or showing chapter numbers or including drop caps.
Reedsy offers three formatting templates designed according to industry standards. You can select from the Reedsy, Classic, or Romance templates, with each offering a slightly different look. If you're writing non-fiction, you can pick where your end notes will appear.
Then all that's left is to pick whether you want an .epub or .mobi file, or if you want a print-on-demand PDF. If you want the latter, you can select your trim sizes from a list of standard US formats.
All of this makes it easy to come away with a well-designed, industry-standard file reader to publish.
How Good Is Reedsy's Typesetting?
This template-based method is great for newbies and authors who want to get a professional end product without spending hours on research or learning new software. But if you want more design input, specific trim sizes, or want to be able to edit the format after it has been generated, this approach may not be for you.
Once you click export, you'll get an email when the software has typeset your book. It took one minute for my 50,000-word book. Pretty impressive and much quicker than trying to do it yourself.
If there are any errors, you can't go in and fix them. However, if you reach out to the Reedsy team, they should be able to help you straighten things out. I couldn't spot any errors in my exported file.
Finally, you can download an editable .docx file of your book as a backup, just for peace of mind.
Is Reedsy Worth Using? We Think So!
I had a great time trying out Reedsy. I experienced none of the frustrations you often get with new software when you don't know where anything is or what anything does. The whole typesetting process from upload to export is super quick. And the marketplace just takes it to a whole other level.
There are a ton of experienced, talented professionals on Reedsy, and most of them have lots of helpful reviews to help you choose whom to pick. You won't have to sift through profiles with no information. All in all, it feels like a really useful resource.
The most impressive part is that it's all free to use. Of course you have to pay the freelancer fees of the professionals you hire to help you with your project. But the editor, export, and marketplace management tools are all available free of charge.
The lowdown? Reedsy is an intuitive service that offers you amazing value for your time and money.
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