Letter from a…

Dear Jo,

I’m one of those people who write for a living. Strange tribe, it is! And I just might want to use your help. Let me tell you why:

As a writer, my intention is to do what I know how to do best; what I’m still studying and training at; what I want to perfect: Writing.

I need to tell stories.

I need to research and to get my facts straight before presenting them in written words.

I need time – precious time – to take in all the images, all the ideas and the pieces of life’s colourful mosaic in order to recreate the world by arranging them in a new, unique pattern.

And when the time comes for me to expose these imprints of my spirit and imagination to readers, I need to do it in a fast and effective manner. For, besides the pure pleasure of creativity and the sharing of ideas, writers also need to eat – after all, they labour for it.

Since the fruits of this labour are mere traces of ink on paper (yes, we could lick those, but they’re not really filling, plus they’re poison for the body), we must trade our little jewels. Beauty (it’d better be!) for bread.

When we try to sell books, package is important. It’s what will convince potential buyers to take a look at an e-book, or to leave it sleeping on its virtual shelf. It’s the difference between eating ink or eating bread or even buttering the latter. Huge!

But, hey, my craft and my trance is, you know, Writing.

Sure, I have learnt a few tech tricks; I’m ready and willing to learn more – but I don’t have a tutor to see me through and, frankly, as I already stated, I prefer to (no, I know I have to) devote my time to Writing. Okay, some Marketing too.

But, please, spare me, o spare me!, the formatting, layout, pagination, converting, compressing, de-compressing, depressing, all the dirty deal. It’ll take so many trials, so many failures – and, yes, I know that often success comes after failure, but do I really want to be successful at EVERYTHING?

Being a writer, I hold myself responsible for my skills in writing. A reader or client will approach me on the basis of the readability of my texts. Woo to me, if I’m proven falling short in my own craft.

I’ll let packaging just not be my thing. I owe it to myself.

Now, Jo, I see you’re a virtual assistant specializing in e-book formatting. What can you do to save my time and my sanity?

Thank you so much for your kind concern.

Yours truly,

Helene Poulakou
Scribbling at WritersWritingWords.com


  1. Helene Poulakou says

    Yes, how would you really call this person??? 😀 😀

  2. Nice one Helene!

    It’s sad but true that the quality of work is often judged by its packaging. Especially nowadays when everyone has the attention span of about a nanosecond before moving on to the next thing that attracts their attention.

    Formatting and packaging (whether for an ebook or your blog theme) needs to support and showcase your content, rather than being a barrier to fight to get to your wonderful writing.

    Lovely letter.


    • Helene Poulakou says

      Yep, “the attention span of a nanosecond”, so true!
      Oh, I remember the old days, when I used to spend at least a couple of hours in a bookstore, paging through real books, reading passages here and there — and the smell, oh the smell!

  3. Ali Bierman says

    I am so with you. For me–I look for an editor who knows formatting. Dang! They all say they do but I have not yet found one who does it well. I know some new people I have yet to employ.
    Sure would be nice to start writing inside the format, though.

  4. I am so with you, too!

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