“If you want something done right, do it yourself,” or so the old adage says. In this case, Glenda Poulter wanted something done “write.” After struggling to read poorly edited, self-published books, Poulter decided to offer her services to publishers and writers.
That was the genesis of Poulter’s Rainbow Tales Literary Services. She took time from her busy editing and coaching schedule to share her wisdom with Lesbian.com.
Tell us a little bit about your business.
Rainbow Tales Literary Services began as an imprint for my self-published novel, Out of the Past.
Someone asked me if I knew a good editor, I said, “Me.” Before I knew it, I had a thriving freelance editing business.
From there, I branched into the coaching service, where I help blocked writers get unstuck and I help writers who have completed a manuscript get it ready for either submission to an agent or publishing company or self-publishing.
What was the inspiration for your business?
After Roxanne Jones passed away and L-book.com subsequently closed their doors, the contract for “Out of the Past” reverted back to me. I didn’t want to shop it around, so I decided to self-publish. I chose the mermaid as my logo because I love and collect mermaids. The name of the business just seemed to fit after that.
My inspiration for becoming an editor came after purchasing and trying to read several self-published books. It was frustrating that I found I was unable to finish them because of the poor or absent editing. I approached several publishing houses as a freelancer and also put out the word to all my writing friends.
I always hope my authors learn something during the process of editing. I went into coaching when one of my editing clients approached me and asked me to coach her while she began the preparations of getting her manuscript submissions ready.
Did you have another career/other careers before you started your business?
Up until January of last year, I was an administrative assistant for both the Forensic ID and Research and Development departments at LabCorp. I am now considered 100 percent disabled from a variety of ailments, which means I am able to devote as much time as I wish to Rainbow Tales.
What obstacles did you face in establishing your company and how did you overcome them?
There are a lot of freelance editors and coaches available for writers, so I had to do something different.
My prices as an editor are reasonable for both independent writers and publishers. I have payment plans and scholarships (mostly for coaching clients). I’m willing to negotiate my prices (within reason) and I am not adverse to bartering services.
I offer my coaching clients more one-on-one time with me (mostly through Skype) for a more reasonable price than most other coaches. Plus, they can call me up to three times between Skype sessions. Two of the clients with whom I’m working are a lot more excited about their writing than ever before.
What’s the single most important piece of advice you received when first starting your company?
Never give up, regardless of how bleak things seem. I’ve been advised not to quit “just before the miracle happens.”
What aspect of business ownership came as the biggest surprise to you?
Although I knew to expect it, the biggest surprise was the amount of paperwork the federal government wants you to fill out and the hoops business owners have to jump through just to pay our taxes. I highly recommend a good accountant.
What do you find most rewarding about owning your own business?
I can do a lot of my job in my pajamas! Even on my Skype calls, I’m fairly informally dressed hair brushed, nothing stuck between my teeth and a nice shirt.
I also love how my clients and I become friends over the course of the time we work together.
Do you use social media to engage your customers? If so, does it play a key role in your marketing efforts?
I use Facebook extensively. Several of my clients saw one of my promotions on one of the groups I’m a member of or on my personal Facebook page or found my business page.
What resources would you recommend to someone who is contemplating starting her own business?
The IRS website for small business owners; any guilds or organizations in her field; network with other similar business owners; a lot of patience and a willingness to learn.
What would you say is the single most important key to sustaining a business long term?
Keep looking for clients. Never assume they’ll find you.
Anyone who becomes either an editing or a coaching client within the first 30 days of the publication of this feature receives 20 percent off their fees (excluding scholarship, negotiated fees and bartered fees). Mention Lesbian.com when you email Glenda or reach out on Facebook. Your first Skype coaching call is always free.