For Indie authors who could use help with cover design, interior formatting, marketing or a variety of related aspects to the e-publishing business, oDesk is one place to look. While this blog generally focuses on doing everything possible for free to sell ebooks and paperbacks, there is an epilogue called Cheating With Money for certain authors and times where it makes sense to hire out. Although the Cheating With Money chapter could easily morph into an entire book all its own, oDesk will be added to the next updated version (January 2012) of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free.
What is oDesk? It’s a free to join, online community of business owners and subcontractors who can connect and work together. Jobs can be large or small, full-time or just an hour. Professionals in web development, software, multi-media, mobile web, sales & marketing, translation, administrative support, general office and much more can be listed for both job opportunities and employment wanted. oDesk takes a 10% cut on every job, so factor that into the equation if you’re looking for work.
Business owners seeking help can post jobs and receive contacts from perspective workers with resumes, examples, references, etc. There are tons of people out there so don’t be surprised to receive dozens of replies in little time. Many of the candidates who do the work are not from the US, which often keeps the prices extremely competitive (low). Pay can be hourly or fixed price. There are feedback ratings similar to eBay for both parties and even a screenshot of the people working every 10 minutes on your project to keep things on the up and up.
Here are some keywords many writers might use to find help at the site: editor, illustrator, designer, photoshop, graphic artist, e-book, copywriter, marketer, book cover design, logos, e-commerce, internet marketing, SEO and more. I personally haven’t used oDesk, but my wife got some complex photo graphics assistance for an ebook cover for $20, which she was very happy with. (Notice she didn’t even ask me first, but that’s another story.) Tips from customers include things like this:
- hire people with more experience and reviews when possible, though some newbies can be great
- have the details very specific before making an agreement
- good English speaking skills are a plus (assuming you speak English)
- if time-frames are limited, working with someone in a similar time-zone helps
- using Skype can help bunches
- don’t work with people with multiple accounts, who might give you a runaround
- stick with good workers and move on from bad ones (this is kinda obvious)
This oDesk looks like a pretty smart place for certain jobs. The main ones Indie authors often inquire about are cover design and formatting. My guess is oDesk will have plenty of specialists in those fields. Smashwords also has a list of cover designers and formatting help that can be had by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If any readers have experience using oDesk, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section.
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