Let’s be real. As indie authors, writing isn’t our full-time job. We have a ton of other things on our plate from taking care of our kids to full-time jobs. Writing in itself is hard. Then you have to worry about growing your audience and promoting your book and keeping up with industry happenings. You need to keep your social media profiles updated and share promotions and do business deals. You need to monitor all of your numbers, tweak ads, set up accounting systems. And then you have to stay on top of all the questions and emails you get from readers and engage with fans. And if you don’t have fans yet, even worse, you need to spend all the effort into learning how to get fans and readers and then do the work to make it happen.
Long story short, as an author, you have your hands full. Publishing is a hard job even if it were your full-time job. It’s even harder when it isn’t your full-time job.
That’s where outsourcing can come in. As a writer, you can outsource a number of things for fairly cheap to make sure that you have time for what really matters. The writing. While you will certainly still need to know the business end and learn how to do things, more repetitive tasks can be passed on to people you outsource, often overseas, for fairly little cost.
You can generally find good talent on sites like Upwork or Fiverr. Only work with people that you that are highly reviewed and have a lot of reviews. As an author, you can’t take too many risks because of your time and budget, so go with people who are trusted and already vetted.
Do a basic interview to see if they align with what you want and then go into a short trial period. Pay for a short period of work and see how they perform. If they’re good, you’ve found the right person to work with. If there are hesitancies, keep looking and trying. If you can’t find anybody, then choose your best option.
There are a number of tools you can use for vetting. On the programming side, if you need somebody to build you a website or a tool, you can use something like HackerRank. Otherwise, have them doing a little bit of a task you already need to be done to see if you can work with them.
What can you outsource?
The short answer is almost anything except for the writing. Well, actually you can outsource the writing too, but you, as an author, probably don’t want that.
The most common things to outsource are related to repetitive tasks and marketing.
Maybe you want nice quotes to go onto social media. Get your assistant to go onto Hootsuite and schedule up nice quote posts every month in advance so that your Twitter and Instagram are nicely filled. Some even have their virtual assistants create very short stories of their works that can be used for Twitter.
Maybe somebody has written some nice fanfiction about your stories. Your assistant can go in and respond to all the comments.
Maybe you want to reach out to a bunch of book blogs. You can have your assistant reach out to which blogs fit your genre and come back to you with a nice list.
There are even freelancers that can do your book cover and editing for you. If you want to a graphic novel version, or want to put it on a graphic novel site, you can have them do that too.
Think about what you want to spend your time on. Do that stuff and for everything else, there’s an assistant out there for you.