Book Design: Finding a Freelancer - article

So your book’s finally complete, you can sit back and enjoy a vacation, right?

Wrong. As you move further along on the self-publishing time line, the day will come when you are going to have to reach out and involve others in bringing your project to fruition. Now you need to acquire artwork and have your book edited, define the publication formats, and identify the distribution outlets. Freelancers exist to help you along many of the steps to publication. But the task of finding a freelancer to work with can become as harrowing as it was to write your masterpiece. Here are a few tips that should make the search a bit easier.

Word of Mouth. Often overlooked, talking about the needs of your project with people you trust can sometimes turn up fantastic results. You may be working under the constraints of a tight budget, or looking for someone to do spec work without getting paid up front. If so, reaching out to friends and their social networks is a great place to start. Try not to be overbearing or break the cordial relationship you already have with an acquaintance by being a nightmare to work with. Instead, be honest about your needs up front, you might find a very willing partner who’s more than happy to be a part of your team. A clearly defined set of goals, combined with a passion for your project, will naturally attract illustrators, book designers, PR pros, and editors, and you never know who’s best friend’s uncle just happens to be a retired illustrator.

College Students. Even if you’re way beyond your college years, universities are great places to find people enthusiastic about working on projects while gaining experience. Almost every town or small city has a school nearby. Find out if your local college has a department that focuses on what you’re looking for and then contact them to see if you can get your job posted in their message board. While you’re at it, it might also be a good idea to head over to the career-planning department. Besides providing another place to post jobs, the staff at the career center can also give you advice on offering college credit in exchange for work. A great motivator for college students is the ability to build up a portfolio of work that demonstrates their skill. Offer them public credit for their work, a copy of the book, and even a reference.

Websites. Searching for a freelancer online will open you up to a much larger pool to choose from. There is, however, a real potential to find a teammate located in a completely different part of the world. If you’re comfortable with only having the ability to see each other through Skype, numerous sites exist to help you to find a perfect partner. You just list your needs and wait for the responses to come in. Odesk and elance, for instance, allow you to describe what you’re looking for, and how much you want to pay. These sites charge no fees. As the responses come in you can view the candidates' work, talk with them about the job, and try to get a handle on their personalities before you enter into an agreement. You might be in Indiana, and they could be in India, but it could be a perfect match.

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