Hiring freelancers for self-publishing: Fiverr, Upwork and Reedsy

In my posts on polishing up your manuscript and designing your book cover, I talked about some of the people you’ll need to hire to get your manuscript up to scratch.

But where do you find these people?

Thanks to the sharing economy, there are a plethora of options for you to choose from. In fact, there are so many options that it can be overwhelming for the debut author to know where to start. 

I’ve personally used: Fiverr, Upwork and Reedsy

This was my journey. 

1. Fiverr

fiverr

Fiverr bills itself as the Freelance Services Marketplace for The Lean Entrepreneur. The platform is about eight years old and allows for both the listing and applying for small one-off jobs, or gigs. 

My personal experience with listing hasn’t been all that great. I’ve listed two jobs in the past, and most of the people who got in touch didn’t seem to understand what I was looking for. And the ones who did respond had few or no reviews and I personally wasn’t willing to take a chance on a newbie, considering that I’m a newbie myself.

If you’d like to minimise your risks, it’s best to choose someone with a history of good reviews. They do tend to be pricier, but not significantly so. There are some ‘pro verified’ services that are considerably more expensive, but I’ve personally never used those services so I can’t comment.

To date, I’ve ordered some 15 gigs and I’ve generally been pleased with most of them. There were a couple of duds, but that is to be expected. 

This is the platform I used to find: beta readers, editors, a logo designer and a typography designer. 

The best way to use this platform is to find a few people who have stellar reviews and then message them about your project and ask if it’s something they’d be interested in working on based on your deadline. Some of the people on Fiverr are full-time freelancers, whilst others use Fiverr for their side hustle. 

Overall, I highly recommend this for people who’re just starting out. There are a variety of options for the budget conscious authorpreneur and I’m sure you’ll be able to find someone you need. 

I sure did.

2. Upwork

upwork

Upwork bills itself as a global freelancing platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely. It is also the largest freelancer marketplace in the world. 

Unlike Fiverr, which I used for gigs and one-off jobs, Upwork is a platform that I used for projects where I required someone to work with on an ongoing basis. It is considerably more expensive than Fiverr as many of the freelancers work on either an hourly or project basis; and therefore the costs could significantly vary depending on what you’re looking for.

I personally used this platform to find a marketing strategist. Unlike Fiverr, where I didn’t have much luck with the ads I listed, it was different with Upwork. I listed an ad, and many people responded. You can also invite freelancers to apply for your ad.

Although most of the people who responded were of a high calibre, the prices quoted were significantly higher than what someone with a ‘lean startup’ would be willing to afford. On top of that, many of the people that responded didn’t have experience working with authors or in the publishing industry so I didn’t feel that they were a good fit. 

Overall, I think this platform is more suitable for someone who’s already established in their field rather than someone who is starting out from scratch. 

Having said that, I did manage to find someone who suited my needs. But again, this is someone you’d expect to work with over a period of time as opposed to a one-off gig. 

3. Reedsy

reedsy

Reedsy bills itself as a platform that allows authors to find and work with the best publishing professionals: from developmental editors to book cover designers, publicists and translators.

The freelancers who work on this platform are actually from the publishing industry so if you’re looking to work with someone who has experience with the book business, then you’ve come to the right place.

But… 

It’s a lot less user-friendly than the other platforms. I’ve spent enough time dealing with the traditional side of publishing to know that it doesn’t quite seem to make much sense at all. The whole thing is very hit and miss. I wrote an earlier blog post about the risky business of trade publishing and it was no different working on this platform. 

Here’s how it works.

You have to put up a ‘request’. In your request, you write your book blurb, a bit about yourself and attach as much of the manuscript as you want. I attached around three chapters. Once that’s done, you can then invite professionals to view your request. 

With one caveat… you can only invite five people a week.

Compared to the other platforms, it was a slightly slow and haphazard process. Also, I was surprised by the number of people who wrote on their profiles that they’re not interested in working with debut or independent authors.

Why? I have no idea… 

Having said that, I did manage to generate some interest in my book and did settle on someone that I was happy to collaborate with on my book.

Compared to Fiverr and Upwork where the freelancers you work with do generally treat you as ‘just another client’, the vibe on Reedsy was significantly different.

The professionals who did get in touch with me did show a genuine interest in my book and its potential. There was an enthusiasm and a passion there that was significantly lacking in the other platforms. 

As for the prices quoted, the range was really quite big. It is up to the freelancers to quote their fee and I must say, I was surprised by the gap between the lowest bidder and the highest bidder. 

But all in all, it was a good experience.

Concluding Remarks

There you go. There’s no need to go at it alone.

Get help. Get professional help. There are a plethora of options of there to choose from.

Just remember to choose wisely. 

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Author: Dipa

Founder of Mith Books

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