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How to Forget Agents and Traditional Publishers
6/27/2013 12:18:33 PM
A new way to get your books on the market without waiting on agents and traditional publishers.
A few years back Thomas Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times, wrote a book, The World is Flat. It was about the global economy. That book was a real revelation to many of us, who were only vaguely aware of the overall worldwide competition for jobs, goods, and produce. As I read the book, I realized our empty factories are a testament to the power of worldwide competition, and to the accuracy of his premise. Last year, in one of his weekly columns in the New York Times, he added what I think could be another chapter to the concept of worldwide competition for jobs. I read his column with interest, and I decided to see if I could apply his principals to a job I needed doing. This is my story, how I joined the global economy.
In Mr. Friedmanís column he wrote about using an internet site called www.freelancers.com to do several jobs having to do with his work and public appearances. From his description of the internet site, it sounded as if it offered a route for the average person to have their jobs bid on and the work done by individuals living all over the world. I went to Freelancers web site and this is how it works: Their site is free to join and there are two categories, Employers and Freelancers. If you have a project that you want to bid out, you are an Employeróeven if you donít have a company, but you are just an individual with a need for someone to do a job for you. The other category is Freelancers. These are the people who have the skills to do certain jobs. As I write this piece there are over 4,000,000 freelancers listed on the site and 2,400,000 jobs up for bid. As an example: Letís say you have 20 acres in west Little Rock, and you would like a qualified individual to plat out a sub-division complete with landscaping, sidewalks, and other amenities. There are qualified freelancers all over the world who will bid on your job. All you need to do is make the job available. That is where the Freelancers.com site comes in.
I decided I had a job I wanted to bid out and this is how I did it. Writing is my hobby, and I am very prolific. I have a stack of written novels that have been professionally edited and ready for publication. Getting a literary agent and trying to go with a traditional publisher would take years, so I decided I needed someone to produce a quality eBook as well as a paperback, and then put the books on all the internet book sites. The job I put on Freelancers was to have six manuscripts formatted, with full color book covers, and put online at Amazon.com and other book web sites. I gave an overall range of price I was willing to pay ($350--$1500) and sent it out for bids.
It took about two weeks to get the bids in. There were eight bid from seven countries and only one of them was from the United States. Individuals from India, Pakistan, and Australia as well as several other countries submitted proposals along with their resumes and reviews of past work.
After you accept a bid and the work is done, Freelancers receives the money you agreed to pay, and if the work done is satisfactory to you, they release the funds to the bidder. Freelancers retain a fee for their services..
I finally narrowed the bids down to two. One was from a group in India with an excellent reputation, and their bid was one of the lowest I received. However, there was another bid that seemed to fit me better. It was from a new startup in Australia, that while they didnít actually do the publishing, they were facilitators and could handle formatting, full color book covers, and they would put my books on all the internet book sites. But what made me go with them was the owner of the small company. His father is a rather well known Australian author, and I figured he would know what I needed and how to facilitate the project. Australia is 10 hours ahead of us in time zones so their e-mails usually are waiting on us when we arrive at work. Another interesting part of this project is how the book covers were handled. The Australian who got the job farmed out the cover work to an Indian (from India) freelancer. The covers are excellent.
After a year of working with the freelancer from Australia, I have six new novels published. The time and money saved by going this route was very significant. I was amazed at how easy it was to join the global marketplace.
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