Virtual Author Services – DIY or Outsource?

I started eBook formatting when I created my business as a virtual assistant.  It came about when I formatted my late Grandfather’s book for Amazon Kindle.  Now I have been doing it for over a year, and have many clients who are authors and writers. I thought it was about time I asked them what else they look for when self publishing their work.


There are many things you need to consider when self publishing a book, and you could try and do all these yourself, but sometimes outsourcing a is a good way of ensuring your manuscript is as good as it can be.  Some of the services you could outsource are:

These are just some of the things authors/writer’s may need.  But this blog post is all about asking YOU what other services you would consider outsourcing?

Author Services

Mark Coker of Smashwords has been a great help to me over the past 18 months or so. Not only did I learn to format books from his Style Guide, but I have also been following the latest news on his blog.  One post particularly interested me recently, and that was Mark Coker’s 2013 Book Publishing Industry Predictions – Indie Ebook Authors Take Charge.

Quoting from this post, one of Mark’s predictions is:

“14. In the self-publishing gold rush, more money will be made in author services than in book sales

With the shift to self-publishing, writers must carry the publishing burdens once borne by traditional publishers, such as the cost of editing, proofing, book production, packaging, and distribution, as well as backoffice tasks such as accounts receivable, accounts payable and year-end tax reporting. Third parties are building businesses to serve the needs of indie authors. Most indie ebooks sell poorly at first, so it’s not uncommon that writers will invest an amount of money in their books that far exceeds their near term return.

This is a problem. Writers want to publish books that reach readers, but to reach readers they must produce books that are as good or better than what the big NY publishers are putting out. This means writers must invest time and talent in their books, and if outside talent is required, it usually costs money. With this burgeoning demand for professional publishing services, thousands of service providers will open up virtual author services shops in 2013. The challenge for writers is to procure the highest quality services at the lowest cost. Plenty of scamsters and over-priced service providers will be standing by to help.”

For me this is great news, and I hope that Mark’s prediction comes to pass.  Unfortunately as he says in the last line there are plenty of scamsters out there, as well as companies charging way over the top for some services.  I hope that my rates are reasonable and I always try to position myself in the mid range, and I am constantly looking at competitor rates to compare.

Which brings us full circle to that question again, I want to expand on my eBook (and paperback) formatting, proofreading and WordPress website design services.  But I need to know what sort of services authors are looking for, please comment below with your suggestions or send me an email.

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