The idea of freelancing can be seductive — you get to work for yourself, whenever and wherever you want, and only on the projects that interest you. But in reality it’s a tricky business. You often struggle to find new clients, put in strange hours once the work comes in, and sometimes settle for less-than-desirable projects to pay the bills.
PubLaunch was created by a team of industry vets who’ve all been in the freelancing world at some point. So trust me, we feel you. It’s exactly why so much of the planning that went into our marketplace focused on helping talented people find work. Of course, our other goal is to help writers transform their manuscripts into the best version of their book, but to do that we need qualified and (here’s the kicker) happy freelance suppliers.
So how exactly are we going to help make freelancing easier and more satisfying? To really break down what you can expect from PubLaunch, let’s start by taking a look at your future clients, the PubLaunch writers.
Your future clients
Most writers on our site will want to self-publish their books. But instead of simply uploading their first drafts to Amazon and choosing a list price, these writers are looking for something more: to better their stories and their products first.
Some writers will have self-published before. Some will be publishing professionals taking a stab at publishing themselves, and others may even have come from traditional publishing and are looking to branch out. These folks will know what they’re looking for. But many will be newbies. They’ll enter PubLaunch scared, overwhelmed, and confused about what they need and how to do it.
PubLaunch’s job is to empower these writers with an understanding of the publishing process, guide them through their options, and present them with potential team members. Your job will be to provide your service with the patience, skill, and encouragement of a great freelancer.
Easy peasy, right? You just sign up and the clients will come to you!
Except that we’re not the first marketplace for publishing freelancers, and I’m guessing that those of you who’ve used one before are probably feeling a little skeptical. Of course you are. There are huge downsides to these sites, like too much time spent providing work samples and budgets with no returns; races to the bottom that land you a project you’re underpaid for; and competing with under-qualified suppliers. These are serious issues, but we’re trying to tackle all this too. Here’s how:
When you apply to be a supplier on PubLaunch, you’ll be required to prove you’re a professional either through competency tests, work samples, or a combination of the two. Our vetting team (including me!) is also going to look at your profile to ensure that it’s comprehensive and truthful and that your rates match your experience.
We’re doing all this for two reasons: so our writers can trust the professionals on our site, and so you don’t have to prove your worth to each and every potential client. It’s a win–win.
Like work samples, generating individual estimates for each potential client can be a huge burden, especially if you’re competing with others for the job. That’s where our budget calculator comes in:
Before a writer can shop for a publishing team, they provide us with information used to generate your estimate, primarily the manuscript’s word count and the trim size of their book.
If you’re an editor, you set an hourly rate on our site. Our budget calculator assumes a substantive edit is 1,000 words/hour, a copy edit is 1,200 words/hour, and quality control is 2,500 words/hour. We use the manuscript’s word count to calculate your budget based on your rate, the length of the manuscript, and the type of editing needed.
Interior designers, ebook converters, and indexers set a page rate. Based on a writer’s trim size and word count, our budget calculator will determine the number of pages in a writer’s manuscript and then generate your estimate based on your page rate.
All other suppliers, like illustrators and marketers, create a flat rate for their service (i.e. $750 for a cover with an original illustration; $500 for a cover design without illustration).
Our budget calculator certainly helps with the estimating process, but it still doesn’t protect you from a race to the bottom. That’s why we have minimum rate requirements, based on Canadian industry standards. These ensure that you’re paid appropriately for the work you’re providing, and protects you from being undermined by larger companies that can afford to charge less.
Now, for those of you who haven’t found work through a marketplace before, here’s a few things you need to know:
PubLaunch will take a 10% commission from your payment. This is standard for marketplaces, but it’s certainly something to consider when you set your rate on our site. You want to ensure that you’ve received a fair payment after our commission has been taken.
No sign-up fees or exclusivity requirements
Applying to be a supplier on PubLaunch is free, and it’s non-exclusive. There are no sign-up or competency test fees, and you are welcome to continue to work with your current clients off-site without any conflict of interest.
At PubLaunch, projects come to you, not the other way around, and you don’t have to work on every project that comes your way. If a writer sends you a request to join their team, you can view the manuscript and the services attached to the project before deciding if it’s something that interests you. Should you decide to decline a project, you’ll have an opportunity to explain why: perhaps you feel the manuscript isn’t ready for a copy edit but they haven’t added a substantive editor to their team, or it’s simply not in the genre that you like to work in. Let them know.
While freelancing is often appealing to those who like to work alone, it can also feel very isolating. When you join a writer’s team on PubLaunch, you’ll have the opportunity to work directly with other suppliers in the project’s Launchroom. You’ll learn more about the other aspects of publishing, make new connections, and help each other solve issues.
If you’re stumped by something, you’ll always have us to reach out to for help!