Knowledge is the Key to Success

Or… Outsourcing − and why I don’t.

If you’re an indie author you’re essentially self employed. And as we all know, there’s far more to being and indie author than just writing books and self publishing on Amazon.

Your books need eye-catching covers and there are teasers to be made to whet potential readers’ appetites for your books. Photoshop is essential − I certainly wouldn’t be without it. Yes, it’s a tad expensive and confusing when you first start using it as a complete newbie, but when I want to find out how to do something new using PS I simple Google it to find out how.

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This teaser for God’s Gift 1 is an example of something I achieved using Photoshop.

I wanted to show how Sebastian is English to the core by having the Union Jack on his skin… But how to do it?

A Google search revealed an easy guide to achieve what I wanted.

It’s called “mapping” and, like everything, fairly easy when you know how.

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Then there’s social networking − you have to be on Facebook and Twitter at the very least, and engage authentically to gather a following of loyal readers and fellow author friends who will always be there for you when you need help.

You have to get the word out, which means endless promotion and marketing. Plus you need a great website.

Most indie authors have full time jobs, some have children and families too so time is precious. And all the extras we indie author have to do distracts us from doing what we should be doing − writing books. This is probably why I see a lot of advice out there for indie authors to delegate by outsourcing some of those ‘other’ things thereby freeing up more time to write.

But I disagree with this premise of farming out the ‘other’ things. Why? Because I’m a perfectionist − I admit it, I find it hard to give up control. Mainly though there are 3 reasons why, as an indie author, I believe you should do it yourself.

  1. Paying other people to do the work for you costs money. Unless you’re fortunate enough to be a NY Times bestseller with a paid PA and an income sufficient for you to be a full time writer most of us have to seriously consider what we spend our money on. What is going to give us more ‘bang for our buck’.
  2. Doing it yourself means you save money and (most importantly) add to your skill set.
  3. You should never stop learning. Remember that old saying about teaching a man to fish? If you don’t learn how to do something you’ll be forever reliant on someone else doing it for you.

I recently broke my own rule of not outsourcing for the redesign of my website and paid the price − figuratively and literally − when I did not get what I paid for and was left with a website that was a complete mess and only me to sort it out. The reason I decided to get someone else to do it is because it’s much easier to create a website from scratch rather than change the theme of an existing one because the new theme messes everything up.

At first I simply could not work out what the techie bloke had done, but then once I had installed a new theme it became clearer. In fact the hardest part was deciding on a new theme. It took all afternoon and into the evening to choose one that had all the functions I wanted. After that it was just a matter of going through everything and tweaking to get it to look right.

Even after I had everything sorted there was still one small thing I just couldn’t work out: how to get the “read more” tab to work so only excerpts from blog posts showed rather than the whole post. A search on Google revealed it wasn’t me and many others had the same problem. It took typing in various phrasing of my problem into the Google search before I finally found a simple, easy to understand answer to the problem in a forum.

8 days after the techie bloke started work all I had to show for my money was a mess of a website with a whole list of problems. How long did it take me to sort it out? 3 days.

So now I have a website I am happy with; one that looks and works how I want it.

  • Is it time consuming to do it yourself? Yes.
  • Is it sometimes a steep learning curve? Definitely.
  • Is it worth it? Without a doubt.

But what I gained was a sense of accomplishment that no amount of money can buy.

So what I want you to take from this is to:

  • Rise to the challenge
  • Remember everything seems hard until you have the know how
  • Redefine your strengths and weaknesses and turn them all into strengths
  • Realising your life goals are achieved when you Never Stop Learning

Terri x

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