At some point in time, every writer has to decide whether writing will remain a hobby or become a business. For the business-minded indie writer, there is always the task of figuring out what to outsource and what to continue doing. For those with knowhow and are diehard do-it-yourselfers, some things are must-dos and some, not so much.
· If you're a graphic artist by trade, creating your own covers will make life a lot easier and negate the expense of paying someone else to do this for you. If creating graphics is not an area in which you shine, leave it to the professionals.
· The ability to make banners and promotional material for your books for online use (think Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) is another handy skill in the indie's arsenal. Promo pics are fun to make and you can switch these up to prevent them from getting stale.
· Formatting is a good skill to have. I’ve read various books on this subject, including the free Kindle and Smashwords formatting guides and now do this for my books, which prevents me from having to pay to make changes. If this is beyond you though, don't waste time trying to figure it out. Pay for the service and avoid a headache.
· Converting files to various formats might not be helpful to every writer, but it's an advantage when it comes time for a final read through of each book. There are free downloadable programmes such as Calibre or online versions, like Zamzar that convert word files to Mobi, which can be loaded on a Kindle for that last read before you ship your baby off to the editor.
· Learning how to navigate social media is important. While it is not the place for a hard sell, many writers are successful in reaching readers on various social media platforms. Don't be afraid, dive in and learn as you go.
While time is always in short supply, I like having the option of knowing that I can do some things in a crunch. If I can't, there's the option of paying for these services. If you're on a restricted budget, it may suit you to learn as much as you can about the tasks that are required again and again in the publishing process.
So, have you added to your skill set lately? If not, do you plan to learn to do any of the things discussed?