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book writing delegationThis month I stumbled into a new book project — and already have a good chunk of it written.

Even though I’ve been through this process a handful of times, it’s still a daunting and intimidating task to be sitting on a blank Page 1 with a blinking cursor and think of everything that has to get done to make the book a success.

The good news is there are plenty of opportunities to delegate some of the tasks along the way.

Research and Writing

First up for me is the research phase. I’ve been leaning on my dedicated assistant from OkayRelax to help parse through mountains of information and pull out the most relevant examples.

($75 per month and available for other tasks as well.)

As that comes together and I complete my outline, it’s on me to write the first draft.

(I actually tried to outsource the writing portion of a book project a few years ago. The draft produced by the “native English speaker” I hired on Elance was a disaster. Lesson learned!)

One tactic I’ve seen other authors use to speed up the writing process is actually speaking their book with speech-to-text software like Dragon Dictation, or just recording it on their phone or laptop and handing the file off to a transcription service like Rev. After all, you can probably talk much faster than you can type.

(Typical rate: $1 per audio minute.)


Next, it’s usually a worthwhile investment to hire an editor to proofread and critique your rough draft. In the past I’ve used Elance (now Upwork) to find editors, but for this project I have a couple people in mind through personal networks.

(Typical rate: $100 per 10,000 words.)


Formatting for paperback, Kindle, and other devices can be a big headache, but thankfully there are specialists on sites like Fiverr who do this all day long.

(Typical rate: $5-100 depending on length/complexity.)

Book Cover

And while I’ve used Fiverr for book covers in the past, I think this time around I’ll give DesignCrowd a shot. Their crowdsourced marketplace lets you tap into the creative energy of several designers competing for your business, instead of just one.

(Typical rate: $99-$269)

Audiobook Narration

To create an audiobook, you can actually get this done for free at, the Audiobook Creation Exchange owned by Amazon.

Narrators produce your book for free in exchange for a share of future audiobook royalties. I’m actually testing out this service this month for the Virtual Assistant Assistant book.

(You can also pay someone upfront to produce it and keep all the royalties yourself.)

(Typical rate: free to $800 depending on length.)


One area of this project I probably won’t outsource is the marketing. To be sure, there are tons of specialty PR services that try to get you and your book in front of a wide audience.

But as someone who’s often on the receiving end of those pitches, I can tell you they usually come off as impersonal and irrelevant.

I once had a PR company pitch me a book about the power of personal connections on behalf of the author. If he truly practiced what he preached, he wouldn’t have hired them to do the “connecting” for him!

Still, I probably will have my VA find some marketing channels to share the book on, because there is a lot that goes into orchestrating a successful launch.

I’ve seen other authors create professionally-produced book trailer videos, media kits, slide decks, back-end courses, and more. That stuff might not happen this time, but there are always options.

And whether you’re writing a book or not, the main facets of any project are the same.

I have to break down the big picture goal into all the steps that have to get done first. And many of those steps have delegation opportunities.

If I have any big wins or spectacular outsourcing mis-steps along the way, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Your Turn

What do you think?

Any glaring VA opportunities I’m missing as I get started with this project?

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