UPDATE August 2015: Writer.ly is out of business.
Writer.ly is a marketplace for writers to find the editors, book designers, and marketers they need to get their books in the hands of as many readers as possible. The Seattle-based company was founded in 2012, and is currently in beta.
I would describe the platform as similar to Elance, but just for writing-related professionals. Writers will post the jobs they need done, and qualified freelancers bid on them to win the work.
The writer / employer chooses the best fit based on price, portfolio, reviews, and experience.
After you painstakingly craft The Great American Novel (or a work of non-fiction, or whatever), you can turn to the freelancers at Writer.ly for proofreading, editing, formatting for Kindle and CreateSpace, cover design, and more.
There are even professionals to help get a website set up for your book launch, coordinate your social media and PR efforts, and execute a marketing campaign.
Plans and Pricing
The site is free to join and post your work, and pricing for individual projects is set by the freelancers bidding on the jobs.
Naturally, the rates will vary depending on the job and experience level of the freelancer. From what I could find, the site seems to have attracted a largely North American user base.
Similar to oDesk, Writer.ly takes a 10% cut for facilitating the transaction and providing the platform. When I post jobs on freelance sites, I tend to remove the outlier bids — both high and low and go with the candidate in the middle who impresses me the most.
Co-founders Kelsye Nelson and Abigail Carter explain that there is an entire ecosystem that needs to thrive in the publishing world for authors to get their work out there.
It would be almost impossible do write, edit, design, and market a new book all on your own; and that’s where Writer.ly comes in. It’s a virtual support group for authors.
Nelson explained, “Our ‘secret sauce’ is we give writers power and control. Almost 1500 writers have signed up for our beta, demanding for a one-stop resource to find the services they need and still retain control of their books. They want more choice than the bundled services offered by Lulu and Amazon’s CreateSpace. Many are frustrated by new alternative publishers that still control the revenue, the marketing and sometimes even the copyright.”
As an author, you will definitely cast a wider net in terms of finding talent if you go to a larger freelance platform. But along with that wider net may come more irrelevant or unqualified bids, which take time to sort through.
As they put it: It would be easier for Marlin to find Nemo in the aquarium than in the ocean.
Have you worked with Writer.ly? If so, please be sure to leave a quick review of your experience to help others with their decision.