How to Find Freelance Writers

What’s going on folks?

I have spent a lot of time over at TheFastlaneForum answering questions, mostly through PM, about various aspects of self-publishing and outsourcing. I figure if I get asked the same questions over and over again on there, it must come up from time to time. So without further nonsense, let me get into how I find freelance writers for eBook creation.

How to Find Freelance Writers

So far, I’ve only used UpWork (formerly oDesk) to find freelance writers. I’ve had a few people message me on forums asking to write for me, but I’d rather keep it localized to one spot. It’s easier to manage rather than having to hop through PayPal’s loops.

Unfortunately, I deleted my old account, which I messed up and signed up for under one of my early pen names (doh!). As much as I liked pretending to be a female, I got tired of it and made a new account.

Here’s a quick example of something I would use for a non-fiction eBook. Notice the “Please include the word “[niche]” in your application”. That’s used to weed out freelance companies that send copy and pasted applications to every job on the market, hoping to land anything.

A sample upwork job.
A sample UpWork job.

One thing I did when I first started was look at other business’s postings to see what information they included in their job description.

Protip: It works great if you sort by “most client hours” and “most dollars spent”. These businesses usually have a first grasp on what they need from their freelance clients.

When I interview freelancers, I have them include a sample of their writing, what they’re most comfortable writing about, and what their expected turnaround for X,000 words. Usually, the turnaround is around 1 day for every thousand words. I also negotiate what their price per thousand words is as well. I’ve found that $10/1000 is going to get me pretty solid, very little editing required, writing.

A sample of a script I used when I was hiring freelancers like crazy!

(name changed to my own)


Good evening [name],

Thank you for applying to my job posting. Most of the books will be business based, self-help centered on work, etc. I can provide one resource to use and a basic template. The resource should cover a majority of the topic, with little other research being needed. I’m only looking for a minimum of 5000 words, but if you need to do 8000 or 12000 or even 20000 I’ll be okay with that. You’ll just need to keep me updated on progress.

Let me know what you think, and if the suggested rate will work for this.

Thank you,




Fantastic, I’ll hire you for the proposed term. I’ll provide you with the resource for the first project, and we’ll talk long term when that’s complete!

Welcome to the team,



First Project:

Welcome [name],

Attached are two documents, one used for research and the other is a template you can use. The first book I’ll need is one on [book niche]. Like I said previously, please have it be a minimum of 5500 words. I don’t want a target of 5500 words, keep going until you have completely explained the topic.

The tentative deadline is one week from today. If you choose to write more and need more time, just let me know and I’ll be 100% okay with it. Please provide daily messages with progress updates.

Do you have any questions?


For the first writing assignment, I tell them I’ll pay them a reduced rate as a live test. Their sample could have came from anywhere, so I want a brand new book that I give very detailed instructions for.

For example, if they were going to write a 5,000-word book on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I’d give them instructions like

  • Introduction: 500 words
  • Bread types: 500 words
  • Peanut butter types: 750 words
  • Jelly types: 750 words
  • Step-by-step guide: 1,500 words
  • What goes well with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches: 600 words
  • Conclusion: 400 words

Of course those numbers are flexible, and the total word count could end up being anywhere from 4,500 to 5,500 words.

We will agree on the rate beforehand and I let them know it’s a test at a reduced rate. I usually go around 75% of the rate they would receive after the first book. If the book they create is well put together, I’ll pay them the other 25% as a bonus and continue working with them. If things don’t go so smoothly…well…I’ll be out $50.

I also keep a spreadsheet of every freelancer I’m working/worked with with payment rate, how much I’ve paid them, and any other notes. That way I know which freelancers wrote which books. I’ve made the mistake of having more than 1 writer doing books under the same pen name. Had to shut down that operation after I was called out for having 3 different writing styles in my fiction books. Whoops!

If you have any additional questions about publishing, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to answer as soon as I can.