One thing to keep in mind about indie game development is that, in general, you can’t make a decent game all by yourself. There are rare multi-talented individuals who can pull it off, but they’re the exception, not the rule. And even when it is possible for a single person to make a game, bringing in additional help will likely result in a higher quality game and a shorter development time.
When originally planning Aurora’s Nightmare, one of the reasons I chose it as my next project (as opposed to several other ideas) was that it was a type of game I could make entirely on my own if I had to (most of my other ideas would require at least a few more people). However, it wasn’t long before I decided to bring in some outside help. Mainly to push the art quality beyond what I could do. I later decided I had the budget for a composer as well.
So how does hiring contractors work? Well, I usually start by hitting up my list of friends and contacts in the industry. Working with contractors, especially over the internet, can be a bit of a crapshoot, so it’s always great when you can get people you already know and trust. And, even if they aren’t available, they might have some recommendations. For example, Hanbee and Brian were friends of mine before I started on Aurora’s Nightmare. Badriel, on the other hand, was recommend to me by a fellow game designer.
Of course, if that doesn’t pan out, you need to act much like you would with any job opening. Spread the word to the right circles, accept resumes, look at portfolios, and the like. You may even have to deal with some legal issues such as NDAs and work contracts.
While it’s not my main focus at the moment, I’m back in that process right now to get a composer and an additional shading artist. I’d got leads on both, so hopefully there will be some good news soon…