wtrabex
Member

Dear Clients: Low-balling is bad

So this has been happening for a while, and I thought I would say something about it.

 

I'm a ghost writer. I've been doing that for four years. I think that's a long enough time to gain valuable experience and skills for a job that not too many people can do. In that time, I've found that clients repeatedly want to pay cheap rates for bad stories in the hopes that readers will buy books based on the cover and not the content of the book itself. It's kind of a meat factory for words. As long as a new release keeps coming out, the client can probably still make money. Consumers are attracted more to novelty than to quality.

 

The problem is, when someone like myself becomes experienced and gets good at what I'm doing, I suddenly find myself in a market where people aren't willing to pay for the skills I can bring to the job. There is, after all, a vast difference between a person hired to wash dishes and a person hired to be a regional manager.

 

Why pay the regional manager minimum wage? It doesn't make sense. Doing that only drives the people with skills and experience out of the marketplace for more lucrative opportunities. The result is that the peoplw who stay around are those who haven't advanced their skill set and aren't capable of providing labor that can lead to a decent profit margin.

 

In other words, if you as a client want to make more money, you have to be willing to invest accordingly. You have to be willing to pay top dollar for top talent. For freelancing, especially writing, you get what you pay for. If the pay is bad, the work is bad. If they pay is good, the work will be good as well.

 

To put it very simply, low-balling on an offer will not get you the product that you're hoping to acquire.

20 REPLIES 20

Why not publish a book by yourself and gain all the money a low-budget loser client would be making otherwise?

Anonymous User
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 Hello Claudia. There's more to becoming a successful writer than just writing a really good book and self-publishing on Amazon. Way more. 

Hi Amaechi, I'm curious. what else is there to it?


@Claudia B wrote:

Hi Amaechi, I'm curious. what else is there to it?


Marketing. And all the money & skills involved. Some people think tat pushing an eBook on Amazon in enough to sell. If there were only seven eBooks available on amazon, this would be true.

 

One person can write captivating stories but may be lacking basic marketing skills. Another person may have resources and marketing skills but not writing skills.

 

I see an opportunity for profitable partnership here.

 

 

ETA: cross-post with Amaechi.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

Yeah I get it. Thanks, Rene and Amaechi. Interesting topic. 

Anonymous User
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Marketing dollars (like $$$), management, network, etc. Otherwise you'll just upload your ebook and make no sales. Thousands of other writers also wrote and uploaded too. Long, lonely nights cause you made no sales. Some other writers would rather just live anonymously. These ones would rather use their talents to ghost-write. Some highly successful ghost writers may not necessarily have been successful or half as motivated if they just wrote their own books. For some others, ghost-writing is how they earn the capital to fund their own book's promotion.

You get?
Anonymous User
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Hey Winter! I'm not denying the existence of the phenomenon of which you complain. In the meantime, though, you may want to put some more work on your profile to help you command a higher rate.   Start by hiding that "Below average" score and/or retaking it. Given you're a writer, many clients might be put off by such a score for your spelling. You may also want to write a more convincing overview.   Cheers man!!

Why is this addressed to clients?

 

The original poster suggests that low-balling is bad.

 

But low-balling is impossible...

 

...unless there are low-ball freelancers.


The only reason it is possible to pay lowball rates is that there are lowball freelancers...

 

...for some categories of freelancer.

 

If a client wants to hire a freelancer who does what I do, it simply isn't possible to do so with lowball rates. Because there are no freelancers offering to do what I do at the level I do it at lowball rates.

 

The rates I charge, and the rates people in my category of freelancer charge, are high. And we save our clients a TON of money compared to if they hire lowball freelancers. Our clients are aware of this, which is why we are in demand and often difficult to hire. Not that we don't want to help. We'd love to. We're just very, very busy.


@Preston H wrote:

Why is this addressed to clients?

 

The original poster suggests that low-balling is bad.

 

But low-balling is impossible...

 

...unless there are low-ball freelancers.


The only reason it is possible to pay lowball rates is that there are lowball freelancers...

 

...for some categories of freelancer.

 

If a client wants to hire a freelancer who does what I do, it simply isn't possible to do so with lowball rates. Because there are no freelancers offering to do what I do at the level I do it at lowball rates.

 

The rates I charge, and the rates people in my category of freelancer charge, are high. And we save our clients a TON of money compared to if they hire lowball freelancers. Our clients are aware of this, which is why we are in demand and often difficult to hire. Not that we don't want to help. We'd love to. We're just very, very busy.


 I agree with Preston. This is not 100% the fault of the clients.

 

When I'm looking for a new translator (not the same as a writer, but related), I post a trial fixed price job of 611 words for $50. I don't recall ever getting a bid for MORE than $50. But I've received bids from $5-$50.


@Amaechi A wrote:
Hey Winter! I'm not denying the existence of the phenomenon of which you complain. In the meantime, though, you may want to put some more work on your profile to help you command a higher rate.   Start by hiding that "Below average" score and/or retaking it. Given you're a writer, many clients might be put off by such a score for your spelling. You may also want to write a more convincing overview.   Cheers man!!

 Upwork tests don't have anything to do with a writer's proficiency. I really don't care if people see the score or not. I would hope that, at his point, my previous work history and client feedback would give you an idea of whether I am competent enough to perform the job I agreed to do.

 

Moreover, low-balling has been happening for as long as I've been with oDesk / Upwork. It didn't happen so much on Elance. I miss that site.

Thanks Amaechi and Rene.

 

Let's see -

1. Developmemntal editing

2. Stylistic editing

3. Grammar, spelling, etc. editing

4. Layout and Design of Format

5. Book cover, back, and spine artwork

6. Marketing

7. Social media ...

 

Want me to keep going?  

 

The writer is the core of the project - but no writer can do it all.


@Wendy C wrote:

Thanks Amaechi and Rene.

 

Let's see -

1. Developmemntal editing

2. Stylistic editing

3. Grammar, spelling, etc. editing

4. Layout and Design of Format

5. Book cover, back, and spine artwork

6. Marketing

7. Social media ...

 

Want me to keep going?  

 

The writer is the core of the project - but no writer can do it all.


 #5 can and does add up to several hours of time and frustration.  I say that from experience.  One art render in Poser or Daz Studio can and will require at least 2-3 hours of time for set-up and rendering.  This does not account for the time that is taken to complete post-work on the image through PSP or PhotoShop, longer render times for slower computers, and multiple renders due to lighting adjustments.

 

Although I, too, push people to move towards publishing their own work, I realize there are many who don't want to:

 

A.  Learn marketing techniques

B.  Hire an editor

C.  Hire someone for the artwork or learn to use the programs

D.  Learn how to format for eBooks

 

Sidenote - It strikes me as interesting that this subject came up this morning, as I was just sitting here discussing the exact same subject.  Therefore, thanks for the push guys!  It's time for at least one writer/art creator to learn something new.

~I am only here when I can tolerate having my eyes blasted, my privacy treated like a joke, and my temper pushed to it's limit. For all other times, please request alternate contact methods~


@Kathryn B wrote:

@Wendy C wrote:

Thanks Amaechi and Rene.

 

Let's see -

1. Developmemntal editing

2. Stylistic editing

3. Grammar, spelling, etc. editing

4. Layout and Design of Format

5. Book cover, back, and spine artwork

6. Marketing

7. Social media ...

 

Want me to keep going?  

 

The writer is the core of the project - but no writer can do it all.


 #5 can and does add up to several hours of time and frustration.  I say that from experience.  One art render in Poser or Daz Studio can and will require at least 2-3 hours of time for set-up and rendering.  This does not account for the time that is taken to complete post-work on the image through PSP or PhotoShop, longer render times for slower computers, and multiple renders due to lighting adjustments.

 

Although I, too, push people to move towards publishing their own work, I realize there are many who don't want to:

 

A.  Learn marketing techniques

B.  Hire an editor

C.  Hire someone for the artwork or learn to use the programs

D.  Learn how to format for eBooks

 

Sidenote - It strikes me as interesting that this subject came up this morning, as I was just sitting here discussing the exact same subject.  Therefore, thanks for the push guys!  It's time for at least one writer/art creator to learn something new.



It all depends how one "sees" an editor.

 

I have recently edited a book and emphasized to the client over and over again how important formatting and typesetting are for ease of reading (particularly with the sort of book the client self-published). Sadly, the client had other ideas and the book, because of its extraordinarily gimmicky typesetting, is unreadable. 

 

Head hit desk when I saw it . . . There is a lot to be said for traditional publishing. Smiley Frustrated

 

 

There is a reason why even the best and best selling of writers work with:

 

1. An editor - being objective, analytical about one's own writing if it is in the form of a story or screenplay is nearly impossible. The writer knows it too well.

As far as editing for grammar and such - the writer has read the material so often his/her eye is blinded to errors. Grammarly, etc. does NOT catch everything.

2. A Book (or eBook) Designer for everything from format onward  (I know the book Nichola is referencing - and it is a colossal disaster)

3. An Artist for the cover, etc.

4. A skilled Marketing person ....

 

Specialists can fill in reasons beyond the above.

 

 

And ideally a proofreader. People get so stuck on checking the grammar on their Word file version, they forget about getting it checked once laid out.

 

It's amazing how often the wrong image creeps in or there are two Chapter Sevens.


@Wendy C wrote:

There is a reason why even the best and best selling of writers work with:

 

1. An editor - being objective, analytical about one's own writing if it is in the form of a story or screenplay is nearly impossible. The writer knows it too well.

As far as editing for grammar and such - the writer has read the material so often his/her eye is blinded to errors. Grammarly, etc. does NOT catch everything.

2. A Book (or eBook) Designer for everything from format onward  (I know the book Nichola is referencing - and it is a colossal disaster)

3. An Artist for the cover, etc.

4. A skilled Marketing person ....

 

Specialists can fill in reasons beyond the above.

 

 


Yes!

 

I often argue with these algorithms...

 

They are not quite up to par in determining "voice" and stylistic connotation, denotation, etc....just to name a few issues--there are more...

 

But, thank you to all who threw down the lists about the navigation and additional work it takes beyond just "writing."

 

As if it's "just writing" and then POOF, Pulitzer Prize.

 

Man LOL


@Wendy C wrote:

Thanks Amaechi and Rene.

 

Let's see -

1. Developmemntal editing

2. Stylistic editing

3. Grammar, spelling, etc. editing

4. Layout and Design of Format

5. Book cover, back, and spine artwork

6. Marketing

7. Social media ...

 

Want me to keep going?  

 

The writer is the core of the project - but no writer can do it all.


I'm gonna to print and stick this somewhere in my office, just for those times when I feel the urge to start to write this book. Just to cool down my ambitions.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

Completely agree. If you can't complete a well-written profile then why would a client hire you to write for them? I also recommend adding any articles you have written to your portfolio.

wtrabex
Member

The problem with proofreading and editing is that it takes time. Most clients I've dealt with want it done for free. So I give it a once-over, but it's not anywhere near the professional job I could do if I was paid for it.

 

If a book is crappy, it's because the publisher doesn't care about paying for quality work.

Kudos and Heart to Kat for highlighting "stylistic, etc. voice and style"; those are what brings a book alive.

 

@ Winter, it is up to you, as the writer, to briefly cover all this is your proposal and in more depth should you land the job.