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Are offers of $100 to write 10k words high quality E-Book normal?

jhblanco
Active Member
Jessica H Member Since: Apr 18, 2017
1 of 14

Hello!

 

I've been researching a lot of Jobs under Creative Writing because I would like to start working as a Ghostwriter, and I'm constantly wondering if the job offers I see are normal, or better, is this actually accepted by freelancers who are used to working as Ghostwriters?

 

Honestly, I think its ridiculous to offer, for example, $100 for someone to write a book with 10,000 words AND be original, creative, produce high quality material, with a climax and a storyline that will keep readers interested until the end and produce good reviews (yes, these requirements were all in the description...).

 

This is just an example, but I keep seeing similar offers, 0.01 per word to produce a high quality fiction. Writing requires creativity and skill and a lot of dedication... I would love to hear the opinion of experienced writers on the topic.

 

What should I expect to actually earn as a Ghostwriter (considering you're not even getting credit for your work)??

yitwail
Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
BEST ANSWER
2 of 14

Jessica, I'm in a different field, web development, but I think the same principles apply. A client budgets $100 for a book or a website, and there will be some freelancers who will accept such offers, and in the vast majority of cases, the results will be shoddy. Not sure what happens then, but for a website, it's not uncommon that the frugal client then posts another job to fix up the mess that was created by his first hire. 

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

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datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
3 of 14

Jessica,

 

Which service are you offering? Writing fiction or translation?

 

Being offered .01 per word is, sadly, typical for Upwork. It's despicably low for ghostwriting.

 

But, unless you have demonstrable experience on Upwork for the purpose of commanding higher rates, you're competing with hundreds of thousands of other freelancers who are either new or have far more professional writing experience.

 

So, what should you expect to earn as a newbie writer on Upwork? Well, what's your expertise? It appears to be translation (based on your profile). Can you write a fictional novel in another language? (I'm not in the translation field, so that is not my area of expertise.)

 

Creative writers in the fiction genre are, consistently, the FLs who materialize on the forums and complain about their interactions with clients.

 

The more successful writers are those who have an expertise in a highly specific writing genre. If you research the profiles of writers who may respond to this thread, you may notice a pattern.  

 

Newbie fiction writers often jump at those .01 per word jobs because they're desperate to write (and say, "I'm a professional writer!!" -- among other reasons).

 

Since you can write a book and sell it on Amazon, fiction writers have become a dime a dozen on Upwork (but, there are those who build a following by self-publishing; so, there is still hope if you want to write fiction!).

 

I've written fiction for clients on Upwork -- many moons ago -- and it was always a low paying gig that encouraged burnout more than anything else. As you can see from my profile, I stopped doing that.

 

 

jhblanco
Active Member
Jessica H Member Since: Apr 18, 2017
4 of 14

Hi Kat,

 

Thanks for your reply! You are correct, my work experience with freelancing is with Translation. Writing I do as a hobby. I got interested in starting to work as a Ghostwriter because I like writing and because I was under the impression that you could earn good money out of it (I mean, why else would you be willing to give the copyright of your work to someone else, especially when your talking about actuall novels?). I started to research the job opportunities in this area, and was actually disappointed by what I found. There were a lot of offers, but the job propositions simply didn't seem to pay out.

I just doesn't make sense to me. If your desperate to say your a professional writer, just go ahead and write and publish for yourself. The other day I saw the absurd job offer of $60 for a 30k word book!

I guess I'm gonna keep focused on my translation work... =/

 

Thank you!! =)

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
5 of 14

Jessica, with few exceptions, the fiction writing market on Upwork is terrible. That's actually true in most places--although there are book packagers and a few other types of clients who pay well for ghostwritten fiction, most requests for fiction ghostwriters come from low-end publishers who make money only by cranking out a high volume of content with little investment.

 

You are correct that unless you connect with one of those unusual clients (who typically do not use services like Upwork and have a list of regular, established writers they work with), you could make more money by throwing your novel up on Kindle and doing a little promotion.

nb88
Community Leader
Nick B Member Since: Sep 11, 2015
6 of 14

Unfortunately there are a lot of these fantasists around. I always click the 'budget too low' or 'unrealistic expectations' key but they are still in the majority. It's one thing to ask for 10 000 words of original content for $100 or often a lot less. The ones that really 'take the biscuit' are those with hyper-aggressive stipulations about what they expect/demand. I really don't know what world these people live in. Any writer worth their salt will take a week plus to generate that amount of writing. Thankfully, there are still a minority of clients who have some idea what quality is worth. 

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
7 of 14

@Nick B wrote:

Unfortunately there are a lot of these fantasists around. I always click the 'budget too low' or 'unrealistic expectations' key but they are still in the majority. It's one thing to ask for 10 000 words of original content for $100 or often a lot less. The ones that really 'take the biscuit' are those with hyper-aggressive stipulations about what they expect/demand. I really don't know what world these people live in. Any writer worth their salt will take a week plus to generate that amount of writing. Thankfully, there are still a minority of clients who have some idea what quality is worth. 


 That's consistently a red flag as they are -- over 90% of the time -- attached to low baller clients who are going to be absolutely hellacious to work with.

 

Don't get me wrong, I like highly specific directives. But, the "hyper-aggressive" method often translates into: "Let me see how I can play 'gotcha' with the freelancer if they don't fulfill every single requirement."

 

 

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
8 of 14

@Kat C wrote:

 

Don't get me wrong, I like highly specific directives. But, the "hyper-aggressive" method often translates into: "Let me see how I can play 'gotcha' with the freelancer if they don't fulfill every single requirement."

 

 


 I see this differently, though I still see it as a red flag. I think those hyper-detailed specifications are the result of routinely working with bottom-of-the-barrel freelancers (which follows, given the rates). I think it's similar to those who include "must pass copyscape" in their job postings. No professional who is used to working with professionals needs to say that. But, if you're paying crap rates, you can expect a crap return, which means you have to spell out what should be obvious.

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
9 of 14

@Tiffany S wrote:

@Kat C wrote:

 

Don't get me wrong, I like highly specific directives. But, the "hyper-aggressive" method often translates into: "Let me see how I can play 'gotcha' with the freelancer if they don't fulfill every single requirement."

 

 


 I see this differently, though I still see it as a red flag. I think those hyper-detailed specifications are the result of routinely working with bottom-of-the-barrel freelancers (which follows, given the rates). I think it's similar to those who include "must pass copyscape" in their job postings. No professional who is used to working with professionals needs to say that. But, if you're paying crap rates, you can expect a crap return, which means you have to spell out what should be obvious.


 Regardless of the psychology of "why" I'm speaking from DIRECT experience rather than a "perception" predicated on an interpretation of their internal schemas.

 

Every. Single. Client.

 

So it's at 100% for me in terms of the "hyper-aggressive" overly detailed issue with clients. 

 

 

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
10 of 14

@Nick B wrote:

Unfortunately there are a lot of these fantasists around. I always click the 'budget too low' or 'unrealistic expectations' key but they are still in the majority. It's one thing to ask for 10 000 words of original content for $100 or often a lot less. The ones that really 'take the biscuit' are those with hyper-aggressive stipulations about what they expect/demand. I really don't know what world these people live in. Any writer worth their salt will take a week plus to generate that amount of writing. Thankfully, there are still a minority of clients who have some idea what quality is worth. 


 To generate 10,000 words of fiction? Really? I can easily write a 40,000 word novel in a 40-50 hour work week.

 

I wouldn't do it for less than $2,000, but six hours of working time will easily generate 5,000 words of fiction.