Putting the ‘Cheap’ into Freelance.

It’s been about a week since I started my new job and a half. Day one as you may recall, was enough of an unmitigated shit storm to make me throw in the towel. But like the stubborn fucker I am, I stuck it out for the week.

Until today. Today, I really honestly am on the brink of throwing in the towel on this whole thing.

And before you roll your eyes so hard that it throws your equilibrium out and you fall out of your chair projectile vomiting hard enough to throw you into the wall sending stress fractures all the way down to the foundation of the house because, ‘Oh for fucks sake here he goes with another “Look at me I have a kid” blog post.’, let me stop you and say that you’re wrong.
I mean why would I give up THAT aspect of my job? The little turd factory can’t even put a spoon in her mouth the right way round, you expect her to look after herself? Or you think I’m honestly going to leave her to her own devices? Grow up for gods sake!

The ‘Whole thing’ I’m referring to is the latter portion of my job and a half.
Namely freelance writing.

Gasp! Shock! Horror!

‘You’ve always wanted to write! Why would you give up so quickly?!’ I hear you ask.

Well maybe I AM thinking of throwing in the towel too early, maybe I AM going off half cocked.
See, recently I signed on to a few freelancer websites that offer a marketplace for people to post writing jobs. One of the places actually asks you to write a sample for them and show a portfolio, the other asks you for a name and a password.
The sample/portfolio one offers you work catered to your abilities (from what their algorithm program gathered from your sample and portfolio) while the other website is open slather but there’s a bidding aspect to tenders.

In the 7 to 10 days that I’ve been on these sites I have won as many tenders as I’ve had genuine laughs from the comedy stylings of Rove McManus, and the work that is ‘catered to my ability’ is about as relevant to my skill set as driving a log truck through the amazon is to a three tier chocolate and vanilla wedding cake

It doesn’t help that the catered jobs pop up in the morning like a bleeding surfboarder in shark infested waters, forcing you on them asap to actually get a look at grabbing a meaty portion before the other sharks take all the good bits leaving you with just the genitalia or spleen, or that they all have a turn around of about 8 hours for a fully researched and edited blog post with relevant and fresh SEO content when I have a window of about 2 hours a day up my sleeve to get it done if… IF the spawn decides to sleep in her morning nap. (In all honesty it’s not a bad site if you have the time.)

And what about the open slather site? Well you actually kind of bid on the jobs. Prices are advertised as being around $1 per 100 words on average but that’s just what they’re saying to get you in. Then when you’re there, they’ll pit you against other writers in a literary thunder dome to see who can chainsaw their legs off to get to down to the lowest price. There’s the occasional gem out there that’ll offer a flat rate that sounds really reasonable but even then, they will explicitly state that they are only going to accept people who bid super low. And your reward for selling yourself out like a dirty little word whore? A pittance and a good review.

Because you don’t retain any copyrights (they get that), you don’t get to re-post your work elsewhere and you sure as shit don’t get to put in your portfolio!
But hey, at least the open slather site give me the chance to do creative writing! Or as it’s known there, Ghost writing. Which, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is writing a book from start to finish based on a brief that can be as detailed as several pages or as vague as ‘Write me an ebook about vegan recipes.’

But 90% of the time it’s ‘Romance’ novels. Billionaire romance, vampire romance, shifter romance, you know the score. Cheap knock offs of the shit books that are already out there watering down peoples brains and giving unrealistic expectations of their love life’s. (I’m sorry I can’t transform into a were-tiger and ravish you tonight darling, I had a really rough day at the office.)

But I’m bitching.

If I wanted the work that bad I’d take the work and I’d do the god damn work. Not trying to be cocky but that’s how I operate.
But I won’t take on work if I know that I can’t deliver quality because I deliver quality.
And I’m not looking to make excuses, when I had staff I didn’t take excuses from them because I didn’t give them excuses.

So shut up and take the work I hear you shout.

Tell you what, I was about to. I’ve even submitted 3 tenders, sawing my legs off to the fucking hip on price, to ghost write sci-fi novelettes just so I can get them sweet sweet reviews.

Then I got curious about self publishing on amazon because I have a little something away for a rainy day. And I stumbled on a little article from ‘The Hustle’ about a best selling Amazon author making over 10k a MONTH in sales. The link’s below.


If you don’t wanna read let me break it down.
• Old mate checks out amazon for holes in the marketplace.
• He does a few hours research on the subject that he’s found.
• He lays out a book idea into a few chapters and a few bullet points per chapter.
• The outline for the book goes to his Ghost writer in the Philippines.
• One week and $150 later he gets a full 20k word book back.
• He edits it for a week.
• Gives $5 to another bloke in the Philippines for a book cover design.
• Publishes on amazon which gives him 50 free copies for review purposes.
• Sends those 50 off to mates who all give stirling reviews.
• Dolla dolla bills yaaaaaaaalllll.

No shit, this guy had a best selling 40 page book on gardening and has not gardened once in his life.

And his speciality?
Self help books! Which he admittedly did write a few of himself in the beginning.

This did three things to me. One, it made me laugh my guts up at all the people who bought a self help book thinking they’re actually getting something written by an expert.

Two, I now know how all those busy as fuck high flying CEO’s who tell you how they cram all this shit into their days and you can do it too find the time to write a 40k word best seller. They fucking PAY for it to be written!

And three, I was reminded of a little quote I read from Peter Dinklage, regarding how he practically starved in the cold because he refused the cheap shot jobs of playing a leprechaun in commercials and crap and stuck to his guns knowing that he would make it as an artist.

Which is hard to reconcile in your head when you need to keep a roof above your family.

But the amount of time (which I don’t have) that it’d take me to write a book or blog post or manuscript for $11, just so someone else can get ALLLLL of the credit for it, when I barely even have the time to put effort into my OWN writing… well you get the picture.

The work that’s out there from some places is very good and it can pay well, but it’s out there for talented writers with fat portfolios. Which is how it should be.

The world of freelance writing is an eye opening place. It’s also a place I don’t feel I’ll be dwelling in for a long time. The good work goes to the proven good workers. The slop, the dregs, the garbage, that’s left is for the parasites. Who will beg to be fucked over, all the while plagiarising Wikipedia and stealing works from the public domain as their own. Which takes places like Kindle, an already dubious picking ground for the average person to find quality literature and waters it down till all that’s left is a clear broth with the scent and flavour akin to a slurry of shit and vomit.

And as much as I want to be a part of it (Kindle self publishing that is), I feel that even if I were to print my own work, it would sink to the bottom of this broth and fade into obscurity because I refuse to beg and bribe my way to a good review.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to peruse the smut section of Kindle.

Which is as stuffed as full as the lady parts described within their digital pages.

I hope I opened your eyes a little with this one, and it stops you from ever buying a book from a certain, overly positive, hirsuth, vegan, smug profile picture having, facebooking motherfucker who may or may not be called David.

(All my writing is my own, nobody would pay for this crap. Honestly, I’ve looked.)

– Jacob

3 thoughts on “Putting the ‘Cheap’ into Freelance.

  1. As always Jacob, your writing is brilliant.
    Keep soldiering on and refusing to lower your standards.
    The world needs your raw, honest, synical yet passionate opinion.
    I thoroughly enjoy your blog ?

    • Thanks Alison.
      Now if only there was a way to make you editor of some fancy press company so you’d hire me…

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