I decided I would try out one job on Elance to see how I like it. Thus far, I’m really enjoying the assignment I took on. I’m writing 5 articles about guitars–something I’m genuinely passionate about–and it’s been a good exercise in making me feel like less of a writing failure. Also, it’s been good for motivating me to write at least 1,000 words a day. But after this assignment, I don’t know if I want to take on anymore jobs at Elance.
I’ve been looking for any follow-up assignments that would be similar to this one. But so far, all I’m finding are people looking for ghost writers to write their e-books, and it’s making me lose faith in the e-book author community. Do any of you write your own books?! I scrolled through 7 pages of lazy e-book “authors” (and I use that term, author, very lightly, because so many of them don’t even have a story layout for you to go by and just expect you to do all the work for $85). If I really want to sit down and write a 20k 50 Shades of Grey style romance in e-book format, I would do so and sell it under my own name and take the profit for myself. It would be better in the long-term if I am really going to devote the amount of time it takes to write a book THAT WOULD ACTUALLY SELL if I did it for me, instead of someone who wants to give me a pay-out of $85 and wants me to have it done in 6 months. Um no. That’s not how writing a book works. Try again.
I’m not finding any assignments similar to what I’m doing now, just these propositions to get cheap freelancers to write books for people who would then market themselves as authors. Since I’m considering e-publishing my book when I am finished with it and if I don’t find a traditional publisher for it, I’m fairly active in the e-publishing community. If I read a good e-book, I like to promote it and help the author out. But seeing this is disheartening and making me honestly question an author before I actually help them out, because I have absolutely ZERO respect for people who market themselves as something they are not. (And no, you’re not an author and you have no right to call yourself that if you didn’t write your own book and I won’t read your book, because marketing someone else’s work as your own is dishonest and cheating.) It is insulting to me that I put in all this time on my book because it is an act of love and something I am very passionate about, as are most other people who write for a living, and there are people out there who approach this industry as a way of making “easy money” and can’t even be bothered with penning their own works.
Anyway, this isn’t just about how many fakes there are out there marketing themselves as authors. I actually wanted to write a pretty good review of my experiences so far with Elance, for anyone who is considering trying the site out. I originally signed up on Elance for translation jobs, but there aren’t a lot of translations for the particular skills I have (I do German to English and English to German translation). Or, if I do find a job in that area, they are asking for a native German speaker (and I understand why, because American universities have such low standards for how much formal training you actually need in order to get a Bachelor’s degree in foreign language, that a lot of the majors I’ve met who haven’t spent any time abroad for real-life language practice are not equipped to do certain translations) and refuse anyone other than that, no matter if you have the credentials or a very good portfolio. They just won’t even look at your proposal. The translation thing hasn’t really been working out on Elance for me.
But if I could find more jobs similar to what I’m doing now (in-depth informative content writing jobs for around the same amount of money I’m being per article), I’d totally be content with Elance. I’m not finding that though. I’m really disappointed with the types of jobs I’m finding there. There are so many firms that want you to write 10 articles in a very small amount of time for only $1-$5 per article, and I just don’t think that’s worth it. If you want me to write 10 articles in a day, you need to pay me more than $5 per article, especially if you want something that’s more than 500 words and you require extensive research into the subject. Research takes time and if I have to do 10 of these in a day, it’s just not happening. . .especially not a $1 per article (and I’m not exaggerating, the pay is really that low).
My experience with Elance ultimately has clued me in to what society seems to think of freelancers. They seem to think we’re gullible, desperate sods who would do huge amounts of work for basically free. But it hasn’t been an entirely negative experience. There are some good jobs on there occasionally, but they do get claimed pretty fast.