Second verse, same as the first
Once again, I feel duty-bound to point out unreasonable expectations in ghostwriting.
Take a look at the above solicitation for ghostwriting. This is a screenshot from Fiverr, a popular freelance platform catering to low-bid vendors and buyers with all-too-often unreasonable expectations.
To summarize this particular buyer wants to hire a writer who will research a specific topic, produce five articles of at least 900 words each (totaling a minimum 4,500 words), optimize the article for SEO, and source at least three images (15 total) for each article. Of course, the buyer wants original content, so give him points for rejecting plagiarism. The deadline for delivery is three days (72 hours) from hire. Fiverr begins a timed countdown from the moment the buy accepts a vendor's bid and the project begins, so that deadline is no joke.
The average writer needs three hours and 20 minutes to produce 1,000 words of polished content. That works out to about 15 hours of work, not counting the time needed to conduct research, source images, and optimize the content for SEO.
This buy posted a budget of $7 for the order of all five articles. The result: the average writer will earn a maximum of 46¢ per hour or 1/10 of a cent ($0.001) per word. The wage the vendor receives will be further reduced by the platform's 20% commission. I don't care where you are; that's an exploitive wage.
Unfortunately, as I've remarked upon before, such buyer requests aren't unusual. They're all too common and they undervalue the time and skill required to produce quality content. What amazes me is that, despite the buyer stating that the budget is not negotiable, 36 vendors submitted bids for that gig.
I can only imagine that a good many of those vendors will use artificial intelligence to write the requested articles. AI requires little to no effort on the part of the writer, because the writer doesn't actually write anything. The vendor can quickly generate five articles on a particular topic and deliver banal content that isn't wholly plagiarized. AI writers include Rytr, Jasper AI, Writesonic, Simplified, ContentBot, Copy AI, AI Writer, Copysmith, Sassbook AI, Unlimited AI, AI Article Writer, and Anyword. As you can see, we don't lack for AI writing options. Many of them have free trials and some free subscriptions. Most will also incorporate SEO into the content.
A writer who uses AI isn't writing and can net a quick few dollars for a cheapskate client who cares little or nothing for quality.
It pains me to recognize computer-generated content as a competitor, much less as a viable option for potential clients to acquire the content they need for their blogs, brochures, and social media posts. AI may have come a long way over the past decade, but it still has a long way to go.
If you want cheap content, push a button. If you want good content, hire a human.
Artist Trunk Show Experience
The third annual Artist Trunk Show held on Saturday, June 18, in Tipp City, Ohio is the second such event I've attended. The first was the Dayton Art Trunk Show two weeks earlier. This event echoed the first in several aspects, the first being that neither I nor my friend and fellow artist, Cindra, sold any paintings.
The Tipp City event benefited from a good turnout of vendors, most of whom offered paintings for sale. A handful offered other products: turned wooden pens, handwoven garments, bead jewelry, etc. Despite my love of sparkly things, I saw nothing among the jewelry that I had to have. One of the artists closed up shop early in the afternoon, a shame because I wanted to buy one of her paintings.
The Tipp City event wasn't as well organized as the Dayton event. I and another artist we know contacted—or attempted to contact—the organizer, but she failed to respond to both telephone and email inquiries. Luckily for me, she did confirm Cindra's registration, so we went together.
The event occurred in conjunction with Vintage in the Village which was held in downtown Tipp City. That, according to my friend's conversations with some of the vendors, was well-attended, but the people attending were disinclined to buy. The current bear market is having a decided and budget-straitening effect.
We lucked out with regard to the weather. After a sweltering week of high temperatures and high humidity, Mother Nature blessed us with refreshing breezes, comfortable temperatures, and blue skies.
Interestingly, I sold several books. (Hey, literature is an art.) I sold only two at the Dayton event, which made the Tipp City event a better return on my investment of time and effort. Cindra and I both noticed (and commented on) the steady trickle of pedestrian traffic that wandered through the event which was sited about three blocks from downtown. The Dayton event didn't get much at all in the way of pedestrian traffic.
Signage for both events could have been better. However, both events are free, so organizers would have had to dig into their own pockets to pay for signage. The Tipp City event benefited from marketing via social media and two mentions in the local newspaper.
While Cindra and I sold no paintings at either event, the book sales were sufficient for me to consider returning to the Tipp City Artist Trunk Show next year. It also proved my hypothsis that book sales do better with less competition of a similar kind. I was the only vendor at the event selling books.
On Saturday, June 25, I'll be at the North Coast Indie Author Book Expo in Elyria, Ohio. If you're around northeast Ohio, I'd love to see you there!
Say what you mean
In a discussion regarding vocabulary, the aspiring novelist with whom I spoke dismissed my assertion that a writer needs an extensive vocabulary, saying, "I'm going to write books for ordinary people."
In addition to her statement assuming that "ordinary people" don't have wide vocabularies, I found it depressing. A writer without an expansive vocabulary cannot command brevity in writing. That writer will default to using several words to explain what he or she means because he or she doesn't know the one right word that means what he or she wants to say.
Take any adjective and check out a thesaurus for its synonyms. None of the synonyms means exactly the same thing as the word for which you're trying to find a substitute. They certainly don't have the same applications. Let's use "smart."
Smart often means intelligent, perceptive, perspicacious, clever, and even educated. Along that line, it may refer to someone who has no or little formal education, but is wise to the ways of the world: "street-smart." It also means well-dressed or stylish. It may be used to describe something that stings or hurts. And, last but not least, it may refer to someone with a clever and disrepectful attitude or retort: a "smart mouth." None of those other meanings applies to the other synonyms.
(I remember watching Carol Burnett demonstrate the difference between a yell and a bellow. It was hilarious. I wish I could find it.)
Granted, the age group for whom you write may determine the vocabulary you use. However, there's nothing wrong with inserting words here and there that may be unfamiliar to the reader and understood through context. That's one way how we build our vocabularies. The other major way occurs through academic rigor. Remember vocabulary tests?
Words may be used in similar or even identical ways, but they carry nuances—sometimes subtle—that add depth of meaning and influence context. Not knowing what the word you're using means often leads unintended consequences, like laughter.
Sometimes the error results from homonym confusion. Other times the error results from over-reliance on editing software which cannot discern nuance and context. Case in point: I recently read a book—a romance—wherein the author confused "lave" with "lathe."
Lave and lathe, despite the similar pronunciation, mean different things.
Lave appears often in sexually explicit scenes. Except for this book, lathe does not. Applying the word "lathe" to body parts elicits cringing and laughter. Ouch!
To quote Horton from "Horton Hears a Who" by Dr. Seuss, "I meant what I said and I said what I meant." You should, too. Or hire a writer or an editor who understands the nuance of language.
You know where to find me.
#henhousepublishing #writingskills #storytelling