How To Find Work – Crowdsourcing

Today is a marketing/promotions day for me. As a freelance eWriter I can only earn money when I write for a paying client. Paying clients don’t grow on trees in my backyard so I have to go out there (virtually for the most part) and find them in cyber space. One of the places I hunt for work is Elance. Elance is one of the new ‘crowdsourcing’ sites where people who need work done post jobs and those who need to work submit proposals to do the jobs. They bid for the work so it is a bit of an auction and consequently not everyone’s cup of tea.

Some eWriters hate crowdsourcing and I understand why. You often have to compete with people who will cut their own throat to get work, at whatever price is the least they can bid. You will see jobs going where a dozen or more respondents have proposed working for the salt on the peanut, forget the entire peanut or even a mouthful of them. For those eWriters beginning their freelance careers it might be a good ploy to get some work under their belt and have some feedback, a few clips for their portfolios and so on but for those of us not living in a developing country we simply can’t compete, price wise. Here is an example of what is often asked for:

Sales Copy Writer- $2 per 250 words- 1 month job- 10 writers needed
Add to Watch List

Writing & Translation > Sales Writing

  • Posted: 14h, 29m ago
  • Time Left: 14d, 9h
  • Location: Anywhere
  • Start: Immediately
  • Budget: $500 – $1,000
  • Fixed Price Job
  • Elance Escrow Protection
  • W9 Not Required
Less Detail
Client Info  |  Philippines  

I have a ton of sales articles that needs to be written within this month. This is a long term position. I will only require 10 writers who can edit their own work or will not pressure my editors by editing your work. I will not fund the project but I’ll pay everyday for the articles that you’ve completed. I have thousands of articles that needs to be written in 1 niche “website building” within this month. This is not a one time deal nor a month deal. This may be a lifetime relationship. As long as the quality is great and with no grammatical and punctuation errors.
-Nationality and experience is very important.
-You should have a copyscape premium account or can write 100% unique articles since we have our own copyscape account. we’ll also do the checking ourselves upon receiving your articles.
– Newbie are also welcome to apply but you should have taken English and Vocabulary tests in Elance and must have an exceptional portfolio that demonstrates your writing skills.
-Although nationality is very important, any writers from different part of the world is welcome to apply, as long as you’ve perfected the U.S grammar, punctuation and appropriate writing style for sales copy articles but U.S, U.K, Canada and Australia will be preferred.
-The rate is not negotiable and you must be online and communicate with me everyday. I need an hour turn around time for each article, so please don’t apply if you have other work from another client or you can’t meet my deadline. You need to write 5 articles everyday to be considered in this job posting.
I have $1550 for this project.
I look forward to reading your proposals. Hiring starts now!
P.S- Don’t ever apply if you can’t write in sales copy writing tone. You will not be paid!
P.P.S- Independent writers only.

Quite frankly, not the kind of client I would want to work for. I fully understand not having a lot of money to pay for the work needed; I had very little available when I was seeking translators for some of my books last year. I had dozens of offers for the Spanish versions and they had no problem with my budget but I got several narky emails from German translators saying I was insulting them, etc. I had made it clear I was limited by available cash and I apologised for that but the bottom line is they didn’t have to respond, I wasn’t forcing them to bid. This employer, on the other hand, seems to hold his writers in some kind of contempt. Or perhaps it is my interpretation of his (her?) tone?

The good news is you don’t have to bid on these four fifths of a cent per word type jobs. If the writer was a Filipino, US$2.50 works out at P100 per article and five of those a day is more than the official minimum wage. I am sure it offers similar returns to Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Kenyan or Nigerian writers (these are the nationalities I see responding to these jobs the most often). So my advice is to leave these jobs to our eWriter colleagues in these countries and focus on better paying work that is more suited to native speaker writers. And pays better.

Ghost Writer of a Funny and Informative Business Book Add to Watch List

Fixed Price: $5,000 – $10,000   |  Posted: 5h, 22m ago  |  Ends: 14d, 18h  |  18 Proposals

This book will be an entertaining twist on start-up entrepreneurship that chronicles our challenging and often ridiculously comical journey and personal transformations while starting and growing a very successful company. Forget the MBA study guides and D.I.Y. entrepreneur books, we want to give the reader an inspirational road map through our experiences and real-life antidotes that are at times troubling, emotional, comical and unbelievable … and always memorable and useful. In the end, these lessons will provide you the tools to solve your business challenges. I have an outline and can email you more details as needed.

Category: Ghost Writing

| r****wer |    United States

This kind of job isn’t as common as the four fifths of faff all kind but as you can see, they do happen from time to time. I didn’t submit a proposal for two reasons. First of all while I am confident I can write the book the client needs (although perhaps not necessarily the one they want), there are already 18 other writers bidding and some of them are probably a better fit for the client. Most are USA based and so is the client and while most of my clients come from the USA, in this specific case I think some of the bidders would be better for the client than myself. There are various reasons for this but suffice to say you need to know when to chase something down and worry it like a pit bull and when to recognize you would be wasting your time and the client’s time putting in a bid.

I did bid on this job:

Fiction ghostwriter to write a UFC-type fighting scene for a book On Watch List Fixed Price: Less than $500   |  Posted: 11h, 9m ago  |  Ends: 14d, 12h  |  8 Proposals I need 20 pages written in Microsoft Word of a fighting scene for a fiction book. I will provide the outline, I just need the fighting scene expounded. Category: Ghost Writing  Skills: Creative Writing, Fiction Writing, Ghostwriting, Writing       | P****uty |    Canada

I figured 20 pages at an average of 250 words a page made it 2,500 words. I felt 10c a word was about right so I bid $250, which gives me 5 hours to write the scene, re-write, liaise with client and so on. I use $50/hour as my benchmark for Elance work because it doesn’t require a lot of time, effort and expense to trawl the jobs and submit proposals. If I have to chase ‘outside work’ then I double the hourly rate to cover the increased time and effort it takes to find and secure new work.

Now and then you come across interesting opportunities like this one:

Ghostwriters wanted for regular work and guaranteed publication On Watch List  Fixed Price: Not Sure   |  Posted: 13h, 55m ago  |  Ends: 14d, 10h  |  15 Proposals I’m the owner of a publishing company who is looking for new fiction writers (although non-fiction is accepted). We’re looking for multiple writers who are willing to write books for publication in whichever…
genre pleases them, whether it be romance, thriller, crime, literary fiction or anything else. We will publish these books through our publishing house and they will be available to buy through Amazon and other online outlets. We are open to paying you royalties for the book’s sales, but we are also happy to pay a flat fee per book if you would prefer. * All books must be written in ENGLISH. You must also be a native English writer as we don’t have an extensive editing budget available. * Books should be of a publishable length. This could include short stories, novellas, novels or epics. Please mention an approximate word count with your fee in your bid. * Books will be published under an in-house pseudonym. * If we are happy with your work and the working relationship is a success, there will be as much ongoing work as you like. Any questions, please ask! Category: Ghost Writing       Skills: Creative Writing, Fiction Writing, Ghostwriting       | a****oft |    United Kingdom

It appears that this is a publishing house looking for inventory. I have not only tons of my own short stories and novels, anthologies etc but access to much more content from writers who attend my various writing programs at community college and others. I submitted a bid because I felt I could license them to publish my writing, even if they do wish to do so under their own pseudonym, as well as potentially help my writer colleagues get paid for their writing.

All of the content on this page came from just one brief trawl through one single crowdsourcing site. There are other places to seek writing work where you aren’t competing with the rest of the world directly and I pitch to those as well but Elance (and oDesk) are two of the best known sites, not to mention simple for beginners to try. Remember:

  1. Specialize – pick your niche and become the best within it
  2. Leave the Four Fifths of Faff All jobs to those who can live off that little amount
  3. Only chase the jobs you know you will love doing and make sure you charge enough to stay happy while you do it!
  4. Never bid low unless you really want the job and would otherwise do it for free.
  5. Specialize! I chase Ghostwriting and eBooks categories and ignore the rest.

Time spent finding work is always time well spent. Often you need to spend more time finding it than you do grinding it out, so make sure your fees reflect this reality. Funny thing, when you are actively looking you will get work, often from sources other than the ones you just looked at. While writing this blog post I received a call from a referral who wants a book ghostwritten and is willing to pay my fee. Never forget to stay in touch with your old clients because the hard work is already done with them and they know they can trust you, like your work and so on. Enjoy the journey.

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