I need to know if I am getting taken advantage of. I write romance erotica and some pretty weird stories. I am getting a lot of orders for being new and already getting repeat customers. This is all wonderful and I am grateful! I can buy groceries yay! However, buyers are becoming more demanding with word counts and timeframe. I cannot keep up. Stories are very time consuming. Buyers want huge samples for free. They want to pay 20.00 for 5k words in 3 days. I am not a slow writer but I edit and spend time on quality. I feel like I am trying to make them happy but then they get mad if I don’t do exactly what they want when they want. Is this how it usually is? I’m worried about bad reviews of course. Any insight on seasoned sellers would be greatly appreciated!
Too cheap. Look up what other people with comparable gigs take and at what you can realistically do in one hour keeping to your own quality standards and adjust your prices.
Tell your buyers you’re sure they want quality work and that you only deliver quality work and that that needs certain time to do and thus a certain price. It´s okay to work for very cheap when you start because it can be the only way to get the first orders and reviews, and groceries are great!, but you can´t realistically keep that up as you see.
There are people who don´t mind delivering rubbish for lowest prices, but as you care about the quality of your work, leave that to those and try adjusting so you get where you want to be or have to be.
If you know your quality is good, it should work.
If you mean custom samples (write me so-and-so), say no. You can have some old text of yours to show as a sample if you wish, but don’t create brand new huge samples for free. If they demand a custom sample, send them a $5 custom offer for X words, X being a small number you’re comfortable with.
These are all good tips thank you.
I trust you have your own catalog of filth. If not, then I don’t know why; I have 200 books (all penned in 2013-15) which, even after a couple of years of benign neglect, net me $200-400 a month. I don’t have to lift a finger and they’re not exactly masterpieces.
Point is, you point to those. a) copyright under Amazon who will smash them into a baziillion small pieces if they nick it, b) proof that you can write porn.
Bad buyers? Tell them to piss off. Honestly, you’re better off writing for yourself, especially if you write weird shit. I point to Chuck Tingle as an example. You think the Chuckster takes shit from bad buyers? No sir, he does not, and he likely makes them a starring character in his dodgiest books.
Indeed, one of my pennames is the name of my first ever Fiverr buyer who was an asshat. I like to think that he gets incensed everytime he googles himself and some weird gay porn comes top of the list.
Sorry about the off-topic, but…
200 books written in 2 years? What’s the average length?
I tried writing my own but never seemed to show up unless I gave the books
away for free.
Yes, the days when you could write weredonkey smut and make bank are long gone, I’m afraid. I wrote 200 books in a year. I maybe made $8000 that year. Writing two short smut stories a day, most days, is very, very draining.
I also didn’t do freebies unless strategically. Seems to me that you’re approaching this whole online gig thing the wrong way. I will return soon with something a bit more helpful, but I have things to thing atm.
Thank you so much. I am def doing something wrong. What I thought would be
fun is now getting stressful
You are experiencing a very normal thing here on fiverr.
You need to set proper expectations within your gig’s description.
Tell them what they get for $5
And list what else costs whatever…
You may want to take these interactions and incorporate some “Nipping it in the bud” tactics there in your gig description…
For example: We list in bold “This Gig Requires a script before ordering”… and I dont remember if we have it in there anymore … but we used to go as far as saying “Any orders created without scripts will be cancelled”
Make sure you minimize their questions by answering as much as you can in that description.
Encourage them to msg your inbox and set custom quotes.
Remember custom orders can come with a custom delivery date (helpful if you’re getting swamped… set more custom orders with longer timers… especially if a client isn’t in a rush)
Use the first few gig reviews to OVER DELIVER … then charge more and throttle your orders.
This is all part of fiverr.
Theres a few tips for ya…
OK, so like Fiverr, Amazon gives KDP authors a boost for the first week, I think. The algo favors it somehow. Experienced smutsters know that if they’re not in the top 1,000 by day 3, the book is screwed–its’s a failure.
Sure, you’re probably thinking “I’ll never have a sub-1000 book!” But nah, not true. I’ve been #5 in a super-obscure gay category. I can’t remember which. I do have a screenshot, but it’s on my dead laptop. Yay. I was very proud and of course I slapped the disingenuous “BEST SELLING AZON GAY BOOK” stuff one it (it really was a very obscure and kinky niche, if I hazard a guess and look at that pen’s general catalog).
Anyway, you didn’t come here to hear me brag about my incredibly modest success. I’m just going to do that anyway, because nobody else will do it for me
You tried writing your own, you maybe got enough to pay for lunch 3 months later (TAKE NOTE 14-DAY CLEARANCE MOANERS) Well, yes. That is demoralizing, but you’re producing art. Sure, it’s not the Mona Lisa (more the moaner Lisa amirite?). You are helping bored housewives to get off their rocks by writing for a kink that gets to them. You’re selling a fantasy. Romance and erotica should NOT be mixed up. Two very different audiences. Romance readers: 80k min books; if it’s any shorter they don’t care if you’re winning the Pulitzer. They want length! They want the tired old cliche story! They want to escape their life and be the heroine–whether she’s a strong red-headed Irish lass trying to make it out in the prairies, torn between her abusive husband and some sexy savage Indian (apologies to any native Americans reading this; but you know the trope)
Erotica: who needs length when you have girth? Wham, bam, thank you ma’am. 5-8k words is enough. You can even go the Vicotrian serialization/South American telenova route if you want (more on this later). So, introduction, sex, middle bit, sex. some other crap, sex. Cliffhanger if series. But whatever the cliffhanger is, make sure it has all come together by that point. Don’t blueball your erotica fans!
The first and most important think is your kinky niche. Amazon fusses a lot about this, so join a group. No, you won’t get the most up-to-date info or gold techniques, but you’ll know if Amazon is suddenly having to deal with Mom Prayer Group stirring up a media shitstorm regarding dino-love stories.
So find a niche, and make it one that’s inoffensive. I think the diaper one is underserved. Please remember the diaper-wearing people often do it because it evokes comforting memories of early childhood. If people want to microwave porridge until it feels like “daddy I did a poo poo” and put it in their nappy to sit and squelch on and thoroughly enjoy it, who are we to judge when we can write “Oops I Squelched Myself” and cash in on these people–who will love how we can write their darkest deepest fantasy? Sure, if anyone’s judging them, I think you need to take a long hard look at yourself. I bet YOU have some weird kink that you’d be mortified if the world learned of it. So live and let live, guys. I just made that book title up, but feel free to take it.
Once you have your niche, WRITE. WRITE like a DEMON. Churn them out. 20k words a day, build the list, join the groups, market yourself. There are some erotica writers with digi agencies. They will vet for actaul quality and I believe they take something like 10-20% for doing all the zzz work for you (Amazon takes 30%, so you still make 50% profits).
Books should only be given away for free when they’re not selling and you need a catalog boost. They should also be your best books. You want this tasty treat to be a lead gen special, right? Treat it as such. Links to your newsletter. Front and backmatter promoting your latest books, or whatever. Put tracking URLs in to see what works and what doesn’t.
OK that’s enough for now. But really, if you’re just throwing the towel in because you made $1 instead of Christan Gray levels of money and now give your work to buyers–who if they are smart, know all of this and a lot more given they’re current to the game; ARe just closed its doors, scandalously. All Romance eBooks, read it. Told their authors they couldn’t get paid, bankrupt. Unless they signed some doc to not bitch about it and they’d get 10%. Oh yes, go read about that.
To conclude: really, you need to put more effort into your own career if you want to go it alone. That applies whether you’re a writer for yourself, or writing for others. You seem to just expect it to fall into place; you’re allowing yourself to be taken advantage of because you don’t know the value of your work. Maybe you’re new to all this, that’s fine, but invest in yourself and believe in yourself. It’ll pay off in the end–chasing the next easy dollar won’t.
/wall of text end
Take my 200 books a
day year challenge!
It will be effective, it won’t be fun and it will be stressful and you may have PTSD with some words for a while after. But you will have a semi-decent income if, at the same time, you also read everything and anything about the industry.
It’s work… what you put in, you get out.
I appreciate it…thank you
I appreciate the time you took to write your post. You have a lot of good
points. I currently have a full time career, this was to supplement. I’m
not looking to throw any towels in, I am here to learn, make mistakes and
hopefully find something that works. I have made 800.00 in my first two
weeks. But I definitely have worked for it. My niche is monster erotica.
And apparently the more absurd the more its requested. But I am trying to
figure out what guidelines I should be setting. I have no interest in doing
this full time so not looking for mounds of money. Just extra income.
While you get a gold star for participating and creating such a unique ebook cover, I’m afraid (and this is my fault, I waffled a bit) the book title is actually “Oops, I Squelched Myself” Obviously the sequel to this would be “Oops, I Squelched Myself Again” and it would include a similar song by Britney Spears (#oops! I did it again! I’ve fallen in love! bla bla bla! something something not that inno-cent# Thanks Blaise, I’ve given myself an earworm now). Also–there is a distinct lack of the voluptuous female form and/or chiseled male torsos.
@babette25, alright, the FT work plus erotica on the side is tough. Just need to set aside an hour or two to churn out the words (edit the next day, creation is more important). $800 in 2 weeks is actually really good, so… ya know.
I know people who are making 6 figures a month off cheap and tawdry smut. I have to say, they worked a lot harder than I ever did… whatever your interests are, don’t be too quick to dismiss the potential! The monster niche is very popular. I’m not even sure if that’s ironic or whether people actually love “Tested by the Tentacles from Mars”.
I really used to love coming up with silly book titles (I’m a bit out of practice mind)
You know, I hated Britney Spears 16 years ago. Now I’ll quite happily sing along campily to it all.
Getting older is hard. Oh baby baby.
Write 20k words a day, read everything and anything about the industry at the same time (how did you manage to do that? I mean, how did you manage to keep your eyes open and your brain functioning with so much work?), get PTSD, get modest passive income. Got it.
With my health, the word count would definitely have to be lower, but it sounds like a plan. Now, where’s that fancy jacket with very long sleeves…
That was an awesome and thorough explanation. Thank you.