Saturday, August 21, 2021

Snake Oil: Filthy Rich Writer

Right off the bat, I have to say I am not a fan of the expression 'filthy rich' because it suggests that riches are dirty. That being rich is a bad thing. Wealth is a tool, and tools can be used for good or bad purposes. Generally speaking, I think wealth is good and I suspect it would be a losing and futile search for me to find anyone to disagree.

My post today is inspired by an ad which appeared in my Facebook Newsfeed. (I'm aware of the contradiction. A slightly oxymoronic use of ad and news together.) The headline of the ad is 'Filthy Rich Writer' and it's an invitation for people with spare time on their hands, stuck at home due to COVID lockdowns or some other reason, to write content for websites and make a lot of money.

Snake Oil.

If you've written anything, then you know why this ad is obviously false. It's especially false for ghostwriters, who can make money, but rarely heaps of it.

Since losing my job as Lead Teacher with a not for profit Registered Training Organization, I have been concentrating on establishing a new career as a freelance writer. With six novels, and scores of published short stories under my belt, I'm not a novice writer, but as a freelancer, I'm starting from scratch. Freelancers mostly ghostwrite articles, stories and books for their clients. Most of these clients seem to be 'middle men' who sell content written by others to their own clients. Pay rates range from around half a cent per word up to 2 cents per word. So, a 1000 word article at half a cent per word pays $5. Do you know how long it takes to write a 1000 word article on a subject with which you are unfamiliar? Even at two cents per word, you're talking about an hourly pay rate of about $15. Filthy rich? (writer chokes on a mouthful of tea).

For my next post, I'm gong to write about the two platforms that I currently use to find freelance work. Upwork and Freelancer. My experience with these two has been mixed. I'm getting work, but I'm missing out on a lot of jobs as well. Why? I have no idea, but I suspect it comes down to money. Doesn't everything, come down to money in the end.

Platforms like Freelancer, Upwork and Fiverr are not charities. They are businesses. The primary aim of most businesses is to make money, not to help people. Not to make other people rich, but to make themselves rich.

No one who bought and read the book Three Easy Steps to Unimaginable Wealth got rich. You know who got rich? The author of the book did, because he preyed on people's laziness and greed, making ridiculous promises about how easy it is to get rich, in order to make money for himself.

Wise writers, who've been around for a while, know that 90% of services offered to writers to help them write and sell books, are, in fact, only designed to make money for those providing the services. That guy on Fiverr, who's a book marketing genius, makes extravagant promises about how many people will find out about your book. You pay your $20, which covers hidden costs only added in after you're committed, and get nothing but a screenshot of an anonymous Twitter account which mentions the title of your book but doesn't have a purchase link.

Less than one percent of writers get rich, and they don't even have to be good writers to do it. Lots of good writers do earn a reasonable living though, and I aim to be one of them. I love writing, and am enjoying the challenge of a being a freelancer which offers many opportunities to write in genres apart from those with which I am comfortable. It's stretching me, improving my skills, but I'm not going to get rich.

Honestly, a think the ambition to get rich is unworthy of humanity. If riches come, thank God. If they don't, thank God. It's not my goal to get rich. Of course I want to earn a good living and consequently have a degree of financial freedom, but wealth is not the goal. My goal is to connect with people and to make a positive contribution to the world. 

I reckon if you make love your goal, you will always be richly rewarded.

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