The Author’s Guide to Fiverr

fiverr-logo-new-811d32e3fed0c305495fcda26a793128If you’re a self-published author, there are chances that someone has suggested you get a cover or some editing on Fiverr. Upon learning the site Fiverr got its name because you could pay people five bucks for an assignment, you quickly dismiss whoever gave you that advice. You’re certain you can’t get anything good for that price. Well, don’t dismiss Fiverr so quickly. Just like a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover, Fiverr is more nuanced than its name suggests.

What is Fiverr?

Fiverr is a marketplace where you can either buy or sell service. The name comes from the fact that services start at $5. Now, there may be some great services that you can get for $5, but I haven’t found many. The real benefit of Fiverr is as a marketplace. You can see people selling things you want–such as covers, artwork, and editing. When you log on to purchase an item, the product or service sold is called a gig.

What Do Authors Buy on Fiverr?

Authors can buy pretty much anything, even other authors to write their books (I’m not kidding, ghostwriting gigs are there). Generally, authors want to write their own books, so, on a practical level, authors tend to purchase editing, covers, artwork (for ads or extras), copy writing/blurb writing, and logos.

If It’s not $5, How Much Is It?

The prices vary, and a lot of the deals will look like they’re five dollars, but they’re not — in practical terms — that cheap. For example, the ghostwriting gig I linked to above is $5, and for that fee, the author will deliver up to 200 words. At that rate, a 60,000-word novel would run you $1,500. Editing is similar. A good editing gig may charge $5 to edit 500 words. For an 80,000-word book, that will come out to $800. However, the good thing about all gigs is there’s the option to ask for a custom quote. When you do that, you tell the person how long your book is, what the genre is, and ask them for a quote. They may tell you they’ll charge you $700 (a $100 discount on what you would pay if you tried to order 160 of the $5 gigs). Not all gigs start at $5. The better cover designers start their gigs at a minimum of $15, but usually run at least $35. You need to look at what you get with a gig. Most gigs come with three options: bare bones, middle ground, and the luxury package. For a cover, the barebones gigs tend to only allow you one cover image. It’s hard to get a good cover with a single image; usually it requires at least a background image and another one. Authors wanting a cover that follows traditional cover guidelines will want to pay more for a gig that allows at least a couple of images.

How Long Do Gigs Take?

Whenever you order a gig, it has a specified delivery date. The delivery time is decided in the gig. For covers, gig deliveries range from 3 to 7 days. For editing services, a $5 edit of 500 words might deliver in 5 days. That is why it is important to request a custom gig when you want significantly more than the gig basic asks for. That custom quote will provide a price at the deadline you need.

How Do You Know if the Gig is Good?

Reviews are a good indicator. A gig with hundreds of five-star reviews is generally going to be pretty good. Those gigs are often the first results when doing a search. They also tend to be the most expensive. For many gigs, you can gauge their quality by looking at their samples. Any gigs offering artwork — cover designs, ads, logos — should provide sample images. Do those samples look good? If they don’t look like anything you want to be associated with, then don’t buy it. With services that don’t always offer a sample or that you want to see how the gig will work for you, try buying the $5 gig. See how that 200-word ghostwriting sample looks. Is that the kind of ghostwriting you want? Order the $5 edit of a small sample of your work. What kind of mistakes did the editor catch? Did they — gasp! — actually introduce errors to your copy?

Because Fiverr promotes those with lots of reviews first, it can be hard for newbies to get gigs. Therefore, you might actually find a stellar person who is really cheap because they are trying to build more reviews. Fiverr is also not a U.S.-based business. Sometimes people in countries with significantly lower costs of living sell on Fiverr because the income works well for them, and they do a great job. Essentially, this is just a reminder that a cheap Fiverr doesn’t mean it’s bad. Look at where the seller comes from and how long they’ve been selling to get a sense of whether you want to take a chance on the gig. If you want to try a couple of low-cost Fiverrs to see how they do, go ahead. Though, if you want to go with a tried-and-true seller with hundreds of reviews, that’s great, too.

What Are the Downsides to Fiverr?

That depends on who you are. Many are philosophically opposed to Fiverr, believing it is a blight on wages, and won’t shop there. That being said, there are people in the U.S. who are raking it in on Fiverr, and there are people in other countries who think the income is fine, but there are also those scraping to get by who work via Fiverr for pay that is too low. Beyond philosophical issues, Fiverr can be a transient community. You can find diamond-in-the-rough gigs that do well for you, but just don’t get enough business, so they close up shop. Fiverr prohibits contact, except through the service, so if a gig chooses to move to another, more lucrative site, you may lose your gig without any update. Also, as hinted at in the information above, there’s no quality control. Work can be hit or miss, so, if you’re trying newer gigs, caveat emptor. Finally, if you need a rush job, pay for it (there’s usually an option). While I’ve generally had gigs delivered on time, occasionally, a gig participant will need extra time. If you know you need it quickly, either pay for the rush service or ask the producer if they’re running on time when you order the gig.

I think I’ve covered it all. If you’re an author with Fiverr experience, how have you been using it?

Author: RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist turned novelist. By day, she writes thrillers with a touch of romance. By night, she practices the art of ninja mom. To learn more about her or her books, visit her website or her Author Central page.

7 thoughts on “The Author’s Guide to Fiverr”

  1. A good body of advice, applicable for buying services outside Fiverr as well.
    I signed up and browsed a bit, but never bought anything. Maybe I will, now, though 🙂

      1. Yeah, I’m very happy with the logo. I found that they do better if you tell them what you want instead of just giving open license, but that could have just been the people I was dealing with.

  2. I tried Fiver once and had a terrible experience (I paid well over $5 for a “custom” illustration and was sent branded clip art that was nothing even close to what I’d asked for, not that I could use the extremely recognizable design anyway). The “artist” had many good reviews and seemed great until I hired them). I don’t think I’ll try Fiver again.

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