Columns > Published on November 20th, 2019

The Worst Fiverr Services for Writers

A bit back I wrote a column about $5 dollar book covers. The results were...mixed. At best.

What I’ve discovered is that there are EVEN WORSE author services available on Fiverr. Yes, even worse than terrible graphic design, a sin that damns your indie book to the worst, most indifferent-est circle of hell.

Which terrible services am I talking about? 

I Will Craft a Compelling Amazon Bio

Here’s a little tip: if you can’t come up with your author bio, a couple lines, you probably haven’t come up with a good book, either.

I’ll be fair, perhaps you exhausted every last bit of your energy on your novel. You’re like a wrung-out sponge, just nothing left. But I kinda doubt that. I’m pretty sure Maya Angelou was right, "You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."

By the way, this is a $125 dollar service. And it’s only available to memoir and fiction writers, NO CELEBRITIES. That’s an emphatic NO to you, Ke$ha, if you wanted someone to write a bio for the eBook memoir you’re publishing (working title: Behind the Dollar Sign).

If you’re stuck on an author bio, try these hints. Feel free to send me $125 if you use them.

  1. Your work is how you should reveal yourself to people, not your bio.
  2. If you consider yourself a humor writer, feel free to make me chuckle.
  3. I’m partial to your friend and mine, Chuck Palahniuk’s old bio: Chuck Palahniuk lives in the Pacific Northwest. Simple, to the point. And the more mysterious he is, the better. Send people back to the text, not to your bio (see tip #1).

Could a bio writer be helpful for, say, an investment banker? Sure. But for someone who writes?

I Will Complete Excellent Creative Writing Pieces for You

If you’ve signed up for a creative writing class, write the shit. If you don’t want to write the shit, drop the class.

The only other reasonable application of this comes if you're in high school. Then...I don’t know, I’d still just go for it. Most teachers can’t really grade fiction in high school anyway. All you've got to go on is perceived effort, so just make things very visual, put in a lot of metaphor that can mean anything, and you’ll be in great shape.

Or just make it super erotic. I don’t know what a high school English teacher does with hardcore erotica, but I’m pretty sure you’ll get a fine grade and they’ll never want to talk about it again. If they DO, then you've just uncovered a serious red flag, saved someone some bad times, and you're a hero. 

I Will Make You The Star of a Professional Author Magazine

This consists of someone printing up (or making available digitally) a magazine with you as the cover story. This is like a quarter step above that thing where you get your face on the Time Person of the Year cover, which shouldn’t even be a service because we all know someone who is at least mildly proficient with Photoshop. Observe:

Not only is this a huge scam, you don’t even get a copy of the magazine you paid to have printed! You have to BUY copies “for your friends and family.”

It definitely sucks that authors don’t end up on many magazine covers, but this ain’t the answer. Believe me, your friends and family don’t want to see you sink this low.

I'd go easier on this, but it's a $555 service.

I Will Create Your Indie Author Book Trailers

Some dude slaps together a bunch of stock footage for your book. You can do that yourself. And even if you can’t, it’s a waste of money. Just...don’t.

Book trailers are overrated as marketing tools. Most of the ones people watch are for books/authors who are well-known already, not for new indie novels or whatever.

And like your bio, if you want to make a book trailer, make it authentic! Don’t waste my time with a bunch of stock bullshit. I'd rather see an iPhone video of you talking about your book than stock images and terrible music.

This is the one and only book trailer that works:

It’s to the point, it’s Tom’s voice, and watching it replicates, in micro, the experience of reading his book.

If you can’t do those things, skip it.

And when the advice is, "If you can't do this as well as Tom Spanbauer, skip it" you can just read that in shorter form as: Skip it. 

I Will Assign Your Book an ISBN Number From an American Publishing Company

You can buy a single ISBN for about the same price, register yourself as a publisher, and get on with life.

I know there’s consternation out there about having your publication look legit, but trust me, NYC who's who types will see this publisher's name, not know it, and assume it’s bullshit. Correctly, in this case.

For god's sake, they called it "Absolute Author." Legit publishers don't have the word "Author" in them. Might as well call it "Kindling eInterest" or something.

Just make up your own publisher. There will be no info available for it online, everyone will assume it’s tiny and collapsed almost immediately, and if you know anything about publishing, that’s the perfect cover story.

I Can Cast A Wiccan Career Success Spell to Help You Find Success On Your Career Path

Most people are probably concerned with the effectiveness, but I’m most concerned with whether or not the person actually did it. How would I have any idea whether someone cast a spell to help me out or not? If my career was more successful, I’d still want to know it was attributable to the spell. Besides, you don’t become successful by paying for spells that never got cast. I’ve always said that.

I Will Write You a Fanfiction

My favorite part of this is, “Yes, I will also do weird fanfics.” Oh, okay. As opposed to those button-down fanfics, like the one I read where Wario filled his own butt with coins. Boring shit like that is a given, but don’t be afraid to get weird.

This does open a heretofore-un-thought-of angle for me: release a book, then pollute the internet with fanfic based on your work. Maybe this brings people to your novel? They’ll want to see what the fuss is about? Surely someone out there has played Sonic the Hedgehog after reading a fanfic about Tails impregnating Sonic, right?

I Will Write A SFW Fanfic For You

Okay, you know what? I overemphasized the worthlessness of the last fanfic offer. THIS is worthless.

I Will Add Humor to Your Blog, Website, Script, Whatever

Punch-up is a proud tradition that elevated many movies that were godawful, making them borderline tolerable. 

The real question: Is it better to contract this person for my humor blog, or to punch up my blog about my journey through life after being burned over 97% of my body?

I Will Model Your Merchandise or Products

Who knows more about books than attractive models? If there’s one thing we trust the opinions of hot people on, it’s...well, we trust them on everything. They’re in all the commercials. Touche, hot people!

Wait a that I think about it, who runs successful book clubs? Hermione Lady: attractive. Reese Witherspoon: Attractive, despite her big head. Jimmy Fallon: Fuckable (but BARELY, Fallon. Don’t get a big head, like Reese).

Maybe there’s something here. Maybe this just got elevated from Worst Service to Best Service. Oh, wait, no. Just kidding. Once again, the answer is Photoshop:

Thanks, Obama!

I Will Make A Unique Socks Design

Maybe you should market your book as socks! Why haven’t I thought of this before!

Oh, maybe because I really hate people who wear “fun” socks on the regular. And maybe because socks are almost always covered by shoes and pants, making them terrible ad spaces. And maybe because even if you have a sock design, you have to get the socks made. And maybe because I have a strict policy that I only wear ONE type of sock so there’s no fucking around with matching in the laundry process (this is possibly my number one life hack, people).

I Will Write Your Erotic Scenes For You

Yes, please! Now if only I could find someone to be in my real-life erotic scenes for me. And drink my beers for me. And live any moments of joy that I might have.

If your erotic scenes aren’t fun to write (or, if they’re meant to be heartbreaking, if they’re not heartbreaking to write), then you’re doing it wrong.

There are some simple rules: Just don’t call a penis anything other than a penis, dick or cock, and don’t call a vagina anything other than a vagina or a pussy. If you call a penis a “fleshy sword” or a vagina a “secret treasure” or anything even remotely like that, you’ve fucked up. There are no two-word terms for these things allowed.

If you’re struggling, go out with a friend, have a few drinks, and then tell them a sex story. What words do you use? Use those ones.

Who else has been down this rabbit hole? Any success?

About the author

Peter Derk lives, writes, and works in Colorado. Buy him a drink and he'll talk books all day.  Buy him two and he'll be happy to tell you about the horrors of being responsible for a public restroom.

Reedsy Marketplace UI

1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy. Come meet them.

Enter your email or get started with a social account: