I have an ebook on Amazon!
Strictly speaking, I don’t have an ebook on Amazon, since my name doesn’t appear anywhere near the book. Obviously, since it’s a ghostwriting gig, I can’t tell you anything about the book itself. But I wrote it.
Mind you, I’m not the least bit upset that my name isn’t on the book. It’s not offensive or anything, but it’s not something I’d put on my resume, either. I’m 100% OK with the listed author (which is probably a pseudonym anyway) getting all the credit.
Recently I decided to try my hand at freelance copywriting. For more details on how I got into that, you can check out my post at Coffee Notepad on the subject. I started out writing a few short articles but have quickly moved up to more challenging assignments.
Then I got asked to write an ebook. In a day.
To be fair, it only took a few hours, and some of that was while watching TV. Turns out that learning to touch type in high school paid off big time.
The subject matter was nowhere near any of my areas of expertise, but I must admit that was part of what made it a fun challenge. I now know that I can spew out thousands of words on very short notice on a lot of subjects, if need be.
Of course, there’s a catch. Quality control goes out the window. I don’t mean this in terms of grammar and spelling; it would probably be more difficult for me to write a post with poor grammar than with good grammar. But let’s just say I wouldn’t take the advice in that book too seriously.
Another potential side effect: too much of this work could make me hate humanity.
This probably needs some explanation.
A lot of very poorly written ebooks sell a lot of copies on Amazon. There’s been a lot of discussion recently about how some authors game Amazon’s system. This article at The Hustle outlines an entire setup that one person has to basically make a full-time job out of creating ebooks on the cheap. One of the Hustle’s staff writers even tried to replicate the system, with interesting results. Here’s the system in a nutshell:
- Look for popular books in a particular category
- Read the negative reviews to see what many people thought was missing
- Use that information to create an outline
- Send the outline to a ghostwriter in the Philippines
- Pay someone on Fiverr to design the cover
- Pay people to review the book
That last bit actually violates Amazon’s review guidelines, as pointed out in this follow-up on The Hustle to the previous posts. But there’s a vast online community of people doing this.
I’d be lying if I said that part of me doesn’t want to try some of this out for myself, though. My Photoshop skills are good enough that I don’t even have to bother with the Fiverr part. And I’d write the book myself, just because I’m a control freak like that. Also, I want to avoid the scammy stuff, so no paying for reviews. A lot of people have success without resorting to those kinds of tactics.
This could be an interesting experiment. Do I write something I actually know a little bit about under my real name or publish under a pseudonym in a popular category? Decisions, decisions. Stay tuned!