Fiverr can be useful in certain areas, especially for those willing to accept cheap products and sub-par services. I’m sure you’ve heard the aphorism, “You get what you pay for,” but when it comes to the naïve first-time author, a better term would be, “You’re going to get screwed.”
Social media platforms such as Facebook (groups/pages for new authors) is getting inundated in the comments with ads for book publishing services via Fiverr.
People look to save money, but when it comes to something precious such as your first book, cutting corners usually leads to a poorly produced product and failure to succeed.
Our company, Empire Publishing and Literary Service Bureau, believes in protecting the author’s best interests, regardless of which company you choose. You will never hear us talk poorly of another publishing company, but the Fiverr rip-offs need to be addressed. There are far too many scams that feed on the lack of publishing knowledge by first-time authors.
When we became aware of the influx of Fiverr infiltration on social media regarding book publishing, we began investigating. It was first brought to our attention by an author who was on the cusp of obtaining one of our publishing packages. He was looking into our entry package that included, ISBN, front and back cover design, professional interior formatting for both print and digital versions, keywords, creating the distribution accounts and uploading all files, for a mere $299.00. His son informed him about Fiverr where he could get interior formatting for $5 and cover design for $30. He decided to go that route. Let’s break down the reasons why that was a terrible decision.
Book Cover Scams
Again, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” However, book covers are crucial to sales. Research has proven that your book has approximately three seconds to gain the attention of a potential buyer. During our research into Fiverr “gigs,” we found a variety of scams. Graphic design, layout, and images are separate, but equal entities of book cover design. All of which takes time, expertise, and expense to create an eye-catching, sell-able cover. Note: Empire Publishing and Literary Service Bureau’s graphic designers have over 30 years of experience with big-name companies such as Disney, Paramount, and New Line Cinema.
Many of the Fiverr book cover scams we found have to do with images, copyright infringement, and lack of experience. Fiverr cover designers charge on an average of $10-$30. Acquiring an image for use in publication can cost on average from $35-$80 for a print run of 500 units before having to purchase an expanded license to use the image. After an image is acquired is the layout and design. This includes proper font choices that are appealing and best represent the interior, trim size with bleed, correct spine width, and many other factors. Print and digital require individual sizing and resolution for the best result. This all takes time. A professional will spend several hours creating a beautiful cover design. If you do the math, a Fiverr cover designer would be deep in the red making no profit. Think about that for a moment… Just how good or legal would the cover you’d receive for $30? We caught one designer using the image from a movie poster for the film “Jennifer’s Body” and putting a book title on it.
Below is an example of one of many Fiverr scams/rip-offs for graphic design we found. This person was found promoting all over Facebook in the comment sections.
We chose this particular seller from Fiverr as an example due to misleading representation, but keep in mind, most of what we researched had the same or similar findings.
The seller is loaded with misleading information that should throw up a red flag. In the video, the female named Adriana is claiming to be the graphic designer. However, when you go to the Fiverr “gig” page in the link below the video, the designer is a male named Abraham. Abraham is from Bangladesh, where English is not the native language. That could easily be argued. The seller might be camera shy, but the dialog in the video could have been written so it wasn’t a misleading representation of the designer.
We dug deeper by researching all the book covers in the video that Adriana claims to have designed. Ninety percent of the books don’t exist on any book buying platform. Again, it could be argued that they have not been published as of date. The books we did find had issues on Amazon, such as “not available” or the price per book exceeding eight-hundred dollars. We found one book in good standing on Amazon but couldn’t trace down the cover designer. By all accounts, this, as with many other Fiverr sellers viewed, seems to be a scam that will produce sub-par work.
BOGUS FIVERR SELLER REVIEWS
You cannot trust the reviews on Fiverr. We looked into this and found many examples of complaints about the reviews for sellers on Fiverr. It is a fact that Fiverr manipulates the reviews to protect the sellers to keep money flowing inward and removes negative reviews. Fiverr is known to protect the seller and not the buyer. Reviews are unverified. Granted, there are good reviews for sellers engaged in book publishing services, but many are planted by the seller or merely naïve first-time authors that don’t know that they received sub-par work.
HORRID FIVERR ILLUSTRATIONS
It doesn’t take too much effort to find horror stories from authors that have used Fiverr for illustrations. You can easily find good illustrators on the internet that will produce exceptional original artwork for children’s books, starting at $150 per image. After a thorough search on Fiverr, we did find a handful of decent illustrators, but their price range exceeded the exception illustrators we’ve seen on the internet. Choosing an illustrator for your book takes a lot of research. Look closely at their portfolio for too much of a wide range of artistic styles. That’s usually an indication that they are modifying existing images from other artists.
We’ve heard far too many rip-off stories from authors about illustrations bought on Fiverr. Below are examples from a 25-page children’s book. The author was in tears from the experience. She gave explicit instructions on what she wanted to go with her storyline. The first round of illustrations was a complete disaster, and nothing resembled what she envisioned. She received a second round of illustrations proofs, but by this time she was so upset that she agreed to take them. Haste makes waste. When she received the finals, the images had watermarks across them. She contacted the illustrator, and he wanted more money to remove the watermark. Can you say, “Rip-off.”
Reviewing the images, it is painfully evident that the illustrator used background images and overlaid the characters which are clip art images. There is only one clip art image of the main character used throughout the book. The illustrator attempted to fake-out the eye by mirroring the image with a slight modification and overlaying another image in front of it to give the illusion of multiple images.
In example #2, you can see a mirrored image of the main character from example #1. This has been done throughout the entire book. #1 – You can see a medication by placing an arm and hand that doesn’t match the character art. #2 – The black piece of clothing is another clip art image placed in front of the main character clip art. #3 – Transparency issue where the background is visible through the blue pants. This goes on and on throughout the book. This is just one example of the shoddy work coming out of Fiverr.
“Fiverr is banking on scammers. I’m waiting for the day that each of the fake gigs will be shut down!” -solow13
INFERIOR FIVERR INTERIOR FORMATTING
Right now, there is a saturation of micro-publishers sprouting up like weeds. By “micro-publisher,” I’m referring to the hundreds of people that have learned how to upload a book to Amazon’s KDP and all of a sudden become an expert in book publishing. Here is one reason why self-published books have such a horrible reputation for being pure garbage, and rightfully so. I, for one, will pick up a book and open it to view the formatting. It could very well be a good book, but if I see a basic font such as Times New Roman, tabs, improper line spacing and offset trim/gutter, I immediately put the book down. Regardless of what you may have heard or read from do-it-yourselfers on Facebook or forums, proper professional book formatting is an extensive task that takes several hours to perform. If someone says otherwise, they lack sufficient knowledge of book publishing. Furthermore, print and digital books require individual formatting, and digital publishing for iBooks and Nook require alterations for correct formatting. iBooks will reject eBooks that do not meet their guidelines.
If all you want is to produce a vanity book that only family and friends will read, then, by all means, use Fiverr or a micro-publisher. If you are serious about producing a professionally formatted marketable book that meets the high standards and guidelines set by bookstores and libraries, then you need a qualified publisher.
As we researched Fiverr book formatting, proofreaders, and editors, we saw what we expected. I shook my head in disbelief that people can be gullible enough to purchase a Fiverr “gig” for editing and proofreading by people in countries where English is not the native language, just to save a buck. Back to, “You get what you pay for.” Anyone with knowledge of book publishing immediately sees the scams from their descriptions of service.
The cost for Fiverr book formatting is anywhere from $5 to $50. That itself says a lot and all negative. The average cost of professional book formatting is anywhere from $200 to $2,500. That should tell you the amount of honest work that goes into correctly formatting a book, and that Fiverr is a rip-off. Once again, most of the sellers are from other countries. If you get burnt in a scam, you don’t have much recourse. Fiverr is known for ignoring complaints. Looking at the reviews for the sellers, it’s obvious most are bogus reviews. Amazon has even filed a lawsuit against Fiverr for allowing sellers to offer bogus reviews on Amazon. We also found several sellers using images for examples of their work that were stolen from other websites.
If you are serious about your book and its success, please, seek a qualified and reputable publisher.