As a fledgling and floundering artist, I’m always confronted with the question “How can I promote myself and my work while remaining a cheapskate?” Fiverr.com, when I first heard about it via the TV show Tosh.0, seemed like the answer to my question. The premise of the site is this: for five dollars, you can get people to either do ridiculously humiliating things, or have them do complex tasks that should cost much more, if not for their desperation.
Marketing your work can be pretty expensive, and what’s worse, is often ineffective. I learned this first-hand when I paid to have my book The Madness of Art: Short Stories reviewed by a quarterly small press circulation, then saw absolutely no increase in sales afterwards. Earlier this year, I had a very similar experience while paying for advertisements on Facebook. After running an ad for 3 consecutive days, apparently having it seen by thousands of people, my public Facebook page only received two likes.
Fiverr then seemed like my next big hope. The first day I used Fiverr.com, I saw a listing for a woman who would place my ad on her Facebook page for $5. She had around 12,000 followers. To my mind, this sounded much the same as what Facebook offered before for advertising, except at a much lower price. So I went ahead and forked over the $5 and then… voila… no results. This was somehow more worthless than Facebook advertising, because at least that gained me 2 followers. This just robbed me of $5 which I could’ve used to see a second run movie or buy some comics, or any number of things that would have been more rewarding than a lackadaisical attempt at gaining recognition.
Not yet entirely disenfranchised, I decdied to try out Fiverr again, this time to pay someone to make a video promoting my books. On the site, there’s hundreds of people willing to do all sorts of degrading, infantile things for $5. Trying to be at least somewhat classy, I skimmed past the people offering to hit themselves in the face with pies while shouting my message and then decided to go for someone who would simply read the script I sent aloud for $5.
As I mentioned earlier on this site, I want to create the world’s cheapest viral marketing campaign that revolves around people relaying messages to promote my books, but do so by saying things that are mostly irrelevant and obviously scripted. Fake testimonials, basically. To get the ball rolling, I thought I’d recruit someone through Fiverr to read the following testimonial: Please read the book A Rapturous Occasion by Corey Pung. I would read it, but my religion won’t allow it. I can read whatever I want, but I’m not allowed to sit down.
I sent out the snippet of dialogue and waited anxiously for the video to show up in my inbox. After 5 days, I received a message that said, “I’m so sorry. I have to cancel this request. I don’t do religious work.” I should have responded,”Neither do I.”
Wasn’t my script so obviously of humorous intent? Would any modern religion not allow sitting? There was once a monk who stood on a pillar for days and days to show his religious fervor, but that was centuries ago. For his efforts, he received a terrible case of athlete’s foot that caused him to experience, in his words, “a divine itch,” (made up that part).
To recount: the first attempt at using Fiverr wasted $5, the second cost me 5 days. I would like to conclude this with a message to the folks at Fiverr: Lower your price. Five dollars is too steep for your services.
If you’ve tried using Fiverr, what was your experience like?