Ebook Ghost Writing

I set myself a challenge.  I took a gig at oDesk to ghostwrite a cookbook.  It was to have a specific format in MS Word.  It needed to be 20 recipes and about 25 pages in length.  I completed it in roughly a week.  I didn’t do it for the money, about $22.50 after fees.  I did it to see if I could write more than a product review, and have a deadline.  The ebook also had to pass Copyscape, which it did very nicely.

My other blog at Paladin Cooks illustrates the way I think about food.  While I can’t publish any of the recipes on my own blog, it did give me some ideas about writing my own cookbook, built from recipes on my blog.  The ebook that I wrote had no pictures.  I love looking at food porn.  I’ll need a better camera and a lot of practice if I want to produce the gorgeous pictures I see on other food blogs.

An icon for food recipes on Wikibooks.

An icon for food recipes on Wikibooks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other thing I discovered in the course of this writing job is that I can create recipes very easily.  I read several published recipes, then altered some ingredients, spices, and even cooking methods to come up with a unique recipe.  I lacked the time on this project to actually test any of my recipes.  If I put together a cookbook, the recipes will be tested and fine tuned.  After all, what’s a family for?  They’re my “test subjects”!

I’ve also decided to take a short time away from freelance writing, like ebooks, product reviews and such.  I want to concentrate on my Etsy shop, gathering products to sell.  I also want to spend some time on my two blogs, and on doing some art.

Craigslist as a job board

Can you really get work via Craigslist?

I’ve been using Craigslist in Chicago, Writing gigs; there are several each day. Some are a bit specialized, like grant writing or editing a book. Some are about leaving YELP reviews.  I picked one for writing book reviews.

I go in spurts, where I’ll read a series of books, and not do much else.  Then, I won’t read a book again until 4 months later.  The idea of reading a book and then leaving a review harkened me back to my grade school book reports.  It wasn’t always the most pleasant exercise.  When you’re in school, teachers already know what the book is about.  They know what you are supposed to learn from the reading.  It is almost never “for fun” reading.

Craigslist

Craigslist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading “for fun” though, is a different endeavor altogether.  I read mostly novels, rarely any non-fiction work unless it is a cookbook.  My first review as a budding book reviewer was for a non-fiction work.  I have done reviews for other non-fiction work, but, they were about in my field of work.  This one was different.

Part of the job description was to buy the book via Amazon.  Since it was an ebook, I read it on my tablet.  It was very short, less than 100 pages.  The other factor was that if I couldn’t leave a positive review, I shouldn’t leave a negative one.  I won’t name the book here, as I couldn’t leave a positive review.

The book’s subject was one that I wouldn’t be interested in reading, normally.  I had no personal familiarity with the subject; it was a how-to manual.  It wasn’t very technical, and I did learn something that I didn’t know before.  Unfortunately it was laced with anecdotes and stories that had very little to do with the subject except in the most oblique ways.  If that was the worst, I could probably overlook the “asides” and leave a positive feedback.

Unfortunately, I hate when writers feel the need to lace their work with obscenities.  In some scenarios, I guess it could work.

A Game of Thrones (comic book)

A Game of Thrones (comic book) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Game of Thrones author, G.R.R. Martin, tends to write some very graphic sex scenes in his books.  I couldn’t finish the third novel because they got too offensive.  The author of this book did about the same, except it took less than one book to make me want to put it down.  I did finish it; and I learned some things, but I didn’t enjoy it.

I wrote back to the Craigslist email address to explain how I felt about the author’s work.  I was not going to be able to leave a positive review.  He’s yet to get back to me, and hasn’t paid me for the book yet either.  I’ll update this post, if I get paid.