Hired Short Story From Fiverr

Gareth

I hired various freelancers for science fiction short stories. These stories are mostly backstories for various characters in my novella. To make my ~38000-word novella into a full-sized book, I am making an appendix in the book with hired short stories and science reports relevant to my novella. I plan to put the name of the actual author above each short story.

Below, I have included one of those stories. For this story, I asked sharonbae from fiverr.com to read my novella, choose a character she wanted to write about, and write a 2000-word short story about him/her. She chose Garth Knight, the main villain.

I read her story. It is Garth’s whole life story from a child to a doomed convicted criminal facing his second death sentence. I had it professionally edited for grammar, spelling, and clarity. One concern I had with her story is that it talked about specific and small USA dollar amounts, including cents. Nowadays, one US dollar is nothing, but the story takes place nearly 200 years into the future. I expect inflation would have made dollars even less valuable. So what should I do with her small sounding dollar amounts?

I didn’t want to alter the story because it was her story and I would be putting her name on it. Would she be offended if I changed her story?

I gave in to my temptation and added one paragraph to her story to explain away the dollar value. Maybe you can spot that paragraph below.

Meanwhile,  I have finished my writing and am waiting around for hired help to finish the last short stories, for editors on those short stories, book formatting, etc. I am still on schedule to publish in December.

I was born into a family of ranchers and farmers in Provo, Utah. My father and his brothers inherited the ranch and farms from their father, and they looked to me, my brother, and my cousins to learn the value of hard work and, in due time, inherit the farms and ranch. I grew up shuttling between southern Utah and farms in southern Idaho.

From the time I was a kid, I always sucked at milking cows and feeding pigs. I was always a hardworking lad but hated those tasks, so inheriting the farm gradually began to sound uninteresting to me. My brothers and my father would try to talk me into being more hardworking on the farm, but I’d rather go out to the woods with a good old man who usually came to the hood to fetch boys. We helped him break felled trees into pieces, and he paid us in cash. Although, he paid in cents, I preferred having some cash in my pocket. I can still remember the first day I earned a dollar. I went out before anyone and continued the previous day’s work, and by the time everyone came around, I had worked forty cents worth. At the end of the day, I had a dollar and ten cents, a smiling face, and an aching back. My smile that evening was the last genuine one, until many years later.

The money was in new America Federation dollars from the newly combined nations of most of North and South America and a small part of Africa. It was a combination meant to rival the Eurasia Federation.

That evening I got home to meet an almost empty house and sad faces here and there. My Dad, his two brothers, and my cousin Allan had been involved in an accident on their way to southern Idaho. All of them, except my Uncle Scott, were still battling for their lives. Uncle Scott gave up on the spot. He was on the wheels, and he lost control and rammed their car right under a trailer.

After two days in the hospital, my father died from severe head injuries; Allan regained consciousness, but his father stayed in a coma for another month before kicking the bucket. Suddenly, everything had changed. All three brothers left the scene within the space of one month, and we young boys were left at the helm of affairs. I was only thirteen years old, and my eldest cousin was sixteen. It was too much on us. And, as if to take the burden off of us, officials came around flashing court orders and confiscating most of our properties. The entire large family was left to bask in a small, ancient house. Poverty took a whole new turn.

In those days my self-esteem, sense of identity, and school grades took a deadly blow. I clearly remember feeling lost and totally insecure. I basked in my soliloquy: “Is hard work really a great option?” My Dad and his brothers were the most hardworking trio I’d ever met, but they all died and left their families miserable. My brothers talked about working for other farms—“work hard” to save money and, one day, get ourselves a farm of our own that no one would seize. I just knew I would never be a party to that because I didn’t see it as a way out of this vicious circle of poverty.

As I sat alone one of those sad days, contemplating my next move, a stern-looking man walked in. He was a neighbor who sometimes visited my dad and his brothers. They usually spoke in a low tone and laughed loudly as they sipped little volumes of rum. He looked me in the eyes and said: “Real men don’t cry. Are you a real man? Don’t cry! Grow up!” Those words stuck in my head, especially the question, “Are you a real man?” I wiped my eyes and decided to “grow up.” Albeit in the wrong way. I stole the same neighbor’s car and attempted to drive to Salt Lake City. Far enough for me to breathe in fresh air and grow up. I set out in the middle of the night with Josh, my closest buddy at the time. I still miss that dude. We had ridden barely one hundred miles when we got caught and bundled back home. Back to the place where I felt I didn’t belong.

Eighteen months later, I left home. This time I didn’t leave in a stolen car or in the thick of the night. I left home in broad daylight, with my mother’s knowledge, my belongings, and fifty-five dollars in savings. My major aim was to get rich and liberate my family from poverty. I also craved influence, as it seemed the high and mighty in the society were untouchables.

Over the next few years, I landed myself in college while working several odd jobs: from construction to a menial job at the local skating rink. I also worked with a waste disposal company to make ends meet, and in those days, I felt like my body always smelled of garbage. While working at the construction site, my boss easily picked me out as the most hardworking guy on the crew and always called me out whenever he had a contract anywhere. Soon, I stopped working other menial jobs and concentrated fully on construction and schooling. It took an extra bit of motivation to not get overwhelmed with handling both tasks.

In due time, I had bagged a bachelor’s degree in criminology, finishing somewhere above the mid-point of my class. Fernando, the class topper, once said I would have been his major contender if I’d had the luxury to concentrate more on schoolwork. You might say Garth Knight is arrogant, but I think not only would I have been his contender, I’d have beaten him. It doesn’t matter now.

The college certificate was definitely a stepping-stone, as I ascended high above it. My construction contacts actually paved the way for me. Shortly before graduation, I was working hard as usual to settle some final bills when a top official came around. I guessed he was the owner of the facility, so I greeted him with a smile and continued my work. Soon I was called aside. He said he perceived me as a “sharp guy,” and my boss also recommended me. He had a few tasks for me, which I handled intelligently. I leaked classified information from my school’s database, and he was pleased. Hey, don’t roll your eyes on me; I was broke, and the pay was great.

After a successful execution of my trial mission, my new boss had some faith in me. My degree in criminology, alongside my intuition, was a huge boost, or so he thought. I was inducted into a league of ruthless spies, which was funded by a sect from the Earth’s Global Federation. We were availed some of the most sophisticated gadgets in the world, at the time. I started at small jobs within the league, and my success rate allowed me to rise in the pecking order. In no time, I was completing missions in several nations that were yet to be members of the Earth’s Global Federation. It became fascinating. I was raking in hard cash, and my family valued me as a top government official, so there was no going back this time. Once you taste real money, you can only crave more.

A master of disguise, I played several roles at a time and got access to information that I wouldn’t usually have access to. One time, I got caught in Russia; their only mistake was to arrest me like a gentleman. Two guards armed with nothing but Tasers sat by my side, and the driver had a pistol at his waist. I made for the driver’s gun, and my Taser deflector made their shocks ineffective. It was the first time I had pulled the trigger on someone, but I shot at their limbs, and learned later that they didn’t die. I heaved a sigh of relief.

Before long, however, accessing and disseminating information led to kidnapping and, subsequently, killing. Then I knew I was officially a bad man. I hadn’t planned to be a killer, but sometimes the mission read: “Make him disappear.” How else could I have done that? Kidnap him forever? I had to do what had to be done to keep business going. Soon I became ruthless in the art and act of pulling the trigger and bursting skulls open. The prick that I felt in my heart whenever I pulled the trigger grew fainter and fainter, until I could no longer feel it.

Renowned for ruthlessness, I was enjoying myself; my wealth and influence grew exponentially. That fateful day, when everything started sliding downhill, the mission was to torture a guy and extract information, but I did more than that. The information indicated that I was on the radar and might soon go down. I thought killing the guy would eliminate the issue, but things escalated. He was a defense minister and kidnapping him was insult enough, but his death? Forces rose against us, and I had to be sacrificed to calm things down.

My death was faked, and I was buried six feet below for twelve hours. Some political leaders had a caucus meeting and decided that I would be useful on Sonik. Some felt my intuitiveness and intelligence might help Earth and Sonik build a healthy relationship, while others worried that my ruthlessness would result in a bad image of “Earthlings” on Sonik. My faction had their way, and I was dug up, given a stern warning to be diplomatic, and then smuggled up to Sonik. Naturally, I would have opted to stay on Earth, but if it was discovered that my death had been faked, it might result in cataclysmic pandemonium. It was necessary that I should leave Earth or die. I chose the former.

I arrived on Sonik about fourteen Earth years later. Spaceships are now a little faster, and the journey can be made in thirteen years. There was total freedom for me. The influence I had craved since I was a boy—I had it in excess there. I was the number one human on Sonik and, arguably, the number one creature, because humans rank above the Sonik natives. Occasionally, I missed home during my early years on Sonik, but I soon savored being the much loved and much feared Garth Knight.

Everything was going really great until the day an Earth spaceship landed on Sonik. I smelled trouble when I first heard the name: Robert Vasquez. His mission, furthermore, didn’t appeal to my fancy. I enjoyed riding on the relative ignorance of the Sonik natives, and he intended to spread some education. I was determined to stand in his way with everything I had, but Robert’s determination coupled with wittiness was one of a kind. He constantly outwitted me on all fronts, I have to sadly admit. His activities resulted in my apparent downfall on Sonik. His enlightenment programs spurred a revolution, and he brought on board a fairy genius—Diamond-san—who had profound Earth knowledge. Diamond-san was the individual who wrote a perfectly articulated letter and sent it down to Earth; that brought about my replacement and deportment.

A new Earthling leader for Sonik was sent with some military personnel. I was taken unaware and bundled back to earth. It felt like the day Josh and I were caught, while on our way to Salt Lake City, and taken back home. I had settled in to feeling like a Sonik native, and Earth felt like a strange land.

Here I am on Earth, forty Earth years after I first left for Sonik. I have not been availed the opportunity to visit our old farm in Utah. I don’t know how my brothers have fared with their dreams of “working hard.” Maybe they successfully got themselves a farm, or maybe not. I doubt if my mother would still be alive—it wouldn’t matter much though; they all think I’m long gone. For now, I’m in custody, and all who were involved in my exit are being tracked down by the current government. Maybe this is the end of Garth Knight.

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Deciding Which Book Blurb

I hired three different people from fiverr.com to create a book blurb for my new ‘Shoulder Fairy’ science fiction book I expect to self-publish next month. It will be my fourth book.

Creating a blurb for this book is a little tricky because the story is difficult to explain in just a few words. The worst case is “The book is about a salesman goes to another planet to sell electronic tablets.” While that is true, it’s missing the motive, the obstacles, and the dangers that the salesman experiences. He’s not in it for the money.

I’ll share all three blurbs below.

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The year is 2198. It’s been thirteen years since Robert Vasquez saw the light of day. He spent most of his life seeking knowledge and educating others; a wealthy man who was never been understood by his fellow mankind. No longer able to find his purpose on Earth, he traveled the universe toward the star Procyon A and the planet known as Sonik.

Humanity has intermingled among the locals of the planet. Sonik was nothing like Earth with its hazardous atmosphere, unfiltered air, and radiation levels that threatened human health. Strange creatures and unknown landscapes await his journey. Here he plans to start again, and to spread education and knowledge throughout the new world. But his mission is threatened by internal politics.

In his journey, he meets a fairy-like creature convicted of a grievous crime whom he confides in. Unnatural thoughts invade his mind as his paranoia continues to grow. He learns about a prophecy and an ancient civilization about the history of the planet. He becomes a fugitive from his own kind. One after another, he is tested to the brink of his existence. But is he prepared to learn the unexpected truth that has been living inside him?

The above blurb is by Almuntassermohd @ fiverr. I thought it was pretty good. The grammar issues were annoying but fixable. He does emphasize some of the dangers and obstacles in a vague way. Vague is probably good for a blurb. I don’t want any spoilers. I may choose this for my back cover.

He came to their world to teach. Instead, he learned how to fight… Robert Vasquez is a teacher. Resourceful and innovative, he has traveled to the distant planet of Sonik to spread Earth’s knowledge and culture, and improve the lives of the natives. But not everyone is so eager to change the status qou… He soon finds himself under the watchful eye of Ambassador Garth Knight… a corrupt bureaucrat who wants to keep Sonik’s population ignorant and docile… Easy prey for a militaristic Earth to take over. As Robert travels across this new world, he discovers a bizarre growth on his shoulder… and a strange voice, whispering in his head. But before he can deal with a possible mental breakdown, Garth’s spies turn the natives against him. Forced to flee into the wilderness, Robert must battle savage alien creatures, local bandits, and the harsh environment in order to survive. Guided by the voice in his head, Robert discovers a hidden archive of the planet’s knowledge and history. Along with a treasure trove of ancient but advanced technology… including a fleet of ships that could give the sinister ambassador the military edge he needs to dominate the planet once and for all… Shoulder Fairy is a thought-provoking science fiction adventure, featuring alien worlds, galactic politics and a relatable hero. Fans of Glynn Stewart, K. R. Fox and Sara King will love this thrilling tale of knowledge conquering ignorance.

The above blurb is by Aawarren @ fiverr. This one seems to amplify the danger and excitement even more. A couple of the details are not exactly correct but close enough to the truth. I am tempted to use this one also. He doesn’t mention the fairies directly, but he does mention some trouble that was caused by them.

“One is never afraid of the unknown;

one is afraid of the known coming to an end”

~Jiddu Krishnamurti

Robert Vasquez was an Earthling who found himself living on the planet Sonik. Although he missed those he had left on Earth, he saw this place as one that could help promote his electronic products. His goals were to bring Science and Technology to a foreign land.

He decided the best place in which to promote his products would be at a university. He felt if were to gain the acceptance of educational scholars, his product sales would skyrocket. Will he be successful in his quest to introduce a new product to this vast land?

Or will he find that the people will resist his attempt at discovering new technology delivered by a foreigner’s hands? If he was to fail will he find himself seeking to return to his homeland?

This blurb is by another person @ fiverr. Sorry, but I was disappointed by this one. It makes it sound like Robert was just interested in money. A salesman story with a profit and loss spreadsheet in each chapter. That criticism is exaggerated, but where is the danger? Being deported back to Earth was a concern, but so was death. And where are the fairies?

I have two blurbs to choose from. And now I am awaiting the material to put in the appendix of my book. I had hired six authors from fiverr.com and freelancer.com to create science reports and short stories about various characters in the story.

The two science reports were completed yesterday. One to discuss the plausibility of space travel as depicted in my book. The other is a biology report that discusses the plausibility of parasites and small people that fly (fairies) as depicted in my book, complete with references.

I am still awaiting my four short stories. It’s so fun for me to have appendices in my books and hire people to fill them. I plan to give them credit, each with their name under their short story title.

Experimented with Twine.fm

ProcyonB

I commissioned an illustration from an illustrator at Twine for a short story I am planning to self-publish. The guy I hired made me the beautiful piece above.

The Twine experience was a little different than the freelancer sites I have used before. I am still trying to figure out if I will use it more.

Fiverr.com is great for quick typical needs, but if you want something a little more custom or special, they don’t seem adaptable. You would often need to change your project to better match the definition of the job the creator advertises as his/her specialty. You cannot post a job and have creators give you bids.

Freelancer.com is great because you can post exactly what the job is that you want to have done, and the creators will search you out and give a bid, sometimes too many bids to review. This is perfect for me because most of the illustrations or other art I need are custom situations. However, this process can be a little burdensome if you just want a quick little thing. Also, Freelancer pesters you with several small fees during the process so you never know exactly how much the project will cost in advance.

Twine.fm is more similar to Freelancer.com. You post a job, and the creators submit bids. Twine seems more casual and the personnel seems more eager to give you their personal attention to help you through the project. Besides the bid price you agree to with the artist you choose, to pay exactly 20% extra to Twine. I think that is better than a bunch of little fees, but it does seem a little more than I expected. On Freelancer.com they charge the hired artists fees also. As far as I can tell, Twine does not charge the artists any fee, except an annual subscription if they want to enjoy premium perks. Also, Twine specializes in visual arts like videos and illustration, not in writing or other tasks.

I will probably give Twine some more business. I still expect to revert to Freelancer and Fiverr on occasions.

Waiting for the Author’s Proof

I submitted my book cover and interior to createspace.com. They will send me the printed author’s proof (first copy of the book for my review). I already know it will be perfect (from the electronic proof) so I expect to click the “Publish” button. My book should be on Amazon in a couple weeks. It’s exciting.

Last week I told you I would include the first chapter page from the interior of an earlier book (Baktu in this case) which I formatted myself using default Microsoft fonts and styles (BaktuInterior6x9.paperBW.FirstPage), and the first chapter of this new one that I paid to have it professionally formatted (Claymore_Proof_Interior_FirstPage). I am real happy with the professional one. It is clean and stylish.

As I mentioned, the cover is done (by Tiziana of Freelancer.com) and I will feature it in another blog. It’s beautiful.

It’s always a relief to me to have finished a novel. But getting it on Amazon is when it will really be finished. However, in this case, I still need to submit the color version to createspace.com, so it won’t really really be finished until that one is also on Amazon. Color is so expensive on createspace.com that it is hard to recommend buying the color version of a book to friends with a straight face. But Tiziana’s color illustrations are so beautiful that I must publish it.

The featured picture this week is the illustration for chapter 49, the last illustration. This is a moment of suspense when Claymore is injured and fading. One of is nemeses is about to kill his friends that are chained to the wheelchairs.

Chapter 49

 

Book Interior Formatting

I sent my final manuscript to the createspace.com “custom interior” service. This service includes formatting the document to the book’s 6″ x 9″ page size, selecting the ideal fonts and style for my story (influenced by my selected preferences) and placing my 10 illustrations.

I usually do this myself. It’s not that hard, especially since I tend to keep Microsoft Word’s default fonts and header styles. This time my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to try the mysterious service. It costs about $349, so I am hoping for a noticeable improvement from my own simple format. I will show a sample of my chapter one page from a previous novel to their chapter one page after they finish.

Meanwhile, it was a bit of a rocky start since they rejected my manuscript a couple of times for things I thought were trivial, and that they should of been capable of fixing. First, there was a change left from the Microsoft track changes feature, and their rule is all track changes must be accepted or rejected and turned off. It took me a while to find that a space had been added or deleted, or some invisible thing I am still not sure of, and I had not accepted it. Sigh.

The second time they sent it back, they said the title page had a subtitle: “Book Three in the Tomek Universe”, while in the form I filled out I indicated there was no subtitle. In the createspace.com requirements, it listed all the things that could be on the title page, including a subtitle and the book number in the series, which I assumed were two different things. Sigh.

I found it annoying at the time because it delayed the project two days. But I’m still optimistic and excited to see the result. It is due April 26. I will report on the results in two weeks.

This week’s featured illustration is for chapter 41. Here Tiziana shows almost the whole crew of the significant characters. On the wall screen is Tomek and Spri telecommuting to the conference. Tomek and Spri can’t be there in person because they are busy making my next book’s plot happen. The plots overlap. I was hoping for a scene that showed them all, even the tentacled Scod, and Tiziana made it happen. I see paper is still used in the far future, but it’s probably electronic paper, like a flexible and superthin Kindle tablet.

Chapter 45