Does anyone else feel bombarded with courses?
Whether I’m scrolling through social media or watching a video, someone is trying to sell me a course that will give me the skills to make a living. Most of these courses aren’t cheap, ranging anywhere from $50 to $500 or monthly membership payments. They use all the right catch phrases, and sell their courses to anyone willing to pay, but are they worth it?
More often than not, no. They aren’t worth the cost, and almost all the information provided can be found for free. Many times, they are literally collecting free information, and compiling to sell to the unsuspecting. In all honesty I’m sick of seeing it, especially in the writing community.
This won’t be a “call them out” piece, anyone can google “writing courses” and investigate each writer selling them and discover who can be trusted. But writers choosing to write about writing with no credentials to back up their claims needs to be addressed so new comers don’t fall victim to the scams.
Writers Writing about Writing.
Over the past year I’ve noticed an increasing about of courses and books from indie writers claiming to have unlocked the publishing secrets, and they will share it with us for a low price!
But when you look into these people, it becomes apparent that they have zero credentials to prove that they actually know what they are talking about. Just an authoritative voice, and great graphics. As a community we need to put a stop to these snake oil salesmen and there are a few different ways we can do it.
- Team Up: Indie publishing doesn’t have to be a solo adventure. Find your tribe, get together with authors publishing in your genre and run all “courses” by each other. Share the scam alerts and share free writing advice.
- Share Writing Tips: Indie Authors are not in competition with each other. Indie publishing isn’t a dog eat dog world and we need to change the climate in the community. When you discover new information, share it with your fellow authors. Join the groups, be a part of the community.
- Learn to Catch a Scam: Numbers will never lie. Sales ranks, author ranks, and reviews are all visible. There are a few tried-and-true ways to know if these course creators can back up their claims. Share this knowledge with every writer you know.
- Marketing Scams: Many companies are popping up giving desperate authors hope that if they just pay them, they will get them the readers. This is almost never true. Don’t pay for reviews, shout outs, or every mailing list that promotes to you.
It's Probably a Scam
Through investigating many writing courses, it seems the fall back career for indie writers that couldn’t sell their books, is to market courses and services to other indie authors.
Many courses were being sold by a person who either had a dismal author/book rank, or no fictions books listed at all. A few started out trying to write fiction and share the free stuff they’d found throughout their learning process, but then stopped writing fiction and made an abrupt change to charging for their researched information. There is no point in paying someone to help you learn the ways of indie publishing if they have never published a fiction book.
Before you pay for a course, research the “experts” publishing history. Decide what you would consider a successful publishing career is and weigh that person against your measurements. If they are on Amazon, look at their author rank, go to their books and view that rank as well. How many reviews do they have? No one should sell a course if all of their books have under 10 reviews.
Unless they are a well known, and raved about indie author, and giving you one on one mentoring and personal critiques no course should run you over $50. Hell, if you haven’t heard of them, read their books or witness their success it probably isn’t worth listening to their free advice either.
Anyone can create a youtube video filled with information, but that doesn’t make it factual. Research the information for yourself and find other sources that support the same claims before handing over your money.
The Information is Out There
9 times out of 10, the course content is on the internet waiting for you to discover it for free. There are exceptions to this rule, for instance, marketing courses. If you find an indie writer that passes the fiction writing background check, and they will legitimately walk you through how they received over 50 reviews and many number 1 best sellers, that is worth considering.
But they won’t want you to sell your firstborn for the information. It will be a reasonable/affordable price and tell you upfront what to expect and their personal stats. But again, writing and marketing are trial and error. There is no course out there that will make you a best-selling author, only you can do that. So weigh that against the $500 price tag on a course and be honest with yourself.
Indie publishing success is there for the taking!
If you are just starting out in the indie author community look at this as your career. Engineers don’t get hired right out of high school, they do the time and learn the information needed for the job they want. Writing is no different, dedicate time to learning and growing as an author.
Accept that it will take you about a decade to become a successful author. Then strive to make it happen faster than that. Many of the authors you know and love gained their success from years of cultivating their craft. Writing isn’t an easy get rich quick process, no craft or career will be easy.
Follow other authors, join the writing groups, and find your tribe. Immerse yourself into the community and use your resources to discover all you can about indie publishing and process.
Check out these 12 Steps for the Beginner Indie Writer.