bloggers trying to sell ebooks about making money blogging when they haven't done it themselves?
I just want to put a disclaimer out there and say that this is NOT meant to put down bloggers and people who write eBooks. There are some people who write amazing eBooks that are useful and are based on their own experiences and insight.
That being said, I've been running across so many people who are writing eBooks about things that they haven't even done themselves! For example, this woman posted her website on Facebook asking for feedback. I took a look at it and it was all about how to make money blogging. Cool, fine, there's a lot of blogs like this. But I noticed that no where on the website did it talk about her personal experiences. So I mentioned that to her in my feedback, saying something like "It'd make the site more trustworthy to your readers if you posted a link to your successful website. That way they can have an example and can see that you really know what you're talking about."
She. Was. Shocked! She had no idea she had to actually be successful before writing about being successful. And here she was wondering why her eBook wasn't selling.
Yet another person was pushing the sale of their $35, 31 page (yes, more than $1 a page!) eBook about branding a blog. I looked at the preview for it and noticed that some of the pages were just images! Like, literally an entire page dedicated to a stock photo. She told me that it was "invaluable information" and that it would boost my traffic and social media presence. When I looked at her Facebook page for her business, she only had 24 likes. Of course, she told me she was too busy writing eBooks to actually implement what she was teaching and that she'd "get around to it".
I feel so frustrated when I see these kinds of things, and even more frustrated when people believe them. It seems like nowadays all that people are taught to do is write and sell sub-par eBooks. And beginner bloggers are actually buying them. Am I crazy for feeling this way?
I agree with you. Most of the blogging community thrive on self proclaimed experts how want to sell you something!
The irony of the whole thing is what gets me!
Whenever I hear a "blogging expert" on a podcast promoting a training course or e-book I first check out websites they've made from the ground-up themselves and check out where most of their traffic comes from.
If they don't have at least 2 successful websites/blogs, then it's hard to take them seriously. Unfortunately, it's a trend because it works. People are always looking for a home-run quick fix, and think they'll find it in an e-book.
The truth is there's not much in these e-books that you won't find free online. I went on a binge one month and read as many e-books on blogging I could find using Amazon Unlimited, and can honestly say I didn't read anything new.
There's also some truth that people who are uber successful in blogging and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) aren't the types to sell all of their secrets in a $2.99 e-book, or $20 training course. They're hired by clients as consultants getting paid $100+/hr, and making money on their own websites.
TLDR; You can get all the information you need free online, you just need to spend the time to read, and learn for yourself what does and doesn't work.
Yep, this annoys the crap out of me i've dubbed it "Skip to the end" business. You see it so much in many areas, people who just proclaim themselves experts and regurgitate obvious or freely available information.
It's very prevalent in blogging/SEO/social media or entrepreneurship – the amount of ads i get for "Hey i'm a successful guy who'll tell you how to also be successful" is unreal and when you research their only success is selling you an e-book/training course/webinar.
If you're talking about ghostwriting, do not be alarmed that there are successful authors who actually do it such as Jack Canfield – he even wrote about it in his own book!
However, if I were to write my own book, definitely I will be writing everything on my own to ensure the consistency.
Although there is a lot of sense in what you are saying, you would, however, not expect a medical doctor to have used a drug he or she is prescribing or for a Solicitor to commit armed robbery for him or her to know how to advise a person who has been accused of committing armed robbery or to successfully defend that individual?
Honestly the same thing happens in almost every space.
In real estate you'll get the "no money down" seminar folks. In personal finance you'll get people selling you their shit ebook which just made you $7 poorer. Self-motivation you'll get all the books that will suddenly make you become a lion.
In blogging you'll get the self-promoters, the best of these are the blogs about blogging when the person never had a successful vertical prior :)
(NOTE: It says this is too long to post, so cutting in half – rest is in the reply below)
It's not just blogging advice. I'm an author and newbie writers are constantly emailing me or contacting me on social networks to ask for various writing and publishing advice, along the lines of, "You did this, can you tell me how you did it so I can do it too?" At the same time there are just as many newbie writers who send me questions of this type:
"So, I was reading this book on how to become a Kindle millionaire writing Erotica and I did the steps but I can't seem to get more then 5 sales a month. I tried contacting the author to ask if they could show me their pen name, you know, the one they sell Erotica with, but then they said they've never written Erotica and its just all theory and speculations that they came up with. I see you write Erotica and you're listed as one of the top sellers, could you tell me what to do to get steady sale?"
I get at least 3 or 4 emails of that type every week. Every time I read them I roll my eyes and try not to laugh and say: Here we go again, someone else was scammed by those stupid scam artists that write books on how to make money before they ever made money themselves.
I end up replying back to tell them, they are doing good if they have successfully gotten 5 sales a month, because that means they are doing better then the industry standard of 1 book a week. I next point out that, the book they were referencing… you know, mine… that "Erotica" novel that is sitting in the #1 slot on Amazons list that reads "Top 100 Bestselling Transgender Erotic Romance"
Wait… I'm a bestseller? Since frigging when?
I never said that I was a bestseller… I didn't even know Amazon gave me that title until someone asked what I did to become a #1 bestseller on Amazon!
about that… Amazon themselves are scamming you…
… for one thing, it's neither Erotica nor Romance and I've sent Amazon several requests to please put it back in the category it belongs in (Dark Fantasy). The book is about an Elf wizard and his unicorn. The theme is suicide and drugs, because the Elf is suicidal and on drugs after the suicide of his drug dealing lover.
For another thing, the main character is a transvestite… a man who believes cloths have no gender and wears dresses, but is in no way trying to be a woman and uses male pronouns, and if you ask the transgender community, they are quick to tell you that transvestites are not a type of transgender. Meaning the book should not be placed in any transgender category either.
The next thing is, do you know how many sales it took to reach #1 on that top 100 bestselling books list?
• Fourteen sales since <year>.
• That's 14 sales in 2 years.
• The Erorica ebooks sell so few copies, that one NOT Erotica ebook selling 14 copies in 2 years, lands it in the #1 bestseller of a top 100 bestseller list for Erotica.
14 sales in 2 years is all it takes to be awarded a #1 bestseller on Amazon? What the frick?
That book only sold 14 copies. The book in #2 spot? I asked the author… he said he sold 12 copies of his book. The book in #3 slot had sold ten. Most of the rest of the 90+ books on the list have yet to make a sale at all and are listed in order of publication date.
Puts a lot of perspective on what it means to be a "bestseller" on Amazon.
And then you see all these ebooks slapping the title "#1 bestseller on Amazon!" on the cover of their books and people see that and think the book sold millions… just like they thought with me. Only difference is I'm not scummy enough to to try to use that title to scam people into buying my books. I'm fully transparent with my sales numbers.
These poor newbie writers who got duped by the scam ebooks telling them how to make millions.
There are several dozen of those books out there: How to Become The Next Kindle Millionaire Writing insert genre here
Do you know that because Amazon is a public company the IRS requires them to release their tax records each year, and that list is a list of all the Kindle author's names along side how much Amazon paid them each year?
Did you know that according to that list 83% of the 8 million+ Kindle authors are paid less then $5,000 per year, with the bulk of them not even making $100 a year. That's right – the bulk of Kindle author make less then ten dollars per month. So where are all those Kindle millionaires those scam books brag you can become one of?
You want to know how many Kindle millionaires there are?
Yes, just 3.
• Amanda Hocking – Vampire stories for pre-teen girls
• John Lock – Western detective murder mysteries
• Hugh Howey – Science Fiction
1, 2, 3.
Not a single Erotica author among them. Not even any romance.
The average Erotica author struggles to make $5,000 a year. Contrary to urban myth it is NOT a lucrative industry. And yet, do an Amazon search for books with titles like: "How to become the next Kindle millionaire writing Erotica!" Erotica isn't even a lucrative industry for sites like LitErotica, because Google blacklists them and does not allow AdSense ads on them. People can watch free p0rn all over the place, so they have no interest in reading p0rn they have to pay money for.
Sadly most of the myth revolves around one News Report that had read: "Monster p0rn Author Earns $300,000 in One Month!" But then people who actually read the article, found out that Virginia Wade, had stopped writing Erotica because it wasn't bringing in a steady or reliable income, and had moved to writing historical romances about pirates instead. Her book came out same time as Pirates of Caribean and sales took off because everyone wanted pirates at that moment, and she made $300,000 in one month off the sale of a romance novel about a pirate… notice that the title never said she made money off her Erotica, it simplt states that an Erotica author had made a certain amount.
That's what started the scam artists off though… why within a few weeks, Amazon was suddenly flooded with several hundred books on how to become a millionair writing Erotica… all of them written by people who read the title of that article, but did not read the article itself to find out HOW she had actually made the money.
And now, 5 years later, we are seeing hundreds of newbie writers, attempting to write Erotica, thinking in 2 months they'll be millionaires and wondering why they can't even get 10 sales a month.
Duh! Because they didn't do their research by reading what ACTUAL Erotica authors write on their ACTUAL author blogs.
Nope, they just bought those damned scam books, and never once even noticed that each of those scam books is the ONLY book by said author, or that said author could not provide proof they were making millions selling Erotica. Notice how the get rich quick books are always written under a fake name and have no author photo? Never trust a person who hides their identity.There ARE Erotica authors with how-to-write-erotica books, but they sell them on the same accounts they sell their Erotica books, and they NEVER hype up the get-rich angel, instead offer actual writing tips. You can tell the real writers doing what they preach, from the fako scam artists, just by looking at the rest of the books they wrote, and by looking at their website and blog.
You can see where the elephant walks by following his footprints, the proof is in the pudding.
People who are really making money with whatever method they are preaching, will ALWAYS be fully transparent with when, how, where, and how much they earned. They will provide their links to the sites/pages/books making money so you can see what actually works.
And here's a tip straight from the Better Business Bureau's advice guide to spotting scams:
Never trust ANYONE (author, blogger, business, website, etc) that does NOT list their home address in their contact info. By FEDERAL LAW, ALL legally operating businesses are REQUIRED to show the following things on their website/blog:
a photo of the webmaster
the webmasters home address in the contact info
the webmasters phone number and email address in the contact info
If you encounter a blogger, author, or web master who hides their face from the world and does not give their home address in the footer of their website/blog, then trust NOTHING they post/write, because you know immediately they are not operating legally under federal guidelines, which means they have something to hide. And any one who has something to hide, should never be trusted.
you are probably familiar with the kings of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and blogging like Tim Ferris, Josh Shipp, Seth Godin, and Cameron Johnson? I'd recommend looking at their websites for examples. They use their real names, their faces, and their home addresses on their blogs, plus for every stat they give, they offer fully transparent links to what they did and how you can repeat their success. They even release their IRS tax info so you can see they are not lying about how much money they make. Fully transparent. Nothing to hide.
For example Tim has 2 sites, one using his own name:
And the other using the title of his most popular book:
Josh Shipp, like wise uses his name:
Squidoo founder/inventor Seth Godin:
Chris Baty uses his name:
http://www.chrisbaty.com/ on one site and the name of his organization on his other site:
And Cameron Johnson uses his name:
Darren Rowse is one of the rare few who DOES NOT use his name in his url:
https://problogger.com/ and notice how, while the whole internet knows "The ProBlogger" no one has ever heard of "Darren Rowse"? You'll become known by your url, people on the streets will wave to you and say: "Hey ProBlogger! I follow you on Twitter!" They won't yell out: "Hey! Darren Rowse, I follow you on Twitter!"
That's an aspect to consider.
Take me for example… my site is
http://www.eelkat.com, my name is Wendy C Allen. I daily meet 30 or 40 random strangers who rush through walMart screaming at the top of their lungs: "OMG! It's EelKat! OMG! Can I get a picture? OMG! Wait I tell my friends I meet EelKat!" People couldn't do that if they didn't see my face all over my sites and blogs now could they?
My boyfriend is looking around trying to find a place to hide, and asking: "Why did you have to get famous, we can't do anything any more?" No we can't. I get mobbed at McDonalds, at gas stations, at grocery stores, while walking my dog…
That's another thing to watch out for… most will not make it big, but if you do…when you are branding yourself, make sure you have the personality to deal with being glomped by fans in WalMart, while you're trying to buy toilet paper for your 80 year old dad. And not once or twice, but EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's a side effect of branding yourself, that few people consider, most don't expect, and a lot can not emotionally handle.
Remember… if you are giving people advice… people are gonna want to find you so they can hug you, shake your hand, and say thank you in person. The industry of helping others is after all about helping others first. People looking to make money writing advice, seem to forget the fact that their #1 priority is helping others NOT making money.
Of course, fans gather in my driveway every summer as well, because you know, my address is on my blogs and sites, because, I'm fully transparent and have nothing to hide.
My being fully transparent, hiding nothing, is also why I reached the top like I did. People don't like following a faceless white screen… they want to know the person behind the blog. Best way to boost your traffic has nothing to do with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or keywords and everything to do with being a real live person, with an emotional human connection to your readers.
Readers follow people not blogs.
Faceless blogs are a dime a dozen.
Bloggers who put their face front and center, always get the followers.
Become the face people trust and you can succeed with even the shittiest keywords and no SEO whatsoever.
The secret to success is to be seen by your audience as their best friend, a person they feel they can hang out with after work.
Your personality, not your SEO determines your success in blogging and pretty much every other industry as well.
You can read all the how to make money blogging books you want. Study SEO and keywords to kingdom come. But if you hide your identity from your audience, no amount of reading up on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is gonna help you.
When you build a site with you as the brand, be prepared to have your face front and center on your site as well. A faceless name means nothing. People who go to a name branded website want to see the face behind the name. And you are the brand any time you become the person who gives advice to others. Never take advice from the man hiding behind the curtain – he's hiding for a reason.
Look at the ACTUALLY successful bloggers. If you pay attention to their sites, you notice how each has lots of close ups of their face, them in "authoritative" poses, etc. They are not only not hiding from the world… they are putting their real name and real face and real address right front and center.
If you find a site builder, blogger, ebook writer who is hiding their face, hiding their home address, and not providing proof of their claims… RUN. Do not trust anyone who gives advice and hides who they are while they do it.
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