The desire to be a writer is big business and writing gurus know it. Across Google’s searches on writing are a plethora of “How To” articles telling you what you need to do to be a successful author. Many of these are well-intentioned and want to provide good advice. Many others are snake oil salesman. Distinguishing the two can become difficult but it could save you a ton of money and a heap of unneeded disappointment.
Writing gurus, as I like to call them, are defined as being writers who likely had a tremendous amount of success in their own writing endeavors, selling loads of books through various means. Somewhere down the line, they realized they could make a lot more money selling you a marketing product rather than a book. Realizing a good portion of their base are also budding writers, they start creating “training sessions,” “webinars,” and “self-help books” with lofty promises.
Deep down, every author wants to be well-known, well-read, and successful. No author truly wants all their work to go unread. So, when other successful authors dangle “secret information” to them, it’s difficult for these burgeoning authors not to bite or start having delusions of grandeur.
I’m not going to tell you the truth of what it’s like to be an author for five years or more. Here’s what I will tell you: Don’t Trust Writing Gurus.
Things Change Rapidly
Writing gurus often teach practices that worked for them. Why wouldn’t they? That only makes sense. Here’s the problem: Things in the writing world change so rapidly that what might have worked for them doesn’t work anymore. They’re also not telling you the full picture. Many authors became super popular during the Amazon Kindle boom many years ago. It was a gold rush, so to speak, and nothing you can do today is going to recreate that moment. But, many of those authors, realizing the well is dry, have created products trying to tell people how to be successful like them, ignoring those minor details.
No Silver Bullet
Often, gurus try to espouse a certain marketing strategy, such as Facebook ads. They try to claim this is a silver bullet but in reality, it’s not. Again, things change on a dime and what once might have worked, doesn’t anymore. So, don’t fall for the gurus lies of a silver bullet. There are none.
They Want Your Money
Writing gurus have one thing in mind – money. As much as they might tell you they’re thinking of you and wanting to help you, they really don’t care. They want to make money off your delusions of grandeur and big dreams for being an author. In other words, they’re leeching off your passion.
Likely, they became popular by other means and not by the product they’re selling you. This could be a wide array of things, from just getting really lucky and hitting the jackpot to paying an extensive amount of money on ads. They’re purely banking on you seeing their massive success and believing they got there through easily attainable means. Here’s a tip: If they tell you it’s possible to sell thousands of books with investing little to no money on the book, run the other way.
So, Who Do I Trust?
First, ask yourself this question – Does Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, or any other famous author, charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for marketing lessons, promising vast success?
Last I heard, they don’t. King wrote a book on writing many years back called “On Writing.” You can get that book for free at the library or pay a small sum for it and learn a lot about writing. There are plenty of marketing books and websites out there providing valuable information for very little money. So, then you have to ask yourself this: Why are gurus charging so much?
The answer should be fairly evident. They don’t make money on books. They make money on you. If they made money on books, they wouldn’t bother expensive webinars and training sessions.
So, trust credible sources that are actually making money on books. Trust credible people that aren’t trying to lure you into programs that seem too good to be true. But, also, trust your gut. If something seems too good to be true, it is. Be very wary of webinars and training sessions that cost hundreds of dollars. If the information isn’t free to inexpensive, then be cautious and careful especially if they’re promising major success as an author.
The Truth That Doesn’t Sell
Being an author (especially an independent one) requires a substantial amount of time and monetary investment with little guarantee of success. That’s the truth that doesn’t sell. It’s the sole reason most entrepreneurs don’t sell books. The author and book business can be an excruciatingly long process. It’s fickle. It’s brutal. And it can be very unrewarding and unprofitable.
How Do I Become Successful?
This is the number one question every person asks themselves, no matter what industry they’re in. It’s also the question that throws money into writing gurus coffers. People want this question answered and will travel all over the world wide web to find it. Here’s my free and unfiltered answer: Spend every day becoming the best you can be at your craft. You’ll know you’ve become really good at what you do when people take notice and can’t ignore you. The only way for people to know about your work is to share it and market it through free and paid advertising.
That’s it. You keep working at becoming really good and you send it out into the world. You’ll either be ignored or enjoyed.
Rinse and repeat.