A certain type of scammer

Last Update: October 26, 2016

In WA, I think perhaps all of us are careful about the writing on our blogs. Some of us are confident writers; others not so much. There are numerous entities out there who offer writing courses and e-books. Whilst many of these are worthwhile and will not insist that you part with loads of cash, there are others one should avoid like a crocodile whose teeth have been dipped in cyanide.

Whilst not being the sort of scam where you part with thousands of dollars, I still consider this sort of thing a scam because it so misrepresents what is offered. It is hardly value for money!

I have found that there are several cardinal signs (and probably they are sins, too!) that some people behind certain websites are not the real deal. Please note that this is my personal observation and I do not lay claim to infallibility. The general picture will look like this.

You fancy you need a writing course, so you go to Google, find a few promising sites, and click on one. Up comes a video of some person spruiking their course, or book, or whatever. The person on the video (or writing the text, if there is no video) takes ages to get to the point. You are looking at your screen, seething, and saying: 'Get to the POINT!' as if he could hear you.

He will tell you that there are fantastic (yes--using this word non-colloquially) rewards to be had after taking the course/whatever. The person will claim to earn millions--and s/he probably does! If you buy what is offered, you'll be adding to those millions! They will mention a 'secret' that you will learn from the book/video/whatever, drawing you in by making it appear that you will be part of an exclusive club. You won't discover the secret, though, unless you part with some cash.

In the present, the product is offered at a temporary discount price of 'only [say] $250' before the price goes back to $600 at the stroke of midnight. You think this must be a great deal. You're at a point where writing is as easy as driving a car with bald tyres over ice. You need HELP! So out comes your credit card.

You wait anxiously by the mailbox and, soon enough, your purchase arrives. You grab it. Inside several layers of thick paper, you find a small book of about 30 pages. Sure, there are ten writing tips at the end of the book--the beginning is a rehash of the sales pitch. The tips are sound. They can be found in any school textbook. One of these will be touted as the 'secret'. Or you'll find that you have to buy another book, or access another website, to read about 'the secret'.

I am a writer who has had two novels published in the mainstream. Guess what? I know so much about this because I have TWICE fallen for this nonsense. Wouldn't you think I had more confidence and more common sense? Don't be like me.

How does one REALLY become a good writer? By reading voraciously in all the genres. By practising writing on a daily basis. Diaries or journals are good. So are emails constructed in the same way as those written with pen and ink.

In this piece, I am not talking about any single website on writing, but characteristics common to many. Some do have credentials one can respect. However, if the behaviour is as described above, save your money for something else.

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SamiWilliams Premium
Thanks for the share. Such sound information.
You are right, why do we question ourselves?
WilliamBH Premium
Great info .. Thank you, Cheers, William
MPollock Premium
I hate upsells thanks,
MKearns Premium
I have resisted countless upsells I'm on to this. Thanks Margaret.
onmyownterms Premium
I agree, the way to become a good writer is to WRITE.