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Myths and Lies: Scam
by Lee Masterson
In the treacherous waters of the publishing
industry it's hard for a small fish to make a ripple in
such a deep pond - especially when so many sharks infest
These days so many new writers are lured into parting
with their hard-earned cash by less-than-scrupulous,
self-styled 'gurus' that it makes me wonder how these
scam-artists sleep at night.
Any writer surfing the internet will find themselves
bombarded with websites promising instant publication,
massive riches quickly and easily or guaranteed riches
beyond compare simply by paying stupid amounts of money
for a 25 page report written by someone whose real income
comes from selling 25-page-reports to pepole like YOU!
How do you know if the ebook or course you're considering
is a real writing-related piece of information written by
a real, professional writer or whether it's a
fluff-report written by a bottom-feeding scavenger
masquerading as a writer?
I can think of several reputable writers who have
brilliant educational writing-related, educational
information available for sale. The sales pages are
simple and efficient - no hype and no scams in sight. And
there's plenty of confirmation the authors really do know
what they're talking about, freely available on their
what's the difference between an educational ebook and a
There are some simple road tests by which you should
measure every product you're considering spending any
money on at any time on the net.
The answers are always there in black and white - in the
Here are some things to ask:
What are the author's credentials?
Answer: Ask yourself
questions about the author of the information you're
thinking about buying.
Many scam-artists will bluff their way to a sale by
playing to your sense of greed, throwing their own
alleged big income figures around and making huge
promises about your own success.
In all seriousness, if you haven't heard of this author
through any other published source, chances are that
author is simply making a quick buck from your desire and
desperation to get published any which way you can.
There are no short-cuts to publication and there are no
get-rich-quick guarantees, no matter what these sharks
want you to believe.
Has the author written and published anything via a
Answer: Check the
author's bio and publishing credits before spending a
cent. If the author has book publishers (big or small) or
magazine publishers listed, then you're going to know
you're dealing with a working writer. If the author
doesn't have a reliable bio reasily available, then
chances are you're being fooled by someone with minimal
information to offer and more than a casual interest in
grabbing your cash for quick profit.
Self-publishing doesn't count - neither does publishing
through a company owned by that author (I can think of a
couple of guilty suspects here).
If you see only published pieces of work shorter than can
be churned out in a week (i.e. less than 6,000 words),
you should be asking yourself some questions about that
author's motives towards your hip-pocket.
Does the author give you a terrible tale of hardship,
followed by the unmasking of a miracle secret that only
he or she can give you after you part with your money?
Answer: This forms part
of the 'hard-sell sales-pitch formula', designed to help
part innocent writers with their money.
The idea of a person hitting 'rock-bottom' before
simply a formula designed to feed on your sense of greed
by unscrupulous sales people wanting you to part with
Be very wary of this kind of formula sales-pitch. Very
rarely is the author wanting to truly teach you - rather
he/she is trying to gain some quick cash to get
him/herself out of the financial ditch he's dug for
himself using your cash to get there.
But if that author can succed after hitting rock-bottom,
being unemployed, going bankrupt or any other myriad of
hard-luck stories, then shouldn't I be learning what
he/she did to succeed too?
Answer: See above answer.
If that author really did hit rock-bottom financially,
how much of the information offered was created from a
need to grab some quick cash from any sucker that comes
Hard-luck stories are a part of any formula 'hard-sell'
sales page. Don't fall for them. The statistics show that
people like this make more money from scamming desperate
people wanting to emulate this sudden rise to riches than
from any other source.
But what if the sales-pitch tells me I need no talent, no
creativity, a few days (or weeks) of my time, and only
this ONE ebook/course in order to strike it really big
with my book?
Answer: This kind of
sales pitch always makes me ask the uquestion: "Is
that how this guy got here today?" Did using no
talent, no creativity and only ONE bit of information
(plus a cleverly worded sales page) make him/her rich?
Give me a break. Next question.
But this 'guru' is different. He/she is really concerned
about my writing future.
Answer: If that was true,
then why is that same 'guru' bombarding your innocent
inbox with hard-sell sales-pitches to spend more of your
money every second day? Why hasn't this 'guru' offered up
educational information on his/her website designed to
teach and guide, rather than offering up self-serving
anecdotes designed to sell you more stuff.
If that person was truly interested in your writing
career, then perhaps a newsletter that has information
about YOU - the writer - and about progressing your
career instead of about the 'guru' and his/her
make-believe exploits - would be sent out occasionally.
Always question anyone that is prepared to talk more
about themselves than about making sure you're learning
to progress your writing career first and foremost!
Is the author spending more time bragging about his/her
pay-check or million-dollar empire than telling you about
actual writing qualifications or publishing credits?
Answer: I've worked in
investment and commercial finance for more than a decade
and worked with some seriously major investors around the
world. I've also learned in that time that people who
really do have massive amounts of income and serious
amounts of money are usually very reserved about telling
the general public the real amounts involved. (Sure -
they might tell friends and family - but strangers on the
internet? HA!) Really rich people have no need to brag
about their incomes.
Only those who are still hoping to make it (or those who
are hoping to fool you into parting with your money) feel
the need to brag. Be VERY wary of anyone selling anything
after bragging about huge income amounts from a project
they can't give you any details about.
But what if the sales page showed me pictures of great
mansions and expensive cars, along with images of huge
checks received in the mail?
Answer: This one is
perhaps the easiest part to verify. Can you find any
information at all on the 'net that the author has ever
legally made a dime from writing anything other than the
book or course he/she is selling to you right now?
Pretty pictures of nice houses/cars/boats are easy to
download from the internet. Photo-shop can do amazing
things to existing images of other checks for much lower
amounts. Don't be fooled by them. Use your best judgment
and do some very simple research.
This author says I should buy this ebook/course
immediately and that I'll get rich if I buy this
ebook/course right now!
Answer: It's against the
law to give financial advice without having appropriate
licencing/accreditations in whatever country you're
giving that advice. The penalties and fines can be quite
harsh for those who don't play by the rules in this
Be very careful about who you trust when being told you
will make loads of money on the 'net.
Perhaps the best piece of advice I can think
of giving you when you're feeling tempted to part with
your hard-earned money is: "If it looks too good
to be true, it probably is."
© Copyright Lee Masterson. All
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