The other day another blogger/information product entrepreneur I know and follow recommended a guru’s product designed to help people make money by publishing on Amazon Kindle. I have spent a LOT of time over the last few months studying and playing with publishing on Amazon. I’d published Online Jobs in March, but I wasn’t really having the results that I wanted mostly because I wasn’t marketing it well. In August, I published two works of fiction using a pen name and while I’m not attracting any traditional publishers, sales are regular and consistent. I earned several hundred dollars in a few days without having a following, a list or a large social network (my alter ego has about 5 friends on Facebook!). Through the success of my fiction publishing, I could see the power of publishing on Amazon and wondered if I could take advantage of that with my non-fiction work.
So I watched the video on Kindle publishing that the guru created to market his product. He covered the reasons why Amazon Kindle publishing is a great way to make money and showed results of a few books he’d published over the last few months. But when the price was published, I was surprised. He was charging nearly $300. Actually, it’s not unusual for gurus, particularly those who focus on marketing to charge big money. Because online marketing is crucial to money-making success, gurus that sell marketing products generally charge a lot and make a fortune. And I have no doubt that my choosing not to buy this product hasn’t effected this guy’s bottom line too much. Between his personal email list, which is probably 50K to 100K or more, and his affiliates’ lists, he’s made a TON money with this product. And that’s okay. And while I’m at it, let me clarify before I go on that I’m not saying this product is a scam or that it’s no good.
The problem I have is that based on what he says he covers in his promo video, the information on publishing on Kindle can be had for less than $20…maybe even less than $10. Much of what the video said the program covers, I’d learned from other e-publishers by buying their ebooks (on a reader … Nook, Kindle) for much less money and connecting with them on social networks for free. I couldn’t be sure that this expensive product would provide something new or different and it wasn’t worth the money to find out.
The guru’s publishing system covers how to:
– Select a market
– Get/create content
– Create a great cover, which is nearly as important as having great content
– Format your document for Kindle upload (information that Amazon’s Kindle publishing information provides for free)
– Get listed in Amazon’s search
– Work within Amazon’s Terms of Service, which I suspect is keeping within the rules of Amazons KDP Select program that requires exclusivity to the book
– Get thousands of downloads in 5 days, which probably uses the KDP Select program’s free promo
– Get real 4 and 5 star reviews, which are crucial to book selling success
– Get top ranking in Amazon
– Piggy-back on other books, which is how to get your book included with the recommendation of similar books that Amazon lists on product pages
The real value of this product is probably the online community where you can get help and support particularly if members will download, read and review your book. Plus the price includes a “free” live event at which you’ll create and upload a book.
Let me say again that all this info is good and important to publishing on Kindle, but I believe you can get it for less. I’ve bought four or five ‘how to publish e-books’ and spent anywhere between $2.99 and $7.99 for each. These books are written by people who are successfully publishing on Kindle and other formats — many now have traditional publishing contracts based on their self-publishing success — and have shared their secrets. Most are publishing fiction, which is different than non-fiction, but the tips are helpful nonetheless. And while the community aspect of this guru’s product sounds great, you can get the same community support and tips through Kindle Boards or at the self-publishing groups at GoodReads, which are free.
Ultimately, while the information is probably good, the only way I could see justifying the expense is to attend the “free” live event at which members are guided in choosing a topic, outlining a book, getting it written and getting it uploaded by the end of the event. But even then, you still have to pay to get to the event and pay for a hotel, which is likely another several hundred dollars.
I believe in information products. I sell many myself. But I have a problem with information marketers that charge an exorbitant amount for their products especially when much of the information can be had for next to nothing. The problem is that many people don’t know the information is there. Many people who got the email about making money on Kindle may have never considered e-publishing before, so they buy the one product that introduces them to the idea instead of being intrigued at the idea and doing a little research first to see what’s already out there for free or less money? That’s the point I want to get across to you today. Adding to your knowledge is important to your success. I spend money all the time on information products and books. If I could get the product without the event and spend only $100, I might actually buy it, even though I already know a lot about what the product says it covers. The reason is that maybe this product has a gem of a tip that I haven’t heard about that can help my non-fiction publishing. Or if the community is really supportive and a source of quality reviews, that would be of value as well. So I’m not against spending money or implying that gurus don’t have something to contribute. But before I ever spend any money on an information product, particularly one that is about a topic I’ve never heard about or considered, I do research first to find out what’s out there already. This helps me get an overview of topic and get a better idea of what I need to learn. That way when I determine I do need to invest in something, I’m able to purchase a product that will answer my questions and meet my needs. And that’s what I suggest you do. In the end you may find you want to spend the hundreds of dollars, and that’s okay. But when it comes to making money at home, you need to spend your education bucks wisely.