There’s been a trend I’ve been seeing lately that’s kind of disturbing. A few authors/influencers who have a strong platform in the self-publishing world have been offering advice to the newbies on the topic of marketing–a pain point for many indies. That’s not the disturbing part. What’s worrisome is the practice of charging aspiring or current authors for this advice at a steep premium. Now I’m all for authors having diversified revenue streams–teaching a course on Udemy, selling a productivity app, or getting their books on Audible. That’s cool. But one of the great things about being a self-publishing author is that you join this overwhelmingly helpful community of writers that is eager to share advice on how to build a platform. But now you have authors with large platforms charging anywhere from $600-$1,000 on video training for strategies that are readily available on sites like Kboards or self-publishing podcasts. Again, the issue is not that these influencers are getting paid for the work they’re doing creating HD quality videos or dozens of spreadsheets and cheatsheets for their customers to use. The issue is the price tag.
Anyone who’s self-published a book knows there are a bevy of expenses to consider when you go the indie route. Covers, editing, formatting, and marketing all get costly very quickly, especially if you’re pushing for a quality product. So while receiving an “education” from an influencer on how to be smart with marketing might seem like a good idea, it quickly becomes disappointing when that “education” is the same stuff you’ve already read about before. I won’t name names, but that’s what I experienced recently when I signed up for a trial run of one of these premium training courses. I had heard the advice before and implemented it, but did not see the grandiose results this influencer boasted about. So the fact that marketing strategies and tactics that are available for free on marketing sites and podcasts were recycled in a fancy $600+ package was really off-putting.
Sure, you have to dig to find some of these strategies–and many would rather pay someone to gather it all in a course–but why offer it at such a high price? Because authors will pay.
And that’s the sad part. Many authors, both seasoned and new, will pay for these high-priced courses offering nothing groundbreaking about book marketing. It’s an “investment”. Listen, if you have the money to shell out for these kind of courses, that’s great–more power to you for doing so. But think of the precedent you’re setting when you buy into this premium training. Inflation will eventually kick in and soon some of these courses will skyrocket in price. It’s evident that there’s a demand for marketing education in the self-publishing world, but why pay $50-60 a month or more to get it? Why not invest in a marketing book or a reasonably priced Udemy course? Or subscribe to the numerous free marketing podcasts like The Creative Penn, Rocking Self-Publishing, or Side Hustle Show?
I think there’s always room for investing in an education with regard to book promotion and marketing. But if said education costs more than what you receive each month in book sales and provides the same info that’s already available within indie author communities, then it’s time invest in something else.