Why I hate self-promotion. (And here’s a coupon!)

StartbloggingI subscribe to several writing-focused newsletters whose authors sell courses, books and other products. Sometimes the newsletters include educational or thought-provoking facts, or links to free videos or webinars.

Mostly, though, they sell. Oh, do they sell.

A subject line like “three simple steps that helped John change his life” or “she halved her work hours and quadrupled her income” might lead you to think the newsletter contains valuable advice.

Sometimes it does. Generally speaking, though, the advice is “if you buy my product you can change your life, too.”

This is all smart marketing. I understand that. I just don’t know how/don’t much care to do it myself. My background in print journalism taught me to keep myself strictly out of the story. The new paradigm, however, is to promote one’s “brand,” if not one’s products.

Which brings me to last week’s giveaway.

The prize was a copy of my online course, Write A Blog People Will Read. Judging from some of the comments, people are definitely interested in:

  • Creating their own sites (“I have started planning to start a blog,” “I’ve always wanted to write a blog but wasn’t sure how to do it”)
  • Improving existing sites (at least a few of the commenters already have blogs)
  • Side hustles (“I’ve started freelancing (and) would love to win this and better my writing”)
  • Learning to communicate more clearly (“I don’t know that I want/need to be published but developing new skills is a great opportunity,” “I would love to learn how to be a better writer”)

If I could afford to give a copy of the course to each person who entered, would I do it? Yes and no.

“Yes” because I like giving stuff away, which is why I do it almost every week. And “no” because the laborer is worthy of her hire.


Would you work for free?

Remember, I write for a living. My guess is that most teachers don’t teach all day and tutor all night, every night. Nor do carpenters hammer and saw 40 hours per week and then put in another full-time job’s worth in their evenings and weekends.

While some blog posts are a piece of virtual cake to produce, others take research, time and mental/physical energy. Sure, a simple or even silly piece now and then is fine. But I don’t want to natter away about practically nothing on a regular basis.

To some extent bloggers write because it’s in them to write. Having a platform where you can share thoughts and develop relationships with readers is deeply satisfying. But it is work and yes, it would be nice to make back a little of the money we pay out for blog hosting and other costs.

So no, I won’t give away all my work for free. I do offer writing tips and tactics on my own free writing newsletter and on the writing-focused blog associated with the course. But the online course took a lot of hours to create and it contains a lot of value (32 years’ worth of knowledge and experience, the last nine of them extremely specialized).


A sale price, briefly

But here’s what I will do: Make the course available at a deep discount for a very limited time. From now until 11:59 p.m. PDT Wednesday, April 8, use this code to save 40 percent.

You’ll be getting the benefit of more than 30 years’ worth of professional writing. That doesn’t come cheaply, nor should it.

The Internet has created the impression that you shouldn’t have to pay for anything, or at least pay very much. Can you get free/cheap blogging instruction elsewhere? Sure. But sometimes you really do get what you pay for.

Can you teach yourself all you need to know about online writing? Maybe. That’s how I did it.

But that will take years — maybe a lot of years. If you want to cut to the chase, learn it from somebody who already knows how.


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