What’s Up with all the Free Webinars? Are They Really Free?
Over the past two years, I’ve been signing up for multiple free webinars on book publishing and marketing. They all have a hook at the end, trying to sell you their product. In that they take up valuable time, they aren’t free. In that I’ve been able to glean some helpful information from them, they have not been a waste of my time. In fact, I’m still signing up for them and attended four just this past week.
I’ve learned about Scrivener, about blogs, about getting media attention, about setting up landing pagers, ways to get people to sign up for my newsletters, how to create market funnels, and ways to increase my ranking on Amazon to help my books be found, but I’ve yet to reap a lot of benefit from this knowledge. I’m using the information but not getting the results promised. I’m to the point where for some, five minutes into the webinar, I have a pretty good idea what they will say and exit. I’ve heard it all before.
Some of the information I’ve gathered is simply not me. Like how to write books without really writing. Why would I do that? Idea is to record yourself talking then transcribe the recording and make it a book. I’m not someone who is good at thinking out loud. I’m much better at thinking on paper.
I’ve attended webinars about the benefit of podcasts. Again not me. And then there are the webinars about creating webinars and doing video. You get people to sign up for your free webinar then talk them into paying for your product. Not me.
Clearly, I’m a biblio-girl living in a video world. It’s just not me. Why can’t I just do what I love, write, and have the money follow?
I have learned some helpful pieces of information, but at what point do you stop attending webinars and start making money? Also, every time I sign up for a webinar, it costs me my email address so I get bombarded with more offers. Some of them I keep, others I unscribe and delete.
Maybe I should make a webinar about how to get the most out of these webinars. I would clean up!
Short of doing that, here are some tips I’ve gleaned over the past two years.
- Be selective about which webinars you give your precious time. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it is worth your time. At the end of this post are some of the people whose webinars I have attended with recommendations.
- Don’t get caught up in the hype over the product. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. I make a point of not purchasing anything at the end of a webinar unless it is something I have researched before. So far, the only purchase I have made has been a media kit. I waited until the last day to get the price break and finally decided there was information I might be able to use. So far I haven’t used it enough to get my money’s worth—I’ve been too busy writing to go over all of the material, but I hope to use it in the future.
- Take notes. You never know when you’ll get a nugget of new information that is helpful.
- Don’t be afraid to multi-task. I check email and facebook while listening. The producers of these webinars don’t appreciate this, but, as I’ve said before, time is precious. You don’t need to give your undivided attention to introductions or when covering something you already know. Key in to the points that are new. And if you do miss something, that leads us to my next point.
- Take advantage of replays. I sign up for webinars even if I know I can’t attend just so I can get the replay. That way I can easily fast forward through parts that don’t interest me and get the parts that do. The disadvantage in this is that you don’t have the opportunity to ask questions and hear other people’s questions, but you still get the main points of the webinar.
I want marketing that is me, that fits the person I am. I’m not out to make a fortune, just a livelihood. I’m not interested in hard sell tactics, but I do want to create some noise in order to get noticed in this saturated market. Is that possible?!
Below are some, but not all, of the people with webinars I’ve attended. What has been your experience with webinars? Do you have others to add to my list?
Book Ninja – enjoyed her presentation. Lots of interesting information, however, I wouldn’t buy the training. I have experimented with a Kindle Series without the results she had. Maybe I just need to do more, and I will as time allows. Still I find it hard to believe that everyone will have the results she promises.
Joseph Michaels – Scrivener. Some writers swear by Scrivener. I’ve been happy with MicroSoft Word so I don’t see the need for this. It’s also more organization than I currently need. It was helpful to find out more about Scrivener just to know what everyone else was talking about.
Chandler Bolt – Self-Publishing. Chandler had a free forty hour writer’s workshop with presentations by many well-known authors and entrepreneurs. I found the later videos in the series more helpful than the early ones, though was not able to watch as many as I wanted because I had limited internet access at the time. Did get some helpful information. Chandler also has a set of four free videos about self-publishing, leading up to his Self-Publishing school. Again, some helpful info, however he is one of the people proposing you “talk and record” your book, also seems to promise too much. Last video was primarily a plug for his school so I exited.
Joel Friedlander – Book Templates. Joel has a number of book templates for formatting the inside of your book. I wasn’t impressed with his fiction templates. Novels are fairly easy to format so I didn’t see the need to purchase his, but I do like his non-fiction templates and may purchase at some point if I self-publish more non-fiction books. He provides helpful information on how to format books. He also teamed with Joan Stewart on blogging and media kits and has templates for both.
Joan Stewart – Publicity Hound. Lots of good information on using media to gain publicity for your book. As mentioned, I purchased media kit and I also signed up for her blog.
Joanna Penn – The Creative Penn. Joanna was one of the speakers for Chandler Bolt’s massive training. I’ve since signed up for her blog. Lots of good information for writers.
Jeff Goins – Blogging. Jeff was also one of the speakers for Chandler Bolt. I’ve been following Jeff for about a year. Jeff’s strength tends to be in helping people find their passion and find their tribe. He blogs and has podcasts. Again, good information. I already know what my passion is, so I skip posts on that, but have learned about blogging from Jeff. Jeff also introduced me to a number of the webinars I’ve attended.
Brooke Warner – Memoir. Last but definitely not least, Brooke Warner from SheWrites Press. I have written memoirs in the past and led a memoir group for a while. I never wrote them for publication but this might change at some point. I attended a webinar by Brook a year or two ago. Helpful information. I’m also signed up for an upcoming one on Sept. 10 “5 Tips for Winning Memoir Writing Contests.” I’m not planning on entering any contests but I’m interested in the tips. And . . . if you are not familiar with SheWrites.com, I highly recommend that you check it out. They have weekly newsletters with helpful information for writers
Again, do you have any to add to my list? I would love to hear from you!