Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Writing for eHow: You're Doing It Wrong

Title: Writing for eHow: You're Doing It Wrong
Written by: 1How
Price: $10
Rating: 5/5 Stars

It's finally happened! An eHow ebook I can give a full five stars!

Back when I reviewed Janet Ford's eBook I went on a rant about how eHow ebooks lacked personality. The more eHow ebooks I reviewed, the more disillusioned I became. No creativity, no personality, all fluff. 1How must have read my post, because Writing for eHow: You're Doing It Wrong was the perfect cure for my woes.

As you can tell right from the title, this is not your garden variety eHow book. It's equal parts sarcasm, humor and information. While the title almost seems a little mean, the author covers that right in the introduction.

Iʼm writing a book in a market where everything comes off as a get rich quick scheme. Thereʼs an over saturation of blogs that look like infomercials...how-to articles on how to write how-to articles that often donʼt tell you how to do anything. Very few people are interested in actually sitting down and explaining the tricks of the trade to you.

Gladly the book doesn't put style before substance. It covers all the usual staples in the most down-to-earth way I've ever seen them explained. The two biggest chapters are on SEO and article writing. First the author explains exactly what SEO is. He doesn't spend forever pounding mind-numbing details in. It's the core elements and a few lesser known secrets - and only what you actually need to know as far as eHow goes. There's a bunch of examples and the entire tone is very understandable. After you've got SEO figured out, the next chapter covers the article format - specifically how each part of the article can be maximized to help you make money.

The coverage of all that (combined with the brilliaaannntttt presentation) would be enough to make this my favorite eHow book. Thankfully, there's a few extras that really go beyond the call of duty.

There's a chapter on "eHow voodoo", which explains all the things people do on eHow that don't actually make any money. Embarrassingly enough, I was doing a few of these. Another chapter is called "Breaking Up With Google," which talks about creating successful articles outside of the usual SEO tips. There's a really great chapter on writer's block as well, which is a much needed tool in any writer's toolbox.

If that weren't enough, there's also a paperback, kindle, and audiobook version! I just finished listening to the first two chapters and it's fantastic. So far, it contains everything the book does.

Man did this make my day! I think it goes without saying, but this is the best $10 you could possibly spend.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Writing Online: Making Money and Residual Income With Online Content

Title: Writing Online: Making Money and Residual Income With Online Content
Written by: Annalise
Price: $15
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Another day, another book review! Today I'm looking at Writing Online: Making Money and Residual Income With Online Content...phew! Let's just calling it "Writing Online" for short. With a title like that, you know there's a ton packed in there!

This is a pretty good book for beginners. It hits SEO and keywords right off the bat so you can dive into the deeper stuff. It was refreshing to see someone do a real system for figuring out keyword density - for so long it's been a guessing game! It's going to be a while until I know if the system really works, but it looks promising.

One thing I've been seeing more recently in eHow books is that the actual article isn't the end of your job. After you've got the thing written out, you've really got to promote it. Depending on who you talk to, this can actually be more important than the article itself. Without some good promotion, no one see's it. Writing Online has a whole section on networking that covers that stuff.

If I had a complaint about the book, it's that the reading level skips around quite a bit. It's as if it was written out of order. At first it's very simple, then super complicated, then overly simple again. I guess it's not so much that the last part is simple, just that it's a little weak. The section on marketing strategies and various resources could have really been beefed up.

Don't let that stop you from picking it up though, it's worth a read for sure!

Monday, February 1, 2010

eHow eBook

Title: Writing Online: Making Money and Residual Income With Online Content
Written by: WriterGig
Price: $25
Rating: 4/5 Stars

WriterGig is possibly the most well known writer at eHow. She's the prototypical model - an independent, stay at home mom who has mastered online article writing. She has several hundred articles and (reportedly) makes thousands of dollars a month on the site. There's a very small group of people that can make that claim!

While she has several other ebooks, "Writing Online" is the most eHow focused one. It's essentially her guide to making the kind of money she does. While that's a dubious promise, she does deliver. You learn how to pick out the article topics that pay, and cash in on those niches through specific article guidelines. She focuses a lot on gaining traffic through search engines so your articles will pay more. It's a great read, even if the $25 price tag is out-right ridiculous.

Let's ground ourselves here...even the most insightful physical books sell for $10 or $15, so that's really the maximum sweet spot for a highly valuable eBook. The high price point is telling of the books main flaw - it talks down to it's reader. It thinks it's the holy grail or something. Just a little too high-and-mighty.

While the book has a lot of promise, I've been using her methods for a while now and haven't seen the drastic increase she promises. Of course these things take time, but if you're really going to break into the three figure / month range it's going to take a lot more work and dedication than you could ever imagine. Bottom line? A great book, but don't expect to actually get rich off it. There's a reason we're not all 2k/month writers!

Anyways, I've been really hard on WriterGig...but only because she's the best! Of all the books I've read, I give this one my highest score yet. It's incredibly insightful, even if the price is border-line offensive.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

How to Write for eHow (The Ultimate Guide)

Title: How to Write for eHow (The Ultimate Guide)
Written by: Janet Ford
Price: $19.99
Rating: 3/5 Stars

I want to talk about something a little different today.

Janet Ford has a fine book. She makes a lot of money, and if you look hard enough in the book you'll find all the things she promises. My problem with "the ultimate guide" is that it really isn't the ultimate guide. It's a few simple tricks packaged in a bloated book-of-promises.

I feel like it's time for an intervention.

Janet's book actually came really early on in the eBook market, so it's not really fair that I pick on her. Having said that, I'm going to do it anyways. Her book is very typical of what's been getting under my skin about these eBooks, and that is this - they're all just copying eachother!

Every book has a giant one page website about how munch money they make, and how if you buy their book you will also make said bundle of money. That's all well and good, but it's been done a million times. I don't care about all these promises of wealth, I just want some honest advice! Don't set your website up with a special code to make it look like you just updated it and I happened to find it in time to take advantage of this limited offer.

I'd write more about How to Write for eHow The Ultimate Guide but it's the same as all the other ones. Just see any other review I've done. Same thing, different author. I just wish everyone would stop seeing a successful marketing strategy and cloning it. There's so much room for innovation! Get risky! Try something new!!

Have I read too many eBooks? Is this a symptom of overexposure? Maybe I'm alone on this, but I don't think it would be too hard to write a reasonable book that doesn't talk down to you like an infomercial. I just want an eHow book that feels like a real book, not a pdf file you have to talk me into downloading.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Make Money on eHow

Title: Make Money on eHow
Written by: Jeremy Miller
Price: $10
Rating: 2/5 Stars

I've read a few new ebooks recently. I was tempted to write about one of the good ones, but instead I think it might be interesting to use Jeremy Miller's book as a conduit to explain everything I hate about ehow books.

I should say first of that Make Money on eHow isn't a terrible book. It has some decent information, it comes with some bonuses, and follow the advice in the book WILL increase your earnings. There's even some keyword research stuff that'll be helpful if you want to sell your soul and start writing about topics you don't actually care (or even know) about. None of that is what bothers me.

What I really don't care for is this whole late night tv ad marketing thing. The whole package is riddled with this cheap money making scheme - it doesn't instill a whole lot of confidence in me as a buyer. Even as I was reading it, I found myself highly skeptical of a lot of the claims. Can this guy really know what he's talking about?

The whole page is like - "What if you could make MORE money? Now you can!!!" I mean, seriously. It basically reads... "Act now, and you can get my free blah blah blah! How much would you expect to pay for this product? $50? $75? $100? Well guess what, it's only $10! WOW!" The he sites all these statistics about how much money he makes. The whole thing just sounds like a set of $80 knives you buy off public access at 3am. I don't need to see your potentially fake and uninteresting credentials, just give me a method that works and stop wasting my time!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Need Extra Cash? Write Articles that Pay

Title: Need Extra Cash? Write Articles that Pay
Written by: Anthony Delgado
Price: $19.99
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Write Articles that Pay was my first eHow book. It's a little less eHow specific, but I'm including it in this list because it'll be a lot of help. If you aren't familiar with SEO practices, this isn't a bad place to start. Search engine optimization is the cornerstone of good eHow earnings. By optimizing your articles as Anthony outlines, you'll appear higher in search results and get more traffic to your articles!

There's a Quick Guide at the end of the book that breaks down the writing process - starting with getting an idea and ending it with article promotion. When you're feeling a little lost, wondering what the "right way" to do articles is Anthony's guide is really helpful. He may not hold your hand enough for the super beginner, but reading the section over a few times will provide the necessary primer.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

So Why eHow Books?

I'm relatively new to eHow and trying to learn about the site by using eHow books. In my first few months on the site, I came to notice one thing... no one seems to have any idea what's going on. eHow doesn't have a really clear guide on how to make money with the site. Why is that?

The site will tell you how to set up your articles and what seems to make articles the most popular, sure. What they don't have is a clear guide that says "This is why we pay you the amount we do when we do." This leaves a lot of the users scurrying around trying to find the best information.

After poking around online myself I found a large number of "eHow Books". There isn't a big catalog anywhere, so you have to seek them out individually. That's where I got the idea for this blog! I'm going to buy every eHow ebook I can find and review it on the site. This way, newbies like myself know which books are the most helpful.

I'll be doing my first eHow book review soon, so stay tuned!
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