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At the Mercy of Gurus—or In Control of your Online Income?

Our inner psychology tells us to be obedient to authority figures, even when obeying leads to our own downfall. Ignore them, be creative, and find new, high-value markets where you can tap into the new gold rush.


The Power of Authority

Our faith in authority figures leads to our falling into money traps. Studies have shown we are strongly inclined to follow the instructions of someone who looks like an expert. We will even substitute our judgement for those with the symbols of authority. Research into obedience to authority shows that we underestimate the extent to which the appearance of authority will influence us. (Social Psychology, 1999).

While the old scientific tests were mainly done with people in doctor’s coats, this influence also applies to political leaders, financial experts, or any authority figure, even celebrities with no financial standing. Do the gurus of internet marketing also come to mind?

So what can we do about it? How do we detach ourselves from this strong influence and work to our own goals?  One way, that I mentioned in my book How to Control Your Financial Destiny, is to forget the herd’s sentiment and make your own decisions contrary to the crowd.

Contrary investing means you would invest when people are most fearful of investing (and thus get the lower prices), and withdraw and seek other markets when the herd is caught up in buying frenzy.

Contrary marketing would thus mean you are creating some unusual types of content, or using unusual mediums, that enriches the lives of others. I write about niche marketing for authors on here a lot.

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Write Much and Write Often to Promote your Book

If your goal behind writing a book is to develop skill, express creativity, and simply be published, then you won't need a book marketing plan. But if your goal is to write to disseminate ideas to as many as possible, and receive a return on time spent, then you need promotional ideas to get that message out. For talented novelist and writer’s festival speaker Susan Johnson, having had a roaring writing career in the 80s and travelling the world in the 90s, on returning to Australia and enquiring into publishing, she had a rude shock. No longer did traditional publishers give big advances, and she could not return to teach creative writing at University due to ‘qualifications’ at that point. Susan told us festival-goers that the average Australian pro writer earns just $14,000 a year. The Guardian reports that the average professional English writer earns just GBP10,500 per year, a 42% drop since 2005, a pittance as they rightly call it. Since she wanted to actually pay the bills, she had to go back to…

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