Get Published Secrets isn’t a book as such; it’s more of a kit. Most of the information is contained in eight DVDs, along with 16 audio CDs of interviews with a range of publishing experts, printed transcripts of the DVDs, MP3s of the DVDs, and a few additional bonuses. The DVDs contain a series of presentations and verbal demonstrations of the process that Beaumont used to become a successful entrepreneur who has built his business primarily on his own book sales. He certainly practices what he preaches, and is a dynamic and charismatic presenter, but at AU$997, the investment for the program is mighty expensive. Is it worth it? I worked through the transcripts for each DVD to try and find out. I won’t be divulging any of Beaumont’s secrets in this review, but I would like to at least provide you with some sense of what you’re going to be getting for your grand so you can judge whether this is a worthwhile investment.
Some of the things I liked about the DVDs is that they presented in such a way that you feel as if you were at one of Beaumont’s lectures. He speaks clearly and presents very well, in a way that is both inspiring and exciting. Another thing I like is that Beaumont treats the process of being a writer and producing books as a business and uses clear and standard business models to guide you towards making the most appropriate decisions about creating and marketing your books.
There are plenty of innovative ideas in this material to help you determine what to write about, survey the market, work up a cover, outsource the actual writing if need be, self-publish, print, work the media, create additional products from the one book, and promote your book in all sorts of ways. The perspective is broad and Beaumont’s enthusiasm and commitment are obvious and infectious, and may well convince you that you can do it. And sure, you can.
What I didn’t like so much is that it is really not a model for quality. That isn’t to say that following this process will mean that you don’t do quality work. Beaumont makes it clear that this package is not about how to write, but how to become a successful author – that’s quite a different thing. Quality, however, isn’t always something you can do just because you’ve planned it. A great game plan and a terrific title may still result in mediocre work that is panned by the critics who count when it comes to sales and respect. This kit, and the claims it makes about both the quantity of your output and the success you will have with it, understates the importance of quality dramatically. This is more the case, I think, for fiction rather than the kind of nonfiction ‘how-to’ books written by those people who have inspired the course. Great fiction takes time and skill that rarely comes without an apprenticeship. You’d have to be extraordinarily skilled and prolific (and probably already famous) to produce a worthwhile best-selling novel every six months as Beaumont suggests. I can’t think of any decent novelist, beginning or advanced, that can do that. Most novelists take several years to write their best fiction, and in many cases, the first one takes a lot of help and support from creative writing courses, mentors, and fellowships. It can't be knocked out as part of a plan to make money.
Beaumont cites the classic examples of JK Rowling and Dan Brown as money-making fiction writers, but both of them suffered through years of poverty and rejection, not to mention a steep and slow learning curve, before hitting the big time. It just isn’t easy, and using that word so enthusiastically gives the wrong impression and false hope to fiction writers who might purchase this kit. On the other hand, Beaumont does cite a number of ‘best-selling’ nonfiction writers who have turned their considerable expertise into successful books around the area of their expertise. That situation is definitely where this kit will work best and his suggestions around planning for multiple books and working up a plan around them is actually very sound.
Despite my hesitation about the optimism inherent in the Get Published Secrets kit, optimism that has as much to do with Beaumont’s own great energy and charisma as it does to any transferable system, there is much that is on offer here. Though I didn’t have access to the CDs, I imagine that many of those interviews would have lots of information from people who have discovered ‘secrets’ about how to successfully promote nonfiction books and to leverage those books towards financial success. I found that there were many clever and innovative ideas presented here, some that I've not come across before, and that this is a collection that could provide a good source of motivation for many writers. If I were looking to produce a nonfiction book, I might pay a hundred dollars for it and consider my money well spent. At nearly one thousand dollars though, I think the price is way too steep.
Get Published Secrets
By Dale Beaumont