WebmasterWorld has a [subscription required] thread titled What books have impacted your life the most?.
If you can get people to buy what you are selling it does not matter that it could be based on pure garbage, illusionary success marketed hard enough becomes self reinforcing.
As people get more successful their departure from reality grows larger. The truth is that some people enjoy being lied to, and so people embelish more and more:
In his book The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, historian Daniel J. Boorstin said, "[P.T.] Barnum's great discovery was not how easy it is to deceive the public, but rather how much the public enjoyed being deceived."
While some people love being lied to, others love debunking. If the market for a person, place, company, or idea grows large enough there is a huge market in discounting it. At the same time, as people write more they leave a longer trail of facts that can be cross compared.
As their popularity (and link popularity) grow so will the link popularity of their biggest debunkers (so long as their research and debunking is done well).
I am heavily weighting the idea of creating physical books and whether or not to sell them on other sites. John T. Reed, the above mentioned debunker, has wrote a book called How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Own How-To Book.
His site looks like rubbish, and his sales copy says:
The Internet changes everything. Previously, selling your own book without the help of distributors and book stores was difficult. But with the Internet, you just put up a Web site and the orders flow in continuously. Typically, you will sell your first copy within hours of your Web site being known to the search engines.
If the content is full of B/S then it is sure to be a link popularity hit creating a review page debunking the debunker :)
From personal experience I certainly did not sell my first copy within hours, and that sounds like a load of crap (unless hours means hundreds or thousands of hours, you already have a strong brand, or know how to do pay per click marketing well), but the book might have some useful content in it.
I have actually wrote a couple ebooks, and have deleted the other one because I did not want it to interfere with the branding of this site. I did sell a few of the other ebook, but not too many. Understanding a bit about current search algorithms I can tell you that most websites will not sell their first ebook in the first hour. I didn't sell many until I built trust and brand value.
Some other sites selling search related ebooks claim hundreds of sales a week, (recently updating sales volumes from 10,000 to 30,000) but few sites are as heavily trafficed as ThreadWatch and SearchEngineWatch. In the last two days I got mentions on both of those and Danny Sullivan even mentioned my ebook in a podcast and my volume is still nowhere remotely close to that 200 per week rate.
I probably should write and distribute a few more articles, and do some more pay per click marketing. I have also been seeing a number of dictionary type sites used to drive traffic. Maybe I will also learn a few good sales tips from John T. Reed.
I have been hoping to create a few SEO tools and am doing many interviews to help gather SEO war stories from some of the best minds in search. That will help broaden the collective voice of my ebook. Later today I will post an interview of Jim Boykin from WeBuildPages, and I still want to interview a couple dozen more people. Eventually the interviews will get formatted into a bonus download with the ebook.
With the recent mentions my sales have went way up, but that certainly does not make my book any better than it was last week. I still can make it much better. My end goal is to continue to learn more about search and writing to where my book could hopefully end up on some of the books that have impacted your life most type threads. A lofty goal no doubt, but I still am having a lot of fun and learning a bunch :)
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