When I wrote the book The Cheap Diva’s Guide to Frugal and Fabulous Living: How to Shop Smart, Look Your Best, Decorate with Style, and Have Fun for Less Money!, I knew online marketing would be an important part of my overall marketing strategy. The book teaches readers how to live better by spending smarter, so I applied to be the local frugal lifestyle writer at examiner.com, and was approved to write on that topic.

I never expected the short writer bio to attract enough attention to enhance my book sales. The writer bio appears as a link written in a microscopic font size on the writer’s article page. Readers have to be extremely interested in the writer or they won’t bother clicking on the bio link to go to a different page.

I was interested in using their website to promote my book by writing about my book signings, contests, and other book-related promotions. My strategy was going to be to write plenty of articles about living fabulously for less in the local metro area along with the occasional promotional article for the book. When I found out that examiner.com does not allow writers to promote their products or services in their articles I completely lost interest in writing for them. I sent them a polite email saying, in effect, that my schedule had changed and I did not have time to commit to writing for examiner.com. What I was too tactful to mention is that my schedule wouldn’t allow for writing for examiner.com because I decided to spend my time on other marketing efforts.

Writing is a business and writing for examiner.com doesn’t appeal to the businessperson in me. Examiner.com implying that writing for them will enhance my credibility as an expert doesn’t impress me. I don’t need their stamp of approval to be considered an expert. My firsthand experience on living well for less, doing research, writing over 800 blog posts related to spending smarter for my blog at thecheapdiva.com, and writing a book on the subject is what makes me an expert. I don’t need more credibility, I need more cash.

After being accepted as their frugal living writer, they emailed me some suggested guidelines. The suggestions included writing at least three new articles a week and including pictures with each article. If I followed these guidelines, I could easily spend several hours a week writing articles promoting OTHER local businesses instead of promoting MY business. I already spend plenty of time writing about budget-friendly resources and products on thecheapdiva.com blog. If I spend any more time promoting other businesses online while increasing my own online book marketing efforts, I think my computer would shut down in protest.

Examiner.com claims to provide writers with all of this wonderful exposure, but after enticing you with that bit of hype they turn around and ask writers to use their Facebook page, personal blogs, etc. to drive web traffic to their examiner.com web page. The purpose of writing for examiner.com was to promote my book, not help them market their business. Sorry examiner.com, if you aren’t going to help me promote my business effectively, I’m certainly not going to help you promote yours. Nothing personal you understand, it’s just business.

Stephanie Ann is the author of the book The Cheap Diva’s Guide to Frugal and Fabulous Living: How to Shop Smart, Look Your Best, Decorate with Style and Have Fun for Less Money! and the creator of the budget friendly style blog https://cheapdiva.typepad.com.