The Barefoot Writer’s Club

I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about Paul Hollingshead and the Barefoot Writer’s Club (part of American Writers & Artists Inc., which sells courses that promise to help you “Learn How You Can Become a Six-Figure Copywriter”).

To be honest, I’ve been hesitant to write this post, because Barefoot/AWAI advocates are vigilant about responding to discussions of their products, and likely will show up here to extol the virtues of the program (to see what I mean, take a look at this long-running discussion on Writer Beware’s Facebook page). (UPDATE: That discussion appears to have been removed, likely at AWAI’s behest, but in addition to comments about Barefoot Writer–some pro, but mostly con–it included lengthy defenses of the program and the company by AWAI staff.) But judging by how often writers ask me whether the Club is worthwhile and/or legit, it’s pretty active in soliciting members–and I think it merits a caution.

Right on the homepage of The Barefoot Writer, you can see what it’s all about. “Discover 9 Ways You Can Make a VERY Good Living as a Writer!” “Making a Living as a Writer Has Never Been Easier!” “Get paid to write and build the freedom-filled life you’ve always wanted!” The promise, in other words, of the ultimate writerly pipe dream:

The Barefoot Writer opens the door to the world of paid writing opportunities. You’ll read about ways to dramatically improve your lifestyle as a writer — for the better. Fascinating projects … luxurious lifestyle … inexpensive ways to get up and running, fast. Rewarding writing exercises. A community of supportive, like-minded writers. Ways to let your imagination and creativity soar.

No, you don’t have to be rich, or even have a degree to enjoy a dream lifestyle as a writer. The Barefoot Writer shows you that all you need is to be pointed in the right direction to appreciate all the writer’s lifestyle has to offer.

To reap these astounding benefits, all you have to do is join the Club. The cost? Just $49 (but hurry! This is a “limited time price offer that may end at any time”). Your payment gets you a subscription to 12 issues of The Barefoot Writer’s Magazine…and wait, there’s more! You also receive access to several free Special Reports with titles like “The Secret of the 1-Hour Work Week” and “The $500 Email Secret.”

So where’s the harm, you may be wondering? $49 isn’t a huge amount of money. If you’re looking to transition to full-time freelance writing, or to supplement your income from your existing job, mightn’t The Barefoot Writer help you improve your skills and learn some worthwhile things?

Ah, but what if The Barefoot Writer’s Club isn’t so much a how-to-write-better club, or a how-to-learn-about-great-writing-opportunities club, as a how-to-get-you-to-buy-more-stuff club?

No sample issues of The Barefoot Writer’s Magazine are available online, so I couldn’t check it out. But I did download the “FREE Guide to Barefoot Writer Living” advertised on The Barefoot Writer’s homepage, and it’s little more than an advertorial for AWAI copywriting and other courses. Ditto for The Barefoot Writer blog, where nearly every puff-piece post ends with a pitch for an AWAI workshop, course, or other product (even if the post purports to be about something else). And now that AWAI has my email address, I’m getting a email every couple of days urging me to buy an AWAI product.

Is it a stretch to suppose that the magazine is more of the same?

The Barefoot Writer’s Club, in other words, belongs to the category of enterprises that are designed to sell you things under the guise of helping or instructing you. The Internet is rife with such schemes: “experts” offering courses or webinars that are really vehicles for pimping their own products, “authorities” whose only claim to knowledge is that they’ve written whatever ebook or coursepack they want you to buy. There may or may not be useful information involved–but the information isn’t the point. These are commercial enterprises, and their primary goal is to make a profit–from you.

As for the American Writers & Artists copywriting courses, there are mixed reviews online. Many of the positive reviews read a lot like AWAI’s own promotional material, which suggests they should be taken with a large grain of salt. Somewhat more critical reviews can also be found, such as this one and this one; and this discussion thread includes a number of comments–both satisfied and not–from people who’ve actually used some of the courses.

The general consensus seems to be that the course materials are solid overall (though not everyone agrees on this), but that they’re aimed at beginners, include some padding, and require a substantial investment of time and energy if you want to get the most out of them. Some users also report being aggressively solicited to buy other AWAI products.

What’s lacking in all these discussions and reviews is persuasive evidence that AWAI’s florid promises of high income and a leisurely lifestyle actually materialize for the average customer. When you try to pin AWAI boosters down on this issue–as I did in the discussion on Writer Beware’s Facebook page–they tend to change the subject or avoid specifics. People who really do write for a living know that it’s a hardscrabble life that doesn’t allow for a lot of poolside lounging. I don’t doubt that there are some people who’ve parlayed AWAI courses and their own hard work into profitable careers–per many of the testimonials on the AWAI website–but I see nothing to suggest that they are anything but outliers.

If something sounds too good to be true…it probably is.


  1. Save your money.

    As someone whose writing ability was recognized at an early age and greatly improved over a lifetime of college and graduate school…prodigious amounts of informative reading of the greats and near greats…I can assure you writing can be taught to a minimal degree at best. If you cannot make the major leagues,improvise jazz music,or make a scientific discovery nearly as demanding as discovering the role of DNA,get ready for disappointment.Even the ubiquitous MFA programs for creative writing (when they help at all) do so more in establishing a gifted writer's contact with editors etc. who may be able to help him/her getting published.

    I am not a cruel person who delights in destroying one's dreams. Write for your own enjoyment and the enjoyment of others who love everything you do simply because it is done by you.
    That way nobody gets hurt.

  2. I was contacted, it seems to me that the people who are recruiting writers are motivational writers who's job is to get people excited to do little for a lot. I don't go on Facebook, so I pretty much ditched the idea when told I must join F.B for private meetings. I was hacked years ago, and can't go back, won't, not for any amount of money. The e-mails came two at a time,daily with classes, that promised to get me started after I attend. The pitch is good, but the idea of my paying a company to hire me, well, that's not how it's supposed to work when someone is hiring you to help them do a job,and I enjoy writing,can bang out a story beginning to end within minutes and it will have over 2500 words. It's a gift, an idea in my head grows as I write or type. So, I don't need no stinkin 4,000.00 class, and each e-mail with promises of granduer followed the same pattern, so I just started to go right to the end of them so I could see the money amount they thought I would pay them today. Pretty sure the work they do is land a sucker and make money from those who pay it. Figure 400 people a day contacted, 20 pay and go to the online class, 80,000,00, even divided between 3, is righteous bucks. There is what makes them money. I'm out. Good Luck with the class, you may be the recruiter next year. Who knows.

  3. Apparently many of you commenting here are unfamiliar with the concept of paying others for their knowledge on a particular subject (kind of the linchpin of secondary education – anybody here pay for college?), adding to that your own research and discovery of related resources such as other books on the subject matter, then parlaying what you have learned into income through the hard work of finding clients and honing your skills. Does AWAI solicit for additional income from their programs after the initial $49 fee? Umm…yes, because they are a BUSINESS, not a charity, and businesses exist to make money. I've never seen anything from AWAI except good persuasive writing. Isn't it just too ironic? That's exactly what they teach people to do. No, there is no pie in the sky by and by, there is no magic elixir, no cutting the line at Disney World, and neither is there any attempt by AWAI to sell snake oil that will get you rich quick. If you don't like their prices, go buy a book on the subject from Amazon. Grow up and stop whining, people. It's not up to AWAI or anybody else to make you a successful copywriter, if that's really your goal. It's up to you alone.

  4. I'm ashamed to say it but I got taken in by this too. I started getting suspicious when my initial $49 investment turned into a solicitation for a course for $129 and then a $5,000 course on special for $2,500 IF I ACT NOW. Chalk it up to experience. I've not seen anything other than solicitations from them and I just think I got burned. That's all.

  5. I sent this email to AWAI this morning after reviewing the program for 4 days. My intention is to simply share my personal experience. I realize that just because you pay for something it doesn't mean you sit back and money floods through your door. Hard work, initiative, taking all the right steps put in place for you..blah blah blah. I get it! But dang if you can't get through the proverbial front door of grandmas house without getting bit by five little yappy dogs every time you visit. Guess what grandmas visits are getting cut short and eventually, grandma might get an occasional phone call. Point being there was so much push on buying more and tacky pop-ups that I decided I didn't want to look at the member's area anymore. I was excited to start this club and I wasn't even looking at the big dollar signs, staring at my feet scenario. I was thinking it would be great to write for a living and learn exactly how you do that. You know what maybe you can with AWAI but good luck getting past the over excessive advertising.

    Dear AWAI,

    I had a lot of hope in this program but it seems to be another polished up scam. For one this writers club doesn't even practice what it preaches. In the "Smart Start For a Successful Writing Career," it says over and over again, "No one likes to be sold." Yet I have email after email pushing the exact opposite of that principle. Not to mention the fact that the AWAI members pages have constant pop up ads pushing to buy, buy, buy. The ads are visually unappealing the first thing that pops into my head is the annoying sweepstakes ads "Click here win 25,000." My grandfather used to say "You can't shovel the manure before the cows eaten the grass." In the "Smart Start For a Successful Writing Career" also says…"While agency advertising creates awareness for a product, we get people to take immediate action. That’s why it’s called direct-response advertising… and is written by direct-response copywriters."

    The advertising does make me want to take action but not in an "I've gotta have this program kinda way." I would like my card to be refunded, please.

    My regards,

    ​Maranda Douglas​

  6. Check back with us in 6 months – let us know how much additional money you had to spend to do what you say you want to do in this message. We're all interested! Thanks!

  7. I joined AWAI a short while ago, after reading what they indicate I would learn, and decided to "take the Chance" as they AWAI don't say copy writing is an automatic, if you carefully read what they offer, the opportunity requires some discipline on the part of the student, that is, focus, repetition, devotion to following instructions. Dreary as this concept may be. How many of you have ever wanted to learn what a real cowboy, or buckaroo does in driving stock, roping cows, calves, and steers, doctoring the ones that need it. Maybe you could care less, but you'll never ever rope a single animal without getting a proper "spoke" in the rope to give you a proper loop. Look it up, or talk to a real cowboy, they can tell you, and that is a whole lot like learning to be a Copy Writer with AWAI Michael Kelly. PS Check with me in six months to find out what has happened to me.

  8. Is that true, "anytime you have to PAY to Earn, you need to move on?" Seems to me that is what all of us do when we go to college. I'm not in any way advocating for this program, but I did sign up for the $49 program and it gave me access to the Accelerated Copywriter Program. Within that program is quite a bit of information about the business and not something that can be digested quickly, but needs to be consumed over a longer period of time required dedication to the content, etc. In as such, it by itself, is worth at least the $49 (at least for me).

    I'm not sure why so many are basing the program if they have not actually reviewed it. For me, I was able in a week's time extract a number of items out of it that made me feel my money was well-spent.

    As for being blasted by new offers in additional emails (sometimes daily) from BW and others associated with AWAI, I cannot disagree with anything that has been said here. They definitely are over-marketing.

    I intend to continue with the course and see where it takes me. I never expected it to be a get-rich-quick program understanding that writing requires time and patience. But, if it helps assist in my freelance career – getting my name out there more than a program like Fiverr, helping me to find paying opportunities, then the small amount I paid for it will be worth it.

    I am happy to return a complete review when I complete the course.


  9. I was just sending an email to the "MINDY MCHORSE," email that I receive daily. I get two or three a day at this point and each time it links to the same thing.
    I know this is nonsense and the SPAM SCAM is what it is. If you were going to make money, then you would be hired.
    Any time you have to PAY to Earn, you need to move on.

  10. If honest people and writers collaborate together, use their interests to lift people up, and encourage them to share and provide insight, material, and content that will spark peoples interests form a unity, a collective, a site that promotes just that. We don't have to sell lies. We don't have to sell scams. All we need to do is sell the truth of who we are! Contact me. Thanks

  11. I couldn't agree more. What happened to real anything?? Everything online is designed to get your money credit card number, and information. Why not have an honest decent integral webpage?? So That, IS EXACTLY WHAT IMI GOING TO DO! Contact me. For the results, for collaboration, for the right to post and publish informative, true information in articles for the benefits of people, communities, healthy lifestyles, and overall a better future. Integrity- Doing What's Right Even when no one is looking!

  12. While I realized this course was in no way a panacea, I had a glimmer of hope for a nano second thinking “Wow, it would be great to be lazy person and be able to make a lucrative living.” My common sense kicked in and I’m back to my practical hard working self with one exception. I kept my 49.00! Yea me, I’m ahead of the curve. I’ve written a little, got paid and I’d like to do more without giving my wallet a workout. I wish all of you the best of luck, now and always.

  13. The truth is…. They provide technical training on writing. But that's all. Unfortunately that's only 5% of what's involved in succeeding as a writer. 95% of the work is getting the work. It's like any college program. You'd probably be better saving your money, finding a low paying job in your chosen field and working your way up. You've got to do all the work anyway.

    Their claims of success ARE possible for those who stick with it. But it would be interesting to know how many of those offering courses have actually taken courses. I suspect most have learned how the hard way. If you're a professional writer it's easy to whip up a course and make it sound easy.

  14. I'm with Betsy. I paid for a membership because my understanding was that the membership would get me… something. All it got me was constant emails for courses they say I should take. Um… I have a graduate degree in publishing, including copy editing, and I worked for major publishers, too, so I don't really need more education. I never even received a magazine, which I'm pretty sure the membership said I would get. Useless all around.

  15. That's what I am afraid I will be up against .Didn't give them any money but now they have my email address Oh well live and learn right

  16. I am so glad that I checked out this company. I just signed up for the free newsletter. When I saw the pitch for the $49 membership fee, I grew suspicious. I will not go forth with it because I am on SSI and am, in fact, a well known writer and artist, at a SLC community writing center. I was given a weekly writers group, to mentor. Thank you all and I am truly blessed to have gained insights at the age of 65.

  17. Janie Williams – the issue isn't that they're products are worthless. It's that the MEMBERSHIP is worthless. All you get are constant pitches for courses

  18. I totally agree with you. I joined because the fee was low. Since then it has seemed like all I did was sign up for a bunch of pitches for courses. Haven't gotten ANYTHING out of my $49. They much making a fortune!

  19. The barrage of messages I have received daily from AWAI has annoyed me to the point of unsubscribing and ending my relationship with them.

  20. I know posting as Anonymous makes my comment appear dubious, but here goes:

    I have been, in the past–changed careers, kind of–a research editor, a copy editor, and a project manager at nationally circulated magazines. Typos in this comment notwithstanding (I'm a tad more chill on the 'Net), copy editing is actually very easy to learn. One extremely good book on the subject + The Chicago Manual of Style + Merriam-Webster's Tenth Edition will give you the copy editing education you need.

    Example: If you have a hyphenated word in a headline, do you capitalize the second part of the word? So, Fund-raiser or Fund-Raiser? Ding-dong Went the Doorbell? Or Ding-Dong? When we faced this question at our magazine, we consulted The Chicago Manual of Style. It told us (I'm paraphrasing GROSSLY) that if the second word is as important and/or could stand alone as its own word, capitalize it.


    Really good practice guides and other reference materials can teach you copy editing. Reading can teach you a whole lot more. It seems to me that the craft of writing for a living means writing a lot, getting your stuff out there, accepting and learning from rejection, diversifying, learning what you can from online sources such as this one and others, and rolling the dice. And reading. A lot.

    By the way, did you know it's copy edit, as a transitive verb, but copyedit as a noun? You don't need a course for that. You can easily find that information in a really good manual/guide/dictionary.

    Final tip: Look up words you use before you use them. Before I posted this, I checked to be sure "diversifying" hadn't been so watered down by use in the investment world that it lost its other meanings. I'm safe. (I also reworked my use of "dubious" in the first line.) Being thorough is most of the job. For example, I can't tell you how often I see "mortified" used the wrong way. It's not a synonym for "horrified". It's a synonym for "embarrassed". A little effort to check, for sure, what a word means will get you a long way. And I think one good book on copy editing can teach you that.

    (Oh, and fund-raising and fund-raiser are ALWAYS hyphenated. When the hyphen is missing, the person didn't look it up. Jusayin'.)

    Happy writing! And reading!

  21. Can nobody actually just tell a person where to apply to get a copywriting job? I can write, and write very well. Where do I apply? That’s all I need to know!

  22. Reading with interest. I found AWAI courses overly priced and hyped about five years ago, as they still seem to be. If starting out, you might see great value in our Australian copywriter school by Bernadette Schwerdt (including the freelance business part) at $797, AU, so why would you want to get a flimsy up-selling course just to be certified by this institute. Bob Bly's ebooks will also teach you more meat and potatoes than the $49 offering, I have no doubt as I purchased many of his $39 ebooks.

  23. Now, nay-sayers, be honest with yourself – did AWAI ever state that you would earn six-figures overnight? What I have read in their "hype" emails (no money required!)is that:
    1. You "could" achieve that in as little as a year (three years being the average).
    2. You will have to work, put time into the courses (which can be anywhere from three to six months long).
    3. You are building a BUSINESS and to be an entrepreneur YOU have to WORK to be successful.
    4. Their flagship course will teach you how to write letters just like the ones they are sending you. Obviously, you were at the very least "tempted" by their letters – I'm sure that is a success in their book.
    5. YOU are not spamming anyone. You have a client for Company X that has paid you to write a letter similar to what they are sending to you but urging them to buy Company X's product. Company X is sending their emails to people who have given them their email address for "more information". Office Max, Snapfish, Amazon, Ancestry, etc. all do the same thing. Their flagship course teaches you the basics of "persuasive" writing. You don't want to write sales copy, fine, don't, it's your Company that you are building, choose clients who want research done (white papers), build web landing pages, ect. Find clients who want what you want write.

    I'm not a sales person and I don't like pushy sales people either, so obviously, persuasive writing is not my bag. I am considering this to further my current business AND if it seems to work, possibly make a smidgen on the side by offering to do for others what I am doing for myself. I am looking at their social media course. It is expensive (but cheaper than college)- $500 – they say it takes about three months to complete. Can I learn what I need to know from scouring the web? Possibly. But I don't really have the time to read/search/review all the facets of managing and effectively monitoring my social media presence.

    I am a critic by nature. Hence why I haven't whipped out my credit card. But honestly, I'm waiting for their offer of "test driving" this program for 30 days for $29! I see that for all of their programs. It's like real life – I'm waiting for it to go on sale. They always seem to offer a money back guarantee, so I'll have 30 days to view the entire course and see if I feel like I will learn anything new.

    Okay, this is quite long enough – and "if you've read this far" maybe I don't need their "Accelerated…" flagship course, lol. If you saved any of their emails, reread them. They didn't make outrageous promises. They simply painted a picture of a life we all dream of and are offering you (for a fee) one way of obtaining it. I don't see it as a "get-rich-quick" scheme. Yea, maybe at $300-$500 a pop for their courses it seems like they are the ones getting rich, but with that being said, it appears that they have a pretty solid support system to help you critique your copy, pat you on the back, encourage you when it seems you can't get ahead – a lot of this from their user forums – but they state they do have phone support to answer questions.

    In conclusion, I am neither for nor against AWAI. As with anything in life, there is no guarantee. With AWAI – you do have to work and if you follow their guidelines, it is "possible" to make six figures in as little as a year. But YOU HAVE TO WORK. YOU ARE BUILDING A BUSINESS. I learned all of this from AWAI's marketing emails that they sent to me (that I signed up for by supplying my email).

  24. I have been this route before with some guru-led outfit teaching marketing skills. Same old song. Six-figure incomes the rule rather than the exception, for working as little as ten minutes per day, for only the $49.00 discounted 'member' fee.

    Then immediately I was barraged by phone calls, e-mails, and more phone calls, offering me "the good stuff", for only prices of a few hundred up to several thousand dollars, from a gaggle of "related companies" (more gurus) offering products that "fine-tune" the skills that I learn from some Mack guy.

    I finally called them to demand a refund of my initial member fee, as I am about to do with the Barefoot Writer's Club.

    For I discovered again that I am the one being marketed.

  25. I can't speak for anyone else, but I completed AWAI's "Accelerated Program for 6-Figure Copywriting" thirteen years ago. I've been writing direct response copy full-time ever since. AWAI actually became one of my clients, so I think I have a pretty good view as both a purchaser and a vendor.

    Folks seem to complain a lot that AWAI tries to sell their products. They're a business, and that's what businesses do. As any good direct marketer can tell you, your best prospect is a recent purchaser. So, yes, AWAI markets consistently to members. A business that doesn't market dies. So I don't get the anger at AWAI's marketing activity.

    As to AWAI's products being overpriced, compared to what? A liberal arts degree can easily cost $80,000 or more – and requires four long years to earn. If you're lucky, you'll land a job that pays $25,000 or $30,000 right out of school. AWAI's flagship program costs a tiny fraction of that… can be completed in just a couple of months… and can lead to much higher first-year earnings. It's all about return on investment, folks. And the ROI on AWAI's programs tends to be very high.

    I earned back more than 500 times my investment in just my first year writing copy. And I'm not an outlier. The demand for effective copy is huge.

    I've written dozens of promos, scores of catalog pages, thousands of articles, and five books. But only my clients know me. Because virtually everything I've written has someone else's name attached to it. My name appears where it really counts: On the checks. Sure a byline feels great. But try making your mortgage payment with a byline.

    All that being said, I don't expect anyone to simply take my word for it. Check out AWAI with the Better Business Bureau. (I did before I sent them my hard-earned cash.) Google some of the folks associated with AWAI – like Bob Bly, Clayton Makepeace, Nick Usborne, and Steve Slaunwhite.

    Freelance copywriting isn't for everybody. But if you have a decent command of English and the willingness to put in the effort, it can give you a great life.

  26. AWAI is an organization that teaches copywriting not novel writing, not short stories, not anything most English majors have ever heard of. You don't recognize any of the graduates because they don't usually write under their own names. I have written promotional material signed by the owners of businesses who can barely write their own names. Some of this material has increased their business exponentially. Their customers come back for more.

    Copywriting is salesmanship in print. What many of you do in these posts is denigrate this activity as spam. Yes, copywriters produce what you call spam. It is direct response writing. This style evolved from mail order advertising. AWAI operates as a sales funnel on the Agora/Dan Kennedy model and they teach you how to write for that market. I have read dozens of books about copywriting by the world's most successful copywriters. AWAI's Accelerated Copywriting course is formulaic. They teach you a direct response structure that gives you a framework for long copy pitches, lift letters, landing pages, web copy, email prospecting series and all the other affiliated tools of modern marketing. There is considerable demand for this kind of sales copy.

    I don't see any difference between this and writing formula romance novels, fantasies, westerns or …

    Agora, Stansberry Research and AWAI are all related and cross-pollinate each other. Collectively, they are the most successful at selling subscription letters in travel, investing and commercial writing there has ever been. They are expert at what they do and can teach you how to do it. Yes, they will attempt to upsell you to more courses, seminars and the annual conference. These are largely motivational but you really do have the opportunity to meet with established practitioners and potential clients.

    If you do not know what a control is, you are unlikely to be able to understand what AWAI is and what it teaches. If you are interested in powerful copy, study their "spam" when you receive it. It may offend you, but I can assure you – it sells product.

    I don't know how many subscribers successfully complete the courses and are able to make a living writing commercial copy. I would guess four out of five fail, lose interest or discover there is work and discipline involved; 15% pick up a nice sideline, 4% can make a good living and perhaps 1% knock it out of the park. That's a higher success ratio than most beginning writers for general markets, wouldn't you say?

    I would recommend the basic copywriting course to any beginner or prospect who just wants to see what it is all about. Even more so, I recommend it to business owners who have no idea how to market their products or evaluate an agency or consultant.

    Yes, AWAI is selling dreams. So, who isn't? They offer money back guarantees which they honor if a course does not suit you. I have taken several of their courses and have returned a few with no hassle. Some weren't ready for prime time. Most, in my opinion, are good enough to get started. You can always read the masters later.

  27. Thank you for this post. I had seen the Barefoot Writers Club ad in my gmail promotional portion of my inbox. Assuming that since it was coming through google, I thought perhaps it was legit. I just subscribed to get their newsletters but didn't sign up to be a part of the club. (I don't even have $49 to give a month.) But I noticed typical red flags in their newsletters, such as a bunch of hype that tries to wet your appetite (like earning a 6-figure income and living the easy life you always wanted) but never gives you any real information on how to go about it. They even went as far as to say, "I will let you know more tomorrow". They never did tell me the details they promised. Thank you for the warning about this. My suspicions were confirmed.
    I wonder how we can stop this scam from affecting more people. And the people who are most targeted and affected are those who don't even have the money or time to lose. Something must be done.

  28. I am a retired civil service worker, and was a technical writer for 40 years. I have always considered myself an excellent creative writer. I have written poetry and short stories that I have shared only with family and friends. Of course, I have always received rave reviews, because they ARE my close friends, family, and associates. Even so, I do feel I have a talent that I would love to pursue. My problem, is that I do not have the contacts or knowledge of how to break into the copywrighting field. Is there ANYONE out there with real suggestions on how to develop legitimate contacts to get started? Since I am retired, I do not need to get rich quick, or even get rich at all, only to make a little extra money to supplement my retirement income, maintain my new found freedom, and do something I love.

  29. Art Vandalae (remember me?)

    I wish people knew how foolish they are when they criticize opportunities they are afraid to admit that they fear. Completing a course that might do something to improve their life so that their career is on the right path is something that takes a spine. It is so easy to reject something that might be challenging or threatening to a weak person who fails at everything they try and happy when their allies in failure give a thumbs-down to a course that just might offer a positive opportunity. The AWAI courses are legit and good. DS

  30. As soon as I saw the promise of a "luxurious lifestyle", I knew this was a bunch of bull. At one time I was writing regularly for SEVEN different magazines/newspapers, and while it was nice to have a little more income, I certainly didn't run out and buy a new house!
    Judy P. P.S. I now curate a blog,, which nets me nothing financially, but is a lot of fun. Also, I get (free) press passes to museums and special events, occasional free trips, plus review copies of beautiful art books from publishers.

  31. Thanks for this article for all the comments, positive and negative. I can see that there may be some value in the free signup materials, and perhaps the courses, but, yeah, you are not going to become a $100,000/year writer. There just aren't enough many high priced writing jobs out there, and nobody is capable of finding them for you, let alone however many subscribers they happen to get. I am passing on it.

  32. Thank you for this post. As an author, I was curious about these ads, as well as suspicious. You told me what I needed to know.

  33. It's unrealistic to believe that there is a welcoming support group of like minded people out there just waiting for you to knock on the door so they can provide you with everything you need to fulfill your dreams. It is even more foolish to become angry when it turns out to be a transaction that requires resources and effort on your part. Success in anything requires work and faith.

  34. To be a writer, first of all, you have to have talent to do so. Not every person has the call to be a writer. I went to college to get my knowledge in reading and writing, this is like everything in life! Learn!!! And write! But not through scams…

  35. Absolutely almost LOL at several emails they sent me some time ago, including this one: 'last chance … don't miss out on becoming a career writer. Don't lose your fanbase. You need this course! Only $495 until—'

  36. Thanks for the posts. I have always been leary about AWAI. The latest email i received, was how to become a social media writer. compaines will pay you to mange their face book, linkedin andTwitter communities. Really? They threw out some figure 119,000 yearly income. Yes this all sounded to good to be true. I am glad i did not fall for the last minute sales pitch. This would be an embarrassment to the living.

  37. A few years back I fell for their pitch and sent them approx. $500 for their copywriter program and received a box of absolute crap. I asked my wife why she let me do it and she said I had to learn this myself. Don't know if these scumbags can reach out and sue for calling them crooks, so I'll refrain from doing so here. Don't send them any money.

  38. I just sat through the video and watched it but before I clicked on the button to join I exited the page. I then entered the barefoot writer's club in my search bar and saw this site shown on the search page. I'm glad I did because I almost took the bait. I am a fairly decent writer and would love to make a living as was described on the video, however I guess I'll just have to continue working on my stories and see if I can get them published.

    Thank you for all of the posts here and for the head's up. I have no doubt that AWAI is a legitimate business, but that's what it is, a business and they're in business to make money. So I see it for what it is. At this time I'm a single mother working hard to make what little I do. It's sad how many other people are in the same boat as me and fall for this stuff every time.

    Glad I didn't give them my bank account information.

  39. Anonymous,
    This is the most sensible advice of them all. Thank you. I have learned the same thing. Jeff Goins has been great help for me to succeed with my writing skills. But, I have been busy learning and writing. I had not investigated any of the numerous emails in my inbox. No time to even read them so I just checked them 'read' and go back to my writing.

    Last week, I got curious because I saw 'Reader's Digest'. I read, I clicked. I almost got taken by LifeRich Publishing. Thank goodness I did not have nearly $3000.00 to buy their package.

    Investigating LifeRich Publishing I bumped into this site. WOW! Take my experience with AWAI. I am a member because Rebecca gifted me the Barefoot Writer subscription. I have been studying that Guide. Not finding my way in Barefoot because of the limited resources available, yesterday I clicked on the invitation to join the Circle. Wow! They want $15,000.00 dollars! That's when i came to this site to check AWAI.

    I totally agree with you. The best part about your comment is: 'You may never get rich writing, but you can make a living and that is what most writers want, isn't it?' So true, that's all I want. Perhaps you would like to see what I wrote about my whole experience with all of them. 🙂

  40. I was already a professional writer when I joined AWAI mostly for access to their "Incredible" Jobs board. Well, there were three postings on the job board, that was it, just three, yup three. I applied to all three and didn't hear back from any of them. That was two years ago and I quit shortly after. What I really got from them was a ridiculous amount of emails that were sales intensive from various members of their team. The e-books that came with the membership had some information, but it was mostly pitch. There are many ways to become a professional writer, but I wouldn't recommend AWAI as a path. I think writing for content mills like Textbroker, or bidding sites like Up work are better than AWAI, at least they aren't trying to sell you something every five minutes. I'm not saying either of those choices are good, but they are better. You can learn how to do copywriting from reading books from great copywriters like Bob Bly, Eugene M. Schwartz, Maria Veloso, Gary Halbert, etc… or take some of the courses from online marketers and copywriters like Chandler Bolt, Ray Edwards, and others. Even if you just get their emails and study them you can learn the craft and many give away a lot of free training if you just look for it. If you don't want to do copy writing, which is probably the most lucrative writing, you can approach/ pitch to websites that need help, or pitch for articles in magazines or try contests, good sources of information for these opportunities is Jacob Jans's Freedom with writing: Writing for money isn't easy, but it is doable. I started with content sites and bidding sites, then started my own blog and now I'm writing books under my own name. Amazon is a great source, not just of information on this but also a way to self-publish your own work. If your interested in writing books then I would recommend anything by Joanna Penn and Nick Stephens. Both have tons of free information online, check out Joanna on YouTube I think she's under the creative penn on there. You can also take their courses or do some courses through Udemy. Jeff Goins is the got to guy for blogging and the go-to gal is Ruth Soukup. You may never get rich writing, but you can make a living and that is what most writers want, isn't it?

  41. I paid $49 and all I got wad more aggressive hard sell on their products soliciting larger sums of money.I requested a refund everyday they ignore my request for refund but continue to harassed me to buy more "life changing" programs. Who can I complain this company AWAIONLINE to

  42. Anybody know anything about the following:
    6-Figure Freelance Writer Blueprint Program
    Your step-by-step program to Building a Successful Freelance Writing Career.
    Is it legitimate?

  43. I ordered their first course, Accelerated Program For Six-Figure Copywriting, and I've also ordered and read many other courses and books on copywriting.

    To me, it just seemed common sense that I would have to invest money to learn a new trade.

    The AWAI course may be expensive, especially if you're just dabbling in the profession.

    But a 'scam'?

    No, not at all.

    They charge a lot of money, but in my opinion they DO deliver. It may be overpriced, but that does not make it a scam.

    If you can apply the information they give you, I see no reason why a reasonably-intelligent person can't make a living as a copywriter.

    The problem is, you still need to go out and get your clients. Even worse, you need to be able to THINK FOR YOURSELF.

    This course is not a push-button solution.

    I do believe they also make it seem a lot easier than it really is, and they also seem to have inflated the income potential for the average person.

    Here's the bottom line: if you come into this with a poverty consciousness, then this will NOT give you an abundance consciousness.

    And if you're obsessed with being scammed, then you probably have a poverty consciousness.

    Spend your time changing your mindset first, then this course, or perhaps some other course on copywriting, can do you some good.

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