Jericho Writers Review

I’ve first come across Jericho Writers, previously known as The Writer’s Workshop and founded by Harry Bingham, after a recommendation from a fellow friend from England who is a published author, Lauren James (link to author’s website).

I’ve been working on a travel memoir that I intend to publish since mid-2015. My friend highly recommended the book The Writers’ and Artists’ Guide to Getting Published by Harry Bingham. She told me it’s a must read to getting published and learning about the industry. Her advice was to only purchase the latest version of the book and choose either the UK or US version depending on which market the writer is targeting.

My friend also directed me to check out the services on The Writer’s Workshop website, currently known as Jericho Writers. I signed up for the email alerts in early 2017. In this blog, I will only be reviewing the website and the services around it.

About JerichoWriters

I will not claim to explain what Jericho Writers does better than Harry Bingham. I think that the About Us page neatly summarizes what they do. I like simplicity and straight to the point answers to frequently asked questions by writers. This is what Jericho Writers delivers.

As someone who is new to the industry, I resonate quickly with the following questions “I’ve no idea how to find an agent” (frankly I didn’t know I needed an agent until I started looking into publishing my manuscript):

Figure 1: You will find that Harry Bingham’s style is to repeatedly post “Join now” subscription membership buttons all over the website. They heavily promote it at every turn. There are 10 links to membership on the About Us page.

 

Figure 2: The motto of Jericho Writers “a club founded by writers, for writers” reads like The Gettysburg Address of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

 

Email Alerts

I generally do not like receiving email alerts. I think they clutter my mailbox with useless information. After I subscribe, I generally delete or archive for a few weeks email alerts I will not read until I am fed up and unsubscribe altogether from the service. However, the emails that I was receiving from The Writer’s Workshop (now Jericho Writers) struck a chord with me. They are generally honest, short and to the point. This seems to be Harry Bingham’s style. Here’s a screenshot of the first email I received on February 23, 2017.

Figure 3: This is a screenshot of an email alert I received from The Writer’s Workshop on February 23, 2017, currently Jericho Writers. Harry Bingham is the founder of Jericho Writers.

The email started with “We aim to get you published.” This is exactly what I needed. When I reached out to my friend, I was looking for advice on the next steps in getting my manuscript published. I continued reading.

Where I come from, people tend to be skeptical of anyone who claims offer help so that you can achieve success. There are many people and organizations that are great at advertising their services, all with the aim of locking in a sale. What I look for in professional editorial services is that we build trust and establish an honest dialogue. Hopefully we can have a long-term collaboration.

The second sentence was disarmingly honest an in line with my expectations: “Yes, we are a business. Yes, we want to make money.” I was glad to learn that they do not pretend to be some charity that seeks to help “poor and starving artists.” They openly say they want to make money. Everyone needs money to pay the bills somehow. Frankly, I was not planning on spending money on paying someone else to help me publish my book. I was willing to find free resources that I could use to get myself published. I did not find all the subsequent email alerts relevant to me, but I did not unsubscribe.

Then the email continued establishing the credibility of the website. We have published successful authors like you and we can help you get published. I have reviewed their current list of Success Stories. I was convinced. I wanted to read the next step.

Then, there was reality check. You need to write a great book. This was in line with the tone of other websites and bloggers. They have all said that to publish a book and to ensure market success it is imperative that the book is great. The manuscript must be dazzling. I was starting to understand that writing is not easy and that it is not for everyone.

I found Harry Bingham’s tone in the email to be taking the reader on an emotional rollercoaster. First, he answered the question that every aspiring author is looking for: How do I get published? Second, he disarmed the reader by saying that they are a business and they are passionate about helping writers get published. Third, he established the credibility of the website by listing success stories. Fourth, he conducted a reality check. Getting published requires writing a great book and the usual process requires that multiple people look over the work to improve it. Finally, he listed professional services and free resources that Jericho Writers offers to help authors get published.

The outcome of this email prompted me to hire the manuscript assessment services of Lauren James. I highly recommend her. She has helped me re-structure my manuscript into a version that I am very proud of.

Resources & Tips

There are many useful writing resources that Jericho Writers provides. The best part, they are FREE. At the time of writing, I am researching the steps and costs of self-publishing. I consulted a guide on “How to Self-Publish Your Book” by Harry Bingham. I downloaded it from one of the links provided in my email. Here’s the latest version of the self-publishing guide on the Jericho Writers Website. I frankly, prefer the PDF version that I received from The Writer’s Workshop email alerts. The content is the same, I just prefer the formatting of the content in the PDF rather than in the current website. It is easier for me to read and make comments on the PDF document itself.

Did I use the recommendations in the guide? Yes! I followed the advice to research what books are selling in the travel memoir category on Amazon and how other others have categorized their books. I also learned about the steps to take in making a book cover design and what is the expected budget. This was very important and relevant information to me.

Did I find it relevant? Yes! I found it surprising that social media is not required for selling a book. It’s all in the email alerts and setting up the marketing strategy properly. There are some basic tips outlined on the website.

Last week, I received and watched the three videos that were promoted as freebies. One was on Book Descriptions, another on Categories and Keywords, and the last one on Amazon Exclusivity. Harry Bingham, a best-selling crime author, was presenting the video courses himself. In one of them I could hear faint sounds of his kids playing an instrument that sounded like a harmonica. Clearly, the videos were filmed in the comfort of his home. These three videos are directly from the Self-Publishing Success’ Video Course.

Figure 4: An email alert from November 2, 2018 from Jericho Writers promoting the three free videos as part of the Self-Publishing Course.

Harry says that this course is free as part of either the monthly ($39 USD) or annual membership ($295 USD). He explicitly says that new members can join Jericho for a month, they can download all the course material and can cancel the subscription. It seems like a very attractive offer. However, if you go on the website, you can “Add to basket” for $850 USD! This does not make sense to me and I find it a bit misleading. The price of this course is almost three annual membership (2.88 times the current annual price). If someone does decide to purchase this course, they should get at least three years’ worth of Jericho membership.

The only explanation for this steep price for the course is to discourage all buyers from purchasing the course and become Jericho Writers monthly or annual subscribers and take advantage of other services.

Figure 5: It’s a bit misleading to be advertising the price of $850 to purchase the course, when the same course is free to members of Jericho for an annual membership fee of $295 USD or $39 USD. Maybe the strategy is not to sell any videos, rather to convert all potential users into Jericho Writers members. Once they are part of their membership network they can receive promotions for other services. Members receive discount on the professional services provided by Jericho Writers. They have conveniently placed the “Free to members of Jericho Writers”, “Find out more” and “join now” buttons. Please click on these button before you pay the $850 (I’d be surprised if anyone has purchased the service).

 

Figure 6: Here’s an email alert from October 31, 2018 where Harry Bingham is discouraging potentially interested users from buying the Self-Publishing course. He likes to keep the suspense of what’s coming next. The key is to get people to join and become members.

 

Figure 7: Here’s the screenshot of the checkout page for the Self-Publishing Success video course. If you are lucky you can get a coupon! 🙂 The coupon code is actually their subscription membership, either the monthly one or the annual one.

Editing Services

This brings us to the editing services. Based on the research I’ve conducted, the price range for editorial services seem to be in line with what the industry is offering. Another great resource for commissioning writer’s services is Reedsy, a website for professionals in the writing, editing and publishing industries.

At Jericho Writers they offer Manuscript Assessment and Copy-Editing services. Last week, November 2, 2018, they updated their website and they offer Line-Editing, Copy-Editing and Proof-reading services under the Copy-Editing tab.

Figure 8: You can select which service is right for you by learning more on this link.
Figure 9: A comparison of what is offered and what is the price.

What I liked about Jericho Writers Website is that I can quickly get a quote and see how Jericho’s services stack up against my budget. As a non-native English speaker, I selected the line-editing services because I want to have a comprehensive polish of my manuscript of about 94,000 words. Then I chose the range of words of my manuscript from the drop-down menu, 90,001-95,000 and the price was immediately calculated, $1,491.84 USD. This was much quicker than at Reedsy, where you must prepare a bid document to submit to a selected group of freelance editors. Currently, at Reedsy, you can quote up to five professionals at a time.

Figure 10: A screenshot of how easy it is to navigate the tabs and services on Jericho Writers website. I have not commissioned the services, but I guess the next step is that they match you with a relevant writer or editor.

What I wished Jericho Writers had was an offer for developmental editing. They are currently offering manuscript assessment, which compared to Reedsy’s description of editing services is less comprehensive. I’ve reached out to Jericho Writers and they responded to me that they do not offer developmental editing services as described on Reedsy’s website.

Figure 11: Reedsy’s website description of the editing services available. They seem to have a more comprehensive list of services available. Source: Reedsy

Memberships Benefits & Finding Agents

As an aspiring author, I have some reservations about sending my completed manuscript on which I spent much time and effort. What if someone steals it? Are there rogue publishers and editors? What about piracy of digital books? These are some fears that Harry Bingham has been communicating and dispelling in his email alert series titled Crappy publishing outcomes (and how to avoid them).

As a concerned new writer, I welcome the advice of seasoned and experienced authors such as Harry Bingham. I appreciate that he is directly communicating with writers through the email alerts and in the videos in the Self-Publishing Course (I can only testify for the three videos I’ve watched).

Although, I am not a member of Jericho Writers, I am strongly leaning towards getting one. I am currently looking at the one-month membership as this is the most cost-effective option for me to can access the remaining content on course of Self-Publishing and test the AgentMatch service. I have not tested this service, but to minimize costs, I will subscribe to JerichoWriters once I am ready to devote myself to exploiting the services offered.

I do understand that writers, like all people, tend to procrastinate, and a one-month membership soon becomes an annual membership. Then, members end up paying for services they are not using. I know this is also true from my experience. I’ve purchased domain and hosting services for a website that I have not yet launched. It’s the third year I am paying for these services I am not using.

The positive thing is that the membership is flexible, so I could be subscribing on a monthly basis as I have bursts of writing productivity and save on annual membership costs.

Figure 12: This is promotion of the AgentMatch service at JerichoWriters.

Website

The website interface is simple to navigate. It’s structured around eight tabs: EDITING, COURSES, EVENTS, LIBRARY, LOGIN, ABOUT US, and JOIN US. The first four are the ones that any aspiring author can find useful. The first three tabs, EDITING, COURSES, and EVENTS offer mostly paid services. The LIBRARY tab offers a vast number of free resources and tips on how to write and get published. Personally, I found their library exhaustive and useful. You probably can learn a lot about writing, especially about self-publishing that if you so chose could do all the aspects of self-publishing yourself by following their advice.

However, at Jericho they are aware that self-publishing success rests on a high-quality book published and without the help of professionals specializing in cover design, editing, manuscript assessment, an author may miss out on some key components in ensuring their book shines.

Before you engage in commissioning professional services, I would recommend that you review the library section of the website and for the specific genre of interest, be it finding Agents, publishing Children’s books, or navigating the world of Self-Publishing.

Figure 13: This is a screenshot of the Jericho Writers Library page. The interface is simple to navigate. I find it an improvement from The Writer’s Workshop website.

Verdict

The philosophy of the website is to provide honest and on-point information. Based on my experience using the website, I can say that this has been the case. The library section of free resources is comprehensive and very useful to writers at all levels. It is not my only “go-to-website” for getting information about writing and publishing, but it is one of my favorites.

I’ve reached out to Jericho Writers and they are responsive to my queries. They have sent me a detailed advice as a non-native English speaker how to navigate the process. However, the promptness in the response was not as expedient as that by some of the other freelance editors I’ve contacted through Reedsy.

The colors and buttons on the website have their semblance to Amazon. It seems like a subtle subliminal marketing mission, however, apart from this subliminal bias towards Amazon, Jericho Writers website offers useful resources for aspiring writers at all levels, especially ones who are learning the ropes in the industry for the first time such as myself.

In a nutshell, I would highly recommend the website to all writers who intend to publish in the UK and US markets or are willing to learn about self-publishing.

Finally, I have a question for Harry Bingham or anyone at Jericho Writers who can answer this. Why the name changed to Jericho from The Writer’s Workshop?

Note to readers: I wrote this review of Jericho Writers website and services as part of their call to Win a Year’s Membership to Jericho Writers. You can learn more about this call and its conditions here.